Our goal in providing a platform for disruptors has never been to deconstruct sports.
The plan has always been to help reconstruct sports — and to champion the technologies, media, and minds that are the architects of a better future for the connected fan.
As the industry’s largest and most diverse gathering, we entered 2017 uniquely positioned to unite a group of established stakeholders (who pioneered a $100 billion industry) with a rapidly growing community of emerging participants now reaping the benefits of a digitally-transformed sports economy.
And unite we did.
Faces in Our Crowd: New and Old
What made Hashtag Sports 2017 so special was the deeply-rooted sense of community and collaboration that spanned across an unrivaled range of attendees and the shared sentiment of charting a new course for an industry at an inflection point.
Attendees stood in line with the founder of Foursquare for a chance to immerse themselves in virtual reality content from Mandt Media, exhibitors listened to feedback from David Stern as he explored the technologies changing the face of the fan experience, and mid-level marketing managers sat next to NHL CMO Heidi Browning and NFL Pro Bowler Russell Okung in the TimesCenter auditorium to take in insights from the industry’s foremost thought leaders.
In addition, the diverse make-up of our speaker roster brought fresh faces to the limelight through a mix of disparate backgrounds, genders, ethnicities, and viewpoints.
Impalpable Energy: You Had to Be There
From the moment the doors opened, an undeniable buzz was born that transcended any speaker we could ever advertise or happy hour we could organize.
And the energy didn’t end when attendees left the TimesCenter after each day’s programming.
Official and unofficial networking events were sprinkled across Manhattan as New York City served as the sports industry’s week-long playground for celebration, education, and networking, and meetings were put on the books months in advance with sports and entertainment stakeholders expecting to cross paths with decision makers from the media, advertising, sponsorship, and tech industries across North America and Europe.
Friendships were forged, deals were set in motion, and knowledge was shared. But to feel it and understand it, you just had to be there.
Highlight Reel: Only at Hashtag Sports
However, what happens at Hashtag Sports definitely doesn’t stay at Hashtag Sports. There were no shortage of highlights, and our attendees shared some of their favorite moments using #HS17 across social media.
@Vikings on how they gained more fans on snapchat in 1 day than ALL #NFL teams combined in one month 😳 #HS17 #smsport
Jemele Hilltalking politics and controversy in the lead up to her own political controversy
Martellus Bennettamusing with his antics and a never-before-told childhood story
Chiney Ogwumike interrupting her own session to post on Uninterrupted live on stage
Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley tossing Stockade FC t-shirts into the audience
Microsoft launching their Sports Performance Platform to put data into play
KidSayshowcasing a first-of-its-kind partnership and research study Luker On Trends
Minute Media unveiling the launch of their brand new esports platform, DBLTAP
Team Hashtag ringing the NASDAQ closing bell
Stay Tuned: We’ve Only Scratched the Surface
2017 was all about the sports ecosystem’s perspectives on the needs and wants of The Connected Fan. 2018’s theme, The New Sports Economy, will explore how the digital transformation of sports erases long-established, cross-industry silos and requires increased collaboration between emerging and established players in order to effectively reach the connected fan.
An infusion of funds from non-endemic tech giants in tandem with the continued convergence with other culture-shaping verticals including music, film, and entertainment is pushing the industry forward and challenging longstanding business models.
In 2018, we’re turning it up a notch to match the industry’s outlook.
Our agenda will feature an extra day of keynotes and fireside chats from sports and media heavyweights, three times the number of workshops to offer more actionable insights, the introduction of structured networking opportunities, and a new and improved VIP experience offering unparalleled access and special event experiences.
Our hope is that Hashtag Sports 2018 opens your eyes to the opportunities that exist when ideas and economy collide and deep-seated notions of tradition are set aside. Paradigms are shifting and business models are being disrupted, and it’s time we unite to celebrate it.