Advance planning can boost results in sports. The Bryan brothers of tennis fame have already announced they are planning to train for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. 2015 is even sooner, and will be the year of the next World’s Fair, to be held in Milan, Italy.
Sports will not be the focus of attention at the fair, but can play a very important supporting role. The main themes planned for the event are nutrition and sustainable energy. This will spotlight two important areas for sports business: sports nutrition and sustainable sports facility design. Sustainable designs with minimal impact on the environment are such a high priority for the International Olympic Committee that it voted in 1995 to place this topic on equal footing with sports and education, the two original goals of the modern Olympics. Energy efficient lighting for nighttime sports events is just one of many applications in which modern sports stadia design has shined.
In addition, three important components of the fair relate to large audiences and online communities interested in sports. There will be “edutainment” programming at exhibitor pavilions, as well as a “Cyber Expo” and travel promotion. Sports travel ranks as one of the five most important sectors in the multi-trillion dollar travel and hospitality industry.
To date 118 countries and international organizations have confirmed agreements to host pavilions at the Fair. However, the United States and Canada have not signed up and are unlikely to arrange adequate sponsorship before the deadline. So the standard bearers for American business at this event will be Accenture and Cisco, which have been selected as two of the six official global partners for this event. Accenture’s marketing department values sports partnerships and explains on a company website that “building relationships with the leading players in the world of business, arts and sport is extremely important to Accenture.” Similarly, Cisco has a special business division called “Cisco Connected Sports Solutions.”
There are many opportunities for companies in the fields of sports nutrition, sports education and sports travel to become involved in Expo 2015 projects. More information and official applications are at this link.