From September 11-13, 500 leaders in sport, business, social change, academia and development gathered in New York for the latest initiative in the Beyond Sport movement. The inaugural Beyond Sport House presented by SAP experience was three days of learning, networking, conversation and celebration at the vibrant and purpose-driven SAP Next-Gen Lab in an exploration of new and exciting way to support the global movement of sport for sustainable social change.
"This is sport's moment. As the business world seeks new ways to connect with society, we can help lead the way in showing what real impact looks like in business and in society." – Nick Keller, Beyond Sport Founder & President
The first day kicked off with a deep dive into sport’s role in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in advance of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Senior level executives came together around ‘10Roundtables’ to think beyond individual organizational goals and challenges to generate solutions to advance 10 of the SDGs where sport has the greatest potential for collective impact.
International facilitator Andy Caldwell led table hosts, UNICEF, Action Alliance, LA Dodgers Foundation, Growth Through Sport, Kick4Life, Foley & Lardner LLP, LISC and the Peres Center Peace & Innovation, in the design-thinking session with each table producing recommendations on how the sport industry can help achieve global goals. On September 25, Beyond Sport will share the outcomes of the discussions at the UN, where we were selected from hundreds of applications to run an ‘SDG Action Zone’ session to engage the global community in new ways. The 8am ET session will be livestreamed on UN Web TV.
We were also excited to have our inaugural Collective Impact Award winners begin their year-long journey on or how, together, they will address Inequality (Goal 10) and Climate Action (Goal 13) alongside Sustainable Development experts and our funding partners from The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation and The Swedish Postcode Foundation.
“Beyond Sport House is a new and exciting way for us to support the global movement of sport for sustainable social change. In a world where we can all consume what we want, when we want, we decided that our annual gathering should offer that same choice.” – Radha Balani, Event MC and thinkBeyond Director of Strategy
The sun shone brightly on a lively second day where we took a look at the world’s timeliest issues through a sporting lens, spreading out across the dynamic venue. Attendees tailored their own schedules based on their interests, choosing from more than 60+ speakers representing sport’s teams, leagues and athletes, global brands, sport for development organizations, the United Nations and non-profits.
The energy was high and participants were fully engaged in dynamic main stage panels, interviews, interactive activities; demos and exhibitions; intimate lounge conversations and roundtable discussions and workshops on a diverse range of topics led by Beyond Sport House attendees. Topics covered included: women in sport, climate action, refugees, STEM, brands and purpose, Esports, youth and the SDGs, race, activism and social justice. A group of attendees were also selected to faciliate additonal sessions addresing issue areas they are facing daily in their work in the sport industry.
Some of the day's highlights included:
On Courage, where WWE superstars Ali and Apollo Crews, Courageous Use of Sport Award nominee and WWE Community Champion, Ayman Hill, and Hall of Fame Triathlete and Transgender Advocate, Chris Mosier shared their personal experiences leading in the face of adversity while using sport as a tool to stand up for what they believe in.
On Women in Sport, featuring a screening of the documentary short Coach and talkback from the film’s executive producer and Growth Through Sport Founder, Courtney Levinsohn, National Women's Soccer League President Amanda Duffy, Assistant General Manager and SVP of the NY Yankees, Jean Afterman and ESPN Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship, Angela Woods. At the standing room only session, everything from retaining female employees in the sport industry, gendered terminology for athletes and tournaments and representation in leadership roles was covered. Both AP Sports and Reuters were on hand to listed and write on aspects of the discussion.
On Youth, an insightful discussion from UNITE 2030 Founder and CEO, Alyssa Chassman, NYC FC Young Leader, Kwame King, IOC Young Leader and Olympic Refuge Foundation Board Member, Josefina Salas, CEO of the Sports Creative, Joe Hewitt and NextGen Summit Co-Founder, Justin Lafazan. The audience was challenged to rethink their intentions when saying that ‘we want to engage youth’ and what it means to make that happen in an authentic and effective way - in support of an innovative generation of young people who are achieving the SDGs.
That evening, we celebrated the collective achievements of amazing organizations and individuals using sport the make the UN Global Goals a reality at our 11th annual Beyond Sport Global Awards. Shortlisters and innovators from across the globe, plus special celebrity guests and Beyond Sport partners, took part in the inspirational ceremony. Read about it here.
"If you want to make a difference in people's lives, you've got to lean in locally. Here's the great news. There is incredible work being done all over the country and across the world...and sport is an invaluable tool. We just need more of it." – Maurice Jones, LISC President & CEO
The final day culminated with our annual Beyond Sport United conference, this year addressing the local opportunity for the sport industry and how large-scale organizations are having to understand how to engage specific communities with localized shared-value approaches.
Starting off with an insightful keynote address on the state of play from LISC’s Maurice Jones, who shared examples of programs that are getting it right on strengthening and engaging communities with authentic and effective methods. LISC is one of the US’s largest organizations supporting projects to revitalize communities and bring greater economic opportunity to residents.
Attendees then heard directly from leagues, teams and clubs on what it means to go local through sport. NHL VP of Sustainable Infrastructure and Growth Initiatives, Omar Mitchell, Chicago Fire Soccer Club VP of Community Relations, Jessica Yavitz, NFL Director of Community Relations, Melissa Schiller, NBA VP of Social Responsibility, Tara Gutkowski Schwartz and Tottenham Hotspur Foundation CEO, Sarah Ebanja, all expanded on their initiatives and how they are applying them to their businesses and social responsibility objectives.
United also showcased how global brands are taking localized approached to make an impact – and how sport can play a role. The conversation between SAP VP of Global Sponsorships, Dan Fleetwood, Bloomberg Global Head of Events, Alix Mills, Braskem VP of Legal, External Affairs and Communications, Nick Sprague, and AEG VP of Energy & Environment, John Marler, explained why their companies are choosing to focus on socially focused approaches – including shifting corporate mindsets on profit and purpose.
After setting the scene, the remainder of the day featured a diverse mix of business value case studies; a spotlight on activations in six cities that are driving social and business impact; and best practice in sport going local. The three days wrapped up with advice direct from sport for social change experts – and 2019 Beyond Sport Global Award winners and shortlisters – who are working in communities around the world.
Fight With Insight Director, Luke Lamprecht, Lost Boyz Inc. Executive Director, LaVonte Stewart, and President and Co-Founder of CDE Dragones de Lavapies, Jorge Bolaños Martinez didn’t hold back in expressing the need for respectful and more long term mutually beneficial partnerships with NGOs to drive collective impact.
Beyond Sport Housed represented a new immersive approach towards a better understanding of how sport can play a role in both global and local issues and we really enjoyed mixing it up. Check out the #SameTeam and #BeyondSportHouse social discussions on Twitter for more of the conversation!