From May 26-31, the TwentyTen Group’s Andrea Shaw and Bill Cooper attended the 2013 SportAccord Convention in St. Petersburgh, Russia. Bill brought home some great insights and beautiful photos – enjoy!
Why do you enjoy attending the SportAccord Convention?
Bill: For a North American-based agency the ability to network with so many European-based sport and major-event entities in one place makes for very efficient travel.
What was the energy like in St. Petersburg? Is there a pre-Olympic buzz in the air?
Bill: I would not describe it as a city-wide buzz just yet, but certainly all the SportAccord volunteers (of which there were many!!), drivers and staff were excited to talk about preparations and gossip about controversy.
What did you think of the Olympic Games Candidate Cities’ presentations?
Bill: I went in a bit pie-eyed because despite my exposure to the Olympic movement in recent years I had never actually seen candidate city presentations. I thought all three told a compelling story, but I was struck how formulaic the presentations were. I guess there is a necessity to be able to compare apples to apples, but there seems to be significant risk in the process of not cultivating the individual personalities of each candidate city. On that basis I think I would give a marginal edge to Tokyo for having conveyed the most personality in their presentation.
What would you say was the most valuable experience you had at SAC 2013?
Bill: I hate to be repetitive, but the networking was the most valuable experience. Beyond that there was a keynote one morning given by Kevin Roberts, CEO of Satchi & Satchi, that was incredibly inspiring and motivating. Nestled between his high energy and hilarious pro-Kiwi and pro-Man City rhetoric were a series of powerful take-aways that should serve to inspire the major event and sport world to think big and more creatively as a tool to ensure sustainability.
What was your most authentically Russian experience while at SAC 2013?
Bill: Beef stroganoff and over-priced wine (albeit delicious) at the Stroganoff House would be the authentic culinary high point, and morning runs along the canals while taking in the stunning architecture would have to be the experiential high point. Meanwhile the authentic low point would have to be the two-plus hours it took to just check into our departure flight. Word to the wise: if you are travelling to St Petersburg (and you should), be sure to get to the airport with plenty of time and patience to catch your flight out!