Week 29 (5 - 11 April 2014)
The biggest week so far in Marius Vizer's tenure as President of SportAccord ended with him receiving the applause of the press briefing room after the twelfth edition of the most important annual conference on the sporting calendar – SportAccord Convention – came to a close with the signing of a high-profile Memorandum of Understanding with the International School Sports Federation.
The Convention's DNA has efficiency running through it. Established in 2003, its raison d'être is to act as a one-stop-shop for International Federations to hold all their annual meetings at the same time and place, whilst offering a commercial platform to meet with wider sports industry stakeholders and key decision makers.
As SportAccord Convention grows, the challenge for Vizer and his team is to keep servicing its members and partners with a concept tailored to their needs – and yet ensure delegates from the wider sports industry have the opportunity to drum up a return on investment for their accreditation.
Walking this line is as much a communications challenge as it is an operational one. And Vizer has shown himself to be an up-front communicator, a quality that current and potential partners and delegates will no doubt appreciate.
In his press briefing on the final day of the Convention, Vizer was keen to state what his future plans for the event are and insisted on providing statistics to show exactly how ambitious he is.
This year's SportAccord Convention had over 1,600 delegates attending but Vizer said he wants to step things up for next year with plans that could increase the number of delegates to between 7,000 and 10,000.
Achieving such expansion would involve partnering with bigger, global organisations and businesses yet Vizer also sought to assure the smaller sports organisations, who have formed the bedrock of the Convention's growth, that there will be no significant rise in the cost of accreditation.
While these messages were widely communicated (and well received) Vizer would be the first one to point out that the important communications which took place at this year's Convention came from the delegates.
Vizer and his team created an excellent stage for the discussion of innovative concepts in sport, and one topic on everyone's lips was SportAccord's own creation, the World Urban Games, and its joint venture with ANOC, the World Beach Games.
Both these events fall into the most vivid category of blue-sky thinking and have stimulated intense discussions about the status of emerging sports and their potential to engage a younger audience.
With involving young people in sport a perennial priority for the IOC, SportAccord Convention's non-Olympic members might find themselves in high demand with ASOIF and AIOWF to share knowledge and best practice.
SportAccord Convention helps puts these sports in the industry shop window and gives them the platform for dialogue with the top brass of the Olympic Movement. And Vizer is showing himself to be the right guardian for this communications nirvana.