Front Runners 3.0 Featured Top Speakers & 450 Participants from 23 Countries

ATHENS – A unique sports management web conference was organized in Greece by the award-winning ActiveMedia Group along with the Sports Management Society of Deree – The American College of Greece, on January 21-23. More than 20 prominent speakers from five countries “met” during the Front Runners in Sports Management 3.0 which welcomed more than 450 participants from 23 different countries, 90 students and over 200 companies related to the sports industry.

Motodynamics SA, official importer of Porsche AG in Greece, supported the conference as a Gold Sponsor, promoting the Greek and international sports industry with the participation of distinguished speakers from around the world. Participants in the conference had the opportunity to find out more about the first, all-electric Porsche Taycan.

The Front Runners in Sports Management 3.0 web conference continued innovating through the support of its Official Technology Partner, Samsung Electronics Hellas.

LiveOn was the conference’s Digital Platform Partner (member of ethosGROUP). The conference’s platform contributed to the networking of professionals and students who made more than 950 new contacts, 130 chats, and 50 video calls.

On January 21, participants had the opportunity to hear from distinguished speakers including:

Themistocles Karvountzis, Chief Strategy Officer of ActiveMedia Group, the company with the back to back title as Sports Marketing Agency of the Year in Greece, highlighted among others that “sports always lead by example, so the sports industry needs to do the same thing now after the pandemic,” while referring to Vitamin N, which is “spending 30 minutes in nature everyday” and the fact that activities like “cycling, running are growing fast not only because they are wellness experiences but because they are naturally distance activities.”

The Head of Digital & 360 Advertising Director of The Newtons Laboratory, Panos Alefragis talked about the need for content creation on all digital platforms, while also analyzing the successful cases of clubs like Barcelona and Chelsea.

The commercial director of OFI FC, Leonidas Papavasilakis, highlighted that “the environment in which each organization creates work is very important, as well as the environment in which an idea or philosophy is developed. It is especially important how resistant an outer casing is to external pressures.”

The CSR & Events Manager of the leading GameTech company in Greece Kaizen Gaming, Ioanna Kozadinou, presented the successful CSR case “Iroes” and referred among others to the voluntary team Gaimers that “adds a name to the game.”

The world champion in the 400m with hurdles, Periklis Iakovakis, during his speech introduced the successful practice of the European Athletics for the first time in its history, in which “an active athlete, a member of the Athletes Committee is on the table, is able to discuss in the top-level of the decision making process with voting rights.”

Basketball Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino talked for the first time about his participation in the investment scheme interested in acquiring Pau-Orthez, while also discussing Panathinaikos BC’s decision on Fragiskos Alvertis and Dimitris Diamantidis taking over the team’s management and the reason he signed with Panathinaikos. He concluded by saying that “when you stop learning you probably stop leading.”

On January 22, the conference continued with the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of Sani / Ikos Group, Antonis Avdelas, presenting for the first time in Greece, the unique tennis academy Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre, which operates at Sani Resort, while he commented on the sustainable collaboration between Rafa Nadal and Sani Resort and the matching core principles behind it. He said, “It came very naturally. Family, friendliness, kindness, honesty, perfection, attention to detail, all these were common characteristics, so it was a no-brainer in the end for us.”

The Real Madrid legend and the F45 Madrid co-founder, Joe Arlauckas referred to the F45 fitness franchise that helped him during the COVID-19 period. He said, “My mentality is, one year from now, I want to look back and say that, excuse my language, I kicked COVID-19 ass.”

General Manager of the Athens Marathon The Authentic, Dr. Makis Asimakopoulos, analyzed the No.1 sports tourism event in Greece and the need to embrace the wider society underlining that “we made the Athens Marathon a vehicle for social solidarity.”

Greek CEO of the Basketball Champions League Patrick Comninos talked about the selection of Athens to host the Final 8, mentioning that “we chose Athens because at the time Greece’s reaction to COVID-19 had been exemplary, the numbers and indicators were very low.”

On January 23, the third and last day of the conference included the discussion on the subject of gender equality in view of the Paris Olympics, with the former Associate Director of Government Relations of the U.S.A. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, Karen Irish. She highlighted that “there is a significant emphasis on women in sports at the Olympic & Paralympic level. The Chairman of the Board is a woman, the CEO is a woman.”

The former basketball player, sports journalist and dynamic reporter for EuroLeague, Theodora Panteli said that women should not be afraid. She noted that “the more educated you are, the more knowledgeable about your job, there is no way you will not get a chance to prove it” and “as long as you are knowledgeable of the subject and you don’t just want to go in front of a camera, and you want to have a long-term career, the more chances you will have.” 

Senior Vice President of Global Motorsport of Nielsen Sports Nigel Geach under the coordination of the leading and experienced automobile journalist, Takis Pournarakis, noted that “sponsors in Formula 1 are very interested now in not only being involved in putting a sticker on the car but actually being involved in out of scope activities.”

Founder & CEO of Wait Time, Zack Klima, underlined technology’s importance in the post COVID-19 era, highlighting that “what we are doing with artificial intelligence is that we are looking at the tops of your heads” and “we don’t know who the person is, it is an X & Y, and we are tracking actual human bodies, the speed of direction, the direction of movement.”

Bobby Goldwater of Georgetown University noted that “It is a privilege to teach, it is a privilege to have the opportunity to interact with the students and share my knowledge.”

President of Business Operations of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the youngest team president in the NBA, Nic Barlage, said that “On the Cavs we look at adversity as an opportunity, not a challenge,” and that “for us it’s about humanity, equality, education, unity and bringing people together.”

The conference also featured welcoming remarks from Minister of Greek Tourism Harry Theoharis, Deputy Minister of Culture & Sports Lefteris Avgenakis, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt, President of the Greek National Tourism Organization Angela Gerekou, President of the International Olympic Academy Isidoros Kouvelos, and Assistant Professor & Coordinator of the Sports Management Program at Deree – The American College of Greece, Dr. Stella Leivadi.

The conference’s three-day highlights are available on YouTube:

The conference speeches will be available on demand through the official platform, for those who had already registered at the following link: https://frontrunners-sportsmanagement.liveon.tech/stages or those who register even now.



SAN DIEGO — Qualifier Emma Navarro of the United States upset third-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-4, 0-6, 7-6 (4) on Thursday night to advance to the semifinals of the Cymbiotika San Diego Open.

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