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Global Sports Week focusses on challenges facing world sport

Global Sports Week focusses on challenges facing world sport
February 16, 2021

The recently concluded second annual edition of Global Sports Week has engaged more than 20,000 people from 153 countries through its immersive digital platform, with participants virtually involved in more than 100 sessions.

Hosted from the French capital of Paris, it brought the world of sport together following a year of unprecedented disruption, under an overarching theme of ‘Reinvention in Action’.

The unique global-local event concept saw speakers gather in venues across four continents, with the action linked live to a central base at the heart of Paris’ Eiffel Tower. Over 200 speakers made an appearance across six future host cities of the Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Olympic Games, which, as well as Paris included Tokyo, Beijing, Milan, Dakar and Los Angeles.

With themes including the rise of athlete activism; the new sport-for-health agenda; the emergence of new digital sports formats and revenue streams; women’s sport; social justice; and the climate emergency, Global Sports Week demonstrated the massive on-going transformation happening across the world of sport.

The main Global Sports Week (GSW) Arena stage incorporated broadcasts from hub venues at the French Institute Tokyo, the Embassy of France in Beijing and the Museum of Black Civilisations in Dakar, as well as from ‘virtual hubs’ in Milan and Los Angeles.

Each of the international lives opened with a message from the Mayors Anne Hidalgo (Paris), Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles), Soham El Wardini (Dakar) and Giuseppe Sala (Milan) along with Vice Mayor of Beijing Zhang Jiandong and Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike, who each presented their vision for sport and the Games in the future of their cities.

As in 2020, the voice of the next generation was represented throughout the week by a group of 34 Young Sports Makers, under-25s drawn from 16 nations, who were tasked with challenging leaders and helping to shape discussions in line with their concerns.

Global Sports Week 2021 was also the stage for a number of significant announcements.

These included:

• The launch of two new toolkits by Global Sports Week patron UNESCO, unveiled by Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences Gabriela Ramos, and designed respectively to empower young people to influence physical education policy; and to support policy makers in implementing the change in national systems.

• The unveiling by Paris 2024 and AFD (L’Agence Française de Développement) of a new joint incubator and the 26 athlete-entrepreneurs who will receive support to champion high-impact social and environmental projects in France and across 10 countries in Africa. The project was presented at the Eiffel Tower by Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of the AFD, and Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024, marking the one-year anniversary of their agreement, signed at Global Sports Week in 2020.

• The launch by Global Sports Week’s Founding Partner and the first Paris 2024 Premium Partner Groupe BPCE of its annual analysis of the French sports economy. BPCE L'Observatoire estimates that the French sport economy experienced a drop of approximately 21% in 2020 in comparison to 2019, which represent a much deeper recession than for the rest of the economy (-8.3% according to INSEE.)

• The launch of a five-year, pan-European project by Global Sports Week Founding Partner adidas, addressing the brand’s Global Purpose pillar of Breaking Barriers for Girls. adidas will work with 15 non-profit sport for good organisations across different regions of Europe across the five years, improving their capacity and capability to serve women and girls in their communities in order to empower 100+ Breaking Barriers Champions and engage with 50,000+ female participants. The project aims to increase girls’ participation in sport by building the capacity of the sport-for-good ecosystem to better serve women and girls, as well as to provide inspiration for girls to become their best selves.

Commenting on the event, Global Sports Week President and co-founder, Lucien Boyer stated “at Global Sports Week’s inaugural edition at the Louvre in 2020, the big message was about the need for change. This year, we clearly witnessed the revolution happening across the world of sport, which reflects the fundamental links between sport, business and society.

“This remains the heart of the Global Sports Week concept, which itself has reinvented in a creative and ambitious new format fit for a future, healthier and more socially-conscious world.

“Sport belongs at the heart of this future, and we are clearly seeing how the positive pressure of young people is helping the ecosystem to change and play a bigger role across the key issues in global society. We look forward to welcoming the world back to Global Sports Week in 2022 to continue the journey of positive transformation together.”

Global Sports Week Paris is an annual international forum that brings together leaders and disruptors from sport, business, culture, media, government and society. Its agenda is focused on the future of sport at the intersection of business and society.

Images: Global Sports Week 2021 sessions taking place next to Paris’ Eiffel Tower (top) and Young Sports Makers at the event (below). Credit: Global Sports Week Paris.

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