Athens Convention Bureau
Athens hosted the most successful edition of SportAccord
"Following the great success of the 2004 Olympic Games, Greece has refined its place on the sports map. It has proved that it is in a position to meet major demands and has won respect and international recognition. The holding of SportAccord in Athens is once again turning people's attention to the Greek capital, which now has the right experience and know-how to become a popular venue again." These were the words of the Greek Minister of Culture, Michalis Liapis, preceding the sixth, and so far the biggest and most successful SportAccord, one of the most important sport conventions in the world, marking yet another victory for Athens as a host to a significant event in the Olympic spirit.
Only just two months before the Grand Opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, SportAccord Athens 2008, the annual international convention of the sport movement, took place at the convention hotel, Athens Hilton. Over five dynamic days, representatives from the 100 International Sports Federations affiliated to GAISF, ASOIF and AIOWF, as well as the International Olympic Committee Executive Board came together. The President of GAISF & Chairman of SportAccord, Hein Verbruggen, said they were "honoured to be in a city that has such a historic and passionate involvement with the sports movement." Dr. Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee could not agree more, saying that Athens was, without a doubt, the most appropriate city to host the 6th annual SportAccord convention.
Between 2 and 6 June, Athens proved to the world, yet again, that it undeniably has the ability to turn the most demanding of events into a success story, welcoming over 1500 delegates from more than 500 organisations in 60 countries worldwide, including sponsors, bidding and host cities, architects, sports lawyers, broadcasters, Olympic Organising Committees, rights holders and other specialists that all came together to present and discuss the key issues facing the sports industry.
Ahead of the upcoming event, the Mayor of Athens Nikitas Kaklamanis believed that "Athens is sure to elicit a powerful sports vibe to all that attend the SportAccord convention, and to offer participants a memorable experience in this vibrant European capital, with world-class cultural attractions complimented with modern amenities, diverse entertainment and natural beauty," and his faith was rewarded.
The convention had almost 70 exhibitors, top-notch speeches from over 30 leading figures, abundant networking receptions and the Annual General Meetings of the Sports Governing Bodies. The organizers of SportAccord happily expressed their gratitude to the City of Athens for hosting a great event, making it the largest and most successful edition up till now.
The Greek hosts worked closely with the organisers ahead of the Athens SportAccord to present an increasingly memorable program of social and cultural events in Athens, enhancing SportAccord's already recognized platform for networking opportunities. Athens' Tourism and Economic Development Agency commented on the preparations, saying, "A brand new Athens celebrates the privilege of hosting the distinguished SportAccord Event in 2008. As a city steeped in sporting tradition, we look forward to offering a unique and very special experience to all delegates attending the 6th edition of the event."
During this sixth edition of the SportAccord, a new feature was introduced to the programme, the SportAccord ‘City Forum' aiming to serve cities that host or want to host sports events around the world. It is designed specifically to facilitate cities in conveying ideas and best-practice principles. Similarly, the first edition of SportAccord Yearbook, to be launched later in 2008, will focus on sport cities, providing a valuable reference tool on the sporting and event infrastructure of cities worldwide.
In keeping with the SportAccord organizers' aim of providing an information resource that extends beyond the event, SportAccord TV, provided video coverage for the first time, featuring the conference sessions and more than 20 exclusive interviews with top executives and sport industry leaders in Athens.
Foremost media from all over the world, such as AFP, The Times, Reuters, NBC, Eurosport, DPA, BBC, AP, China Central Television, Insight Media Hong Kong, JIJI PRESS Japan and Al Jazeera International, attended SportAccord to report on the IOC's announcement of the official candidate cities to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, and this sold-out highlight was also made accessible for all to experience the event online through streaming.
Owned by GAISF, ASOIF and AIOWF, SportAccord encompasses the annual Associations' Congress and General Assemblies, while offering the sports community a valuable opportunity to come together in an exclusive and authoritative networking environment to build relationships, exchange knowledge and develop ideas.
SportAccord comprises networking activities and a select series of high-level conference sessions centred on a comprehensive exhibition of cities, organising committees, international sports federations and businesses working within the international sports events sector. By attracting and connecting the right people, SportAccord facilitates the discussions and relationships that drive organising committees, cities, federations and businesses to develop sport and make sporting events success stories.