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Sport sector exploring customers' changing needs

14 April 2015

Understanding and responding to the customer’s changing needs to future proof New Zealand sport is the theme being discussed at the annual sport sector Connections Conference being held in Auckland.

Sport NZ Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin says that while sport is still an essential part of the Kiwi fabric, it is being stretched and shaped by rapidly changing social, technological and demographic trends, and rising demand for more diversity in what the sport and recreation sector can offer.

"The challenge for the sport sector, in particular, is that we have traditionally seen sport as something that people do, rather than consume. It is a significant shift to view people as consumers who have choices, rather than just participants. But this is exactly what we need to do.

"Having a better understanding of the various choices in people’s daily lives that sport competes with will help the sport sector ensure that what we offer is seen as valuable."

The Connections Conference is also coinciding with the launch of The Future of Sport report, which was commissioned by Sport NZ to help sports leaders at all levels and across all codes think about the future of sport. It also informed the development of the recently released Sport NZ Group Strategic Plan and Community Sport Strategy 2015-20, which is centred around the need for a participant-focused approach to delivering sport.

The report identifies six key themes that are influencing sport in New Zealand – the offering of sport; individualisation; connection; lifestyle and health; the built environment; and the structure of sport.

"For sport to continue as a vital part of New Zealand’s culture, society and economy, these themes indicate that sport will need to nurture and grow its relevance in people’s lives and in their identity within sport – whether it be at the grass roots community or high performance levels."

This year’s Conference speakers will share their insights into how their organisations have understood and responded to changing customer expectations and motivations.

"These are challenges for everyone in the sports sector, and we need to individually and collectively make sure we’re staying relevant to what customers want and thereby future proof the sport sector as a whole," Peter Miskimmin says.

The Future of Sport report can be found at:


Notes to reporter:

The annual Connections Conference brings together all the key players in the sport sector in New Zealand.

Delegates attending include the CEOs and Chairpersons of Sport New Zealand, National Sport Organisations, National Recreation Organisations, Regional Sports Trusts and High Performance Sport NZ, the New Zealand Olympic Committee, Gaming Trusts and Community Trusts. Senior management of Territorial Authorities and Government departments will also attend.

The principal speakers are:

  • Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman – Minister for Sport and Recreation
  • Peter Biggs – former CEO of advertising company Clemenger BBDO
  • Spencer Willis – National Qualitative Research Director, Colmar Brunton
  • Phillip Mills – CEO of Les Mills International gyms
  • Malcolm Phillipps – Chief Marketing Officer of telecommunications company 2degrees
  • Anthony Everard – Head of Big Bash League, Australia Cricket
  • Raelene Castle – former CEO of Netball NZ and now CEO of Australian NRL club the Canterbury Bulldogs
  • Vaughn Davis – owner of Auckland advertising and social media company The Goat Farm Ltd
  • Martin Snedden – former New Zealand international cricket player and CEO of events promoter Duco Events
  • Tyler Hamilton – former Olympic and Tour de France cyclist who used banned performance enhancing drugs but turned whistleblower.

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