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SESS II: Sport Matters

Panelists: Ivars Beitans – Aerodium, Paul Mayer – TunnelInstructor, Simon Ward – iFLY, Patrice Girardin – FFP; Moderator: Jay Stuart

Jochen Schweizer – Jochen Schweizer GmbH *** Recording

It started off with a true "Master Class" and with one of the world's foremost experts in the field of experience marketing pronouncing himself on the strategies to pitch indoor skydiving to the first-timers – and to bring them back for seconds.

His name is the brand: Jochen Schweizer stands for intense, adrenaline-charged but also safe and accessible experiences. More than 1 million of these experiences are sold every single year. Aside from proper branding, Jochen knows perfectly well what needs to be done to increase his indoor skydiving business at the Jochen-Schweizer-Arena in Munich. As does iFLY CEO Simon Ward in the pre-summit interview with Jay Stuart, he, too, considers the sporting aspect to be of utmost importance from the first-time experience.

Gamification, i.e. the application of elements that are typical of game playing, is achievable in indoor skydiving from the earliest stages. But it requires a well developed concept to provide the participants "moments of celebration" at fairly regular intervals. That, in turn, should keep them coming back and helps to develop them, very gradually and over time, into "recreational flyers."

Aerodium's Ivars Beitans uses his experiences in the entertainment business to point to some of the shortfalls in presenting indoor skydiving as a sport. Not as much participatory but definitely as a spectator sport. Working for industry giants such as Disney, he was challenged to put on as many as 15 shows per day. He learned a number of lessons that way.

Paul Mayer, one of the early pioneers in competitive indoor skydiving, reminds his colleagues of the importance of creating formats that maximize factors such as commonality and community. Even commonalities between the elements of gamification can help the process along.

The session "Sport Matters" shows the a priori consensus that seems to exists between the different stakeholders represented by the five panelists. What's next?

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