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The future of sport is here – and it’s all about digital innovation and creating new, extraordinary experiences for the fans. This riveting discussion is about how the next generation of fans will consume sport across several platforms, and how media companies, codes and brands will need to integrate online games, fantasy, social media, and other digital engagement channels into the overall offer.

It’s not only about what a media company can provide in terms of sports watching, but about how to deeply engage during the game (and at stadia) to complement and amplify the live sporting event.

Topics to be covered include:
• Technology on-field to drive interaction off field
• Driving deeper fan engagement with data-driven personalised experiences
• Fantasy footy, including gamification and tipping
• Blockchain and NFTs, including digital ticketing via blockchain tech, sponsored games, augmented reality and more
• Connected stadia, including 5G immersive experiences, wayfinding and interactivity


Mel McLaughlin

Sports Presenter, Seven

Mel McLaughlin is 7NEWS Sydney’s sports anchor. She presents sport five nights a week alongside newsreader Mark Ferguson.
Mel is an integral part of the Seven’s Cricket broadcast team alongside Ricky Ponting, and was also part of Seven’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games broadcast team.
Mel has covered many other major sporting events on the world stage including the Olympic Winter Games, FIFA World Cup, FIFA Women’s World Cup, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Big Bash Cricket.

A self-confessed “tomboy”, Mel has sport running through her blood — from football to cricket, rugby league, netball and everything in between.
Raised in Sydney’s west, Mel lived and breathed sport from a very young age having grown up in a football-mad family.
After finishing high school, Mel completed a Bachelor of Science before taking on her first job in media at Sydney’s Radio 2 as a sport producer. She then produced and reported on football program Football Stars of Tomorrow for SBS before joining Sky News as a producer, reporter and host for the network’s football coverage across A-League, Socceroos and the English Premier League.

In March 2016, Mel joined the 7NEWS team, based in Sydney.

Rob Pickering

General Manager – Technology, AFL

Rob Pickering serves as the AFLs General Manager of Technology and Chief Technology Officer leading a transformation over the last three years that has reshaped the technological landscape across the AFL and Marvel Stadium.

With a strong commitment to innovation, he has significantly enhanced the fan experience by introducing cutting-edge technologies such as augmented reality, autonomous retail, and interactive engagement platforms.

Dr Michael Haywood – PhD, GAICD

CoFounder BlockTrust and BrandPay

Michael Haywood has more than 20 years of experience in start-up and global tech, founding both private equity traded and publicly listed companies, working across Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific.

Current CoFounder of Hardware cloud infrastructure for web3 applications ranging from gaming to global e-commerce.

Current CoFounder of Enabling brands the world over to pay consumers directly and instantly, for posting, mentioning, talking about, or tagging their brand on any and all social media platforms, with fiat currency that can be spent directly back with those brands. Advertising & Social reimagined.

Rob Maclean

National Sport Sales Director, Seven

Rob Maclean is the National Sports Sales Director at Seven, responsible for the commercial strategy, implementation and results for all sport assets on all Seven platforms.

Rob leads a high-quality team that develop and execute market-leading sponsorship opportunities and brand integrations around Seven’s powerful sports content including AFL, Cricket, Horse Racing, Supercars, and NFL.

In a career at Seven spanning 16 years, he has worked across a total of seven Summer and Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games, leading the commercialisation of the highly successful Tokyo Olympic Games and more recently FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

Rob has extensive experience in valuation of sports rights, and has worked as Head of Commercial for Seven, contributing to major rights acquisitions and renewals.