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2018 Speakers Announced

Exciting plans are coming together for the ninth annual TheStadiumBusiness Summit, with hundreds of huge names already signed up, HQ hotel sold out, and TheStadiumBusiness Awards nominations opening later this month.

We are thrilled to release the first eight speakers who will take to the stage at Emirates Old Trafford on 12-13 June 2018. Our final speaker line-up will be a 40-strong stellar cast of the industry’s movers, shakers and all-round disruptors to guide our audience as we debate, discuss and decide the future of stadia.

TheStadiumBusiness is proud to present the first names on the 2018 speaker line up

1. Lizzie Liebenhals, Co-Founder, Halls and Halls, UK

Lizzie is the co-founder of Halls and Halls together with Paul Hall, an ex International footballer and current Under 23 Manager at QPR. It is a boutique agency that delivers projects within both the sports and celebrity arena. Specialisms include, Events, PR campaigns, celebrity endorsements and digital content. Her experience started back in 1994, working on both the Lillehammer Olympics and Commonwealth Games. She then moved to the Football Association in 1996 in their commercial department. Her relationship with The FA and Wembley Stadium is long standing, and she is proud to be regularly requested back to co ordinate projects from Champions League Finals to most recently, their entire digital portfolio and platforms. She created and oversaw their programme for 6 years working with all their event owners to ensure the Stadium had outstanding and engaging content.


2. David Young, VP Operations & General Manager, Seattle Seahawks / Century Link Field, USA

David oversees and directs all aspects of the business and operation of CenturyLink Field, CenturyLink Field Event Center and the Washington Music Theater. Together these venues host 185 events and over 2.4 million guests annually. In 2017 Young led the creation and launch of First and Goal Hospitality. By taking food and beverage in-house, the Seahawks are better able to provide an outstanding guest experience at CenturyLink Field and Event Center. Previous to the Seahawks, Young was the Vice President of Stadium Operations with the Kansas City Chiefs. Young began his career at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida as an Operations Manager at the Magic Kingdom Park.

3. Jon Dutton, Chief Executive, Rugby League World Cup 2021, UK

Jon will commence his role on February 1st, 2018 leaving his current post as RFL Director of Projects & People. With over 20 years’ experience, Jon has previously worked for the PGA European Golf, Manchester FA, with a secondment to UEFA and ran his own sports consultancy company. Jon was the Operations Director for Rugby League World Cup 2013 and Director of Readiness for the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014. Later this year Jon will act as the RLIF Tournament Commissioner for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

4. Susanne Speak, General Manager, Bolton Whites Hotel, Macron Stadium, UK

Suzanne is a 20 year hospitality veteran! She began her career in New York as a graduate for Hilton International. After quickly working up the ranks Suzanne moved to the Marriot. Currently the General Manager at Bolton Whites, Suzanne lead the transition from a national brand to an independent hotel. Bolton Whites has now operated as an independent hotel since 2013 and is quite unique in the fact that it is fully integrated into the Macron Stadium, home to Bolton Wanderers FC, the original football hotel! Suzanne’s role here is varied and not the typical GM job description, she assumes responsibility for International football, which is a global programme. The role is very involved in the sales, organisation and execution of out of season pitch events; after 7 years since the last concert it was very pleasing to have successfully landed two major gigs for 2018.

5. Richard Ford, 
Head of Information Technology, 
Sheffield Wednesday FC, UK

Richard Ford joined Sheffield Wednesday F.C in 2009. Initially assuming the role of Project Co-Ordinator tasked with overseeing a retail/ticket migration and the installation of access control to the stadium turnstiles. Richard now manages all of the I.T and technical projects at Sheffield Wednesday. In his previous life Richard has enjoyed employment as an I.T contractor in Australia and worked for an out-sourced I.T company (covering a wide variety of industries including education and manufacturing) managed a video rental shop, worked in retail sales and delivered the local pub quiz in his village. Richard’s latest and on-going project (in conjunction with the SWFC Commercial/Hospitality and Marketing team) is to transform Sheffield Wednesday into a cashless stadium environment.

6. Nick Sautner, CEO, Eden Park Trust, New Zealand

Nick joined the Eden Park team in June 2016 with an impressive resume of fifteen years’ experience in the stadium, event and entertainment sectors. Nick has worked at the AFL, Etihad Stadium and the West Australian Football Commission in various executive roles including Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Nick’s experience includes on the ground event management, naming rights commercial negotiations and the successful delivery and implementation of over 5,000 events including 3 British and Irish Lions tours and 7 Rugby World Cup matches. Outside of work, he played 260 VFL matches, won 5 VFL premierships and holds Bachelor degrees in Business and in the Arts, as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Melbourne.

7. Christian Seifert, Head of Events, VfL Wolfsburg-Fußball, Germany

Christian spent six years in the position of Deputy Marketing Manager at German Bundesliga Club 1. FSV Mainz 05. Since May 2008, he moved on to become Head of Events at VfL Wolfsburg, responsible for all business events, club events (including season opening celebrations and champions celebration), as well as all matchday entertainment and events for the club.

8. Alan Rownan, Senior Consultant, Sports and Entertainment, Euromonitor International, UK

Alan Rownan, Senior Consultant at Euromonitor International, is tasked with spearheading Euromonitor’s Sports database which is set to launch in 2018. Alongside this, Alan provides data-driven, compelling insight and analysis on professional top-flight team sports across domestic leagues globally, covering everything from match-day metrics and social media performance to cross-industry commercial partnership opportunities.

Alan holds a Master’s degree in Ethics from Dublin City University, where he focused his thesis on contending moral philosophies of fairness in professional cycling. In his spare time, Alan has contributed regularly to a national newspaper, analysing mixed martial arts events specifically.

Super Earlybird Passes to join the Summit are available until Friday 8 December with £200 off and a free hotel night. Get yours here.

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