PtG Article 20.02.2020

Massive backing from participants to the first Play the Game conference outside Europe

Two out of three participants at Play the Game 2019 rated the conference experience in Colorado Springs as ‘very good’, the top mark in the anonymous survey. The internal evaluation is now available at

The first Play the Game conference held outside of Europe was a success in the eyes of the participants and organisers alike.

In an anonymous survey distributed by e-mail in the week after the conference, 96% of the respondents declared that their overall impression of Play the Game 2019 was either ‘very good’ (66%) or ‘good’ (30%) – almost equalling the score from 2017 of 67% and 31%, respectively.

Play the Game’s international director, Jens Sejer Andersen, is delighted with the positive feedback, especially considering the big step of taking the conference overseas.

“Placing the conference outside of Europe for the first time was a bit of a gamble, so we are grateful that 320 participants made their way to Colorado Springs and left with a feeling of being inspired,” he says.

“As organisers, we were impressed to see how our speakers delivered their messages with equally strong expertise and commitment. They raised the bar for what you can expect as a participant, and they shed new light on issues such as athletes’ rights, sexual abuse, international anti-doping, and many others.”

Adding value to the daily work and enhancing networks

87% of the respondents said that attending the Play the Game conference has given value to their daily work either ‘to a high extent’ (43%) or ‘to some extent’ (44%). In 2017, the percentages were 36% and 52%, respectively.

A high percentage of participants believes that the Play the Game 2019 conference succeed in facilitating networking between journalists, academics, and leaders in world sport. 76% believe it did so to a ‘very high degree’ or ‘high degree’, a small decrease from 2017 (81%).

79% of the respondents believe the Play the Game conferences are developing in a positive direction, whereas 7% of the respondents believe they are developing in a negative direction.

Programme scheduling: A mirror of the past – but with some improvement

During the conference, there were a total of 12 plenary/main sessions and 28parallel/partner sessions. In total, 174 presentations were delivered by 157 speakers.

57% of the respondents indicated that in general the number of presentations was suitable, 7% believed there were far too many, and 34% ‘too many’.

The length and general standard of presentations in main/plenary sessions also received satisfactory ratings as 77% of respondents felt the length of presentations was ‘suitable’ (86% in 2017) and 92% felt the general standard of main/plenary sessions was either ‘very good’ or ‘good’ (85% in 2017).

82% also felt that the length of presentations in parallel sessions was ‘suitable’, with 10% finding them ‘generally too short’.

“The efforts invested in the programme are only justified if the participants appreciate it. Therefore, we listen to all kinds of feedback regarding the setup of the conference. Overall, we believe our setup for the conference is good, which the feedback from participants also demonstrates. But of course, we are always looking into developing the conference, its content and formats for the better,” says Stanis Elsborg, analyst at Play the Game and appointed head of the 2021 Play the Game conference.

More information

Selected statements from the survey

  • “Thanks again for such a lovely conference, I truly enjoyed it and my team and I learnt a lot and got to meet fantastic people.”

  • “Fascinating and timely presentations, and amazing people to meet.”

  • “I would like to say thank you for everything, all your help and comprehension. The conference was impressive and wonderful. Was an amazing experience for a young woman like me, I learnt a lot.”

  • “In my view, the 2019 visit to America was a huge success. Without exception, everyone I spoke to felt this way.”

  • “Play the Game is the best conference out there and I so enjoy it. I already cannot wait until the next one.”

  • “I learned so much ‐ trying to find time to follow it all up. The contacts I made were also very useful.”

  • “I think PTG could – if it is not already – be an incubator for journalists worldwide to pool news, share, and leverage information.”

  • “I teach at universities and have discussed content learned at Play the Game conferences (or even hosted guest speakers I met at the conference) in class.”

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