Produced the inaugural eSportsWorld conference in Atlanta attended by over 2,000 industry executives. This was the first conference ever to directly focus on the intersection of sports & technology. Developed the business vision, procured 80+ speakers across three tracks and moderated the entire event as well as a full day VIP summit attended by senior executives from MLB Advanced Media, NFL and NFL Players Inc, NBA, NHL Interactive CyberEnterprises, CBS Sportsline, FoxSports, CNN/SI Interactive, Stats Inc and other sports industry leaders.


World of e-pportunities at first e-sports conference

Atlanta Business Chronicle, Dec 11, 2000

It’s appropriate that the world’s first Internet sports conference featured the world’s first interactive awards trophy.

Shaped like the crescent moon, the all-silver award sits on a square foundation that houses a memory chip and a device that plugs into a computer. It lets the winner view his awards and re-live the ceremony perpetually.

The award was part of eSportsWorld, the first convention for Internet sports companies, held Nov. 28 to 30 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza and Americas Mart. Award winners ranged from Michael Jordan to Charles Schwab & Co. and the event featured an appearance by CNN’s Larry King via satellite. Thousands of people attended an executive sports conference and exhibition to see online technology and get a glimpse of the digital future.

ESportsWorld gave CEOs, presidents and other executives an opportunity to interact in a central location and discuss the Internet’s profound impact on all aspects of sports. ESportsWorld was launched by eMarketWorld in conjunction with the Atlanta Sports Council and was attended by approximately 2,000 executives.

The conference featured various online marketing topics including Internet broadcasting; reaching targeted sports audiences throughout the world; Web sports merchandising; the role of content in generating traffic to Web sites and games; the role of the broadcasting networks on the Internet; maintaining and increasing customer loyalty; and enhancing the in-home and in-stadium experience through the Internet.

Gary P. Stokan helped create the star-studded, state-of-the-art interactive awards program to recognize excellence in Internet sports. Stokan is president of the Atlanta Sports Council. The 550-member council is part of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and works to attract sporting events to the city. The council estimates it has attracted events with an economic impact of more than $1 billion from 1999 to 2003.

“Everything went better than expected, especially since we did this for the first time,” Stokan said. “The remarkable thing about this is that we just planned this event four months ago, and everything went well; there were no glitches.”

The eSportWorld’s Horizon Award is a technological marvel.

“A red light on the trophy comes on, directing the computer to a Web site,” Stokan said. “The computer will play back the [recipient] coming on stage. The Web site will show that particular person winning the award.”

The winner can view his moment of triumph an infinite number of times.

“It’s really just never been done before, as far as we know,” said Sam Hosokawa, the project manager of Horizon Awards trophy and business development manager for Voltage Factory. “We wanted to give the winners a personal experience. We wanted to blow people away.”

It took about six weeks to make the awards, from concept through production, Hosokawa said.

“It has a data storage device [on the bottom side],” he said. “The winner will receive video footage along with presentation. It will launch a specialized screen presentation that only [the winner] can see. Each winner will get a unique presentation.”

The Horizon Awards were hosted by WCW wrestling star Bill Goldberg and CNN/SI broadcast reporter Fred Hickman.

The awards showcased the accomplishments of leaders, celebrities and athletes in sports business and the e-sports industry around the world. Nominees were judged by a blue ribbon voting panel of senior executives from the sports, technology and media industries. Presenters included CNN’s Larry King (from his Los Angeles set); ABC-TV sports broadcaster Terry Bowden; Phil Neikro, former Atlanta Braves pitcher; CNN anchors Leon Harris and Kyra Phillips; Jamal Anderson and Tim Dwight, with the Atlanta Falcons; and Tom Ramsey with Fox Sports Net.

Future eSportsWorld conventions will be even more impressive, said Don Hulburt, director of business development for Norcross-based Inc..

“I think this was unbelievable for the first time,” said Hulburt, who attended with thousands of other cyberspace CEOs who do part or all of their business with sports. “It went through with no glitches. But we’re going to take this to the next level. This will be the hottest ticket in town. In the next few years, we want to put this on television. You know how big the ESPY awards [ESPN’s annual awards show] is? That’s where we want to go.” is an Internet company that combines vertical industry-specific conferences with transactional exchange floors to form an eBusiness Marketplace. The company works to educate senior executives on the opportunities offered by the Internet and enable them to accelerate their impact on the New Economy. They plan to coordinate more than 50 conferences by the end of 2000.

Officials with eMarketWorld said Atlanta was the perfect site for the event.

“We were pleased to partner with the Atlanta Sports Council,” said Jonathan Yarmis, president and COO of “Atlanta has become a premier location for major sports events and high-tech companies. What better place is there for eSportsWorld than Atlanta, the sports capital of the world?”