2014 SXsports Session Spotlight: Sports Don't Look the Same Anymore

Written by Andrew McNeill | January 31, 2014

At SXSW 2014, John T Meyer examines the intersection of infographics and sports

We have been covering what can registrants expect when they land in Austin for the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival this March for some time. But what about sessions in the new SXsports programming track, which is open to SXSW Interactive, Film, Gold and Platinum registrants? Today’s installment of the Session Spotlight features Lemonly Founder John T. Meyer and his solo presentation titled “Sports Don't Look the Same Anymore”. Follow him on Twitter at @johntmeyer.

SXSW: What kinds of topics will you be covering in this session?
Meyer: From grandpa's box score in the Sunday morning newspaper, to today's visualizations of real-time statistics, sports just don't look the same anymore. In this core conversation, I will take a look at how we examine sports in 2014 differently than ever before. We will examine how infographics, data visualizations, and interactive pieces have changed the landscape of sport.

SXSW: Have you spoken on this topic before? If so, where and when and what kind of reaction did the session receive?
Meyer: Actually no. I've spoke often on the power of visuals and how infographics are such a great storytelling tool, but never specifically focused on how sports look today.

SXSW: What kinds of people will want to attend the "Sports Don't Look the Same Anymore" session?
Meyer: I think those who are in charge of marketing/communications/PR/data analysis for sports teams and organizations will really benefit from this session, but I also want just general sports fans to enjoy it as well. The session will be a travel through time on how sports have looked in the past, present, and will look in the future.

SXSW: What excites you most about this session?
Meyer: SXsports excites me the most. Sure, SXSW is no new conference, but the fact that this is the first SXsports is super exciting. I've loved sports as long as I can remember and to be a part of this awesome lineup is super humbling. Specifically for my session, there will be some sweet visuals displayed.

SXSW: In your opinion, why is speaking at SXSW a big deal?
Meyer: Say what you may about SXSW, but it's still where tastemakers and early adopters go. The energy is contagious. I first attended SXSW in 2009 and have been four of the last five years as an attendee, so I'm thrilled to be at the front of the stage this year. I enjoy speaking and just like any athlete wants to compete on the biggest stage, I want to speak on the biggest stage and see if I have what it takes.

SXSW: What do you hope to gain from speaking at the SXSW?
Meyer: The speakers and content is always great at SXSW, but the true value is in the connections and the networking - whether that is after a session or over tacos and beer. I make great connections every year I come to Austin, but I hope as a speaker that will open up a few more doors.

SXSW: Not necessarily related to your speaking topic at SXSW, what is your favorite book from the last year and why?
Meyer: My favorite book that I read in 2013 is actually quite old. It's called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carneige and it was originally published in 1936. The book is fantastic at examining relationships and how to master people. The amazing thing is the book was written before Facebook, Twitter, Email or even the Internet all together and yet the concepts still hold true today.

SXSW: Does the future of technology excite you or frighten you? Why?
Meyer: Absolutely excited. First of all I think the future of technology is unavoidable. I do think some of the frightening things will have to correct themselves by using technology and human interaction to teach best practices, social norms, and an emphasis on security and privacy. But in general, I think technology offers so much hope and promise to solving our world's problems while also bringing us closer to our loved ones around this now connected world.

SXSW: Who do you follow on Twitter and why?
Meyer: @jasonfried, @garyvee, @bpmilne, @grantland @matthewberryTMR, @twins, @lemonly, and @paiger33. This is a good cross representation of my professional inspirations and personal passions in life.

Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Session Spotlight. Register now to attend “Sports Don't Look the Same Anymore” and other programming at SXSW 2014. Also, please remember that all SXsports programming is open to SXSW Interactive, Film, Gold and Platinum badgeholders.