Former Manchester City COO and Founder of EQ Sports & Gaming, Chris Bird, will deliver an exclusive keynote, sharing his wealth of career experiences at the 2024 edition of SBC Summit Tbilisi

The keynote titled ‘Influencers, Content and Esports… You Bet! Unleashing the Power of Dynamic Strategies in the Esports Ecosystem’ will kick off the ‘Market Focus’ conference segment of the premier iGaming and sports betting conference for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The event will take place at the Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace on the 25th – 26th of June. 

Bird will share insights into effective strategies for leveraging influencers to drive the growth of esports and produce engaging content, drawing from his personal experience securing major commercial deals for Manchester City Football Club and establishing companies such as EQ Esports & Gaming, Bee That Gamer and Media enterprise The Not Really Here Group.

Discussing his upcoming appearance, Bird said: “I’m eagerly anticipating the SBC Summit in Tbilisi because it offers an invaluable platform for me to share my diverse experiences in sport, esports, gaming, and creating social change. This event is a unique convergence of industry leaders and innovators, where I can contribute insights from my journey and learn from others.”

Bird spent the 80s working in media across newspapers and commercial radio before he founded the Bird Consultancy in 1990, which is now one of the longest-established independent consultancies outside of London. During this time, Bird had his first significant interaction with the sports and gambling industries, managing the PR for Fred and Peter Done’s bookmaking empire, Betfred, Sports retail giant JD Sports and Manchester City Football Club.

Bird joined Manchester City as a media consultant in 1998 and later became Chief Operating Officer in 1999.  He steered the club through turbulent times, including its lowest point in history during the third division of English football. He also played a crucial role in revitalising the club, overseeing the construction of a new training ground, facilitating the move to a new stadium, enhancing retail operations, and expanding the fan base both locally and globally. With the club’s successful return to the Premier League, Bird departed in 2003.

After departing from Manchester City, Bird assumed various executive roles within the sports and media industries including 12 years as a director of JD Sports. In 2021, he ventured into the burgeoning esports sector by founding EQ Esports & Gaming.

“Particularly, the fusion of esports and gaming in a dynamic market like Tbilisi presents a fresh perspective. The summit not only aligns with my professional goals but also with my personal commitment to using these platforms for positive impact,” Bird commented on his keynote topic choice.

Rasmus Sojmark, CEO & Founder of SBC said: “Chris is an incredibly influential figure in the sports and media world so it is an absolute pleasure to have him with us at SBC Summit Tbilisi. Even though I’m a Chelsea fan, we can all agree that his tenure at Manchester City has had a great impact on the club. I look forward to this keynote.”

“I look forward to engaging with like-minded professionals, exploring new ideas, and discussing how we can collectively harness the power of esports and gaming to shape a more inclusive approach to the sector,” Bird added.


iGaming expert - with over 10 years of experience in the retail market in Italy and knowledge of global online gaming. In the past he has worked with the largest national gambling companies and he managed some land-based shops on their behalf. Entrepreneur, investor and enthusiast of difficult challenges, in 2015 he founded The Betting Coach Group, an international news and social marketing agency geared towards sports, esports and gambling companies. He is currently the C.E.O of The Betting Coach and is a consultant for Mr. Dragone collaborates with providers (game developers) and event organizers with the aim of helping them develop networks and business across continents. Passionate about journalism, he is the creator and promoter of iGaming Cafè, the first talk show in Italy, dedicated to companies and delegates from the gaming world.