Liese Abili has worked on the supplier side and events side of the sports industry. To him, “it doesn’t matter what side you are on, each has its own contribution to the table.”
Abili’s hoping to make his own contribution to Florida’s sports industry as the new director of sports development at the Florida Sports Foundation, a newly created position.
“This role has me in a position where I have the privilege not only to work with most cities and destinations across Florida, but also national events rights holders,” he says. “There was a need to have someone dedicated to support, manage and enhance the relationship between the foundation and its regional industry partners—the traditional convention and visitors bureaus and DMOs (destination marketing organizations) and sports councils.”
The sports industry in Florida has a $57 billion economic impact annually and draws 60 million out of state visitors every year, he says.
Sports in His Blood
Abili, a native of Cameroon, has been around sports most of his life. He played volleyball and took part in various national championships, earning a gold medal. Then he went on to play volleyball for his local university where he also obtained an undergraduate law degree as well as a degree in political science.
While in college, he took part in four National All-Cameroon Higher Institution Games, where he won both a gold and a bronze medal. Abili was also a two-time captain for his team and was called up for the junior nationals’ team twice. He played club volleyball for the Bamenda Volleyball Club.
“I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot,” he says.
He was not only a beach volleyball pro, he also created his own beach volleyball events in Cameroon. He’s lived and worked in cities like Johannesburg, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as countries like the Philippines and Russia.
“Every destination is unique in its own way,” Abili says, when asked his favorite city. “I could say I have a friend in almost every country in the world.”