SBJ/July 24-30, 2017/Opinion

Days of Summer and what’s next at SBJ/SBD

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Afew thoughts to share as we all try to catch a breath over the summer:

THE MOVING STORY AND GRACEFUL STYLE OF BILL HANCOCK: We get a number of visitors to our headquarters from organizations and executives that want to talk about their efforts in sports business. We welcome them and learn a great deal when there is energetic give and take. But one visit this month stood out for its humanity and optimism. College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock, in Charlotte for the ACC Media Days, graciously spent two hours with our editorial team over lunch on a Friday afternoon. He captivated our group with his moving message of death, grieving and renewal, as he shared his emotional story of losing his son Will in a 2001 plane crash carrying Oklahoma State basketball officials. He recounted his cross country bicycle ride later that year that resulted in his book, “Riding With The Blue Moth,” and the gradual steps he and his wife Nicki have taken to heal. Hancock has long been a favorite for his humility and inordinate kindness, and his style and substance resonated with everyone. When he finished, one staffer after another waited to thank him and many expressed to me how much Hancock’s personal journey affected them.

WHAT WE HAVE COMING UP: It will be a very busy fall season as we are introducing two new conferences in November — one focused on the growing esports marketplace and the other on the financial sector, M&A activity and the sports economy. Our Esports Rising conference will take place Nov. 9 in Marina Del Rey, Calif., while our Dealmakers in Sports conference will be held Nov. 29 in New York City. Dealmakers will be presented in conjunction with Proskauer, J.P. Morgan and Inner Circle Sports. Both are one-day events. If you have any thoughts, questions or comments on these events, or the five others we have scheduled for the second half of 2017, please let us know.

THE MAILBAG: I strongly believe in the value of handwritten notes, a lesson taught to me by my parents and then reinforced when I worked for Sen. Patrick Leahy, a dedicated note writer. Yes, an email is fine, but it’s far more personal and impactful when someone takes the time to write. So, it’s been gratifying to receive some very well-written notes from young people recently: From the young man who thanked me for sending him good wishes upon his high school graduation, to students taking the time to write and thank me for speaking to their class, to a very thoughtful note from a young NBA team executive whom I have never met thanking SBJ/SBD for sharing industry trends and perspective. Each of those handwritten notes made my day, and I’m happy to see this personal touch hasn’t gone out of style.

SUMMER TRAVEL: Finally, I am excited to join PeacePlayers International on a weeklong trip to Israel next month. I met Brendan Tuohey, who is executive director of PeacePlayers, during my trip to the Vatican last fall, and we spent time talking about his nonprofit program devoted to transcending conflict through sports. It will be a week of attending PeacePlayers basketball programs geared toward Jewish, Christian and Muslim youths, as well as taking in religious and historical sites. It is my first visit to the Middle East and promises to be a special trip. Let me know if you have any suggestions or travel tips.

Abraham D. Madkour can be reached at amadkour@sportsbusinessjournal.com

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