• Live from Dana Point: Forty Under 40

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    GET THE PARTY STARTED: About 400 people packed into the Pacific Ballroom at the Monarch Beach Resort at Dana Point, CA, last night to celebrate the 2017 class of Forty Under 40. The event was hosted by ESPN personalities Julie Foudy and Molly McGrath. For only the second time in the event’s 18-year history, all 40 of the honorees attended. As has become tradition, Publisher Richard Weiss welcomed the crowd and asked all of the previous winners to stand. There were 35 past winners in attendance, and five Hall of Famers (3-time winners).

    Then Executive Editor Abe Madkour gave his monologue to toast (and roast) members of this year’s class. Some of his biggest laugh lines:

    — The Big Ten has six honorees, including four (the most) from the Univ. of Michigan. Just one tonight from Ohio State: Martin Jarmond. Wow! Wait a minute. The Michigan Wolverines have beaten the Ohio State Buckeyes. That doesn’t happen very often.

    — It’s possible Tim Zue of the Boston Red Sox is the smartest guy here: high school valedictorian (his class size was about 10, but still …), mechanical engineering grad from MIT, worked at Bain Capital. You’d think this is one interesting guy and I guess he is. He lists among his hobbies “gift wrapping.” … Pretty exciting.

    — Comfort, Texas, population 2,300 -- that’s where Jimmy Bruns of GMR Marketing is from. Little different upbringing. His high school had two mascots – boys were the Bobcats, girls were the Deer -- true story. … Jimmy’s high school is so small, they used the same car for Driver’s Ed and Sex Ed.

    There were a lot of other fun lines. Production credits for this year’s monologue go to Madkour, Moss and Bounds.

    ON THE GUEST LIST: Here are some of the people we spotted last night: Seth Abraham; David Abrutyn, Bruin Sports Capital; Denis Braham, Winstead; Jerry Cifarelli, ANC; Daniel Cohen; Chad Estis, Dallas Cowboys; Bill Duffy, Aspire Group; Darren Eales, Atlanta United; Greg Economou, Ticketmaster; Ricardo Fort, Coca-Cola; George Foster, Stanford; Tom Garfinkel, Miami Dolphins; Kit Geis, Genesco Sports Enterprises; Peter Guber, Golden State Warriors; Marc Jenkins, Learfield; Chris Klein, LA Galaxy; Mark Lev, Fenway Sports Management; Burke Magnus, ESPN; Bernie Mullin, Aspire Group; Scott O’Neil, Prudential Center, Devils and 76ers; Len Perna, Turnkey Sports & Entertainment; Michael Rubin, Fanatics; Jared Smith, Ticketmaster; Gary Stevenson, MLS; Mike Tomon, Legends; and Kevin Warren, Minnesota Vikings.

    SOUNDTRACK TO THEIR PERSONAL MOVIE: Forty Under 40 winners get to select the music that plays when they take the stage to accept their award, and every year we highlight a couple of our favorites.

    Seth Bacon, MLS — Viva Las Vegas, by the King (that’s Elvis, for you younger folk). How can you not like that?

    Connor Schell, ESPN — He didn’t really get his song played because he got a special introduction for being this year’s lone inductee to the Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame. But his selection? “My Shot,” from the soundtrack to Hamilton.

    For those scoring at home, the most popular artists for last year’s class were AC/DC and JayZ, with three each. This year, it was Springsteen and Kanye, also with three each. 

    FAMILY AFFAIR: We say this every year, but it bears repeating: While we don’t have room to name all of the attendees, we’re proud of how much of a family event this has become, and of all the friends and supporters who join in and show up to support their loved ones. For almost an hour after the show, friends and family were posing with winners for photos on the stage. That kind of enthusiasm is great to see.

    ON THE MENU: For those who keep up with such things, the banquet menu included grilled Kobe flank steak and a dessert dark chocolate Charlotte, berry compote, white chocolate Chantilly and chocolate almond crunch.

    HERE AND THERE: United Entertainment Group President Sports/Experiential Mary Scott spent the Thursday afternoon break getting a blowout at the Drybar Dana Point. GMR Marketing’s Zaileen Janmohamed stopped by there later in the day. … GMR Head of Global Sports and Entertainment Consulting Adam Lippard was just glad to be on the ground, having arrived straight from Tokyo this afternoon, where he was advance scouting the 2020 Olympics. … University of California senior associate athletic director and chief revenue officer and Forty/40 awardee Ashwin Puri was enjoying the waves and sun at the Monarch Bay Beach Club Thursday afternoon, where Jeff Marks (not coincidentally a Cal alum) was hosting Puri and others at a reception for his new Innovative Partnerships Group. Also on hand were L.A. Clippers Director of Strategic Partnerships Erin Prober and MStyle Marketing Principal Rob Striar. … W Partners CEO Wally Hayward, upon leaving Dana Point yesterday following the conclusion of the ’17 CAA World Congress of Sports, was already looking ahead to the next big event on our event calendar: the ’17 Sports Business Awards on May 24 in New York. “Hopefully Tom Ricketts will be flying the ‘W’ that night on Executive of the Year,” Hayward said of the Cubs owner, while also referencing the team’s now seemingly ubiquitous symbol of victory. Ricketts is a nominee in that category, and the Cubs are also up for team of the year. … Much like Day 1 of World Congress, Day 2 showed some strong sock game among the panelists. In particular, NBA Kings President Chris Grangers striped socks were the team’s purple and gray. … We were a little sad to see Turnkey Sports & Entertainment CEO Len Perna retire the white tuxedo blazer he sported for several prior Forty Under 40 banquets, which brought some old-school flair to the annual event. … Ticketmaster North America President Jared Smith attended last night, in particular to support former colleague and ’17 honoree Cole Gahagan, now Fanatics CCO.

    WRAPPING UP WORLD CONGRESS: The final day of the ’17 CAA World Congress of Sports opened with a soccer panel of three industry veterans: MLS’ Don Garber, U.S. Soccer’s Sunil Gulati and FIFA/CONCACAF’s Victor Montagliani. The crowd in the full ballroom was as engaged as at any time during the event, peppering moderator Abe Madkour with questions for the panel. We followed that with a look at the LA 2024 Olympic bid, a deep dive into the fan experience and a revealing discussion about the making of the Oscar-winning documentary, “O.J.: Made in America.”

    Some highlights from the day:

    Garber, on how a World Cup in the U.S. would affect soccer: 
    “Major League Soccer came out of the popularity and legacy of the ’94 World Cup. Think of where we are 23 years later. We hope we’ll have a nine-year runway to take that and supersize it and work around that opportunity post-World Cup to build something bigger, better, stronger for all our stakeholders.”

    Montagliani, on the negotiations among the U.S., Canada and Mexico around the three-country bid for the 2026 World Cup: “For once everyone looked at it from a game or region perspective instead of playing your house card. We took a holistic view of the tourney and the region, and think collectively this is in the best interest of football for the region.”

    On Day 1, Steve Cannon of the Atlanta Falcons said that anyone selling an $8 hot dog to fans has lost their way. Our fan experience panel didn’t buy that, with Chris Granger, president of the Sacramento Kings, responding, “It depends on the hot dog. It depends on the quality. We have a different approach to food. It is not just about price sensitivity …”

    TRUMP CARD: Earlier this week, we predicted a lot of mentions of the Trump administration and its potential to influence sports. There wasn’t as much talk of politics as we expected, but it did come up during the first two panels of Day 2. Asked about dealing with the administration, Montagliani said, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a World Cup or the Olympic Games, you’ll always have to deal with an administration. With all due respect, it doesn’t matter if it’s this administration or another one. You have to deal with it. It’s part of our job.” LA Olympic bid chair Casey Wasserman followed up in the next session: “We started this process and there was one president. There may be another one when we finish this process. Those things come and go. We are one step removed from being a political entity. We think that’s a good thing. Sports and politics don't usually mix very well. Through a change in the president, we have stayed consistent with mostly the same people. We will continue that until we host the games.”

    DOUBLE DUTY: ESPN’s Connor Schell was on stage twice yesterday: First, he joined the network’s NBA Countdown host, Michelle Beadle, in the final session of the conference to talk about the making of the documentary “O.J.: Made in America.” Then last night he accepted his third Forty Under 40 award, joining an exclusive group of three-time winners in our Hall of Fame. And speaking of Forty Under 40 Hall of Famers, we had three others on the World Congress speaker faculty this year: Mark Tatum, NBA; David Preschlack, NBC Sports; and Casey Wasserman, Wasserman.

    LATE BOOKING: Forty under 40 winner Tobias Sherman spent some of the cocktail hour trying to book a last-second room at Mammoth Mountain for a ski weekend without the twins. But the prices we're going up by the minute.

    RUNNING ON EMPTY?: Strong effort by U.S. Soccer’s Gulati, who didn’t arrive to Monarch Beach until 3am Thursday morning due to runway issues at Kennedy Airport. He was still bright-eyed and lively for the first panel at 8:30am.

    ON TARGET: ESPN Exec VP/Programming & Scheduling Burke Magnus said during Day 1 of the CAA World Congress of Sports he had “high expectations” for a stronger “Monday Night Football” slate this year, and last night’s release of the ’17 NFL schedule proved him correct. This year’s “MNF” slate includes appearances by most of the NFL’s most popular teams, including Dallas, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, New England, the New York Giants, and Denver twice. ESPN is particularly enthused with the schedule including nine divisional matchups, more than twice the four on its ’16 schedule. Even with ESPN’s improved schedule, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” remains a powerhouse, with the Cowboys, Steelers, Packers, Patriots, and Giants each scheduled for three slots there.

    WHO YOU KNOW: Since sports is the biggest "who-you-know" business in America, the relationships between Forty Under 40 honorees are complex and varied. Some are even academic. Pepsi's Justin Toman and Visa's Kate Johnson were in the same class at the University of Michigan (2001). The Atlanta United's Ann Rodriguez was a 1999 Princeton classmate of 2016 Forty/40 honoree Dana Rosenberg … Speaking of academics, UPenn Prof. Ken Shropshire, the longtime director of the Wharton School's Sports Business initiative, was soaking up knowledge and SoCal sunshine at WCOS, just days prior to teaching his last class Monday after 31 years at the Ivy League institution. When the semester ends June 30, Shropshire will officially gain professor emeritus status, but he insists retirement from the business altogether is NOT in his immediate future.

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: A big thank you to everyone who kept the conversation going yesterday. We had almost 600 tweets by the end of the half day, and 5.8 million impressions. Special thanks to our most frequent tweeters: Larry Chiang - @LarryChiang; Jeff Yocom - @JeffYocom; Jim Kadlecek - @Jim_Kadlecek; Laura Froelich - @Laurafrofro; Joe Favorito - @joefav; and CUSportsBiz - @CUSportsBiz.

    Among the tweets we liked:
    @caseywasserman: Thanks to @BenFischerSBJ for a great conversation about @LA2024 with @ScottBlackmun at #SBJWCS!
    @ThisIsBrooke: Great 2 days at #sbjwcs. Fun theme: Execs cite their kids as teachers for digital platform trends, infuse learnings into business strategy.
    @JimRenne: Thanks @sbjsbd for this year's CAA WCS! Great discussion, seeing old friends and making new friends, exchanging ideas: Be TRANSFORMATIONAL!

    SIGNING OFF FROM DANA POINT: We hope our morning emails have given you a sense of the feeling and vibe from our week in California. As always, we welcome your thoughts, questions and comments! Have a great weekend. We know we will!

  • Live from Dana Point: World Congress Day 2

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    NOT THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT: The sky is not falling. Chicken Littles, go back to your corner. It’s just a different day and different ballgame. The best will adjust. The slow will not thrive. That was the takeaway from a high-energy Day 1 at the CAA World Congress of Sports at Dana Point, CA, where the sun was bright, the sky was blue and the views of the Pacific Ocean were brilliant.

    PLACE TO BE: About 800 people filled the Monarch Beach Resort’s Pacific Ballroom to open the Congress on Wednesday, and the room stayed full throughout the day for a lot of thought-provoking discussion. We’ll convene this morning for the final half day of the conference. Registration opens at 7:15am PT, with the opening panel at 8:30. The weather forecast today calls for sunny skies and a high of 71. It doesn’t get much more classic California than that.

    WHAT TO EXPECT TODAY: Our lineup includes an in-depth look at the state of soccer, with MLS’ Don Garber, US Soccer’s Sunil Gulati and CONCACAF’S Victor Montagliani; a discussion of the prospects of the L.A. 2024 Olympics effort with L.A. bid chair Casey Wasserman and the USOC’s Scott Blackmun; and discussions about the in-venue fan experience and the creation of the amazing documentary, “O.J.: Made in America.”

    YESTERDAY’S CRIB NOTES: From an opening session that included a lot of frank discussions to the end-of-the-day panel with the 2017 Class of Champions, the themes were diverse. We’re thinking of Adidas President Mark King saying that outside of the Power 5 conferences, “college sports is in trouble,” a fiery debate over player protests, the vision of David Levy for the networks of the future, and longtime Nike executive George Raveling saying that LaVar Ball is “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.” There was a lot to consider.

    SPEAKER HIGHLIGHTS: From the buzz on the Grand Lawn at the Monarch Beach Resort during a reception under a calming sunset, here’s what we heard. Among the most buzzed-about speakers: Adidas’ King: “He didn’t say much, but when he spoke, he crushed it.”  On 76ers/Devils Co-Owner David Blitzer: “He answered every question honestly and wasn’t afraid to say what he didn’t know.” On Raveling: “Every comment he made had me paying attention and he spoke with such authority.” On Barstool Sports’ Erika Nardini: “She captured the voice of Barstool and gave a vision of how to monetize it. I loved her.”

    THE ESPORTS OPPORTUNITY: In yesterday’s email, we predicted that we’d hear a lot of love for esports. That started with the first panel, when NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum  talked about the effort to create a new esports league. “Right now, we have more than half to two-thirds of our NBA teams who have signed up and said they will have teams in the NBA 2K Esports league,” Tatum said. “Long term, we can see a situation where a Team Shanghai is playing the Esports Celtics, or the E-Sixers are playing a team in Paris, and this becomes a truly global esports league.”

    Later in the day, Blitzer called esports the Wild West. “It’s buying a place within this new ecosystem where you don’t know exactly how it will turn out over time,” he said. Asked how he will measure success in three years, Blitzer replied: “Absolutely no idea.”

    Among the conference attendees watching with a particular esport interest was Hunter Swensson, co-founder of Dallas-based social mapping company Paranoid Fan. Swensson is a former pro Halo player with Major League Gaming. Like Fanatics founder and Team Dignitas owner Michael Rubin during yesterday’s opening panel, Swensson predicts an eventual consolidation of the burgeoning space around a few dominant entities.

    SOCIAL ACTIVISM: The opening panel also featured a fascinating back-and-forth about whether social activism is harmful or beneficial for athletes. Read more in today’s SportsBusiness Daily, but here are a couple of quotes that stuck out to us: Adidas’ King: “To me, I think it will hurt the athletes. We try to not be in social issues, though we are moving toward that because we have to. But we certainly won’t associate with athletes that are going to cause our brand something we don’t represent and we don’t stand for.” And CAA Sports co-head  Michael Levine: “I can’t disagree more … When you talk about the attention and respect given a few days ago to Jackie Robinson and the path he trailblazed, what Billie Jean King did for women, what Muhammad Ali did by taking an unpopular stand — here we are 50 years later acknowledging he’s one of the most impactful athletes of all time — I just think that our guys get it and our guys want to have that kind of impact.”

    NOTICED IN THE CROWD: CAA Sports’ Paul Danforth and New Era’s Chris Koch wearing matching socks during their one-on-one interview on Wednesday afternoon. … More than one question about the “dress code” of resort casual.  While some were in business formal wear, many others took a more relaxed approach, offering an interesting mix of styles … Dolphins President Tom Garfinkel having a cocktail on the Grand Lawn and talking about the potential for one of the world’s biggest rivalries, La Liga superpowers Barcelona and Real Madrid, better known in the world of soccer as El Clásico, to be played at Hard Rock Stadium in July  …USOC’s Blackmun chatting up Grit Rock Sports’ Jac Sperling … GSP’s Russ Granik seconding Raveling’s on-stage declaration that the best basketball player ever seen was Wilt Chamberlain. GSP hosted the post-conference reception yesterday, which featured a drink called the “GSP Vision”: Hangar One Vodka, Lemon Juice, Cane Syrup, Strawberry, Fever Tree Ginger Beer. They went down easy (a little too easy). Also on the menu: stuffed mushroom of brie and pickled raspberry, seared tuna medallion, rock shrimp crispy spring roll and Peking duck wonton.

    SOCIETY PAGES: A number of dinner parties held last night…..Proskauer hosted about 60 executives at Club 19, with the firm’s Joe Leccese welcoming people to “one of the best nights of the year for sports business” while thanking SBJ/SBD. Among those spotted: Proskauer’s Rob Freeman, Brad Ruskin, Jon Oram and Frank Saviano; USGA’s Mike Davis and Sarah Hirshland; USOC’s Blackmun, new World Team Tennis owner Mark Ein, Sports Marketing Advisors’ Doug Perlman, 76ers/Devils CEO Scott O’Neil, PJT Partners Don Cornwell, SBJ/SBD’s Richard Weiss, Abe Madkour and Jim Sullivan, GSP’s Sal Galatioto and Granik…MLS’s Howard Handler, JP Morgan Chase’s Brian Kantarian, James and Co’s Michele James and Rosyi Erbes; Raine Group’s Colin Neville, among others… Ahead of Wasserman's appearance on stage today, a separate informal advance team from LA24 was in the room: John Harper, Tanja Olano and Hilary Ash were all in for the night, mingling in the bar and catching up with friends before heading back north.
    O’Melveny hosted 26 people at the Stonehill Tavern onsite at the Monarch Beach Resort. The firm, which has hired three sports lawyers recently—Charles Baker, Jared Bartie and Irwin Raij—had to turn down requests from several O’Melveny lawyers from LA because of space limitations. Next year, with the practice fully in place, Baker said he expects a much bigger event….Sports Innovation Lab co-founder and retired Seattle Seahawks LB Isaiah Kacyvenski gave rave reviews to his first World Congress through Day One, and he’s barely even seen the panels. His day started by nailing down a deal for his technology consulting startup, and it ended with an oceanside dinner at the Monarch Bay Club restaurant on the beach. He was dining with Loeb & Loeb partner Steve Olenick, Morgan Stanley’s Drew Hawkins and Herrick, Feinstein LLP Executive Chairman Irwin Kishner … … Wednesday night’s lively lobby bar scene included a long huddle between NBA Kings President Chris Granger and the 76ers’ O’Neil. Though now working on opposite coasts, the two worked together for years in the NBA’s Team Marketing and Business Operations (TMBO) group, remain close, and are widely considered two of the most forward-looking execs in the industry. Granger will be part of the fan experience panel this morning, and will detail the broadly praised debut season of the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. 

    At least one man (Joe Favorito) tried to attend the annual Wasserman Women’s meeting as part of a big group, but he was denied entry. “The woman at the door said, ‘Now you know how it feels,’” Favorito said with laugh. The group met on the resort property and tweeted out a great picture to SBJ/SBD, along with the line: “@sbjsbd, want suggestions for qualified speakers at '18 WCOS? Here are 60+ @Wasserman's ladies-only cocktail.” The group did relax their policy at one time, though. Our own Terry Lefton wrote about the gathering when he attended. … Forget the 40-Under-40 Hall of Fame. ESPN’s Connor Schell is most looking forward to some Friday R&R with his wife at the Monarch Beach Resort. “I called for a late checkout, and the front desk said 11,” Schell said. “I said, ‘How about 4? They said 3, but we have to be completely out by then.” … The afternoon session with Ted and Zach Leonsis energized a lot of DC-area sports fans, including Univision’s Eric Conrad. Hailing from the Maryland suburbs, the lifelong Wizards fan was spotted in the hotel lobby rhapsodizing about the Wizards Game 2 win over the Hawks. Conrad was heading out to dinner with Univision’s Olek Loewenstein, who is being honored at tonight’s Forty Under 40 banquet.

    QUOTES OF THE DAY:
    “If you charge eight dollars for a hot dog, you have lost your way.” — Steve Cannon, chief executive officer of the AMB Group, which owns the Atlanta Falcons.

    “Relegation keeps me up at night.” — David Blitzer, co-owner of the 76ers, Devils and Crystal Palace.

    “There are so many positive things going on right now  that I worry some big disaster could happen, like a terrorist act. It could change the momentum of what’s happening in our industry right now.” — New Era CEO Chris Koch

    “There are not 56,000 people that want to sit through nine innings with a scorecard in their lap anymore.” — Janet Marie Smith

    “He’s the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.” — George Raveling, on LaVar Ball.

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: We appreciate everyone who kept the conversation going yesterday. We were trending on Twitter, and had more than 500 tweets and 8.3 million impressions. Special thanks to our most frequent tweeters: Laura Froelich - @Laurafrofro; Chris Yates - @chrisyates11; Joe Favorito  - @joefav; CUSportsBiz - @CUSportsBiz; Steve Pacheco - @StevePacheco; and Jim Kadlecek - @Jim_Kadlecek.

    Among the tweets we liked:
    @SkiTeamCMO: Fascinating presentation about @barstoolsports w/Erika Nardini. "brand has to be part of conversation." Reminded of Freeze Mag days.
    @Chuck_Cain: Great to see my home city represented with class by @SteveCannonCEO talking about @MBStadium
    @jayriola: Impressed & inspired hearing @sbjsbd Champions recipient Janet Marie Smith's career story
    @grossman: Beautiful setting for a wonderful event. Congrats to everyone at @sbjsbd on a fantastic and packed World Congress of Sports event.

    TONIGHT: The always fun Forty Under 40 gala will be held tonight at the Monarch Beach Resort.  See tomorrow’s Live email for details of who got toasted and who got roasted.

    APP UPDATE: We’ve changed our mobile app for 2017 to make it more responsive and accessible without any downloads or logins. Check out the World Congress of Sports app on any device. You can view the agenda and speaker bios, look at the attendee list and the digital program guide, and even submit your questions for our moderators.

    CONFERENCE COORDINATES: All of the conference sessions will take place in the Pacific Ballroom on the third level of the Manarch Beach Resort, with today’s lunch in the Monarch Ballroom. To get to the conference, just follow the signs from the lobby. Registration, breakfast and exhibits open at 7:15 a.m.

    SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: If you’re in the room today, we hope you’ll contribute to the conversation. You can send questions to our session moderators by using the World Congress app or by texting ‘SBJSBD’ to 22-333 to join our session. If you are posting tweets or photos, be sure to use the conference hashtag: #SBJWCS. We will recognize the most active and engaging users over the next two days.

    FOLLOW OUR FEEDS: Follow all of our social media posts throughout the conference using our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram feeds.

    WEAR IT HOME: Everfi Sports & Entertainment is raffling a signed Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews Home Premier Jersey. Be sure to drop off a business card at their booth in the Pacific Ballroom foyer by today at 11 a.m.

  • Live from Dana Point: World Congress Opening Day!

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    SETTING THE SCENE: Welcome to the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, CA. If you were lucky enough to get here last night, you hopefully joined the crowd on the deck outside of the main lobby bar, 33 Degrees North, to look out at the sun setting over the golf course and the Pacific Ocean. About 800 people will fill the resort hotel’s Pacific Ballroom during the next two days to hear discussions about the challenges facing the sports industry. The weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies today, with a light wind and a high of 68. It looks like there’s no need for an umbrella, though where the beach is concerned we never discount the possibility of a light shower.

    WHAT’S THE OVER/UNDER?: If we were in Vegas, we’d put money down that we’ll see the following in the next two days: more advocates than opponents of esports; more handwringing over cord-nevers and -cutters; lots of opinions on how to engage millennials; and more than one panelist saying, “The world is changing.” And we’re going to put the over at eight as to the number of times the Trump Administration is brought up as potentially affecting sports! That’s a loooonnnng way of saying there is no shortage of topics ripe to discuss today and tomorrow.

    WHAT TO EXPECT: Today will be jammed with sessions from 8:30am to 5:15pm. One of the event’s signature panels – “Top of the Agenda” – features a diverse mix of seven sports executives, so expect the conversations to touch on everything from changing media models to opportunities at retail and the business of running teams and leagues. Moderated by SBJ/SBD’s Abe Madkour, you’ll hear, from among the Group of 7, Adidas NA President Mark King about how the company has grown its market share, Big East Conference Commissioner Val Ackerman on the uncertainties facing college sports, and NBA COO Mark Tatum on the league’s big bet in esports.

    AND THAT’S NOT ALL: After the opening panel sets the table, Media Writer John Ourand will talk with Turner’s David Levy about the network’s plans after an eventful 2016, and then will moderate a discussion on the changing media model for regional sports networks. Proskauer’s Joe Leccese will lead a panel delving into the dynamic state of golf, and we’ll spend much of the afternoon hearing from top execs such as 76ers/Devils co-owner David Blitzer and New Era’s Chris Koch.

    YOUR JUST REWARDS: After you’ve absorbed all this knowledge, you’ll probably be ready for some refreshments and a good dinner. We’ll have a reception at 5:15 on the grand lawn hosted by GSP, and after you’ve enjoyed your dinner, Mobilitie will sponsor an after hours reception from 9:30 to 11:30 in the Monarch Ballroom Promenade.

    HONORING CHAMPIONS: Four of the class of six 2017 SBJ “Champions: Pioneers and Innovators in Sports Business,” will be on hand today – with only former Univ. of TX AD DeLoss Dodds and Phillies Chairman Emeritus Bill Giles unable to attend. Giles’ son Joe will accept the Champions honor for his father. The Champions will be recognized during today’s luncheon and the during an afternoon panel where they will share life lessons and stories in what is traditionally one of the most popular sessions of the conference.

    SPEAKING OF CHAMPIONS: Yesterday was the funeral for longtime Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney. If you spent any time with Mr. Rooney, you felt his kindness, compassion and modesty. Read our tribute to Rooney when we presented him with the SBJ/SBD Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

    SOCIETY PAGES: We’ll be honest. There isn’t a bad spot here at the Monarch Beach Resort. Still, few places have the feel of Club 19, where SBJ/SBD and CAA Sports hosted a VIP/Speaker Reception to kick off the World Congress. Overlooking the golf course and the Pacific Beach, the reception was held in an open dining area and bar leading to an outdoor patio, both featuring blazing fireplaces. Along with two open bars serving premium refreshments, the offerings included stations for seafood, gourmet sliders, a Mediterranean assortment and a variety of desserts, plus passed canapes of chicken satay, beef wellington and lamb chop lollipops.

    Among the sights and sounds from a party where the backdrop to the great conversation was light music and the sounds of the beach: CAA Sports co-hosts Howie Nuchow and Mike Levine welcomed guests; Levine recently returned from a family trip to Israel and Nuchow from playing golf with clients at Pebble Beach. Others from CAA Sports included Paul Danforth, Nick Khan, Alan Gold, Greg Luckman, Jon Levine, Michael Mand, Beth McClinton, Joe Becher and Asher Simons.

    Former CAA exec Doc OConnor chatted it up with his former colleagues, while ESPN’s Burke Magnus and Nuchow shared stories about attending the Univ. of Massachusetts and its sports management program.

    Other sightings: Proskauer’s Leccese and Brad Ruskin, with Ruskin trying to hustle SBJ/SBD’s Madkour into a competitive game of tennis, but Madkour wasn’t buying it … The Big East’s Ackerman chatting with SBJ/SBD’s Richard Weiss, while GSP’s Sal Galatioto and Russ Granik mingled. Turner’s Levy chatted with SBJ/SBD Champion Ed Goren, Fox Sports’ Jeff Krolik, Herrick's Irwin Kishner and Gold … DLA Piper’s Peter White and Mark Whitaker worked the room while Champions recipients Larry Levy and Janet Marie Smith chatted, with Levy talking about some of his favorite venues in sports – outside of Chicago, one of them is Banker's Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis – as Smith talked about the joy in unveiling the new Jackie Robinson statue outside Dodger Stadium on Saturday. “The energy was fantastic,” she said.

    76ers/Devils co-Owner David Blitzer, Icon Sports Venue’s Tim Romani and longtime sports deal maker Jac Sperling shared stories about NBA team deals; Kings executives Chris Granger, Jeff David and Chris Chopey talking up the first year of Golden 1 Center, and a big crew from New Era, including CEO Koch …MP & Silva’s Daniel Cohen wondering how his brother, Cowboys General Counsel Jason Cohen, will be roasted at Thursday’s Forty Under 40 banquet.

    Elsewhere: The NBA’s Tatum wasn’t at the reception, instead attending the Clippers playoff game with Utah before heading to Dana Point … MLSE’s Dave Hopkinson and Tom Pistore were spotted with friends at the best perch in the house in the resort bar 33 North at sunset on Monday watching the Game 3 OT thriller that saw the Maple Leafs edge the Capitals 4-3 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. There were few people at the entire resort who DIDN’T hear the roar from the two immediately after the game winner … And last night New York was well represented as a large and vocal contingent of attendees in the lobby bar cheered on the Rangers to their series-tying 2-1 playoff win over Montreal … GSP’s Galatioto, after attending the VIP reception, hosted a dinner with Covington and Burling and BTMU Securities at local restaurant Mahe … Scout Sports’ Michael Neuman and Dan Parise, a Forty Under 40 winner, dined at Studio at The Montage with Amy Latimer and others from the TD Garden … Paul Bremer of GoodSport was chatting with FedEx’s Steve Pacheco in the lobby bar… Forty Under 40 honoree and Fanatics CCO Cole Gahagan arrived late Tuesday fresh off a visit to Dodger Stadium, where the Dodgers were playing host to Colorado. Gahagan had not been to the stadium since Guggenheim Baseball Management took over the Dodgers five years ago, and he said he was “blown away” by the work done to baseball’s third-oldest venue … Principals from New Era Cap, including Koch and EVP Paul McAdam, played some rounds in NoCal at Pebble Beach with agency partners CAA, including corporate consulting chief Greg Luckman, before heading south to World Congress last night, where they were all holding court at the hotel bar … And our first early morning sighting (not counting the bar last night): PGA of America’s Pete Bevacqua leaving the hotel workout facility at 5:45am – a strong effort by Bevacqua, who arrived at the hotel last night near midnight.

    ALL IN THE FAMILY: This made us laugh. Michael Ledecky (@mdledecky) of conference sponsor EverFi yesterday tweeted: “Day 0 at CAA World Congress of Sports, repping @EverFi Sports and Entertainment in CA.” He linked to an Instagram video in which he was doing the butterfly stroke in the hotel pool. And who should chime in but his sister, Katie — yes, THAT Katie — who offered this critique: “A little long into the finish there …” Tough crowd. Note to Michael Ledecky: Be sure to find SBJ/SBD’s Madkour – he knows a family friend and your sister’s godfather.

    ONLY A FLESH WOUND: MKTG SVP/Global Communications Director Stephanie Rudnick discovered a painful way to cut calories on her flight into World Congress from New York yesterday. Seated in business class, she bit into an ice cream sundae only to find a quarter-sized piece of glass that cut her tongue and mouth. Another newsmaking PR disaster for an airline? Apparently not – she appeared no worse for wear at the bar later in the evening.

    APP UPDATE: We’ve changed our mobile app for 2017 to make it more responsive and accessible without any downloads or logins. Check out the World Congress of Sports app on any device. You can view the agenda and speaker bios, look at the attendee list and the digital program guide, and even submit your questions for our moderators.

    CONFERENCE COORDINATES: All of the conference sessions will take place in the Pacific Ballroom on the third level of the Monarch Beach Resort, with today’s lunch in the Monarch Ballroom. To get to the conference, just follow the signs from the lobby. Registration, breakfast and exhibits open at 7:15 a.m.

    SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: If you’re in the room today, we hope you’ll contribute to the conversation. You can send questions to our session moderators by using the World Congress app or by texting ‘SBJSBD’ to 22-333 to join our session. If you are posting tweets or photos, be sure to use the conference hashtag: #SBJWCS. We will recognize the most active and engaging users over the next two days.

    FOLLOW OUR FEEDS: Follow all of our social media posts throughout the conference using our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram feeds.

    AT THE READY: We’ve got volunteers from quite a few college programs helping us out during the event. If you see any of them, be sure to say hello. You may end up working for one of them someday. Among the group: Erik Van Der Ahe, Long Beach State; Breanne Glaviano, San Diego State; Stefan Huber, USC Marshall; Steele Sylte and Lauren Doria, Cal State Long Beach; Zamaya Taylor and Kloey Glass, Univ. of San Francisco; and Ben Meyers, Univ. of Michigan.

    WORTHY WINNERS: Eventellect awarded World Congress scholarships to 12 attendees as part of the Young Executives Program. More than 30 up-and-comers were nominated by their team president to apply to participate in this program, and the final recipients were selected based on the strength of their resume and an essay about how they plan to tackle a key issue facing teams today. The recipients: Jarrod Dillon, Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment; Karlis Kezbers, Oklahoma City Thunder; Brandon Doll, Oakland Raiders; Gavin Driskill, Memphis Grizzlies; Brooke Eaton, Brooklyn Nets, New York Islanders and Barclays Center; Nicholas Frasco, Cleveland Browns; Luke Mohamed, D.C. United; Jay Riola, Orlando Magic; Zack Robinson, Philadelphia 76ers; Preston Teague, Buffalo Bills; Jay Verrill, Houston Astros; and Kurt Zwald, Boston Red Sox.

    WEAR IT HOME: Everfi Sports & Entertainment is raffling a signed Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews Home Premier Jersey. Be sure to drop off a business card at their booth in the Pacific Ballroom foyer by Thursday at 11 a.m.

  • Looking back: Chris Ilitch accepts his father’s award as a Champion in Sports Business

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    In 2014, SportsBusiness Journal named Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch to its class of Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business.

    Ilitch was unable to travel to the World Congress of Sports to accept his award in person, but his son, Chris, was there to talk about his dad’s love of his city, teams and family.




    And here’s the Mike Ilitch highlight reel we created for the Champions luncheon.



    And in case you missed it, here’s Executive Editor Abe Madkour and then-staff writer Christopher Botta talking about Ilitch’s life and career.




    Tags: Champion, Champions, Detroit Tigers, World Congress of Sports
  • Live from New York: The many challenges facing college sports

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    Economic inequities, time demands, integrating academics more into athletics, health and safety concerns and a continued unsettled landscape. Those themes of challenges were balanced with academic graduation progress, more clarity on the procedural framework of college sports and the unquestionable relevance and popularity of college athletics on day one of the 2016 Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum. 

    SETTING THE TABLE: The tone of the day was set by Learfield Chairman Greg Brown, who opened the conference by hailing the academic experience as the foundation for the overall student athlete experience and all the positive results that come from being on campus. But provocative thought filled the day from a long list of leaders that included NCAA President Mark Emmert, Duke AD Kevin White, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, commissioners Jim Delany, Larry Scott and Val Ackerman and Under Armour Founder Kevin Plank. All acknowledged an enterprise that is challenging and threatened at times, but at its core still incredibly powerful.

    THE PATH OF THE FAN:  Today’s opening session will surely be one of the most fun – as the Big 12’s Bob Bowlsby and SEC’s Greg Sankey will join the NCAA’s Oliver Luck and ESPN’s Seth Greenberg to talk about the big issues of the day. A key theme to look for today is the path of the fan when it comes to the college experience – from the decision to buy a ticket, to the game experience, to connecting digitally with the fan to incorporate as much personal data as possible for future marketing. 

    GETTING IT RIGHT: Two questions that came up on just about every panel were: Did the CFP committee get it right? and, What’s the right number of teams for a college football playoff? Perhaps not surprisingly, Emmert, Delany (Big Ten) and Scott (Pac-12) were pretty happy with the way things turned out. And most panelists throughout the day said they were happy with four teams, including a group of media executives who worried that expanding the playoffs would hurt interest in the regular season. "In some sense it’s a zero sum game or close to it,” said Fox Sports’ Mike Mulvihill. “And you can’t add emphasis to the postseason, or add teams, without to some extent risking damaging the regular season. I think we’re at a nice balance.” (Though, he joked Fox would still want the extra games if the CFP did expand.) On one of the last panels of the day, though, a group made up mostly of collegiate rights holders held the opposite few, arguing for 6, 8 or “the more the merrier.”

    ALL IN THE FAMILY: Yes, we did play the theme from “All in the Family” when Kevin White took the stage with two of his sons, Danny and Brian, to talk about their shared experiences in intercollegiate athletics. There was plenty of good-natured ribbing, and Kevin at times looked rueful as his sons told stories of growing up with two driven and focused parents, Kevin and his wife, Jane, who was in the audience and has also spent her life in college sports. Near the end of the session, the two sons were asked what sayings they remembered hearing most from their dad. Brian: “’Anticipate’ was my favorite one as a kid. You have to anticipate…. and most of the times that meant the things that he needed. Like ‘anticipate’ he needed the remote control.” Danny: “When there are some issues that come up that he doesn’t find that important, he’ll tell me I’m being a baby and I ‘need to rub some mud on it.’”

    BATTLE AT BRISTOL: During a session that delved behind the scenes of this year’s Battle at Bristol, Univ. of TN AD Dave Hart talked about how football coach Butch Jones used the game as a significant recruiting tool in the years leading up to the event, which took place on September 10. “He was telling recruits if you come to Tennessee, you will play in front of the largest audience ever to watch a football game at an historic event,” Hart said. Longtime Alabama radio voice Eli Gold added buzz with his artful handling of the session.

    WALKING WITH PLANK: Few speakers bring the intensity as much as Under Armour’s Plank, who walked the audience through his journey in building the brand but also offered perspective on international trade, the possible policy implications of President-elect Trump and the state of entrepreneurialism in this country. Fascinating stuff.

    SPOTTED: In the speaker room: Delany greeting Tagliabue and the two New Jersey natives sharing stories on high school basketball history in the state and then tales from when Tagliabue played center at Georgetown and Delany played guard for Dean Smith at the Univ. of North Carolina…Former NBA player Charles Smith also stopped to chat with Tagliabue…football great Marcus Allen chatting with an elderly couple outside the Marquis’ Starbucks. 

    QUOTES WE LIKED:
    “We often have two minutes or less to say something now.” — Carrie Gerlach Cecil of Social Media Sports Management, on how institutions today are expected to address crises almost in real time

    “It’s hard to imagine that this is over, that there won’t be more movements in years ahead. It seems pretty quiet right now. But I would say every conference commissioner worth their salt is constantly monitoring the landscape, trying to keep up with these changes.” — Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman

    CONFERENCE COORDINATES: All of our sessions will be held on the seventh floor of the Marriott Marquis at Times Square. You can get there via the elevators or zoom up on the escalators from the ground floor. Registration, breakfast and exhibits open at 7:30 a.m. today.

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: All the information you need about the conference — agenda, speakers, venue, etc. — can be found in the conference app and the program guide. You can download the app from the iTunes store or the Google Play store, and you can use any device to view our digital program guide.

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: There was a lot of social activity around the conversation in the ballroom. Many thanks to frequent tweeters @andyhre, ASU Sports Law (@asusportslawbizJason), Jason Belzer (@jasonbelzer), Tim Stephens (@timsportsmanias) and Jeff Yrazabal (@jyrazabal).

    Among the tweets we liked:
    @Brian_Bedford: First time in 11years I have missed this event.  Best of luck to all my college pals in NYC this week!
    @LoisElfman: As always, #SBJIAF was an enlightening experience.
    @ninaking22: All in the Family...great wisdom shared by some of my favorite people in the business at the #Anticipate #rubsomemudonit
    @MikeMMcbride: listening to UA CEO K. Plank explain to room full of ADs "most important person" in athletics for him was Equipment Manager

    If you’re in the room today, we hope you’ll contribute to the conversation. You can send questions to our session moderators by using the IAF app or by texting ‘SBJSBD’ to 22-333 to join our session. If you are posting tweets or photos, be sure to use the conference hashtag: #SBJIAF. We will recognize the most active and engaging users over the next two days.

    FOLLOW OUR FEEDS: Follow all of our social media posts throughout the conference using our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram feeds.

    DROP CARDS, WIN PRIZES: StubHub gave away $300 in gift cards yesterday that can be redeemed with any event ticket purchase at StubHub.com. The winners were Jon Rutner (Sports Manias), Ashley Walyuchow (Univ. of Houston - Victoria) and Jon Roos (Monmouth Univ.) And Libris by PhotoShelter is giving away a free year of its services. The winner will be announced at the end of the conference.

    VOLUNTEERS: We’ve got six student volunteers helping us out this week, and they would love it if you said hello at the registration desk. Joining us from Columbia University: Scott Ferguson, Dan Girard and Francesco Avella. And from UMass Amherst: Anthony Nahill, David Tews and William Melley

    SIGNING OFF: This is our last conference for 2016; we hope you’ve enjoyed our Live morning emails from our conferences and events. We’d love your feedback!

    Tags: ING, GE, NCAA, CAA, NFL, Under Armour, Big 12, SEC, ESPN, Ally
  • Live from New York: College sports hits Gotham

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    IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME IN THE CITY: If it’s early December in New York City, there are some traditions to expect: packed streets, gridlock getting crosstown, the National Football Foundation celebration, Jimmy V Week and the awarding of the Heisman Trophy. It’s with that backdrop that the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, presented by SBJ/SBD, takes place over the next day and a half at the Marriott Marquis at Times Square. Expect the top decision-makers in intercollegiate athletics to convene along with 500 attendees to discuss whether the CFP committee got it right and just where the enterprise is going. 

    ON THE AGENDA: The two days will touch virtually every aspect of college sports and feature top speakers from inside and outside the universe. Among the issues we’ll discuss: balancing expenses, the growing chasm between have and have-nots, the student-athlete perspective, crisis management and trends in ticketing, media and the live experience. 

    EMMERT’S STATE OF THE NCAA: President Mark Emmert will conduct his customary sitdown with Executive Editor Abe Madkour, a forum Emmert uses each year to begin spreading the seeds of the Association’s upcoming initiatives. Look for the latest on balancing the time demands on student athletes and on addressing player health and safety.

    THE FAMILY BUSINESS: The inspiration for one of today’s most anticipated panels came from last night’s basketball game at Madison Square Garden between Duke and Florida. Kevin White is the Blue Devils’ athletic director, while the Gators are coached by Mike White, Kevin’s son. The game marked the first time that Papa White has squared off against his coaching son. He and wife, Jane, planned to sit in a cluster of neutral seats with MSG officials, rather than their usual seats for a road game behind the Duke bench. That matchup got us thinking about a panel featuring the Whites and their family business — intercollegiate athletics. While Mike traveled back to Gainesville with his team late last night, Kevin and two of his sons, Danny and Brian, will convene on stage today. Danny is the AD at UCF; Brian is a senior associate AD at Missouri.

    BIG MAN BEHIND THE B10: Commissioner Jim Delany has been in the news this week – first for being booed by Penn State fans on Saturday night and then talking to USA Today about the changing role of today’s commissioners. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Big Ten Network, Delany will discuss the vision and carriage challenges behind it, where it goes from here and why Friday night games are in the future for the conference.

    TAGLIABUE’S POINT OF VIEW: You will always learn something from former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Cited consistently as the “smartest person in the room,” Tagliabue will sit with Madkour and discuss some of the key issues around intercollegiate athletics, including the challenges of covering the cost of participation, the importance of Olympic sports and the future role of developmental leagues. The former Georgetown basketball player will also share thoughts from his recent trip to Asia.

    UNDER THE HOOD: The day ends with one of the most talked-about executives in sports, as Under Armour Founder Kevin Plank talks to SBJ/SBD’s Terry Lefton.  The company is fresh off the formal announcement of its deal with MLB, and Plank is sure to touch on how the company plans to increase its investment in the college space, which includes more than 50 school apparel deals.

    AND THEN, YOUR REWARDS: After a long day that will feature 14 (!) sessions on intercollegiate athletics, we’ll treat you to two opportunities to network and enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Immediately following the Plank interview, we’ll have a networking reception outside the ballroom hosted by SeatGeek. Then, at 9:30 p.m., we’ll have an after-hours reception in the VIP area of the Broadway Lounge on the 8th floor. We hope to see you there!

    NOT-SO-QUIET RIOT: Watch the lobby and networking parties for the contingent from Riot Games, publisher of the popular eSports title League of Legends. Their collegiate team is in here in force, including chief Michael Sherman, hoping to see and be seen. The remit for Sherman’s team is simple: Turn LOL into an authentic sport on campuses. That means everything from developing Power 5 conference rivalry showdowns and elite scholarship athletes to dorm room pickup games. "We see ourselves as being a member of the college sports business community,” said Sherman, “and this is an opportunity to build relationships.”

    CAREER MOVES: With such a heavy concentration of college talent in town, it’s inevitable that at this time each year a lot of closed-door meetings are being held. Among those that everyone is watching: Oregon AD Rob Mullens trying to decide on his next football coach.

    NYC SPORTS SCENE: On the NBA calendar for tonight, the world-champion Cavaliers are in town to face the Knicks, while the Nuggets visit Brooklyn. There’s no local action on the ice tonight, but last night the Devils edged the Canucks and the Islanders beat the Rangers. And, at the Jimmy V Classic, Duke beat Florida while Purdue routed Arizona State. Of course, there’s always plenty to do in New York, especially on Broadway, though good luck getting tickets to the still-hot Hamilton, which has seen premium ticket prices rise into the four figures.

    CONFERENCE COORDINATES: All of our sessions will be held on the seventh floor of the Marquis. You can get there via the elevators or zoom up on the escalators from the ground floor. Registration, breakfast and exhibits open at 7:15 a.m. Weather in the city is a little gloomy today, with cloudy skies and a high of 50.

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: All the information you need about the conference — agenda, speakers, venue, etc. — can be found in the conference app and the program guide. You can download the app from the iTunes store or the Google Play store, and you can use any device to view our digital program guide.

    SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: If you’re in the room today, we hope you’ll contribute to the conversation. You can send questions to our session moderators by using the IAF app or by texting ‘SBJSBD’ to 22-333 to join our session. If you are posting tweets or photos, be sure to use the conference hashtag: #SBJIAF. We will recognize the most active and engaging users over the next two days.

    FOLLOW OUR FEEDS: Follow all of our social media posts throughout the conference using our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram feeds.

    DROP CARDS, WIN PRIZES: Be sure to drop off your business card for the chance to win prizes from our sponsors. StubHub will give away $300 in gift cards that can be redeemed with any event ticket purchase at StubHub.com. The winners will be announced at lunch today. And Libris by PhotoShelter is giving away a free year of its services. The winner will be announced at the end of the conference.

    VOLUNTEERS: We’ve got six student volunteers helping us out this week, and they would love it if you said hello at the registration desk. Joining us from Columbia University: Scott Ferguson, Dan Girard and Francesco Avella. And from UMass Amherst: Anthony Nahill, David Tews and William Melley.

    Tags: GE, ING, Football, Marriott, ATT, Ally, Media, NCAA, CAA
  • Live from Las Vegas: We went down to the crossroads

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    LEAN IN AND DON’T APOLOGIZE: There’s an interesting dichotomy in motorsports today – especially when it comes to NASCAR – which was evident on the first day of the ’16 Motorsports Marketing Forum. Many touted the size and scale and reach of the sport, and the fan base, which cannot be overlooked. Comments like “lean in,” “not apologizing,” and “take those numbers over most sports any day of the week,” were balanced by the stark reality of softer TV ratings and attendance, with sponsorship harder and harder to secure. One thing is certain – after 17 years of holding this Forum, the lines of communication and cooperation by the stakeholders across motorsports seem to be stronger than ever. However, even with that, most agree there are still gaps and unavoidable chasms due to the size and pace of the industry. Interesting times, to say the least, and all while stakeholders await a new title sponsor for NASCAR’s “premier” series.

    WHAT’S UP TODAY: We will hear more from various motorsports team executives about building winning cultures and where innovation can be brought to these traditional motorsports. Also, one of the sport’s good guys, Chip Ganassi, will sit with SBJ/SBD’s Abe Madkour and talk about his life, which has touched virtually every area of racing. One of the most talked about sponsors in motorsports, Monster Energy, will sit with Feld Entertainment and talk about their partnership on the global series, Monster Energy Supercross. There also will be a look at where motorsports can leverage their media assets. We will close the day with a fun session featuring a conversation led by longtime IndyCar writer Curt Cavin with three IndyCar stars and Indy 500 winners: Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, and Alexander Rossi.

    ONE THING YOU CAN’T IGNORE: NASCAR’s respective series champions – Jimmie Johnson and Daniel Suarez – offered thoughtful, relatable comments about their back stories and future goals. Both came across as likable, down-to-earth ambassadors for the sport. Suarez, whose interview with Fox NASCAR’s Jamie Little was the final session of Day 1, got stuck in traffic on the way to the conference and forced the crowd to sit and make small talk for about 15 minutes until he arrived. But then the young driver was so charming and funny as he talked about his experiences learning English, picking the brains of other drivers and trying to become a role model that no one minded the wait. Johnson, in a chat with NASCAR.com’s Holly Cain, had the rapt attention of the crowd when he talked about becoming a team leader, driving under pressure and balancing work and family. Two great representatives of the sport, and we’re looking forward to seeing more today.

    WAITING FOR THE YOUNG GUNS: It’s rare to get consensus when you’re talking to a group of executives from diverse areas of the industry, but when moderator Madkour asked the opening panel what would have to happen to make 2017 a great year, three of the five agreed on one thing that the sport needs: the emergence of the next generation of winners. Asked to complete the sentence, “2017 will be a great year if …”:
    IMS’ Doug Boles: “If you have someone from the next generation of drivers win the championship.”
    NASCAR’s Jill Gregory: “If some young talent can really prove themselves on the track.”
    NBC Sports’ Mike McCormack: “I’m intrigued by the young new talent and when they are going to take the mantle and carry the sport through the next decade.”

    The outliers:
    Team Epic’s David Grant: “If the industry can start to demonstrate that all of these other ways the sport is being consumed can more than offset the deterioration of traditional television.”
    Roush Fenway Racing’s Steve Newmark: “If our sport can differentiate from other sports through technology. If teams can continue together to find more efficient ways to run their operations.”

    BOTTOM LINE SUCCESS: What’s it going to take to declare the new NHL team in Vegas a success? When owner Bill Foley and his management team appeared on stage, each had a viewpoint.  “We want to be competitive the first year,” Foley said, and referenced the processing of growing fruit. “By the third year, we should be harvesting some fruit. We have a very specific plan on winning the Stanley Cup. That’s why [GM] George [McPhee] is here.” McPhee said he wants to stress culture.  “Building it the right way is through your culture,” he said. “Culture is your invisible difference maker. If you go to West Point, you’re going to know what they stand for. If you join the New England Patriots, you’re going to find out very quickly what they stand for. … That’s our focus, getting the right culture to help us win.”  Team President Kerry Bubolz talked about his vision for the business side.  “We’d like to be a top 5 revenue team in every measureable category within five years,” he said. “I believe we can do it.  It’s not the 40th largest market. It’s a national market. It’s a major market. People are coming from all over the world. We have a unique opportunity to tell a story to a national and international audience.”
      
    SOCIAL ANIMALS I: MVPindex co-Founder Kyle Nelson had some rapt attention from attendees when he showed some of the motorsports related research he’s gathered around social media. Among his findings: 94% of the top 300 posts by NASCAR teams were on Facebook; Facebook links receive 33% more engagement than photos when posted by NASCAR teams; Video is seeing 51% more engagement than photos on Facebook; 73% of driver posts are text-based on Twitter. He also said that people tune into Twitter during a race. Tweets that include a call to action, such as asking followers to retweet, received 6.3X higher engagement. In addition, more than 50% of the top 100 Instagram posts by NASCAR teams feature a race car; 70% of Instagram posts by NASCAR teams include at least one brand, hashtag, handle or keyword, including NASCAR and series-related terms; and Facebook is driving most of the value – while representing only 15% of the NASCAR content over a month, it resulted in 57% of engagement and 47% of impressions.

    SOCIAL ANIMALS II: Social Media QB Jeramie McPeek offered some of his learnings from his professional career focused on social media, much of the time at the Phoenix Suns and now as a digital and social media consultant.  He started the session by having attendees do the wave to get the energy going. Among his takeaways: Video is really important no matter what channel it is on; Brands/teams/leagues he admires on social: WWE,  Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks; Best platform to reach young people: SnapChat and Instagram.

    SOCIAL ANIMALS III: Yes, we went heavy on the social discussion today, but it drew a great response from our crowd. Near the end of the day, we heard from Andre Pinard, Octagon’s Group Director, Insights and Planning. His takeaways:
    — 93% of millennials want to experience something new and blood rushing – notion that experience trumps things.
    — 78% of millennials would rather pay for an experience than material goods.
    — 63%of Gen Z prefer to see real people over celebrities in advertisements.
    — 82% millennials went to a live event in the past year, such as concerts and festivals, and 72% plan to increase spending on such outings.

    SOCIAL ANIMALS IV: Johnson drew a few laughs from the crowd when he looked back at how he slowly warmed to using social media: “I was probably late to get on the social media train; people were doing it before me and I read some things on a blog when it first started coming out, and I couldn’t believe just how rude people could be to me or my fiancé at the time. But once my skin thickened up, I realized the importance of social media, and obviously the world has moved in that direction, and I’ve done things on social media that haven’t been recommended. Everyone says, ‘Leave the trolls alone.’ [But after] a couple drinks on a plane ride home, it’s fun to poke the trolls.”

    SOCIAL ANIMALS V: We don’t have the numbers yet to back this up, but we’re pretty sure that there was more activity this year around the event hashtag, #sbjmmf, than we’ve had in previous years. Our thanks to our most frequent tweeters: Tim Southers (@tsouth1968); Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass); Lee Spencer (@CandiceSpencer) and Ken Ungar (@Kungar).

    Among the tweets we liked:
    @MattioliAlivia: .@andreataccess presentation on Youth Marketing & the "New Era" is enlightening on new knowledge/notions on social connection.
    @lenperna: Thanks to Bill Foley, George McPhee & Kerry Bubolz for a great panel at #sbjmmf #vegasgoldenknights will be biggest NHL launch ever!
    @mikepistana: Great to see @JimmieJohnson talking about his 7th championship at #sbjmmf @MandalayBay
    @jeramie: Figured it was only fitting to turn my trademark conference wave into a 3-lap race at the @sbjsbd Motorsports Marketing Forum!

     

    WIN SOME SWAG: If you didn’t already drop off your business card at the registration desk, be sure to do so this morning for a chance to win prizes from sponsors Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. Up for grabs: an IndyCar mini-helmet signed by all of the 2016 full-time drivers; and an IMS logo metal sign and Indy 500 logo metal sign, both autographed by the full 33 driver field for the 100th running of the Indy 500. The winners will be announced this morning.

    THE FUTURE OF THE SPORT: And while you’re at the registration desk (or any time during the morning), say hello to our two conference volunteers, Katelyn Aardema and Trey Stafford. Both are students at Belmont Abbey College in the motorsports management program directed by Pat Wood, who you’ll see again this morning as a guest moderator.

    CONFERENCE COORDINATES: The Jasmine Ballroom was packed during the first day of the Forum, and we’re expecting similar crowds today. As a reminder, breakfast and exhibits open at 7:30 a.m. PT, with the program starting at 8:15 a.m.

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: All the information you need about the conference — agenda, speakers, venue, etc. — can be found in the conference app and the program guide. You can download the app from the iTunes store or the Google Play store, and you can use any device to view our digital program guide.

    SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: If you’re in the room today, we hope you’ll contribute to the conversation. You can send questions to our session moderators by using the MMF app or by texting ‘SBJSBD’ to 22-333. If you are posting tweets or photos, be sure to use the conference hashtag: #sbjmmf.

    FOLLOW OUR FEEDS: Follow all of our social media posts throughout the conference using our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram feeds.

    NEXT CONFERENCE UP: We’ll be in New York next week for our last event of the year, the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum. We hope to see you there!

    Tags: ING, Motorsports, Ally, NASCAR, ATT, SEC, GE, Gap, Media, IndyCar, Champion, Champions, Fox, CES
  • Live from Las Vegas: What’s next for motorsports?

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    ON THE GROUND IN VEGAS: Interesting times in Sin City, which in the last year has seen the opening of T-Mobile Arena, the NHL’s approval for the Vegas Golden Knights to begin play next fall, and the continuing pursuit of an NFL team to play in a planned new facility just off the Strip. This weekend Las Vegas will be home to the traditional NASCAR season-ending banquet and the National Finals Rodeo that takes over much of the city, with nightly events at the Thomas & Mack Center. And with that as a scene setter , we’ll host the ’16 SBJ/SBD Motorsports Marketing Forum starting this morning at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

    BUCKLE UP: It will be all motorsports, all day, as attendees will enjoy 10 sessions developed around the themes of connection, collaboration and culture. Connection: Reaching fans through the live event experience and through social and digital platforms. Collaboration: How various stakeholders across motorsports can cooperate for smarter business. Culture: Building a winning culture in your team, organization and series.

    WHEN DO THEY EVER REST?: Few in motorsports get any down time – especially NASCAR, where there is virtually no offseason anymore. But these two days will provide a valuable time to reflect and to look ahead as the major motorsports series takes a breath after weeks on the road. What we’re looking for: What’s the general sense of the state of the series? How’s the vibe around NASCAR after a record-setting performance by the magnificent Jimmie Johnson amid mixed signals on viewer consumption? How does IndyCar build off its successful 100th running of the Indy 500? How does everyone in motorsports look to attract a younger demo?

    HEARING FROM THE CHAMPS: NASCAR.com reporter Holly Cain will sit down after lunch with 2016 Sprint Cup Series Champion Johnson, who will open up about his activities around Champion’s Week and what the championship means to his business and brand....To close the day, Xfinity Series Champion Daniel Suarez will talk about his road to the title with Fox’s NASCAR pit reporter, Jamie Little.

    BUILDING A TEAM FROM THE STRIP ON UP: Looking to bring an outside perspective to motorsports, we will hear from Golden Knights owner Bill Foley and his executive team, General Manager George McPhee and President Kerry Bubolz, about how they are focusing on team-building and developing a successful organizational culture. This can’t-miss session will be moderated by Turnkey’s Len Perna.

    SOCIAL STUDIES: MVPindex co-Founder Kyle Nelson will offer exclusive data about how drivers, teams, tracks and series are connecting with fans through social media, while longtime social pioneer Jeramie McPeek will offer a presentation on his best practices in the business. Finally, Octagon’s Andre Pinard will give a roadmap on how to be successful in marketing to today’s youth.

    TIME TO RELAX: We’ll end the day with a networking reception at 5:15 p.m. in the Banyan room. See you there!

    AROUND THE STRIP: Expect temps in the mid-50s but bright sunshine throughout the next few days. The local weathercasters are emphasizing that it will be chilly this week, so maybe wear a jacket. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s worth your while to get a glimpse of T-Mobile Arena, which is located right off Las Vegas Boulevard South near the Monte Carlo and New York New York. You will get a good feel for the pedestrian friendly walkway, Toshiba Plaza and the unique see-through LED video mesh on the outside of the venue. And, if you stay the weekend, you could see it in action with concerts from George Strait on Friday and Saturday.

    WIN SOME SWAG: Be sure to drop off your business card at the registration desk for a chance to win prizes from sponsors Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. Up for grabs: an IndyCar mini-helmet signed by all of the 2016 full-time drivers; and an IMS logo metal sign and Indy 500 logo metal sign, both autographed by the full 33 driver field for the 100th running of the Indy 500.

    CONFERENCE COORDINATES: We’re expecting more than 200 people today in the Jasmine Ballroom on the third level of the convention center. Registration, breakfast and exhibits open at 8:45 a.m. PT, with the program starting at 9:45. In typical Las Vegas mega-resort fashion, you’ll get a little exercise on your way to the conference. It will take 7-8 minutes to walk to the convention center from the hotel towers and casino entrance.

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: All the information you need about the conference — agenda, speakers, venue, etc. — can be found in the conference app and the program guide. You can download the app from the iTunes store or the Google Play store, and you can use any device to view our digital program guide.

    SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: If you’re in the room today, we hope you’ll contribute to the conversation. You can send questions to our session moderators by using the SMT app or by texting ‘SBJSBD’ to 22-333. If you are posting tweets or photos, be sure to use the conference hashtag: #sbjmmf.

    FOLLOW OUR FEEDS: Follow all of our social media posts throughout the conference using our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram feeds.

    Tags: Motorsports, On The Ground, ING, NHL, NFL, NASCAR, ATT, GE, Ally, IndyCar, CES
  • Live from New York: Elections set stage for SMS Day 1

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    When you open a conference the morning after one of the most contentious elections that many of us can remember, there’s no way to ignore what had happened. Regardless of who they supported, you could see the tiredness in the eyes of many of our attendees as they struggled to move their attention from the results that some had watched until only a few hours before the start of the 2016 Momentum Sports Marketing Symposium. In his opening remarks, SBJSBD’s Richard Weiss acknowledged what many were feeling. “I think we would all agree that there’s quite a stark contrast between the negativity and divisiveness that has characterized our election cycle compared to the power of sports and its ability to unite us as an industry and as a country,” he said. “That’s why I think it’s so important for us as an industry to keep doing what we do well. To learn from each other. To innovate. And to work to make sports as relevant as we can to serve the broadest possible audience. So my congratulations to those of you whose candidate won. My condolences to those of you who lost. I’m sure there will be lots of discussion over the course of today and tomorrow. How could there not be? But, for now, we’re going to get started with the work at hand. Work that, when it’s successful, truly serves to unite people.”

    EARLY REACTIONS: Maybe it was unfair to ask our speakers to comment on an election whose results were still so fresh, but ask we did. Here’s what a few of them said:
    Ken Fuchs, STATS: “There is a brand aspect to Trump, and the rhetoric and the campaign. When we talk to partners and when I recruit executives, it actually does come into play. Which is, we’re an American company, we’re an American brand, and we’re in competition with international companies. So while that might end up being overblown to a certain extent, it does get condensed especially right now in an exacerbated environment. I’ll be very interested to see how that plays out over time.”

    Tom O’Toole, former CMO of United Airlines: “I’ll rephrase the question to say, What can the sports industry learn from last night’s outcome? Marketing in the sports industry is driven by information, but it is also driven by passion and identity. And relying entirely on the information … while not fully taking into account the passion and identity can lead to very unexpected outcomes.”

    Todd Kline, Miami Dolphins: “As an NFL club, we consider ourselves a public trust, so we are part of the ethos. Much like we have fans, these candidates do, too. You can never underestimate the passion fans have for you or for a candidate.”

    Ralph Santana, Harman International: “Depending on what happens with the administration, depending on what happens when we go to emerging markets, it will have an impact on sports, because that is the biggest growth area for a lot of properties. But more important, when you think about some of the sports that are trying to penetrate inside the U.S., like soccer, there could be major implications on what relationships are like over the next four years.”

    LUKER ON ELECTIONS: With data scientist Dr. Rich Luker on hand, we couldn’t resist asking for his take on the how so many of the pollsters and pundits went wrong on Election Day. Luker: “If I had to gamble, I’d say the Republicans did an awesome job on data. And if it was me, I’ll tell you what I would have done. With all of these rallies with all of these huge numbers, I would have been polling all of those people to identify the characteristics of somebody who has been energized but either never or rarely votes. Then I would have polled against that to find out who is out there. And those people were off the radar. So when Trump’s campaign was saying, ‘We have polls that say we are doing better,’ I think they did. And I don’t think the media pollsters, and the Democratic pollsters, were asking those kinds of questions. Why? They didn’t have those crowds. They weren’t drawing those people. Random samples aren’t going to catch those.”

    ON TAP FOR TODAY: We’ll start the day with a discussion on how brands can make smart decisions on Esports, then launch into three back-to-back sessions that will look at sports that are potentially set to go big-time: Drone Racing League, World Surf League and Tough Mudder. We’ll end the conference with sessions that delve into some of the industry’s hot topics, including Sabermetrics and high school sports. For a quick recap of yesterday and a table-setter for today, check out our morning podcast.

    A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE: Coca-Cola’s Ricardo Fort told attendees that the next 10 years “are going to be fundamentally different from the sports world we grew up in.” Speaking with Momentum Worldwide’s Kevin McNulty in a one-on-one interview, Fort said changes would be driven by developments such as an emerging global sports environment, new tools to measure sponsorship effectiveness, and the continued advance of digital content platforms. Fort also talked about the trend of World Cups and Olympics being held in smaller, more remote areas, and said the location isn’t the primary factor: “Time zone is really more important than the location itself,” he said. “Rio was great [for the ’16 Olympics]. Other events coming up in Asia will be more challenging, particularly with respect to broadcasting, since TV is still such a primary revenue driver for many of these organizing bodies.”

    BIG PAPI DOESN’T DISAPPOINT: Retired Red Sox slugger David Ortiz brought his larger-than-life persona to the Symposium, sitting for a 30-minute session with his agent, Alex Radetsky, and SBJSBD’s Terry Lefton. Ortiz shared some of his plans now that he’s retired, as well as stories about sponsor relationships that he built during his career. He talked about the importance of players having a good relationship with fans, and then backed it up by graciously stopping for selfies with attendees every few feet as he made his way off the stage. A few of his remarks:
    — “People want to connect off the field. I take that very personally. When we go to a school, the way the kids look up at us has a major impact.”
    — When his kids play sports, “People always expect them to be like me, or even better. One thing I worry the most about my kids is to make sure they are well educated. That opens up so many doors.”
    — On helping players develop in his home country, the Dominican Republic: “You want to make sure they understand that just because you got signed by a ball club doesn’t mean that you made it.”

    MARATHON MOMENT: By the way, we mentioned yesterday that Symposium sponsor Omnigon was asking attendees to vote on the top moment in Ortiz’s momentous career. The winner: the heart-felt speech he made in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

    THUMBS UP ON TRUMP: Among those in the room delighted with the outcome, no one was beaming more than longtime GOP-er John Tatum of Genesco Sports Enterprises. He came to the conference bearing a large Trump button on his sports coat. 

    VIP DINNER: Momentum Worldwide and SBJ/SBD hosted about 60 people last night at Tender Steak and Sushi, a few blocks from the Crowne Plaza. It was a great gathering in a trendy but comfortable space, and it felt like everyone was ready to relax and unwind after the events of the previous 24 hours. The crowd was welcomed by SBJ/SBD’s Weiss and Momentum’s McNulty, who then turned it over to Tullamore D.E.W. brand ambassador Tim Herlihy, who in turn guided the crowd through a pre-dinner toast with some of Tullamore’s Irish whiskey. (That whiskey was also a big hit for ALL of our attendees during the afternoon break yesterday.) Everyone at the dinner left with a gift back that included a Tullamore shot glass and ‘Good Book’ — a book with pages cut out to hide a flask. On the menu: Spicy yellowtail tuna roll, truffle tagliatelle, Atlantic salmon, sirloin steak, chocolate mousse and fresh berries with whipped cream.

    ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS: By the way, for some of you wondering about the relationship between Irish whiskey and the Symposium: Tullamore D.E.W. is one of the brands owned by William Grant & Sons, which in turn is a client of Symposium title sponsor Momentum Worldwide. 

    SEATS FROM SEATERS: There was plenty of interest in the giveaway by conference sponsor Seaters, which awarded tickets to three events this week to lucky winners from the Symposium crowd. The PGA Tour’s Nelson Silverio won the tickets to Tuesday night’s Rangers-Canucks matchup. Kevin Dent  from Tough Mudder won tickets to Hamilton, and rumor has it he was giving them to his wife as a birthday present. We’ll let you know who won tickets to the Nets-Knicks game.

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: All the information you need about the conference — agenda, speakers, venue, etc. — can be found in the conference app and the program guide. You can download the app from the iTunes store or Google Play store by following this link, and you can use any device to view our digital program guide.

    YOUR THOUGHTS MATTER: If you’re in the room today, we hope you’ll contribute to the conversation. You can send questions to our session moderators by using the SMS app or by texting SBJSBD to 22-333.

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: Follow all of our social media posts throughout the conference from our Twitter handle, @SBJSBD, and using the hashtag #sbjsms. Be sure to also follow Momentum’s #fansourced hashtag.
    Many thanks to frequent tweeters Russell Scibetti – @rscibetti; John Michael Perla - @johnmikenyc; and Susy Castillo - @SusyCastillo.

    A few of the tweets we liked:
    @kyleanelson: Such an honor to speak about @davidortiz's social brand at #sbjsms.
    @Walkon12GoBlue: Fascinating panel discussion on reaching millennials & the intersection of traditional and non traditional sports content
    @cannonjw: Had the chance to have lunch w/ #sportsbiz legend @ponturo at #sbjsms today. Great stories. Can't wait for that guy to write a book one day.
    @rscibetti: Enjoyed getting to chat w/ Husdon White of @BuffDudes on how they started, maintaining authenticity & using fan feedback
    @Jazzzyfreshhh: Great discussion on how to amplify convos outside of the game window and advertisers being integrated in new ways

    HOT CONTACTS: Finally, if you haven’t given our Resource Guide LIVE a try, sign up at our booth for a personal demo and a chance to win a full year of our continually updated sports business executive and company contact list.

    Tags: GE, ING, ATT, Ugg, Marketing Symposium, NTRA, Audi, CES
  • Live from New York: After election shocker, SMS turns to sports business

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    Is it more shocking than Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson in 1990? Or Jets over Colts in Super Bowl III? Or the Giants over the Patriots in 2008? Last night's win by Donald Trump will be compared to the greatest upsets of all time. See the New York tabloids: N.Y. POST; N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Also, the nationals: WASHINGTON POST, N.Y. TIMES, WSJ, L.A. TIMES.

    NEW YORK STORY: What a night. We’ve had a LOT of events in New York City over our nearly two decades of hosting conferences, but we can’t recall another night as emotionally charged, tense and on edge as last night. The city seemed to be on “high alert” all day, with jammed streets in midtown, security personnel with guns everywhere, and large trucks that we were told were dropping huge bags of sand near the Trump Tower and The Peninsula Hotel (where Hillary Clinton was staying). Scores of media crews lined 6th Avenue around the Hilton hotel (Trump’s election-night HQ) and entire blocks had an almost surreal feel. Into the evening, as polls closed across the country and results started to roll in, the streets seemed relatively empty for New York, though thousands of people were packed into NBC’s Democracy Plaza, watching election results on two huge television screens surrounded by American flags and in the shadow of a Rockefeller Center building bathed in red, white and blue. We’re sports people. We should be used to dramatic, surprising endings, right?

    SPORTS ON THE BALLOT: Yesterday’s election was about more than who gets to live in the White House. Voters in San Diego appear to have handed the Chargers stadium initiative a resounding defeat, leaving the team and the NFL with some decisions to make. In Arlington, Texas, though, it looks like the Rangers got the nod that should put them another step closer to a new ballpark and surrounding entertainment district.

    WE NOW INTERRUPT THE ELECTION FOR .... SPORTS BUSINESS: It's hard to make a natural pivot from one of the seismic elections in the history of global politics to our 2016 Momentum Sports Marketing Symposium, but here goes. One theme that will come up - in this day of more specific data and analytics, how did every major mainstream news and data outlet get this election wrong? As GOP pollster Mike Murphy tweeted: "Data died tonight.” Or, per Mark Halperin: “Data may not be dead. But bad data should be dead.”

    THE "FAN-FIRST FUTURE": That's the theme of the conference – how fans will control their sports experience to a greater degree in the future. That's how the event will kick off with an address from Momentum Worldwide CMO Kevin McNulty, and the always-engaging Dr. Rich Luker will elaborate on that theme by looking at trends he is seeing in how fan engagement will change in the next decade. Luker, by the way, has said he doesn’t believe the NFL’s ratings troubles this year can be attributed to the presidential election. We’ll see if he still holds that belief after the results that we all saw last night. The morning will end with three straight sessions: a table-setter that looks at a cross-section of sports and the issues that top executives are concerned about; a look at how millennials are watching sports (no, not a new topic!); and finally an examination of the various platforms that consumers are engaging with to get their sports fix. 

    A QUICK LISTEN: For more on what to expect today, check out this quick podcast from SBJSBD’s Abe Madkour, Terry Lefton and Ross Nethery. An excerpt from Lefton: “I don’t know anyone under 20 or 25 that watches a whole game anymore. That would suggest a redefinition of the entire business. I think marketers know how powerful digital and social are. In terms of harnessing them, they might not be there yet but they need to get there and figure out how to combine the power of sports with digital and social to get their message across.”

    HOPE YOU'RE RESTED AND READY: Despite a lot of bleary eyes from a late night of watching election results, attendees should be ready for a full day. We’ve got eleven sessions, not including the networking breaks and receptions. So saddle up for a long, but productive, ride.

    BIG PAPI IN THE HOUSE: There are too many to list -- pressure filled moments where David Ortiz delivered time and again for the Red Sox. We remember his game-winning home run off Yankees reliever Paul Quantrill to spark the Red Sox' historic comeback in 2004. And the next night when he hit another game winner to take the series back to the Bronx. You also can't forget Ortiz hitting a dramatic game-tying grand slam in the 2013 ALCS into Boston's bullpen that led to Boston police officer Steve Horgan raising his arms in celebration. And who could forget his words to the city of Boston after the Marathon bombing and his emotional farewell last month at Fenway Park. Whatever the moment, Big Papi always seemed to step up – and we expect him to deliver again when he and his agent, Alex Radetsky chat with SBJ/SBD’s Lefton about athletes building their brand.  Should be a fun one, and, yes, expect some form of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” to play throughout the day.

    If you want a quick refresher on Ortiz’s career, check out his most memorable moments from MLB.com, and his 10 defining moments from the Boston Herald.

    WHAT’S YOUR ‘BEST MOMENT’?: In honor of Ortiz joining us at the conference, sponsor Omnigon has created a poll showcasing 14 of his best career moments. Stop by their booth to vote, and drop off a business card for a chance to win a week using their new PollPro fan engagement platform.

    GAME RESULTS: Though most eyes were on the election, there were some games that NY-area residents were watching. The Devils beat Carolina 3-2, while the Canucks took the Rangers 5-3. And in the NBA, the Nets beat Minnesota 119-110.

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: All the information you need about the conference — agenda, speakers, venue, etc. — can be found in the conference app and the program guide. You can download the app from the iTunes store or Google Play store by following this link, and you can use any device to view our digital program guide.

    YOUR THOUGHTS MATTER: If you’re in the room today, we hope you’ll contribute to the conversation. You can send questions to our session moderators by using the SMS app or by texting SBJSBD to 22-333.

    SOCIAL ANIMALS: Follow all of our social media posts throughout the conference from our Twitter handle, @SBJSBD, and using the hashtag #sbjsms. Be sure to also follow Momentum’s #fansourced hashtag.

    The social action got started early for this one, with title sponsor Momentum Worldwide tweeting out a variety of poll results and questions that had fans weighing in. Here’s a sample: 
    @MomentumWW: Sports fans welcome brands but say brands don't care about them Let's fix it. Join the discussion @ our Sports Symposium.
    That drew responses such as:
    @DanaLovesRacing: Curious if #NASCAR fans feel that sponsor don't care about them.  What say you??
    @usmckennysgt: in general I think NASCAR sponsors are in it for them not fans advertising but a few sponsors really do care about fans
    Which in turn drew this response from Camping World CEO @marcuslemonis: What a bummer that people think this.

    Help us keep the conversation going today and we’ll recap some of the best posts in tomorrow’s email.

    In addition, check out conference sponsor Twitter’s social feed in the exhibit area outside the ballroom. We’ll also be putting select posts on the main ballroom screen throughout the day. And Twitter will have a selfie mirror on hand for attendees to test drive.

    CAUGHT ON VIDEO: We’ll also be posting links to a series of videos that Momentum will do today on a studio set they have created just outside of the ballroom. They’ll be talking to prominent speakers, attendees and moderators. We’ll keep you posted as those are done and become available. And we’ll be showing vignettes in the ballroom throughout the day that Momentum recorded with fans talking about how they feel about sports, athletes and sponsors.

    HOT TICKETS: Our gold sponsor, Seaters, works with teams and their sponsors to drive a higher ROI on every seat. Talk to them at the Seaters booth and, while you’re there, get your name on the list to win Hamilton tickets for Thursday night. SMS attendees who signed up early using the link in our previous emails (you did do that, didn’t you?) already had the chance to win seats to last night’s Rangers/Canucks game and tonights Knicks/Nets tilt.

    SIGNED BY THE CAPTAIN: The Players' Tribune, sponsor of today’s networking reception at 5:30, will be giving away signed Derek Jeter baseballs to a couple of lucky winners. Drop off your card at one of the bars, and then show up tomorrow morning to find out if you’re a winner.

    STRAIGHT FROM IRELAND: Tullamore D.E.W. is our afternoon break sponsor. They are doing an Irish whiskey tasting in the ballroom, facilitated by Tim Herlihy, Tullamore’s brand ambassador from Ireland. We know that 3:45 is a little early in the day, but it will be 5 o’clock somewhere.

    HOT CONTACTS: Finally, if you haven’t given our Resource Guide LIVE a try, sign up at our booth for a personal demo and a chance to win a full year of our continually updated sports business executive and company contact list.

    Tags: ING, Super Bowl, UPS, CES, Ally, GE, SEC, Ping, Media, NBC
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