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Session Facilitator: Charlie Besser

Founder, Chairman & CEO, Intersport

Charlie Besser is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Intersport, a Chicago-based Marketing & Media Solutions Company that helps their clients to create ideas, content and experiences that attract and engage passionate audiences. His Emmy Award-winning programming career includes the creation, production, distribution and packaging of thousands of hours of content across ABC, ESPN, CBS, Fox and NBC, as well as many prominent cable networks and digital platforms. Under his direction, Intersport has become a 20+-time Emmy Award winner in brand-integrated sports television, was named CynopsisDigital’s 2017 ‘Best Digital Studio/Production Company’, and has produced more than 40,000 digital videos for many of the world’s most recognized brands, including as the exclusive television content partner of the James Beard Foundation.

In 2003, Besser launched Intersport’s sponsorship and event marketing division, a group that now executes hundreds of events per year. Intersport has been a perennial finalist for the Sports Business Journal’s awards recognizing Best in Sports Event and Experiential Marketing and Best in Corporate Consulting. It also has been named to Event Marketer’s “It List” nine of the last 13 years. Intersport assists dozens of clients with sponsorship consulting and event activation on the biggest sports and entertainment stages such as the Super Bowl, World Series, PGA/LPGA TOUR, College Football Playoffs, NCAA Final Four, MLB All-Star Game, the NBA All-Star Game and Sundance Film Festival.

The Intersport Sports Properties division owns and operates stadium events across the country. The 3X3U National Championship, Fort Myers Tip-Off and the Injustice 2 Grand Finals are a few of Intersport’s latest nationally televised events. These events join a roster of well-established properties that include the College Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championships, High School Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championships, All-Star Football Challenge, College Home Run Derby, and Under Armour All-America Game. In 2019, Intersport’s Leadership division introduced the NaplesNEXT Ideas Festival where leading innovators, cultural provocateurs and policy experts across a myriad of fields addressed subjects of global and national importance.

Charlie lives in Chicago with his wife Rebecca and their five children. As a family, the Bessers are committed to many civic and charitable efforts, including Misericordia Heart of Mercy.  Charlie also serves on the Board of Managers of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago; the Board of Directors of The 100 Club of Chicago, and as a member of the Leaders Council of The Legal Services Corporation. In 2018, the Besser’s son, Brennan, and daughter, Rachel, founded Walk On! America, a national effort with two main objectives: to raise awareness and charitable donations to support the underserved Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) community. As a kick off to start a larger national conversation, Brennan (on bicycle) and Rachel embarked on a journey across the United States from Seattle to New York City in order to shine a spotlight on this community.

A graduate of Marquette University, Besser played varsity golf and received the prestigious McCahill Award as the university’s outstanding student athlete. He also is a graduate of Marquette University Law School.