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Volume 24 No. 160
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Welcome To The New Age: Young Business Leaders Touch On Top Industry Issues

Several young business leaders took the stage as part of the “New Guard” panel to open Day 2 of the '16 CAA World Congress of Sports. Here are excerpts from the conversation:

STREAMING GOALS: Red Sox President Sam Kennedy said the club and sister operation NESN continue to press on reaching a deal to provide live in-market streaming of the club’s games. Fox Sports has a deal with MLBAM to offer such streaming for the 15 clubs to which it holds local rights. But other distributors have not yet followed. “We’ve got to break the logjam on local streaming and have an authenticated solution,” said Kennedy. “And we’re working on that.”

PHONE CALLS STILL MATTER: Despite the advent of new communications platforms and the ongoing rise of social platforms, there remains no substitute for old-fashioned, traditional sales calling via telephone and in-person meetings. “You’re not going to make a sale over text message or Twitter,” Kennedy said. Added CAA Sports Head of Global Sales Paul Danforth, “We do business with people. You need to pick up the phone. There’s too much done over email.”

MILLENNIAL MINDSET: AEG Chief Revenue Officer Todd Goldstein said the work ethic of young millennial staffers is strong, but that segment carries a different mentality toward moving to different jobs than their predecessors. “Work ethic isn’t the issue,” he said, “but loyalty is. There is a different mindset about staying in a particular job.”

DIVERSITY STILL LACKING: Opportunities for women in the sports industry are quickly improving, but much more work remains to approach any sense of true parity. “When we started in this business, it was all white men,” Danforth said. “It’s a lot better now, and maybe 30 [or] 40 percent of our sales team now are women. We’re making progress, but we still need to do better.” Added ESPN Senior VP/espnW & Women's Initiatives Laura Gentile, "You have to keep working at diversity. It requires continual effort.”