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Volume 26 No. 46
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Sports Business Daily Founder Jeffrey Pollack Reflects On 25 Years

The founders of SBD back in 2013: (l-r) David Abrutyn, Jeffrey Pollack, Chuck Todd, Steve Bilafer and Abe Madkour
Photo: marc bryan-brown

THE DAILY published its first edition 25 years ago today, and JEFFREY POLLACK had the idea that started it all. In the early '90s, Pollack, now President & COO of the XFL, worked as a political consultant, but had MLB as a client and began to pay closer attention to the sports industry. What he saw was a "fledgling industry with no real infrastructure for the exchange of business information," so he set out to change it. Since leaving the Daily in '98, Pollack has gone on to hold many roles in the sports world, including roles with the NBA, NASCAR and the Chargers. Pollack said, "The Daily is still part of my morning routine. I have not missed reading an issue in 25 years."

Q: What first inspired the idea for the Daily?
Pollack: Lightning struck on a flight from LAX to JFK. I had a copy of Variety, a copy of Sports Illustrated, and at least one scotch in me. I hypothesized that, not only was sports a business, but very much an entertainment business. And, if that was the case, where was the Variety of sports? Where was the daily trade publication to connect the people that work in the industry and fuel a marketplace of ideas? I did some research, couldn't find what I was looking for, and the core idea for the Daily was pretty much fully inspired and set.

Q: How did the first iterations of the Daily come about?
Pollack: The doors to Digital Sports Network, which was the company I created to launch the Daily, opened on Feb. 14, 1994. My partner in the venture was DOUG BAILEY, who was not only a political consultant, but also the founder of another company called the American Political Network. They were in the business of publishing daily electronic trade publications for the political industry, so we tapped into their platform, publishing model and technology. The internet as we know it today, email and mobile communications, social media and other digital platforms, was all still a dream. It's also worth noting four other key players in our launch: STEVE BILAFER was our founding editor, CHUCK TODD was our assistant editor, ABE MADKOUR was a staff writer and DAVID ABRUTYN was our head of marketing. Three of those names are well-known to your readers; the first name is one that deserves to be.

Q: How has the Daily met your expectations?
Pollack: My goal was simple: be of service, help wire up the industry to talk itself, and promote a greater sense of connectivity and identity. I think that's been accomplished. And, when you look at the proliferation of sports business news and information services over the past 25 years, there's no doubt that the sports industry is fully connected with a strong sense of self. While the news of the day and the substance of each issue has changed, the structure of the Daily today is essentially what we launched 25 years ago, and it's stood the test of time. I imagine it will all look a lot different 25 years from now. I'll be proud of whatever it becomes -- as long as the brand continues to stand for trust, truth and connection.