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Volume 27 No. 7
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Diving Into The Sports Industry Working Through Coronavirus

SBJ brought the sports industry together yesterday at the CAA World Congress Comes To You virtual conference, with prominent execs detailing how they've been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Below are highlights from some of the discussions. Read more from those conversations in last night's "SBJ Unpacks" newsletter.

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev VP/Partnerships, Beer Culture & Community Nick Kelly praised his company's league and team partners during this time of uncertainty for “over-communicating everything” to the brewer in regard to their situation. “They’ve been extremely responsive and proactively calling us and telling us, ‘Hey, I just don’t know,’” Kelly said. That smooth process has been helpful in providing guidance, he added, because league officials are “learning it at the same time we’re learning it."
  • Riot Games Head of Global Esports Partnerships & Business Development Naz Aletaha noted her company was “one of the first” to be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, “because we own and operate a very large league out in China.” Aletaha said that after Riot's League of Legends competition was suspended in late January, the game publisher "quickly realized, just globally, that this was going to be a situation that would likely expand to other regions, if not all regions.” Aletaha: "We knew it was something we needed to prepare for, and because our leagues are set up in such a globally integrated way, we quickly were able to share best practices."
  • Tepper Sports & Entertainment President Tom Glick, whose company operates the NFL's Panthers and expansion MLS Charlotte club, believes that while the sports industry is coming up with creative at-home viewing experiences during this pandemic, those innovations "cannot be at the expense of the live event" once sports returns. “We're social animals, sports are shared experiences," Glick said. "It's about being part of memories with friends, with family. I don't see that changing and I see people investing more money in experiences going forward.”