On Wednesday, May 24, nearly 1,000 people will descend on the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square for the 10th annual Sports Business Awards, presented by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily. That evening, winners will be announced in 17 categories consisting of 87 nominees. The nominees were selected by the editorial staff of SportsBusiness Journal/Daily and were announced in March. Over May 9 and 10, a group of 16 independent judges convened in SportsBusiness Journal’s New York City offices to debate, deliberate and vote for the winners in 15 of the categories. The judges spent a great deal of time and effort preparing for these discussions and commented on how challenging the process was of selecting one winner in each category. The judges will be publicly recognized at this week’s awards show and in next week’s issue wrapping up the event. Two categories, Athletic Director of the Year and Executive of the Year, are chosen solely by the editorial staff of SBJ/SBD. The award winners were not shared with the judges or notified prior to this week’s awards gala — they will be made public for the first time at the event.
Also during the evening, the SBJ/SBD Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who will be introduced by his longtime friend Al Michaels. The inaugural Celebration of Service award, chosen by SBJ/SBD, will be presented to longtime social activist Mel Young, president and co-founder of the Homeless World Cup. Another event highlight will see former NBC Sports Chair Dick Ebersol, the only recipient of both the Executive of the Year Award (2009) and Lifetime Achievement Award (2015), presenting the final award of the evening, the 2017 Executive of the Year.
Nine years ago, guests arrived at the Mandarin Oriental, New York for the inaugural Sports Business Awards, which drew roughly 400 executives curious about this new event. The ceremony started with then-Anheuser-Busch executive Tony Ponturo taking the stage to award the first SBA in history — for Team of the Year. The winner was the Boston Red Sox, and team owner John Henry, President Larry Lucchino and executives Mike Dee, Sam Kennedy and Susan Goodenow all took the stage. Since then, 133 awards have been presented over the nine years, honoring excellence in sports business. Some were expected, some were huge upsets and surprises. It’s been gratifying to recognize all 326 companies, teams, leagues, events, facilities and people that have received 656 nominations over nine years, and we promise our dedicated commitment and effort to continue to make these awards aspirational in the future.
First Look podcast, with SBA discussion beginning at the 12:20 mark: