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Volume 22 No. 18
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Forum: Spirit of innovation will continue to guide SBJ/SBD

It was a successful week in Dana Point, Calif., where we held our 18th annual World Congress of Sports and celebrated the 20th anniversary of Forty Under 40 with a gala event at the Monarch Beach Resort. These two programs are just a sample of the successful traditions that have been established by our sports business group since it was founded in 1998. I was humbled and excited to be named publisher and executive editor of both Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily earlier this month, and I look forward to building on the programs started by many, including my predecessor, founding publisher Richard Weiss, as well as starting new traditions.

A spirit of innovation has defined Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily from the beginning. Our goal will continue to be to serve readers, advertisers and the entire sports business community. We will continue to provide best-in-class news and information, superior services and products, along with outstanding and educational conferences and events, all supported by exemplary customer service.

We know that our success depends on identifying the changing needs of our readers and partners and developing products and services that both inform and connect the various stakeholders in sports business. The recent and well-received launch of the SBJ Media and SBJ College newsletters by John Ourand, Michael Smith and Austin Karp are harbingers of the many innovations we will unveil in the coming months. You will see more emphasis on providing insightful audio and video content, on ramping up the content and networking opportunities around our conferences and events, greatly expanding our data and information services, and developing new marketing platforms that reflect the changing media habits of our audience.

The sports industry engages with our people and our products multiple times daily online, every week in print and at our 12 conferences and events. Our goal is to deepen that level of engagement and affinity. Your input has been invaluable, and that will be even more important as we move forward. All of us here at Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily look forward to continuing the conversation. As one of my mentors, American City founder Ray Shaw, often said: “Onward and upward.” I love what we’re building and where we are going, and I’m always eager to hear your thoughts, comments and questions.

CELEBRATION OF SERVICE: PowerPlay NYC will be honored with the Celebration of Service Award at the Sports Business Awards on May 22 in New York. As we attempt to shine light on organizations using the power of sports to improve society, we were struck by the efforts of PowerPlay NYC, which advances the lives of girls through sports.

There were many things that stood out to us about this group. The organization in New York City offers girls ages 6 to 21 the opportunity to learn a variety of sports. And, it’s inclusive — open to all girls regardless of ability level. In addition to the focus on sports, it features health and wellness and life skills curricula. The influence of sports on one’s personal growth can’t be overlooked and a consistent theme and data point we’ve seen over the years is that women who serve on corporate boards and in leadership positions often have participated in some form of sports.

PowerPlay NYC uses sports as the key driver to build confidence in inner-city girls, particularly urban girls of color, and connect them with after-school and summer programs and mentors. In essence, the organization offers young women opportunities — and encouragement — to play sports, two vital elements that drive participation. PowerPlay NYC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has a nearly 20-year history in partnering with schools and community-based organizations in all five boroughs of New York City on these after-school and summer programs emphasizing sports, education and wellness. The Brooklyn-based organization is overseen by board chair Kelly Sahner and President and CEO Vivian Santora.

This is the third year that Sports Business Journal/Daily have selected a Celebration of Service recipient. The inaugural honor went to the Homeless World Cup and was accepted by its co-founder Mel Young; last year’s award went to PeacePlayers International and was accepted by co-founder Brendan Tuohey.

Abraham Madkour can be reached at amadkour@sportsbusinessjournal.com.