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Volume 23 No. 8
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News, notes and plans from SBJ’s home office

This is the final week to submit nominations for the 2020 Sports Business Awards. A couple of key elements to please keep in mind: As you prepare to submit your entries, please make sure you carefully review all the criteria and answer the questions as specifically as you can. There are two parts to this request that can significantly enhance or hurt your submission: One, please do your best to answer when we ask about business results, impact and comprehensive data on ROO or ROI and corresponding sales. This information is strictly off-the-record, and a failure to provide such insight could greatly affect both internal and external review of your submission. Over the years, I’ve sat in a number of meetings where judges have cited the blatant avoidance of answering the actual questions and the lack of specific details in an otherwise impressive submission as a reason for it being tabled or rejected.

Here is a bit on the process: After all entries are received, an internal group of SBJ judges will review the entries and put forth nominations in the 17 categories, which will be announced on March 16. Then a group of outside judges will deliberate in early May and winners will be announced at our gala event on Wednesday, May 20, in New York. It’s always one of the biggest nights in sports business, so plan to be there. Do you have the time and energy to meet the rigors of being a judge for the awards? If so, please let me know — we’re always looking for smart, thoughtful executives who love to discuss and debate around some interesting categories in sports business.

Also at the Sports Business Awards, we present our Celebration of Service award, which honors an organization that increases social awareness and imparts positive change through the power of sports. Since 2017, SBJ has recognized three nonprofit organizations that have drastically improved the communities they serve: the Homeless World Cup, which has helped over 1 million homeless people across the world by structuring and building relationships through soccer; PeacePlayers International, which has reached over 75,000 youth with various educational, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds and builds future leaders through sports; and PowerPlay NYC, which affords young girls of color the opportunity to participate in sports while also instilling health and wellness and leadership development programs. Please help us by sharing an organization that you believe is worthy of our consideration. It is one of the most important recognitions we offer all year.

WE’RE GROWING: As you may have noticed, we are embarking on a number of exciting changes here at SBJ. To that end, we are making investments in many areas, and looking to bring on more and more talent. We currently have openings for more than 10 positions across our organization — in sales, marketing, event activation and planning, digital production and in our newsroom. All of our openings are posted on our LinkedIn page as well as our website, and we encourage you to check them out and spread the word in your network. We’re growing and are looking for dynamic and smart self-starters to join us.

FUTURE FORWARD: Our 2020 editorial calendar has been posted, so please download it for future planning. One of our editorial efforts — a four-part series looking at the future of sports — kicks off this week. We are constantly asked about what the future sports experience will look like and what the future of fandom and engagement will be, so we are talking to a lot of smart people who spend a lot of time studying the future in putting together a compelling package. I really enjoyed our first installment this week on the future fan and welcome your questions, thoughts and comments as we continue looking at the opportunities ahead for the sports industry.

FEEDBACK WELCOME: A final point — recently in a meeting, a longtime reader was giving me an earful of where they felt we missed the point on a story. It was a serious yet very respectful conversation. At the end, I suggested they share their points with our readers in a letter that we’d run in SBJ. They acted surprised with the offer and hadn’t thought that the opportunity existed. Well, it does. Our pages can serve as a platform for thoughtful, yet direct and pointed discussion, and we encourage all of you to reach out if you want to share a particular point of view on issues in the news. 

Abraham Madkour can be reached at