James Pallotta is President and Chairman of Italian Serie A football club AS Roma as well as an executive board member of the Boston Celtics. Chairman and Managing Director of Raptor Group, which he founded in 2009, he also serves on the MIT Media Lab Advisory Council and is a board member of the Santa Fe Institute, MIT Center for Brains, Minds and Machines, Buoniconti Fund, Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, New Profit, Inc., and the American Academy in Rome. He is also a board member of Northeastern University. Mr. Pallotta received a BBA in Finance from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA with a concentration in accounting from Northeastern University.
Sean R.H. Bratches is an executive with three decades of leadership, management and operating experience in multi-billion-dollar businesses within the media, entertainment, and sports sectors. With a proven track record in brand building, sales, marketing and new product development, Bratches was named Managing Director of the Formula 1 Commercial Operations division in January 2017. Under Bratches, Formula 1 has introduced a completely new commercial proposition, focused on reimagining key partnerships with new and existing sponsors, broadcasters, race promoters, digital platforms and retail entities. Prior to joining Formula 1, Bratches spent 27 years with ESPN, rising to Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. His leadership fuelled tremendous growth in ESPN’s brand and revenue across two primary streams – advertising & sponsor sales and content licensing – and he also led the marketing, research and analytics, consumer products and events marketing divisions. A two-time Vanguard winner, Bratches served on the ESPN board of directors and a variety of industry boards, including CTAM, WICT, The Cable Center, the T. Howard Foundation and The Ad Council.
George Pyne is CEO of Bruin Sports Capital, which he founded in January 2015. Bruin specializes in developing high-growth, next-generation technology, sports, media, live events, marketing, and entertainment companies. He launched Bruin on the strength of a 25-year track record of business transformation on behalf of IMG, NASCAR and Portman Companies. Today Bruin spans five continents and its platforms are relied upon by virtually every major sports league, governing body, rights holder and blue-chip brand to help transform their businesses during this era of disruption. Billions of sports fans worldwide are connected to their favourite sport through its companies.
Nationally renowned sports and entertainment executive Max Siegel became the fourth CEO of USA Track & Field in 2012. He has led USATF to financial growth and programmatic evolution that are unprecedented in the Olympic family. Among the new partnerships driving USATF’s growth and new business model is a landmark 2014 deal with Nike that drew the attention of the national and international sports business communities.
As the owner of Rev Racing since 2010, Siegel has led NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity (D4D) program to bring more multicultural and female talent to the sport, advancing it from a fledging effort into a competitive juggernaut on the racetrack.
He previously served as President of Global Operations at Dale Earnhardt Inc., Senior Vice President at Sony/BMG and as President of Zomba Gospel, Tommy Boy Gospel and Verity Records.
Siegel is a former director on the boards of USATF and the USA Swimming Foundation. He has created literary, television and film properties, including the 2010 BET Networks series “Changing Lanes”, and the 2011 ESPN documentary, “Wendell Scott: A Race Story.” Siegel also is the author of three books.
The first African-American to graduate with honors from Notre Dame Law School, Siegel is a native of Indianapolis.
Larry Scott is the Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference. Throughout his career as a student-athlete, professional tennis player and sports executive, Scott has been a game changer: a bold, innovative leader with a vision for transformative change – from the expansion and revitalization of the Pac-12 to equal prize money at Wimbledon. Prior to joining the Pac-12, Scott served as CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association as well as COO of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP Tour). Scott is a recipient of the Americanism Award for embodiment of the best of American values and morals in 2013 from the Anti-Defamation League. [He is also the founder and chair of the Sports Industry Leadership Council for the ADL.] Scott graduated from Harvard University with a BA degree in 1986. Commissioner Scott’s firm belief that sport has the power to be a force for positive change has been the hallmark of his career.
Terrence Burns is the EVP Global Sports of Engine Shop. He began his career managing Delta Air Lines’ sponsorship of the 1996 Atlanta Games. After the Games, he served as SVP Marketing of Meridian Management SA, the IOC’s in-house marketing and sponsorship agency, where he helped pioneer the first-ever global positioning of the Olympic brand. Since 2001 he has worked with a variety of Olympic clients, including five winning Olympic bid campaigns (Beijing 2008, Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014, Pyeongchang 2018 and LA 2028), the Russia 2018 and United 2026 Fifa World Cup bids, and golf and wrestling’s return to the Olympic program. Burns has worked with dozens of Olympic sponsors, creating new Olympic categories, negotiating sponsorship rights agreements, and developing sponsorship marketing and activation plans.
Eelco has 20 years’ experience in global marketing, most recently as Head of Experiential Marketing at the world’s largest brewer, AB InBev. Previously, he was Head of Marketing at Fifa, the world governing body of football, and held senior marketing positions at leading global brands including MasterCard and Canon. At AB InBev, he oversees the company’s global portfolio for sports and music. A native of the Netherlands and a 1987 graduate of the Institute for Business Administration & Economics in Rotterdam, Eelco speaks Dutch, English and German. He resides with his wife and two children in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Xavier O’Callaghan’s professional career has always been based at FC Barcelona, starting as a player on the handball team, where he won over 50 titles, including six Copas del Rey, seven European Cups, and eight League Championships, as well as competing in the Olympics on multiple occasions and earning a bronze medal at Sydney 2000. After 15 years as a player, O’Callaghan moved to the management side of the club, where he has acted as a Manager for the club’s handball, futsal, and roller hockey teams before moving into his current position as the Managing Director of the Americas. In addition to his career at FC Barcelona, O’Callaghan has earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Barcelona, an Executive MBA in Sports Management from La Salle at the Ramon Llull University, and he currently holds several titles within the European Handball Federation.
With more than 25 years’ experience as an innovative sports marketing leader, Mark Lev is an expert in developing high-impact, revenue-driving business opportunities for blue-chip brands and athletes.
As President of Fenway Sports Management, Lev is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company and works closely with Sam Kennedy in setting its strategic goals and direction. He has been intimately involved with many of FSM’s major business dealings, including its unique partnership with NBA superstar LeBron James. He has also been an integral part in bringing many major special events to Fenway Park, such as the AIG Hurling and Irish Festival, Football at Fenway, Polartec Big Air, and Citi Frozen Fenway.
Additionally, Lev has been instrumental in securing many high profile sponsorship deals for Fenway Sports Group-owned properties, including Warrior Sports’ then record-setting kit deal with Liverpool Football Club, which marked the US-based sports equipment, apparel and footwear company’s expansion into the global sports sponsorship arena.
Michael Zavodsky has risen quickly through the ranks within the BSE Global (BSE) organization. Starting as an intern to CEO Brett Yormark in May 2005, Zavodsky has held his current position as Chief Revenue Officer since January 2018. Zavodsky oversees the ticketing, suites, sponsorship sales, and partnership marketing departments for all of BSE’s venues and businesses, including Barclays Center; the Brooklyn Nets, as well as its HSS Training Center and its G League team, the Long Island Nets; the New York Islanders; NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum; and Webster Hall. Zavodsky attended Quinnipiac University and has received the Distinguished Alumni Award, the youngest recipient in the university’s history. The New Jersey native currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
As VP, Director of Sponsorship for Citizens Bank, Sean implemented the first consistent and quantitative approach to evaluating the bank’s sponsorships to ensure they are achieving business and marketing goals and supporting the community. He oversees a large portfolio including Citizens Bank Park, the Detroit Grand Prix and an extensive partnership with Live Nation. Sean started his sports career with the New York Yankees where he worked directly for famed owner, George Steinbrenner. He subsequently ran Northeast sponsorships on behalf of General Motors, and coauthored the company’s official approach and policies related to negotiation of sports sponsorships.
In addition to his sports and entertainment experience, Sean has an extensive hospitality and operations background which includes ownership of a portfolio of franchised and independent restaurant and fitness concepts. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s from Columbia University. He resides in the Boston area.
Jennifer van Dijk re-joined Wasserman in 2018 and serves as Executive Vice President of Marketing. Following a two-year role as Chief Strategy Officer and Vice President of Partnerships for the LA Clippers, van Dijk returned to Wasserman to lead the Marketing group’s client digital revenue strategy and new digital initiatives.
van Dijk has curated her skills over her career to benefit sports rights holders, brands and platforms to help them understand and create engaging ways to capitalize on revenue opportunities. With the LA Clippers, van Dijk led the corporate partnerships sales team through the jersey patch sales process, culminating in a one of a kind partnership with Bumble, a woman led dating and networking platform.
Prior to her role with the Clippers, van Dijk served as Vice President, Team Marketing & Business Operations at the NBA. In this role, she was responsible for the development of best practices and toolkits for all 30 NBA teams in the areas of sponsorship and digital content.
During van Dijk’s first stint at Wasserman, she most recently served as Senior Vice President, Digital, leading a team of executives and staff to define and drive the agency proposition across digital sports content and services. Prior to Wasserman, van Dijk spent nine years at IMG, where she created digital media business models and proprietary assets that enhanced existing IMG businesses and defined new areas of opportunity.
van Dijk holds a B.A. in political science from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She is also a commercial drone pilot and currently resides in Los Angeles.
Sophie Goldschmidt is CEO at the World Surf League, the global home of surfing. Throughout her career, she has been at the forefront of globalizing professional sports, always driving innovation, while holding leadership and commercial roles at the NBA, the WTA, Rugby Football Union (RFU) and CSM. She reflects what she believes in: progressive and innovative at all times, to be market leading. Most recently Sophie led the way for the WSL’s September 2018 announcement that it will award equal prize money to female and male athletes for every WSL-controlled event from 2019 onward, becoming the only US-based global sports league to achieve prize money equality. At the NBA and RFU, she led many groundbreaking commercial deals including one of the largest sponsorship deals in the history of women’s sports. Sophie has been recognized by both Forbes and Adweek as one of the most powerful women in global sports.
Charles Baker’s corporate practice encompasses mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and venture capital transactions, with a core focus in the sports, media and consumer sectors. Baker has represented buyers and sellers of sports franchises in the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and many of the European football leagues. Most recently, Baker represented David Tepper, founder and president of global hedge fund Appaloosa Management, in his acquisition of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Baker has been featured by dozens of national publications and other media outlets as a thought leader in the fields of sports and entertainment law, and is also a frequent public speaker on those topics. He appeared at the SportBusiness Summit in 2018, and we are delighted to have him speak again at the first Sports Decision Makers Summit.
Stephen is Managing Director and Co-Founder of 23 Capital. 23 is a capital and solutions company focused exclusively on the sports, music and entertainment sectors. Since inception in 2014, 23 has deployed and advised on over $2.7bn of transactions. As a specialty finance platform, 23 Capital participates in transactions across the capital structure and employs multiple financing strategies ranging from passive IP lending and project finance transactions, to highly structured corporate facilities. 23 has committed and partnership capital of over $2bn to invest across the SM&E sectors and has recently played a pivotal role in the creation and evolution of OTRO via its funding partnerships.
Prior to founding 23, Stephen worked with the Olympic Games, IMG and SFX, after which he went into private consultancy, culminating in his launch of 23 with Jason Traub. Stephen has worked with many of the world’s leading athletes, music artists, entertainers and brands, and advised on or structured more than 100 transactions across the sector before launching 23. Additionally, Stephen undertook a Masters in Sports Business and Management.
Colin Neville is a Managing Director at Raine and joined the firm as a founding member in 2009. The Raine Group is a global merchant bank focused exclusively on technology, media, and telecommunications, with over $3bn of assets under management. Colin works across Raine’s verticals and leads the firm’s sports platform. He helped lead Raine’s investments in DraftKings, Premier Lacrosse League, Beachbody, Olo, Zumba Fitness and Jagex. In addition Colin has worked on a variety of advisory assignments including the sale of the UFC, Fanatics’ $1bn capital raise from the NFL, MLB and SoftBank, the acquisition of Inter Miami CF, the sale of DC United, City Football Group’s sale of a minority interest to China Media Capital and Steve Ballmer’s purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers. Colin works extensively with leagues and teams, technology, data services and media businesses across the sports landscape. In 2016 Sports Business Journal named Colin a recipient of its Forty Under 40 Award. In 2015, M&A Advisor recognized Colin as a 40 Under 40 Emerging Leader in the Dealmaker Category. Colin has a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University.
The CEO of Elevate Sports Ventures, Al Guido was selected from among the industry’s most respected executives to lead a sports and entertainment agency unparalleled in resources, experience and innovation. A 20-year veteran of the NFL, NHL and NBA, Guido is the acting President of the San Francisco 49ers, overseeing business operations for the five-time Super Bowl-winning franchise. Guido’s emphasis on venue build, renovation and analytics, coupled with his record-breaking sales expertise, has earned him both international and industry recognition, including being named to Leaders in Sport’s renowned, global “Leaders Under 40” list and twice named to Sports Business Journal’s acclaimed “Forty Under 40” list.
Guido played a critical role in the planning, development and now management of Levi’s Stadium, which holds the distinction of hosting more concerts, sports and special events than any other NFL venue. Under Guido’s leadership, Levi’s Stadium has become one of the most decorated venues in professional sports and entertainment today, earning notable international awards for excellence in technology, sustainability and customer service.
Before joining the 49ers, Guido held senior leadership roles with Legends and the Dallas Cowboys, the Phoenix Coyotes, Comcast Spectacor and the Lakewood Blueclaws.
Craig Duncan has spent most of his career helping sports and entertainment organizations improve their business through the use of data, analytics, and mobile technology. Today he is chief revenue officer at Venuetize, a mobile platform and a service company that helps personalize and monetize the fan journey and game day experience. Prior to his current role, Duncan spent over three years at Mastercard, where he ran global partnerships for their data and analytics division. Duncan also spent five years at SAS Institute, where he successfully launched and led the SAS for Sports analytics division. He resides in the Boston, Massachusetts area and is a founding member of the Boston Venture Community Sports group, which is dedicated to bringing together thought leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs from the sports and tech industries.
Tyler Schrodt is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Electronic Gaming Federation, Inc.,(EGF).
EGF is the leading provider of amateur e-sports leagues to scholastic (high school) and collegiate students in the United States. EGF functions as a nexus between the NCAA as an athletic sanctioning body with the traditional professional sports league with a media component. Today EGF operates high school leagues in 13 states across the USA and is building the definitive varsity league for Division 1 colleges and universities, particularly those universities in the traditional Power 5 conferences.
Most recently, The Ohio State University joined EGF as a member of EGFC, EGF’s collegiate league, which is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2019. In addition to operating its e-sports leagues, EGF will be responsible for monetizing the member schools’ commercial rights through its in-house agency, EGFA.
As EGF gears up for the launch of EGFC this fall, the company has recently been joined by several key partners, including Gravity (a member of the Dentsu-Aegis network), as marketing partner, Arent Fox LLP and Loeb & Loeb LLP, as legal partners. Phoenicia Sport and Entertainment consulting is developing a commercial rights and licensing plan and along with EGF will be making announcements the summer of 2019 regarding media charter partners and licensees for the Fall Season.
Bobby Sharma is Founding Partner of Electronic Sports Group, an industry-leading esports advisory firm; Partner at GACP Sports, a private equity firm focused on European soccer; and Special Adviser to the Sports Industry Team at Foley & Lardner LLP. Sharma was previously SVP, Global Head of Basketball & Strategic Initiatives at IMG, having led the growth of many strategic corporate interests around the world, including the creation, development, and management of basketball, soccer, and cricket properties, with a focus on major emerging markets. Prior to that, Sharma was VP & General Counsel of the NBA Development League for nearly a decade, helping lead the establishment of the National Basketball Association’s first minor league. Sharma also practiced law with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. He is a graduate of Duke University, Duke Law School, and the Harvard Business School executive program on the Business of Entertainment, Media & Sports.
The philosophy of Vlad Marinescu, current president of USeF and board member of IeSF, former Director General of GAISF (SportAccord) can be summed up as: ”combining love and passion for sport – the most important educational and social tool for young people – with professional business and managerial expertise to successfully promote and develop sport for a better tomorrow”. Mr Marinescu is a martial artist, American Champion in karate, and has spent more than a decade with the International Judo Federation on all aspects of event organization and sport business. Currently he applies best practices from traditional sport organizations to eSports with the target of protecting athletes. Responsible gaming = eSports.
Eric Conrad is the Executive Vice President of Sports Programming & Acquisitions for Univision Deportes, the sports arm of Univision Communications Inc., the No. 1 media company serving Hispanic America. In this role, Conrad oversees sports programming, acquisitions and content development operations across all of Univision’s platforms. He has played an instrumental role in establishing Univision Deportes as the Home of Soccer in the U.S. by assembling the most robust portfolio of live soccer rights in the country. Before joining Univision Deportes in 2011, Conrad worked at ESPN, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association.