Variety and Sports Illustrated announce a progressive collaboration and inaugural partnership through an exciting and groundbreaking one-day summit about the future of sports and entertainment.
Ticket quantities are limited at each price level and are subject to change. Tickets are non-refundable but will be transferable upon request.
Event Has Passed
Be Updated about Variety Events and Conferences Sign Up here
8:00 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Opening Remarks
9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The State of Live Sports Coverage
Sports programming is as lucrative as ever as fans crave live viewing to the delight of the advertising community. With such popularity comes fierce competition from growing channels and digital platforms racing to cover live sports for today’s audiences. How is multiplatform live streaming transforming sports coverage? What are plans for major upcoming events such as the Summer Olympics, next year’s Super Bowl, and more? How are advancing data and analytics transforming how sports are covered? How are networks extending the life of sports on apps/online/mobile? Top networks, platforms, broadcasters and their partners talk about how they are innovating live sports programming.
Richard Deitsch, Editor and Writer, Sports Illustrated
Jordan Levin, Chief Content Officer, NFL Media
Hannah Storm, Anchor, ESPN
Matt Hong, GM, Turner Sports
Marni Walden, EVP and President of Product and New Businesses, Verizon
10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Keynote Conversation with 3-time NBA Champion Dwyane Wade and CAA Sports Agent Lisa Joseph-Metelus
Interviewed by Lee Jenkins, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated
10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. The Future of In-Stadium/Arena Entertainment
Sports franchise leaders, venue chiefs, and partners are furiously building the most exciting experiences for fans at the game. They realize that creating love for teams often starts with watching games in person, and that fandom can spill over into future merchandise sales, TV viewing and more. How are new technologies, social media integrations, mobile interactivity and more enhancing the game time action for all? Top executives across sports franchises, venues and technology partners will explore how they are enhancing the in-person sports experience.
Andrew Wallenstein, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Variety
Lon Rosen, Chief Marketing Officer, Los Angeles Dodgers
Sean Kundu, VP New Ventures, San Francisco 49ers
Lee Zeidman, President, Staples Center, Microsoft Theatre, L.A. Live
Mitch Covington, Head of Sports Marketing, Monster Energy
11:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Networking Break
11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pro Football Arrives In LA – Welcome, Rams!
There will be so much excitement surrounding the Rams coming to LA as the city’s first pro football team in decades. What opportunities are there for entertainment brand partners? What is the Rams strategy for launching in LA across various media platforms?:
Jon Wertheim, Executive Editor and Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated
Jeff Fisher, Head Coach, Los Angeles Rams
Kevin Demoff, EVP Football Operations & COO, Los Angeles Rams
12 noon to 12:10 p.m. Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles All-Stars for Kids Award Presentation to Luc Robitaille, Hockey Hall of Famer and President, Business Operations, Los Angeles Kings
The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles All-Stars for Kids Award is given to an individual from the sports community who exemplifies the values of CHLA, works to improve the quality of life for the children in their community and serves as an ambassador for children’s health
12:10 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. Lunch
1:10 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. The Future of Sports Marketing
Consumers are passionate for their favorite sports, teams and athletes. How can brands and their partners best leverage that fandom into excitement for their own products and services? How is the world of sports marketing evolving, as fans engage with sports across live streaming, social media, and other platforms? What criteria do brands look for before aligning with athletes, teams and major sporting events? Top sports marketers and their partners will talk about how they are succeeding now and into the future.
Chris Stone, Editorial Director, Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated, Golf and SI Kids
Greg Johns, Chief Digital Officer, Canvas Worldwide
Kate Johnson, VP Global Sponsorship Marketing, Visa Worldwide
Brandon Gayle, Head of Global Sports Partnerships, Instagram
Sarah Tourville, SVP Marketing Partnerships, Fox Sports
Dan Ciccone, Managing Director, rEvXP
Dan Gadd, Director, Digital Strategy, Taylor
1:50 p.m. to 2:10 p.m. Athlete Success Outside of The Game, Presented by City National
A look at how athletes are making the best decisions across brand endorsements, media opportunities, financial investments and more. What are the best strategies for athletes to continue to financially excel after their professional sports careers end? How should current athletes be preparing for life after the game? Top athlete advisors talk about how they are collaborating for continued financial success.
Andrew Wallenstein, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Variety
Boris Gluzberg, SVP, Entertainment Division, City National Bank
Bob McKee, Private Banker—Sports Professionals, RBC Wealth Management | Royal Bank of Canada
Bill Sanders, SVP, Athlete & Talent Marketing, Excel Sports Management
2:10 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. High Tech Sports – How VR, AR and Analytics are Transforming Athletes
What is next in tech and how is it going to change our experiences? How are analytics reshaping action on the field and fan experiences in the stands and watching from home. How are other new technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, revolutionizing sports programming production? Top sports tech leaders talk about what’s next for athletes and fans.
David Cohen, Editor, Variety
Chris Hercik, SVP of Creative and Content, The Foundry, Time Inc
Ted Schilowitz, Co-Head, Fox Innovation Labs
Derek Belch, CEO & Founder, STRIVR and Former Kicker and Assistant Coach, Stanford Cardinal Football
T.J. Won, Head of Sports Content, Oculus VR
Jim Poole, President and CEO of Solace Lifesciences
2:50 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Networking Break
3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Keynote Conversation with Kobe Bryant, 5-time NBA Champion
Interviewed by Lee Jenkins, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated
3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Engaging Millennial Sports Fans
With every digital platform long at their fingertips, millennials have widely expanded their horizons when it comes to sports entertainment. Fantasy sport gaming enjoys a huge millennial following. The act of watching video games, aka e-sports, has also emerged as a hot spectator sport for this age group, and global phenomenon. How are more traditional sports working to attract this different sort of fan? Who is succeeding in engaging millennials? Top sports publishers, distributors, and brands will talk about the opportunity and challenge with drawing millennials to sports.
Brandon Costa, Senior Editor, SVG
Craig Barry, Chief Content Officer, Turner Sports
Todd Sitrin, Group Vice President, Global Marketing, EA Sports
Ryan Wyatt, Director and Global Head of Game Content, YouTube
Tobias Sherman, Head of eSports for WME| IMG
Andy Swanson, VP, Esports Evangelist, Twitch
4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Masters of Sports Storytelling
Sports have long been a favorite topic in film and TV. But not everything has clicked with audiences. What sports genres – boxing, baseball, football- translate best in storytelling? What stories are producers, directors and writers excited to tell next?
Michael Schneider, Executive Editor, IndieWire
Connor Schell, VP and Executive Producer, ESPN Films and Original Content
Dany Garcia, Principal Seven Bucks Productions & Executive Producer (Ballers, Baywatch)
Rick Singer, Executive Producer, FOX’s Pitch
Mike Tollin, Co-Chairman , Mandalay Sports Media and Producer (Smallville, Kareem: Minority of One, Undrafted)
Zane Stoddard, VP Content Development, NASCAR
5:15 p.m. Cocktail Reception
Who Is Speaking?
- Kobe Bryant
- Dwyane Wade
From unheralded draft pick to the MVP of the 2006 NBA Finals to 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist and adding three NBA Championship wins to his list of accomplishments – Dwyane Wade has experienced a whirlwind career.
In his first season (2003-2004), the Chicago-area native who also flashed his athletic brilliance for Marquette University, achieved NBA All-Rookie Team status with the Miami HEAT. Before he knew it, Dwyane was an Olympian, representing the United States in the 2004 Athens Summer Games and brought
home the GOLD representing the USA in the 2008 Olympics set in Beijing.
Dwyane joined the HEAT as the fifth pick of the 2003 NBA Draft. In 63 games, Dwyane averaged a solid 16.2 points in 35 minutes per game, and was one of the reasons the HEAT emerged as an unlikely #4 seed in the 2004 playoffs. In 2006, Dwyane led his team to the city’s first ever NBA Championship and five years later, he helped them reach the 2011 NBA Finals. In 2012 and 2013, Dwyane won his second and third NBA Championships. In 2015, he served as an ABC guest analyst during the NBA Finals.
Off the court, Dwyane is readily recognized for his personal style and for being a trendsetter. Dwyane’s thirst and appreciation for fashion has propelled him to be consistently featured in top fashion magazines, attend Men’s Fashion Week overseas, participate in fashion panels, and co-host Fashion Night Out events with Anna Wintour. Since 2012, Dwyane hosts his annual A Night on the RunWade in Miami to celebrate fashion. In 2015, he attended the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala and CFDA Awards. He was selected as an ambassador for the first Men’s Fashion Week in New York City in 2015. Dwyane has also been able to incorporate his love of fashion and passion for design into a few of his partnerships. As one of the most highly sought-after celebrity endorsers, he has partnerships with Li-Ning, Gatorade, Pepperidge Farm, Hublot, The Collection, Mission Athletecare, Stance, The Tie Bar, Naked, Pahlmeyer Wine, Sandals Foundation, and Get it Hoops.
Wade’s proudest accomplishment is being a father. In March 2011, in a landmark legal decision, Wade earned sole custody of his sons, effectively setting a new precedent for professional male athletes. Wade was also appointed to President Obama’s Fatherhood Task Force in 2011 to support his Fatherhood & Mentoring Initiative, a national parenting program geared toward encouraging fathers to become more involved in the lives of their children. In September 2012, he became a New York Times bestselling author, with the release of his first book, A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger than Basketball.
Dwyane recognizes his true accomplishments go far beyond the basketball court and fashion magazines. Through the establishment of the Wade’s World Foundation in 2004, Dwyane’s mission has been to leave the world a better place then he found it. The WWF’s mission is to provide support to various educational, health and family service programs, in particular those that benefit underserved communities in Miami and his hometown of Chicago. Since 2005, Wade hosts his annual 3 Under the Tree events to serve and inspire underprivileged communities during the holiday season. As part of his NBA All-Star Weekend activities each year, Dwyane and the WWF host charity events to benefit a local organization in the host city. In June 2013, Dwyane received a Humanitarian Award at the BET Awards for his commitment to excellence and dedication to community and worldly charitable causes. He also received the NBA’s 2012-2013 Community Assist Award, in recognition of his efforts in the community and his philanthropic and charitable work. In 2015, he was inducted into the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Sports Hall of Champions.
Wade is married to actress Gabrielle Union and resides in Miami, FL with his sons.
- Lisa Joseph MetelusCAA
As a Sports Marketing Agent at CAA Sports, Lisa Joseph-Metelus works closely with many of the world’s most accomplished and beloved athletes. Joseph-Metelus’ efforts are focused primarily on servicing the agency’s basketball clients, which include more than three dozen emerging and NBA All-Stars.
With access to CAA’s vast resources in sports and entertainment, Joseph-Metelus’ role is to help the agency’s basketball clients achieve their personal and professional goals. She liaises with CAA’s motion picture and television agents to pitch and develop clients’ ideas into feature film or television series, and works closely with CAA’s Foundation group to assist with her clients’ philanthropic efforts. She manages client schedules, including all appearances, photo shoots, commercials, and more.
Joseph-Metelus was instrumental in the launch of Dwyane Wade’s first book, A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball, which instantly became a New York Times Best-Seller. She is intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of Wade’s ZZ Productions, which is currently developing two television projects for network and cable.
She accompanied the 12-time NBA All-Star to Milan, Paris, and New York for Men’s Fashion Week, as they set out to create unique opportunities for him in fashion. She was instrumental in the launch of the Wade Collection, a sock line by Stance sold nationwide at Champs and Nordstrom; and Dwyane Wade for The Tie Bar, a collection of bow ties, neckties and pocket squares, as well as tie bars and cuff-links.
In 2012, Joseph-Metelus spent nine days in Beijing and Shanghai with Wade to announce a precedent-setting deal he made with Chinese apparel company Li Ning for a new athletic footwear and apparel brand called WADE, which serves as the centerpiece of Li Ning’s growing international basketball strategy. Wade’s partners also include Sandals Resorts, Pepperidge Farms, Hublot, Mission Skincare, and the recently launched Wade Wines. Joseph-Metelus resides in Miami with her husband Bob and two beautiful children, daughter Bobbi Elle and son Amarii.
- Luc RobitailleLos Angeles Kings
- Greg JohnsCanvas Worldwide
Greg Johns is the EVP, Chief Digital Officer at Canvas Worldwide, a newly formed media agency in Los Angeles. His background spans multiple disciplines and markets, with expertise in digital analytics, digital technology platforms, digital operations as well as global digital strategy and investment. Greg also oversaw Canvas’ two main clients, Hyundai and Kia while at Initiative. He previously led the digital group at PHD in Los Angeles, overseeing a diverse group of clients including Mitsubishi, Overture Films and California Lottery. With PHD New York, Greg oversaw all digital operations and platforms for North America before moving to Omnicom Media sibling agency Annalect. There he served as Director of Media Technology, providing his digital strategy and investment expertise in the building of a wide array of technology solutions across OMG’s stable of Fortune 500 clients. Greg then returned to the automotive sector as Global Digital Lead on General Motors with Carat Detroit, overseeing both global digital strategy as well as Chevrolet US digital strategy and investment. Greg is a graduate of the Marshall School of Business at USC.
- Boris GluzbergCity National Bank
Boris Gluzberg serves as a senior vice president and senior relationship manager for City National Bank’s Entertainment Division in New York. In this capacity, he is responsible for providing private banking and credit services to entertainers, athletes, writers, producer and actors and others.
Boris has nearly 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining City National Bank, he was a vice president at Wells Fargo’s Private Bank and also was a vice president and banker at The Bank of New York Mellon.
- Todd SitrinEA Sports
Todd Sitrin is SVP and Group General Manager for EA’s Competitive Gaming Division. Based in Redwood City, California, he leads strategy, operations, and the development of a competitive gaming platform for EA’s games. Since 2012, Todd has led the Global Marketing and the Product Marketing Organizations responsible for franchise and brand marketing, communications, analytics, consumer insights, advertising and media for all console, PC, and mobile games at EA. Prior to this, he was Group VP of Global Marketing, based in Orlando, Florida, responsible for the Marketing of the EA SPORTS brand and all sports franchises. Todd is a 21 year veteran of the video game industry and has held Marketing and Business Development positions at Mattel Interactive, The Learning Company, The 3DO Company, and Broderbund. Todd began his career as an engineer and holds both a Masters and Bachelors of Science from Stanford University.
- Hannah StormESPN
- Connor SchellESPN Films and Original Content
Connor Schell, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer, ESPN Films and Original Content, is responsible for the development of new content across ESPN’s networks. He manages all development and production for the award-winning ESPN Films group and also has oversight of several of the network’s most popular studio programs including Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, Highly Questionable, SportsNation and The Jump. Additionally, he oversees ESPN’s annual award show, The ESPYS.
Schell is the Executive Producer and co-creator of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning 30 for 30 documentary series and the Emmy-winning 30 for 30 Shorts digital series. Schell is also the executive producer of the 30 for 30 documentary event “O.J.: Made in America,” which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
He served as an Executive Producer of the Walt Disney studio film “Million Dollar Arm” in 2014 and is an executive producer of the first ESPN Films-branded feature film from Disney – “Queen of Katwe” starring David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o. Additionally, Schell co-created and serves as Executive Producer for the Disney XD series Becoming (also executive produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter). He also served as an Executive Producer of ESPN Films and Marvel Entertainment’s feature documentary 1 of 1¬ – Genesis.
Other projects include the SEC Storied and Nine for IX film series and Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil. Additional short film projects include: Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints; Versus, executive produced by Eva Longoria; and It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports, directed by Errol Morris. Schell’s team is also responsible for the digital and audio storytelling franchises across FiveThirtyEight. Schell is responsible for the company’s Home Entertainment group, which has distribution deals with Netflix and Hulu, and he oversees the annual ESPN/Tribeca Sports Film Festival.
Schell earned an Emmy Award in 2015, two Emmy Awards in 2014, and a Peabody Award in 2010 all for the 30 for 30 series. Additionally, the ESPN Films program Black Magic (on which Schell was an executive producer) received a Peabody Award in 2008, and The 16th Man (a 30 for 30 film) received the prestigious Television Academy Honors Award in 2010. 30 for 30 has also won awards at the NAACP Image Awards, the IDA Awards, the Webby Awards, and the prestigious Edward R Murrow Awards.
In 2012 and 2016, Schell was named one of Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” as well as Multichannel News’ 2012 Class of“40 Under 40,” both identifying the most promising young executives in sports business.
Before being promoted to his current position, Schell was the Executive Producer of the 30 for 30 series from 2007-2011. Previously, he was Senior Director, Program Development, ESPN Original Entertainment where he handled the general development of documentaries and scripted/unscripted series and before that he was Director, Programming Strategy.
Schell earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Harvard University and a Masters in Business Administration with a focus in Media and Entertainment from Columbia University. He lives in New York with his wife and children.
- Rick SingerFOX's Pitch
Rick Singer has written for various TV shows such as “American Dad”, “My Boys” and “Suddenly Susan”. Most recently, he was a writer and Supervising Producer on “Younger”, created by Darren Star.
Originally from New York City, Singer currently resides in Los Angeles.
- Sarah TourvilleFox Sports
Sarah Tourville was appointed Senior Vice President of Marketing Partnerships for FOX Sports in January 2015. In this role, Tourville leads FOX Sports’ strategic partnership team, overseeing the creative development and implementation of sales integration, aligning the biggest brands in sports across Fox’s extensive portfolio, including FOX Sports, FS1, FS2, FOX Sports Digital, FOX Deportes, and FOX Sports Regional Networks.
Tourville manages the collaboration and ultimate execution of ideas between clients and FOX Networks Groups, including Sales, Consumer Marketing, Production, and Programming. In an ever-evolving media landscape, Tourville is highly regarded as an industry leader with a keen sense of client needs and ability to develop fresh ideas in anticipation of the latest trends.
Tourville manages multiple work-streams of client business, and articulates FOX Sports’ content strategy and business philosophies with key agency leads. She is adept at utilizing new assets to leverage successful partnerships.
Prior to FOX Sports, Tourville was ESPN’s Vice President of Midwest Sales for more than a decade, where she managed a team responsible for a collective $400 million of Integrated Ad Sales.
Tourville earned a bachelor of arts & science from Miami University and also attended graduate school at the University of Chicago.
- Brandon GayleInstagram
In his role leading sports partnerships at Instagram, Brandon is responsible for helping athletes, teams, leagues, and sports media properties leverage the platform to connect and engage with the next generation of global sports fans. Prior to joining Instagram, Brandon led Facebook’s athlete partnership and international sports efforts across the company’s family of platforms – including Instagram, Oculus, and Messenger.
Before arriving at Facebook, Brandon served as Director of Strategic Partnerships & Sports Vertical Lead at Groupon. Through Groupon’s joint venture with Live Nation Entertainment, he worked closely with sports leagues and teams to develop and market compelling ticket offers and fan experiences to Groupon’s subscriber base.
Brandon also spent time in a Strategy & Finance role with the front office of the New York Jets and as a Consultant at Bain & Company. While at the Jets, he helped overhaul the team’s annual strategic planning process and built MetLife Stadium’s suite pricing model. At Bain, he focused on strategy, performance improvement, and M&A projects across a variety of industries.
Brandon holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Harvard College. He currently resides in Oakland, California with his wife, Saamra, and their dog, Remy.
- Lon RosenLos Angeles Dodgers
- Kevin DemoffLos Angeles Rams
- Jeff FisherLos Angeles Rams
- Mike TollinMandalay Sports Media
Mike Tollin is co-chairman of Mandalay Sports Media (MSM), which he co-founded with Peter Guber in 2012. He has produced and directed more than a dozen feature films, several award-winning documentaries, and hundreds of hours of television. His films include Varsity Blues, Coach Carter, Radio, Dreamer, Hardball, Summer Catch, Big Fat Liar, and Wild Hogs, along with the Tollin-directed documentary Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream, which won a Peabody Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. Currently, Tollin has two films in post-production: The Bleeder, starring Liev Schreiber; and The Zookeeper’s Wife, starring Jessica Chastain. Tollin directed and/or produced several other award-winning documentaries, including Iverson, Kareem: Minority of One, Hardwood Dreams, Let Me Be Brave, The Final Season, Right to Play and Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?
In television, Tollin has won three Emmy Awards, as well as a Peabody Award as one of the founding producers on ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series. He served as Executive Producer of Smallville, One Tree Hill, Arli$$, The Bronx is Burning, and several Nickelodeon series, including All That, Kenan & Kel, The Amanda Show, and Sports Theatre with Shaquille O’Neal.
Tollin is a founding Board member of Common Sense Media and Children Now, two groups that focus on kids and media, and the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation, which awards scholarships to underprivileged youth.
- Mitch CovingtonMonster Energy
- Zane StoddardNASCAR
Zane Stoddard is Vice President of Entertainment Marketing and Content Development for NASCAR, overseeing the organization’s Los Angeles division. His team works to develop original TV, film and digital projects that reach outside the sport’s traditional media channels, introducing new fans to NASCAR and its drivers.
Under his leadership, NASCAR Entertainment Marketing collaborates with major networks and studios to produce content, integrate drivers into existing TV and film projects, and procure elite artists for NASCAR events. Since joining NASCAR in 2010, Stoddard’s division has generated more than 2 billion media impressions on television and secured top talent such as Tom Cruise, Tim McGraw, Andy Grammer and Sam Hunt.
For more than 20 years Stoddard has been at the forefront of content and entertainment. Prior to joining NASCAR, he conceived and launched the NBA’s Los Angeles office and Entertainment Marketing division, managing the unit for a decade. He previously managed and marketed multiple major sports and entertainment properties such as the Los Angeles Clippers and Nike, and served as CEO of a record label start-up, managing the joint venture with major label Interscope/Geffen Records.
Stoddard has Executive Produced and sold TV, digital and film projects to major linear and digital studios and networks including NBC, CBS, Universal, E!, MGM, Warner Bros., Sony, Nickelodeon, Lionsgate, CMT, TNT, AOL, Relativity, Univision, Legendary and Spike. He also managed marketing, sponsorship and content programs for major brands such as MillerCoors, Coca-Cola and Bank of America, among others.
Stoddard currently serves on the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Sports Council, alongside Cal Ripken Jr., Deion Sanders, Ken Griffey Jr. and Tony Hawk. He resides in Manhattan Beach, California, with his wife, Mylin, daughter, Coco and son, Scout.
- Jordan LevinNFL Media
- T.J. WonOculus VR
T.J. is currently on the Business Development team at Oculus, the market leading hardware and platform in the virtual reality space. He leads all content efforts across sports partnerships and transitioned into the company in January 2015 from its parent company, Facebook. Prior to joining Oculus, T.J. was a Director of Media Strategy and Business Development at the National Football League, where he spent four years licensing NFL media content. Prior to the NFL, he started his career in investment banking covering technology companies at Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital.
- Bob McKeeRBC Wealth Management | Royal Bank of Canada
- Dan CicconerEvXP
Dan Ciccone sits at the forefront of business world of eSports. Bringing a deep involvement in eSports, sponsorship and media with companies such as IGN’s Pro League, Major League Gaming and NBC Sports, Ciccone serves as the lead for strategy, placement and opportunity in the eSports space for the brand. Ciccone’s vision to a successful execution, utilizes a mix of professional gamers, influencers, publishers, leagues, media, digital and sponsorship in gaming. Ciccone’s strategy and client services team authentically infuse the brand into eSports.
- Sean KunduSan Francisco 49ers
Sean is the Vice President of the San Francisco 49ers’ New Ventures group where he he focuses on managing the legal affairs and business development for the team’s outside ventures and Aurum Partners LLC, the family office fund affiliated with the owners of the team. He focuses on early-stage and growth equity investment opportunities in sports, technology and adjacent markets where portfolio companies can leverage the 49ers’ access and network to help increase market share, drive product adoption and accelerate growth. He is also instrumental in supporting the team’s technology initiatives and, in particular, VenueNext, the company that developed the technology platform powering the Levi’s® Stadium mobile application.
Sean originally started with the 49ers in 2013, providing legal and strategic advice on setting up people operations for the team’s new entities and ramping up the team staff by over tenfold in preparation for opening Levi’s® Stadium.
Prior to this, Sean was at Morgan Lewis and Fisher & Phillips, where he represented and counseled Fortune 500 companies in finance, technology and retail industries. He also worked for several years for CGI Group, providing strategic advice related to technology and operations for some of its largest clients in the U.S.
Sean received a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and economics from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from USC’s School of Law.
- Dany GarciaSeven Bucks Productions
- Jim PooleSolace Lifesciences
Jim is an accomplished business executive with extensive experience in the medical
device, healthcare, biotechnology, dental, market research, and IT industries. Jim has
successfully launched global products, managed growth strategies, and effectively
optimized business operations for both large and small organizations. He is the
President and CEO of Solace Lifesciences, the neuroscience company that makes
Jim co-founded Focused Evolution, a premier global management strategy-consulting
firm. As a Managing Partner of Focused Evolution, Jim managed mergers and
acquisitions, due diligence, and growth strategies for venture capital and private equity
firms. Under Jim’s leadership, Focused Evolution grew into a multi-million dollar
consulting firm serving a global client portfolio of 49 companies in several industries.
Jim has served on the board of directors of several companies around the world. He
is a recognized business leader, speaker, and accomplished author. He has published
over 40 articles in industry trade journals. Jim earned a BA in Psychology from the
University of Massachusetts in Amherst and an MBA in International
Business/Marketing from Babson College.
- Chris HercikSports Illustrated
As VP of Creative + Content for The Foundry @ Time Inc., Hercik is responsible for the alignment of editorial and
business, in the Strategic Content Space. He oversees a full-service team that serves as a content + creative agency,
collaborating with editors, publishers and clients, developing strategic content plans that are transparent and
consistent with the Time Inc. brand’s experience. Working side-by-side with clients he ensures that this organic
content is multi-platform and scalable.
Hercik also serves as the Creative Director for the Sports Illustrated Group where he retains his editorial roots,
overseeing creative for one of the most iconic brands. He is a Time Inc. MVP Luce Award recipient and responsible for
the design of all Sports Illustrated products across a broad spectrum of print, digital and mobile environments. Just the
sixth Creative Director in the history of Sports Illustrated, he helped architect the design templates and operational
infrastructure to evolve the franchise from print-centric into a groundbreaking digital powerhouse. In the past few
years alone, Sports Illustrated has launched more than a dozen award-winning digital and video extensions under his
Hercik joined SI in 2002 and rose through the ranks to become Creative Director. This appointment followed the debut
of the critically acclaimed, wildly popular Digital Edition of the magazine for the iPad. Following the launch, Hercik’s
team’s developed multiple Android OS and HTML5 apps for the tablet and Smartphone. Hercik is also responsible for
the design and voice of the iconic, Swimsuit Issue franchise, which now reaches more than 70MM people through more
than a dozen extensions in print, digital, video, mobile and experiential.
He has won an Emmy Award for Outstanding New Approaches – Sports Programming, he has earned the Gold Medal of
Excellence from the Society of Publication Designers and was recognized by the American Society of Magazine Editors
for his digital products. He graduated from Moravian College in 1993 with a degree in Graphic Design and Advertising.
He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Natalee, and daughters Grace and Lilly.
- Lee ZeidmanSTAPLES Center, Microsoft Theater, L.A. Live
There are few events that take place in arenas, theatres or other venues that Lee Zeidman has not been involved with during his career. As President of STAPLES Center, Microsoft Theater and L.A. LIVE the sports, residential and entertainment district, Zeidman oversees the venues event operations, production, including guest services, booking, box office, event security, event staffing, guest relations, facility presentation, marketing, communications, hospitality and food and beverage services. Along with his hard working team of employees Zeidman also supervises STAPLES Center’s overall day-to-day support for its tenants, clients and partners including the 2014 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Sparks franchises.
With AEG Facilities’ continued expansion, Zeidman was a crucial member of a team that oversaw the overall development of L.A. LIVE, the 4 million square foot / $2.5 billion sports, residential & entertainment district featuring Microsoft Theater (7,100-seat live theatre) and Club Nokia (2,300 capacity live music venue), a 54-story, 1001-room convention “headquarters” destination (featuring The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels and 224 luxury condominiums – The Residences at The Ritz Carlton – all in a single tower), a 14-screen Regal Cineplex, “broadcast” facilities for ESPN, along with entertainment, restaurant and office space. Microsoft Theater has been named the national “Theatre of the Year” in 2008, 2009 and 2010 with Zeidman having been honored as the 2008 “Facility Executive of the Year.” Both awards were presented by the highly respected concert industry publication Pollstar.
Since opening in October 2007, Microsoft Theater has hosted six sold-out nights of the Eagles and Dixie Chicks, Sugarland, Kings of Leon, Neil Young, Mary J. Blige, So You Think You Can Dance Tour, John Fogerty, George Lopez, John Mellencamp, The Who, Duran Duran, Rush, Tool, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Juanes and Jenni Rivera. Microsoft Theater is also home to the American Music Awards, ESPY Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, People’s Choice Awards and the 2010 & 2011 MTV Video Music Awards all of which Zeidman has played a critical role.
Zeidman played a key role in the overall design of STAPES Center as a member of the arena’s development team. Under his guidance, the nation’s most state-of-the-art arena operating systems have blended together and made it possible to successfully host an unprecedented schedule of events since opening in October, 1999 including the 2000
Democratic National Convention, the 42nd, 43rd, 44th, 46th, 47th, 48th, 49th, 50th, 51st, 52nd
53rd, 54th, 55th, 56th & 57th annual GRAMMY Awards, multiple summer X Games competitions, the 2002 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships the 2004 & 2011 NBA All Star Game, the 2002 NHL All Star Game, 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, over 225 sold-out concerts including The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, The Eagles, Eric Clapton and multiple performances of U2, Garth Brooks, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Mana, Muse, Sade, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Prince and Bruce Springsteen among others. Having twice received the Pollstar “Arena of the Year” award, as well as being nominated for all twelve years since it opened its doors, STAPLES Center is the home of four professional sports franchises and hosts over 240 events annually.
During his time with AEG, Zeidman has also played a substantial role in the development, construction, and operation of The Home Depot Center, the Carson, California facility which includes a 27,000-seat soccer stadium, 8,000-seat tennis stadium and other major facilities for track & field, cycling, beach volleyball and other sports which has been designated as an Official U.S. Olympic Training site. Zeidman was also a part of a team that developed The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, a 4,000-seat theatre which was the home of Celine Dion’s A New Day.
Prior to AEG and STAPLES Center, Zeidman was the Great Western Forum’s Vice-President, Operations, overseeing all areas of that facility’s management. During his 10-year tenure, he coordinated operations for all Los Angeles Kings and Los Angeles Lakers games, concerts and special events. Previously, he directed operations for the 6,000-seat special event center at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, and graduate of California State University Northridge, Zeidman currently resides in Venice.
- Derek BelchSTRIVR
Derek Belch is the founder and CEO of STRIVR Labs, Inc., a Palo Alto based startup that uses virtual reality to train athletes and create best-in-class interactive experiences for sports fans of all ages. Belch laid the foundation for STRIVR during the 2014 season with the Stanford Cardinal football team, when he was an assistant coach for the team while completing a masters degree. His thesis project was exploring virtual reality applied to sports training and he worked with the Cardinal during the season to build and test the technology that is now STRIVR. Belch was a former kicker for the Cardinal from 2003-2007 and is one of only two Stanford kickers in history to hit two 50-yard+ field goals in a single game. He kicked the winning extra point in Stanford’s historic upset of USC as 42-point underdogs. Belch holds three degrees from Stanford (BA Communication, MA Journalism, MA Media Studies), as well as an MBA from the University of Southern California.
- Dan GaddTaylor
Since arriving at Taylor four years ago, Dan Gadd has led the growth and development of Taylor’s best in class digital sports practice, including initiatives for category-leading brands Tide, Allstate, Mercedes Benz USA and Jordan Brand.
Based in the agency’s Charlotte, N.C. office, Dan’s deep knowledge and understanding of fan insights as well as his command of both earned and paid content strategies, has helped a laundry detergent (P&G’s Tide) become the leading brand on social media among NFL sponsors, including a 71% share of voice against all other brands activating during the 2016 NFL Draft.
Dan’s focus has always been on digital content strategy, including the creation, distribution and evaluation of content. Prior to joining Taylor, Dan spent 11 years in the NFL working for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and most recently, as the head of digital for the Chicago Bears.
- Craig BarryTurner Sports
Craig Barry is executive vice president and chief content officer for Turner Sports. In this role, Barry oversees Turner Sports’ remote and studio productions, operations, technology and talent services for sports content airing on TNT, TBS and truTV including all productions in conjunction with the NBA, NCAA, MLB and PGA, along with all digital extensions. A 26-year Turner Sports veteran, Barry also leads the creative direction of Turner Sports’ portfolio of sports properties, ensuring collaboration and integration of content and promotion across all platforms.
Barry is also the executive responsible for the oversight of Turner Sports’ business interests surrounding ELEAGUE, the recently announced eSports league created in partnership with WME | IMG. In this capacity, he leads every aspect of the linear and digital productions for ELEAGUE including working closely with Turner Studios in Atlanta to set the overall vision for the live competitive gaming experience. He also oversees brand image, multiplatform marketing initiatives, long-term business opportunities and the integration of ad sales and sponsorship efforts on behalf of the endeavor.
Throughout his career, Barry has been associated with nearly every sports property in various roles. He has received numerous accolades including 25 Sports Emmy Awards and over 60 PromaxDBA awards. Barry is also credited with developing the Creative Services Sports Unit (CSSU) at Turner Sports, an internal creative agency that services the entire division and league partners.
CSSU develops all creative broadcast packaging, graphic design, music, post-production, web design, multimedia content, promotion, creating marketing and sponsorships, and ad sales support for sports content across TBS, TNT, truTV, NBA Digital and NCAA.com.
Barry, a native of Southern California, played collegiate tennis while attending Menlo College in Silicon Valley. He graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He currently resides in Atlanta.
- Matt HongTurner Sports
Matt Hong is executive vice president & general manager of Turner Sports, a division of Turner. In this role, he oversees teams responsible for strategy, rights & programming acquisitions, business development & league partnerships, marketing, ad sales planning, and day-to-day operations for the division, which presents premium sporting events including NBA regular season, All-Star and Playoffs coverage, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, MLB regular season and Postseason, the PGA Championship and ELEAGUE professional eSports across TNT, TBS and truTV.
In addition, Hong is responsible for teams that manage various sports digital businesses and properties including Bleacher Report, NBA Digital, NCAA Digital and March Madness Live, and PGA.com and the Sports Emmy Award winning PGA Championship Live.
Before joining Turner in 2008, Hong was vice president & general manager of interactive media at Thomson Gale, a business of The Thomson Corporation (now Thomson Reuters), where he oversaw the company’s digital media and distribution businesses.
Prior to Thomson, Hong spent six years at AOL where he was executive director of search, managing the search and sponsored links businesses across the company’s various properties including the AOL Service, AOL.com, MapQuest, Netscape and AIM.
Hong received a JD with honors from Harvard Law School and a BA in economics from NC State University, where he was the university valedictorian. He is based in Atlanta where he lives with his wife and two children.
- Andy SwansonTwitch
Andy Swanson is an 18-year veteran of the video game industry. His career began in 1998 in advertising sales at Future US where he eventually became the Publisher of PC Gamer, OXM, and PSM in Future’s Games Group. In 2007, he joined Ubisoft as Senior Director of Strategic Sales and Partnerships. Later in 2010, he joined GameFly as VP of Digital Business Development and Publisher Relations. In 2013, Andy was hired by Twitch with his current focus as VP, Esports Evangelist is on planning, evangelizing, and executing the strategy around brand sponsorships and integrations within Twitch’s esports ecosystem.
- Marni WaldenVerizon
Marni Walden is executive vice president and president of Product Innovation and New Businesses. She is responsible for developing and growing Verizon’s emerging businesses, like the Internet of Things and digital media, and telematics. In addition, she is responsible for overseeing the company’s Strategy Development and Planning group. Before being named to her current position in February 2015, she was executive vice president and president – product and new business innovation, in charge of a companywide organization focused on leveraging all of Verizon’s assets to quickly develop innovative products across the company’s wireless, wireline, IP and cloud networks and platforms. Previously, Walden was executive vice president and chief operating officer for Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless company in the United States, with responsibility for the company’s nationwide operations and delivery of industry-leading performance for consumer and business customers. Earlier, she was Verizon Wireless’ vice president and chief marketing officer, responsible for all marketing initiatives and the management and development of mobile products and services. This included brand management, media buying, agency management and website integration across the entire company. Walden also has served as president of Verizon Wireless’ Midwest area, responsible for operations spanning 15 states. In addition she has served as president of the company’s Southern California region, president of the Desert Mountain region, and as branch director for AirTouch Cellular in Colorado and Wyoming. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University at Chico State.
- Kate JohnsonVisa
- Tobias ShermanWME| IMG
Tobias Sherman is the Head of eSports for WME| IMG, the global leader in entertainment, sports and fashion. In his role, he focuses on player and team representation, business development, marketing and event production. He also serves as the foremost advocate for the incredible growth potential of the eSports industry, both organically and with corporate America.
Most recently, Sherman has propelled the industry forward with groundbreaking initiatives like ELEAGUE, in partnership with Turner, and the eSports training integration at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, which allows eSports competitors to train in the same fashion as athletes from other sports.
Throughout his career, Sherman has worked to increase the overall compensation for eSports teams and talent, helping to double salaries across the last five years. Sherman has also worked closely with Korean eSports TV networks such as OGN and GOMTV to ensure English speaking talent received maximum compensation for their services abroad.
Seeing how desperate the industry was for any agency business model, Sherman decided to open his own eSports talent agency in 2011. After four years of building strong relationships with players, team owners and sponsors, WME |IMG acquired his company – Global eSports Management –in 2015.
Sherman frequently says, “eSports is cheap today and it will be more expensive tomorrow” in a nod to the explosive growth the industry has seen in recent years. Together with his team at WME | IMG, he is poised to create unique and worthy revenue opportunities for players, teams and advertisers.
- Michael Van DyckParadigm