Each year the National Sports Forum features 80+ speakers from a variety of leagues, organizations, agencies and top spokespeople within the sports industry.
Below are the speakers for the 2017 National Sports Forum.
Executive Director, Center for Sports Administration
Jim Kahler is the Executive Director of the Center for Sports Administration (CSA) at Ohio University. He accepted the position in December of 2005 and oversees the day to day operation of a Center that carries forward the university’s pioneering tradition in sports education. The CSA links faculty, students and alumni to sports-related organizations and businesses, emphasizing research and harnessing knowledge to benefit the industry. Ohio University has been the leader in preparing students for careers in the sports business industry since 1966, when it founded the first graduate program in sports administration. Today, after four decades since its birth, both the sports management program and the industry have grown exponentially. The sport industry’s expansion and globalization present today’s leaders with new challenges, ones that highlight the need for research, academic preparation and professional development. Ohio’s Center for Sports Administration is meeting this challenge. In addition to his role with the CSA, Jim also serves as the Executive Director of Ohio University’s MSA Program that was recently recognized by Sports Business International as the number one ranked program in the world. In that particular study Ohio University was also ranked at the top of job placements and student satisfaction with quality of teaching, provision of job support and provision of extra-curricular support.
Prior to returning to Ohio University, where Kahler was a member of the MSA Class of 1981, he spent the previous three and one half years at Arizona State University were he helped develop the MBA Sports Business Program at the W.P. Carey School of Business. He was recently recognized as being one of the first 20 /10 professionals to have 20 years of sports business experience followed up with 10 years of academic service with his tenure at both Arizona State and Ohio University. From November of 1991 until July of 2002 Jim served as the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA) and Rockers (WNBA). In this position he was responsible for ticket, corporate and broadcast sales, as well as, marketing and public relations for the Cavs / Gund Arena Company. During these years his responsibilities included the development of MAC Properties and Gund Sports Marketing, two subsidiaries of the organization that focus on collegiate sports marketing and sponsorship sales for the Mid-American Conference, Miami University and Bowling Green State University. Jim accepted this position after working as the Director of Marketing for the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, the Director of Marketing for the St. Louis Arena, and as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for SRO/PACE in Chicago. Jim was excited for the opportunity to not only work for the Cavs, but to return to his hometown of Cleveland.
Jim received his BSBA from Xavier University in 1980 and went on to receive his master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University. He was honored in 1994 with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the O.U. Sports Administration Program. This award has been given annually since 1982 and is the program’s highest honor. He has remained actively involved with Ohio University as a guest lecturer and as a past member of Ohio’s Alumni Advisory Board.
Jim currently serves on the Advisory Board for a number of sports business organizations including the National Sports Forum (San Diego, CA) and In Stadium Advertising (Chicago, IL), Navigate Research (Chicago, IL) as well as the Governing Board of USATT serving as an Independent Director. He also served a three-year term (1997 – 2000) on the NBA’s Marketing Advisory Committee and has provided sales consulting services to a number of professional sports teams.
Jim and his wife Katie are the proud parents of four children, Peter, Meaghan, Jimmy and Caitlin.
The National Sports Forum
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