The NSF offers an extensive three-day program featuring best practice sharing, networking opportunities, and discussions with industry-leading sports executives. More details on the 2020 National Sports Forum coming soon! In the meantime, check out the 2019 NSF Agenda below.
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Hosted by the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena, attendees got the chance for behind-the-scenes tours of T-Mobile Arena along with hearing from our keynote speaker, Kerry Bubolz, President and COO of the Vegas Golden Knights!
President & COO
Vegas Golden Knights
Losers, located in the MGM Grand Hotel will serve as the official bar of the 2019 NSF!
Abe Madkour opens up the NSF with a one-on-one with Lawrence Epstein, of UFC. Epstein serves as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Zuffa, LLC, which operates as UFC. Due to Epstein’s efforts, UFC has become one of the fastest growing sports brands in the world hosting events, broadcasting and delivering content to over 160 countries and territories, to nearly 1.1 billion television households. On Monday morning we heard an in-depth discussion on some of the exciting things Epstein and UFC have in store for this upcoming year!
Sport Business Journal/SBD
Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
The first set of breakout sessions on Monday, February 11, 2019
Welcome to the ‘Partnership Revolution’, where relevant brand integration is table stakes, and campaigns that are rooted in the brand’s strategy, with creative tactics, and measurable performance indicators, are required to unlock significant marketing investments.
We used this session to explore how Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, & the Toronto Argonauts), have disrupted the marketing landscape in Canada via creation of an internal Strategy Team within their partnerships group. Attendees learned how we’ve evolved to dig deeper into client needs, develop strategic insights that reach and engage fans in unprecedented ways, and drive business results that set new global standards for some of the world’s largest and most influential organizations, such as: Google, Unilever, GoDaddy, and McDonald’s.
Manager, Global Partnerships
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
You’re sitting at home on your couch, drinking your favorite beverage and scrolling through all the information your smartphone can provide. But something’s missing. The in-person atmosphere isn’t surrounding you. You’re only receiving the glow from your rectangle-shaped television. In this session, we discussed how entertainment and event venues can make the most of the in-person experience, and what others are already incorporating. Together, we can entice audiences to show up and experience the event firsthand.
Creative Services Manager
Co-Founder & VP Sales
General Manager / VP Sales & Marketing
Las Vegas Aviators
VP, Entertainment Production
Vegas Golden Knights
Communicating with your fan base is crucial for increasing engagement and revenue. Today’s audience expects a conversational message at the right time and through the right channel. In this session, attendees learned about the current state of communication, the best practices for connecting with your audience, and how to effectively and compliantly implement tactics to help your ticketing team improve sales & retention. Don’t just contact your fans, connect with them.
Senior EVP, General Counsel
Manager Season Ticket Sales
Director, Business Intelligence & Ticket Strategy
Oklahoma City Thunder
A panel of industry leaders on the frontlines of building stadiums and arenas around the country. Topics included current trends, go-to-market strategy, developing engaging and multi-purpose experiences, staffing, amongst others. We shared the good, the bad and the ugly.
Director, Marketing Strategy
Detroit Red Wings/Olympia Entertainment
VP, Ticket Sales and Service
LA Stadium & Entertainment District At Hollywood Park Project - Legends
Vice President, Ticketing & Suites
Las Vegas Golden Knights
VP, Sales & Service
Las Vegas Stadium
Lance Tyson discussed the Future of Sales Leadership in 2020. This session took us inside the trends of some of the most high-powered sales teams in professional sports. Topics included what metrics are important to keep top of mind and the traits required to lead a successful sales team into the future.
Founder & CEO
Las Vegas is The Entertainment Capital of The World and is an extremely competitive market for consumers’ sports and entertainment dollars. This session focused on how properties and venues in Las Vegas work to maximize revenues each year as sponsorship and premium products shift in a highly competitive market.
Sr. Vice President of Global Partnerships
Director of Sales
SVP Sales & Marketing
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Learfield/UNLV Sports Properties
SVP & Chief Sales Officer
Vegas Golden Knights
Assistant General Manager
Las Vegas Aces
Fans want to be a part of the experience, which demands the latest in technology. However, the current methods in advertising are static, expensive and have limited engagement. Even with high stadium foot traffic, ROI is difficult to quantify. With multiple mobile platforms, endless social media channels, and the average attention span down to 8 seconds, the customer journey is fragmented and less predictable. Sports venues, teams and partners are designing innovative in-game experiences to cater to this demand. Ashley Crowder, CEO and Co-Founder of VNTANA, a leading mixed reality company discussed new ways to interact with fans. She discussed how to unify the fan’s journey using Mixed Reality to create real value for the consumer, guiding attendees through situational cases including details on technology solutions that offer not only engagement, but data. Additionally, she shared the benefits of user generated content.
This session took a deep dive into what it takes to operate a special events business at an NFL Stadium. We reviewed operational challenges, got inside the books, and discussed the impact it makes across the organization.
Special Events Sales Director
The second set of breakout sessions on Monday, February 11, 2019
– Which brands are receiving the most value from their sponsored properties
– Best Practices for getting more value from sponsorships
– Performance-based sponsorships
– Campaign optimization
– Leveraging influencers
CEO & Founder
Director of Consumer Engagement | Marketing
Global Sports Marketing Director
The North Face
The sports industry has become a proving ground for fan engagement on mobile devices, whether in-venue or via telecast. Sports teams, leagues, brands, and fans are now set to produce and share more photos, videos, and textual content than ever, and new tools and experiences will enable sports brands to own their content and audiences, with greater incentivization than ever before. User-generated content (UGC) will become a much larger part of the sports world, and automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) all blend into a mix of powerful technologies that will help power new monetization opportunities for teams and fans alike. As mobile content becomes more ubiquitous, the UGC sports environment will become a more lucrative and engaging content landscape. This panel explored the opportunities for producing new UGC experiences through enhanced fan engagement.
Chris Pfaff Tech/Media, LLC
San Jose Sharks
Chief Marketing Officer
This session explored the modern day workforce and emerging best practices as it relates to sales recruiting, engagement and culture. We looked at some of the trends coming from recent workforce surveys and how this matches up to some of the traditional sports sales processes that have been at the foundation of so many successful franchises. In addition, this session examined how changes to compensation, daily metrics and work week schedules could be a win/win for both the organization and the sales staff.
VP, Ticket Sales & Service
The business of athletics attracts talented and driven professionals. However, this can often lead to organizations with an unhealthy amount of internal competition causing a lack of communication and collaboration. This powerful presentation featured a unique look at how the top coaches/performers in sports – and leaders in business – create positive and successful environments that bring out the very best in other people. Audience members were introduced to time-tested models of performance and leadership which produce championship results for individuals and teams in business – and life. Whether you lead others or are called upon to be a top producer of your organization, this “Be a Fan of Others” mindset and culture leads to success for you and your team.
Xs & Os of Success
National Sports Forum
Story Is King. In this session, attendees heard from the VP of Entertainment Production from the Vegas Golden Knights, Jonny Greco. Jonny discussed the process of building a foundation to help establish a creative culture ready for anything, including the most successful inaugural season in major professional sports history… in the Entertainment Capital of the World!
VP, Entertainment Production
Vegas Golden Knights
Esports is one of the fastest growing segments of sports, media and entertainment, reaching one of the most sought after demographics: millennials and Gen Zers. Despite its exponential growth and undeniable popularity in mainstream media, many are quick to pinpoint the differences between traditional sports and esports, rather than the obvious overlap between the two industries. Whether its building leagues from amateur to professional, distributing streaming rights or forming brand partnerships and promoting their unique onsite activations, both the esports and traditional sports industries are more similar than you’d think, though the process and execution may not be identical. Craig Levine, Global Chief Strategy Officer at ESL and pioneer in the esports industry, will explore the similarities between the two spaces, offering brands, marketers, fans, and more a glimpse into how to best adapt traditional sports behaviors to better navigate the esports industry.
Craig Levine, Global Chief Strategy Officer at ESL and pioneer in the esports industry, explored the similarities between the two spaces, offering brands, marketers, fans, and more a glimpse into how to best adapt traditional sports behaviors to better navigate the esports industry.
Global Chief Strategy Officer
In this highly interactive 60-minute session, we covered the importance of synergy between all departments within a sports organization. Leading the panel were well-rounded industry professionals from different sides of the business: Special Events, Sponsorship, Suite / Ticket Sales and Operations. At the end of the day, we touch the same clients and have one mission in common: Provide extraordinary service to our clients from beginning to end that in return builds a lasting relationship to our professional teams and to the organization as a whole. Whether it be a Fortune 500 company hosting a private event, securing a naming rights sponsorship deal, or simply leasing a suite and operating their service, we can all work together to make the magic happen and ensure that experience is seamless, professional, and memorable. New Sports Venues seem to be opening almost annually, and it is vital to understand how to overcome obstacles from common to challenging. In this session, we discussed the power and the importance of working together, overcoming objections and obstacles, as well as gaining a better understanding of the views across other departments. We checked our egos at the door and learned to work together to deliver a best-in-class experience to all of our clients!
Manager, Special Events Sales Team
San Francisco 49ers
Brian Gainor lead an all-star panel in a discussion about upcoming trends and hot topics during the “What’s Next” Super Panel. In a rapidly growing sports industry, new technologies and trends are constantly emerging allowing organizations to become more innovative with their campaigns and advertising. This Super Panel included several organizations who continue to capitalize on these opportunities and are eager to share their insights on what we expect to see in 2019 and the direction they see the sports industry heading.
Vice President, Innovation
Chief Revenue Officer
President of Interactive Gaming
MGM Resorts International
Dinner and drinks were served as attendees learned about some of the hot new technologies within the sports industry.
Losers, located in the MGM Grand will serve as the official bar of the 2019 NSF!
The final day of the 2019 NSF. The presentations of the 2019 NSF ADchievement Awards will take place where the best advertising campaigns will be awarded!
Picture this: You’ve left the office, the day is over and as you try to fall asleep at night you lay there in bed… and you’re thinking… and thinking… and thinking. What keeps some of the best minds in the business up at night?
As a long-standing tradition, the NSF will begin the final day of the 2019 conference with the “What Keeps You Up at Night?” Super Panel. This gathering of top notch executives will tell us exactly what they’re losing sleep over.
This panel of top executives navigated through a discussion on the issues that consume their thoughts post-game and year-round.
Chief Marketing Officer
Vegas Golden Knights
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)
President & General Manager
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The first set of breakout sessions on Tuesday, February 12, 2019
The early results are in. In this session, Nick Kelly, Head of US Sports Marketing for Anheuser-Busch, taught attendees first-hand about how Anheuser-Busch is leading a new wave across the sports industry with new incentive-based partnerships. Attendees came away from this session with a better understanding on how these new deals are put together and how they will not only work better for sponsors, but for teams and sport properties, as well. They learned more about this ongoing evolution of the sponsorship model and gain valuable insight as to how teams and brands can and should be working together to continue pushing the sports industry forward as we head into 2019 and beyond.
Head of Sports Marketing
Anheuser - Busch
This interactive breakout session titled, “Ten Things You Don’t Have Time to Think About (That Can Grow Your Bottom Line)” helped attendees remove themselves from their day-to-day, think differently and take a risk. In this session, we took you behind-the-scenes into 4FRONT’s innovation process with topics including 1.) How to Create Moments of Truth, 2.) How to Create A Collaboration + Communication Mindset, 3.) How to Translate Social and Digital into the Game Day Experience and more. We showed all of our cards and equipped attendees with transferable learnings from college, major and minor league teams. But, as always, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Senior Manager, Innovation
“Fevo is a peer-to-peer marketing and sales amplification tool that integrates directly with your ticketing system. Come grab a mimosa (literally!) and find out how teams are leveraging Fevo to drive incremental revenue across their sales and marketing campaigns. Turn your fans into sellers by layering-in social and providing a mobile-first buy-flow. Attendees heard from Fevo’s best partners as they dive into different use cases for the platform, successes they’ve accomplished, and how you can replicate their strategies in your own market.”
EVP, Partner Development
Senior Director, Database Marketing
Senior Manager, Ticket Sales
Director, Group & Event Suite Sales
Vegas Golden Knights
This session will host technology leaders in sports and highlight Smart Venues, the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), facial recognition and biometrics, and the role they are playing in revolutionizing the fan experience and driving new business opportunities in sports. The panel covered how technology and data can be used to drive revenue, lower costs, improve fan engagement, optimize venue operations and enhance team performance. The discussion was hyper-focused on how Sponsorship, Ticket Sales and Marketing departments can benefit from these technology solutions.
Sr. Director of Sales
Connect Partnership Group
Tinus Le Roux
Global Business Development Executive, Sports and Entertainment Technical Solutions
Global Alliances Director
Vice President, Business Development
Head of Sports
The race for revenue gets more competitive every day. Sponsors increasingly want a quantifiable return on their investment. Fans demand an elevated experience. Teams strive for a deeper connection to their fans. In this session John Roberson, CEO of Advent, talked about finding the sweet spot where those goals intersect. And it’s an intersection that leads to new, often surprising revenue sources.
Esports is one of the fastest growing segments of media, entertainment and technology. In fact, Newzoo anticipates the esports industry will reach $1.4 billion by the year 2020. Esports unprecedented growth and unparalleled traction has made it an enticing business opportunity and everyone wants a piece of the action, from novice players and college athletes to multimillion dollar brands and traditional sports franchises. So how has esports exploded and why are traditional sports franchises getting in the esports game?
Complexity Gaming, the longest-standing esports organization in North America, was acquired by Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and real estate investor John Goff. This is one such way the traditional sports world and esports world are colliding and opening new doors. This partnership has expanded the horizon for a plethora of new business opportunities for both the franchise as well as the esports organization.
In this session, Jason Lake, CEO and Co-Founder of Complexity Gaming, explored in-depth why traditional sports franchises should climb aboard the esports train. From his own experience, Lake explained how traditional sports can get involved and maximize opportunities within the esports industry, including tapping into a global fanbase of 380 million, engaging younger digitally native audiences, leveraging sponsorship opportunities and brand partnerships, and exposing traditional sports to new streaming platforms.
Founder & CEO
At every digital summit you get information about how social is a strong revenue driver. “OUT with traditional marketing mediums and IN with digital platforms” they say… But how? This session focused on the “HOW” of social revenue generation. We touched on the basics and then dove into “how” to sell tickets, hospitality and sponsorship. All without breaking the bank.
Manager, Tournament Digital Marketing and Analytics - Championship Management
This breakout dove into the world of special events and how they can add a whole new revenue stream to your business. We briefly covered the process of starting this new business revenue department from scratch at MBS. Then, we dove into the special events business from start to finish –covering the life cycle of selling the venue/event space, to planning with clients, to executing the event, and the post event method. We then went over the importance of getting all stadium/arena departments to buy in and how vital those departments are to the success of the business. Attendees learned the fun of planning parties for a living!
Director of Events & Tours at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Director of Special Events
The second set of breakout sessions on Tuesday, February 12, 2019
This session took attendees behind the scenes with a roll up your sleeves open panel discussion with sponsors who oversee strategy, relationships and decisions on a day-to-day basis.
Executive Director, Sports Administration
Senior Director of Sports Marketing
Director of Budweiser Sports
Senior Sponsorship & Marketing Representative
This was a fully immersive session where attendees worked with peers to work through the 5 steps to turn digital to dollars and drive more revenue for your team. They worked on better understanding the audience, plus content & distribution options to understand the value they will bring to their partners and fans. By the end of the session attendees were ready to pitch their campaign to sponsors and understand how you can repeat the process for all of their digital assets.
We heard from senior industry leaders who shared their knowledge and expertise of working for and with companies that are seeking to hire different backgrounds and personalities but with the same goals and values in mind to benefit their company culture. Aside from recruiting and hiring, how do you bring positive change to your existing staff infrastructure, style, personality, and philosophy by celebrating and highlighting the “non-traditional” backgrounds, educations, and skill sets? What are we doing as an industry to find new candidates vs. recirculating the same talent? Once we make those unique hires, how are we encouraging and promoting their growth and strengths within a company? How are hiring managers and HR/talent acquisition professionals making it a priority on job descriptions, during interviews, and at the on-boarding/orientation stages? What are the risks and rewards of an unconventional hire?
Mark Gress, Jr.
Chief People Officer
Snr Director Digital Media & Strategy
Regional Director of Human Resources
We dove into the Oakland Athletics ticket sales practices that are bringing new fans to the ballpark experience. Topics included the innovative A’s Access membership ticket program and the implementation of various new heritage/theme nights that drive new groups sales business.
Director of Group Sales
Account Executive, Group Sales
There’s a 50% chance a woman is powering the voice of your favorite NFL team on social media. So what’s it like being a millennial woman changing the game in the world of sports? Women born from 1981 to 1996 grew up with the WNBA, cheering US Women’s Soccer to win World Cups and gold medals, and watching women host SportsCenter. Millennial women were raised being told they could do it all; when entering the workforce, they haven’t slowed down.
These panelists have excelled in the front office, working within the NFL, NHL, NBA, PGA TOUR, Team USA and college sports. They continue to change the way we interact with our favorite teams and create space for a new generation of sports fans.
Head of Sports Sponsorship, North America
Convince & Convert
Director of Social Media Strategy
In 2018, the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, foreshadowing a massive expansion in legal sports betting across the country. The Las Vegas Lights FC of the United Soccer League and William Hill had already introduced a broad partnership that includes live in-game wagering updates in-stadium, and on the team’s broadcast outlets. Qualified new members of the William Hill app earned $5 in betting credit for every Lights FC win in 2018. Attendees learned more about one of the country’s first and most innovative sports betting partnerships.
VP, Corporate Partnerships
Las Vegas Lights
Emerging as the winners of their respective flights, attendees listened to what our industry experts deemed the three best ideas generated through the NSF Tech Tank. We saw some innovative new technologies from each of our three tech tank flights centered on specific technological trends in the sports industry:
• Corporate Partnership & Brand Activation
• Ticket Sales & Strategy
• Marketing & Fan Engagement
This session showed us what’s NEXT in sports technology!
Vice President, Business Development
National Sports Forum
This session provided tips and best practices for sales teams looking to improve their selling process and closing rates. Attendees learned how to hold people accountable and best practices for tracking that accountability, as well as how to improve closing rates through digital marketing and soft introductions. In addition, attendees joined the discussion to hear more tips for prospecting, negotiations and retention.
VP, Business Development
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl | Cheez-It Bowl
Ticket sales are the life-blood of sports organizations. As ticketing evolves at hyper speed, it’s essential that sports organizations stay ahead of the marketplace. Technological advancements coupled with the creativity of contemporary ticketing companies are changing the way leagues, teams, venues and sports properties do business. Our moderator lead this diverse panel in exploring the rapidly changing nature of ticket sales to stay profitable. Attendees learned some great tips and best practices for increasing sales and filling seats from the MVP’s of the industry!
WISE Las Vegas
Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales & Service
Monumental Sports & Entertainment
Chief Operating Officer
Vice President, Sales & Strategy
We celebrated the close out of the 24th Annual National Sports Forum at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway!