An Inside Look into the NSF Virtual Fall SummitPosted on October 19, 2022 by National Sports Forum | Selling It | SUBSCRIBE
By: Camryn Henry
Dear Faithful Readers,
As we approach the middle of October, all thoughts are turning to sports as baseball takes center stage in San Diego, CA, where we are based. Our thoughts and cheers are with the San Diego Padres as they take on game two in the NLCS championship.
Earlier this month on October 5th, the NSF put on another successful virtual summit! It was a fantastic opportunity to learn from and network with other great professionals from the sports industry. In this edition of “Selling It…,” we cover some of the main highlights from the NSF Virtual Fall Summit, including the Fireside Chat with Mark Cuban and two Super Panels! Keep reading to learn more.
Fireside Chat With Mark Cuban:
On October 5th, the National Sports Forum had an eventful day of idea-sharing, networking, and discussions at the NSF Virtual Fall Summit. This one-day consists of an all-star lineup of 50+ industry-leading speakers who lead insightful conversations on industry trends and ideas in a variety of workshops, breakout sessions, and super panels. The day ended with the Budweiser Networking Lounge. Keep reading for a glimpse into some of the interesting topics covered during the event!
We opened our Virtual Summit with an insightful fireside chat featuring Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Theo Hodge, SVP of Sales and Services for Dallas Mavericks. Mark Cuban talked about his recent business ventures with the Dallas Mavericks and Cost Plus Drugs. Mark emphasized the importance of a fan experience in sports and stated, “When you think about the first game you went to… You don’t remember the dunks, home runs, or touchdowns- you remember the people you were with and memories you made.”
Mark looks at life through a unique lens. He shared advice on living in the present moment where we should focus only on what we are doing and not what others are doing. Mark further explained, “You don’t slow down unless you slow down.” He also shared his thoughts about how an individual should approach the job market and how to be the best. He explains, “Whatever job you get, try to be great at it. No one quits anything they’re great at. The process of trying to be great at something will always open doors.”
Sponsorship Super Panel:
The summit continued with the first super panel of the day — “From Where We Sit: Sponsors on the Future of Sponsorship.” Owen Pointdexter, Senior Writer at Front Office Sports, led the informative conversation with four panelists: Sean Kelly from AFLAC, Maria Grosso from Coinbase, Charece Williams Gee from Under Armour, and Scott DeAngelo from Allegiant Air. Each speaker highlighted the importance of authenticity when it comes to sponsorship. Sean Kelly explained the process behind bringing their brand purpose to life through sponsorship and emphasized that “authenticity is at the core.” Sean spoke about AFLAC’s mission to work with people who share the same purpose and have value systems that align with their brand. Maria Grosso followed up on this topic with Coinbase’s approach to sponsorship and explained, “When we are evaluating partners, we are looking at whether this organization already has a Web3 and crypto strategy…We are trying to educate on the benefits of Web3 and crypto through our sports sponsorships.” Maria described a social content series that Coinbase put on with one of their ambassadors Jewell Loyd, a two-time WNBA champion and crypto-lover, to demonstrate how they have used sponsorship to educate fans in the space of Web3 and crypto.
The other panelists also discussed their experiences behind creating deeper connections with athletes and how that has affected their brand. Charece Williams Gee spoke about the significance of having an intentional roster of sponsored athletes, “You want the athletes to be able to speak about how the brand is a part of their life.” One of the key things that Charece says they look for when signing athletes is their love for the brand. As the conversation pursued, Charece Williams Gee also spoke about Under Armour’s opportunity to work with over 100 student-athletes in the last year. “Opportunities with collegiate student-athletes are limitless,” she exclaims, “We have shared values and something that we are trying to accomplish together.” Scott DeAngelo chimed in on this conversation about college sports with Allegiant Air’s take on collegiate sports sponsorships and stated, “We started in small, medium-sized cities that were largely underserved with nonstop travel…college sports are the heart and epicenter of some of these places.” By signing athletes who play for these teams, Allegiant Air hopes to communicate its brand purpose through the players and to the community of these college towns.
D&I Super Panel:
The informative and engaging discussions didn’t stop there! The NSF kept the ball rolling with another group of panelists for the virtual fall summit’s second super panel of the day — “How do we know we’ve achieved D&I?” Kelly Lewis, Vice President of TurnkeyZRG, was joined by a group of four insightful executives: Jessica Aiello, founder of iYellow Group, Nitra Rucker from USOPC, Jenn Hunter from the Portland Trail Blazers, and Brandon Thompson from NASCAR. They discussed ways that organizations can work towards diversity and inclusion, specifically mentioning that organizations should remain curious, ask questions, listen, and learn. “We have to be willing to hear others’ perspectives,” Jessica Aiello emphasized. She suggested that organizations put on webinars and have open conversations about the things they don’t know or don’t understand when it comes to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Adding to that, Nitra Rucker encouraged the audience to come up with a strategy and make use of free resources and stated, “We have to do some research…In the industry of DEI, people are willing to help, share, and suggest. See what you can do with those free resources.”
They spoke about the importance of having diversity and inclusion ingrained in the culture of the company and making systematic changes from the inside out. Jenn Hunter exemplified this with her own experience, “We are very vested from the top down. Every department has some type of DEI initiative or goal within their business plan.” She explained how her team has shifted their equity work from reactive to proactive and how they have become more intentional when working with their community. She pointed out that DEI cannot grow in insolation, but instead must be an effort of the whole organization. “It cannot live solely in the office of DE&I,” Brandon Thompson later added to this idea. Brandon discussed accountability and suggested that initiatives towards DEI be attached to metrics and the business strategy as a whole. The speakers closed this panel with their final thoughts on how we know we’ve achieved D&I. “This will continue to move. There is no end game,” Nitra concludes, “We have work to do. It’s good to work and a great opportunity, so let’s keep going!”
To wrap up this full day of insightful conversations and idea-sharing, the Forum Family gathered in the virtual Budweiser Networking Lounge for an exciting hour of networking with other industry professionals.
Join us for our next event — The 2023 National Sports Forum in Los Angeles, California on February 26th – 28th. Our hosts include Banc of California, home of LAFC for the Opening Reception, and Hollywood Park/SoFi Stadium/YouTube Theater for the Budweiser Gala. This event will include networking opportunities, educational sessions, and off-site, behind-the-scenes tours. Become part of the Forum Family today to build your network and help grow the sports industry! Click this link for more information – https://sports-forum.com/nationalsportsforum-2023-la/
ABOUT THE NATIONAL SPORTS FORUM
The National Sports Forum is one of the largest annual cross-gathering in North America of the top executives from leagues, teams, agencies, and properties in the sports industry, who come together and share ideas and best practices on Marketing, Business Development, Ticket Sales, Sponsorship, and Diversity & Inclusion. Visit www.sports-forum.com for more information.
THE NSF SALUTES OUR PARTNER
Advent Creates Experiences That Move People. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Advent is an experience-creation firm that has partnered with professional sports organizations, universities, and corporations across the country. Throughout its 23-year history, Advent has created branded experiences for the Dallas Cowboys, the Los Angeles Rams, the University of Texas, the University of Oregon, UNC, Penn State, TCU, the PGA of America, and many others. Advent’s brand design work is distinguished by a focus on storytelling and audience insight. Learn more at www.adventmovespeople.com