An Inside Look Into the NSF Virtual Spring Summit

An Inside Look Into the NSF Virtual Spring Summit

Posted on May 30, 2023 by National Sports Forum | Selling It | SUBSCRIBE

By: Melody Forstie


Dear Faithful Readers,

I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day Weekend! Earlier this month on May 17th, 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 Spring Summit, including our Opening Fireside Chat and two incredible Super Panels. Keep reading to learn more.


Isabelle Madrid

Communications Manager

Fireside Chat With Aileen McManamon & Lee Spivak:

We opened our Summit with an important topic in the industry, sustainability, for the Opening fireside chat featuring Aileen McManamon, Founder of the 5T Sports Group, and Lee Spivak, Senior Manager, at WM. They discussed how sustainability is a big revenue center when it comes to Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR), touching on macro trends with sponsorship activation, consumer trends, DEI, and reducing your carbon footprint. Aileen explained that CSR is an important factor when it comes to consumer engagement,  “86% of consumers expect companies to stand for more than just a product and that 70% of millennials are more likely to choose a brand that promotes DEI,” she mentioned. 

Lee Spivak further explained that teams and leagues should search for organizations that incorporate purpose and design a foundation of actionable, social, and environmental programs. This can lead to positive earned media, attract a greater fan base, and gain support from the community. 

Aileen and Lee touched on the importance of regulation reporting, internal metrics, and risk management when meeting consumer and employee standards.  As stated in their session title, sustainability is now a non-negotiable component of the sports industry. It is important to educate your organizations, do your research, and ask questions. Lee shared, “Sustainability partners should encourage education, improve services onsite, and help customers with all sustainability goals.” Sometimes teams and leagues don’t know where to start when it comes to sustainability partnerships, but it could be as simple as asking your current partners. Alieen gave an example, automotive partners are rolling out EV’s at an incredible rate. She explained, “this partnership could be as simple as installing a few EV charges onsite and resulting as a revenue generator, partner anchor, and community benefit.” Sustainability is a multi-department involvement that can benefit all facets for the sports industry, including saving money and increasing revenue.

“Three’s A Crowd” Super Panel:

The summit continues with the first Super Panel of the day – “Three’s a Crowd: Competing for your Space in a Market with Multiple Teams/Attractions”, featuring Paul Bee, Vice President of Ticket Sales & Service, Milwaukee Bucks; John Beaven, EVP, Ticket Sales & Service, Golden State Warriors; Eric Tosi, Chief Marketing Officer, Las Vegas Golden Knights; Mike Clough, SVP, Consumer Revenue, Minnesota Twins. Each of them shared their insight on how teams and organizations can hold its place in a market where there are multiple entertainment options for consumers. Mike Clough explained how the Twins separate themselves in the market by leaning into the social aspect of fan engagement. “Baseball serves to be more of a social engagement type of environment and we focused on creating those different atmospheres within the ballpark.” The panel elaborated on what works best for each fan base and also discussed best practices for developing one. Eric Tosi shared the success of their “Vegas Born” marketing campaign. “The goal was to be known as a local team by establishing those roots in the community and developing that sense of pride for [fans] being from Las Vegas.”  The Golden Knights created a fan culture that utilized its location to build brand purpose. They also discussed the importance of segmenting your markets to enhance the fan experience by focusing on the controllable and listening to feedback from fans. The panel then switched gears and discussed the importance of PR and brand awareness. John Beaven explained how the Golden State Warriors have been successful in creating partnerships with media channels and news outlets, “By being authentic and strategically intentional, we have been able to build media relationships that are purposeful.” Concluding the session, each panelist shared their final thoughts on competing in a competitive market: have a clear proposition with innovation at the forefront, be analytical in business decisions, and support other teams in your community as Eric mentioned, “It is a healthy competition at the end of the day and fans want to see that sense of togetherness.”

DEI Super Panel:

For our second super panel of the day – “DEI Super Panel: Generating Impact & Revenue Through More Inclusive Front Offices: The Role of DEI & CSR in Pro Sports”, featuring Joanne Pasternack, President & CEO, Oliver+Rose & Athletes’ Voices; Odessa Jenkins, Founder, Women’s National Football Conference (WNFC); Ricky Jean Francois, NFL Legend, Entrepreneur, Dunkin Franchise Owner; Michael Lahoud, Color Analyst, Austin FC; and Danielle Slaton, Co-Founder, NWSL to the Bay. The panel took the time to discuss the revenue-generating opportunity when all voices are at the table in the front office and CSR as one of the central themes in many sponsorship deals. Odessa shared why she created the WNFC, as she not only saw the market need for customers but she wanted to create an equal opportunity for women in the sport. She explained, “Since we started in 2017, the market of football has actually grown since there has been an investment in women.” They also spoke about how athletes can change the world of sponsorship by being positioned as the one to do it all: perform on the field, amplify the brands they represent, and invest in other organizations. Ricky explained that athletes can do the business side as well, “They need to be educated on how to create a foundation and know where to start, [as well as] where to move forward with their business to maximize their impact.” Wrapping up the conversation, the panelists discussed the future of the front office and what current and new teams and organizations should strive to accomplish on the DEI and CSR front. Danielle shared her insight about focusing on measurable community impact, “impact the people that are not often heard or who do not have access to come to a game and find a way to engage them.” They emphasized the importance of the front office mindset that ‘failure is not an option’ in order to make a change. Michelle elaborated on how to be an effective leader through compassion and curiosity, “Share a connection and sense of belonging with the rest of the world, as well as taking the roads less traveled by.”


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 NSF Virtual Fall Summit on September 27, 2023. Continue to gain insight on the sports industry’s most pressing topics and connect with other sports professionals virtually from wherever you are! Fall Summit Speaker Applications are open NOW, apply today: Learn more and register today:

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 for more information.


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