Kicking Off The Inaugural Virtual Fall Summit!

Kicking Off The Inaugural Virtual Fall Summit!

Posted on September 24, 2020 by National Sports Forum | Selling It | SUBSCRIBE

“Kicking Off The Inaugural Virtual Fall Summit!

Breaking down some of the plays of the NSF Virtual Fall Summit

By: Ryan Luong

Dear Faithful Readers,

We’ve officially wrapped up the first of our Summit Series events with the Virtual Fall Summit Series. It was an amazing opportunity to connect and learn from the best and brightest in the industry!

On this edition of the Selling It feature, we take you through (just some of!) the exciting and interesting parts of the Virtual Fall Summit. If you want to join us for a future Summit Series event, register HERE to attend the Virtual Holiday Summit coming up on December 9-10, 2020!


Carlie Dawson

Marketing and Communications Manager


“Kicking Off The Inaugural Virtual Fall Summit!

Different times call for different methods … and that pretty much sums up 2020 to a “tee”!

And such was the case for the National Sports Forum this past week when the NSF pivoted to put on the NSF’s first “virtual” event in its history. In this week’s edition of Selling It… we thought we’d share some of the highlights pulled from last week’s speakers at the NSF Fall Summit. 

First and foremost, the “Forum Family” didn’t seem to mind going virtual… as a healthy sized group from over 200 organizations turned out for the two-day event. In the end, the only thing missing turned out to be the cold beers at the end of the day!


And speaking of beer… Anheuser Busch’s Nick Kelly, Vice President of Partnerships, Beer Culture & Community, started things off on Day One when he was asked about a recent Sports Business Journal story that quoted him as saying that Anheuser-Busch was planning on pruning back as many as 25% of their existing sponsorships from their sports portfolio. And while Kelly didn’t deny that they’ll be down-sizing the number of organizations and programs they help underwrite, he did make it a point to explain that Anheuser-Busch/InBev was fully committed to keeping their sponsorship dollars exactly where they are now.  As Kelly summed up, Anheuser-Busch will be looking for impact, flexibility and results… and not for branding.


Later that same afternoon at the Summit’s “View from the Top” super panel, a round-robin discussion took place with the top sports executives. Kim Stone, General Manager of the Chase Center, brought us up to speed on everything implemented to prepare the new Chase Center for a hopeful reopening. This included a disaster relief fund of $1,000 per part-time worker and implementing a health and hygiene department. Danita Johnson, President & COO of the Los Angeles Sparks, coaches her team that, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” The panelists, which included Jonathan Becher, President, San Jose Sharks, and Larry Baer, CEO & President, San Francisco Giants all discussed the importance of being prepared through this uncharted territory.


Day Two featured ten breakout sessions. A key focus of these was the loss of fans in-stadium as a result of COVID-19. But how can you keep the fanbase engaged? One solution was presented through the breakout session, “Game On! Engaging Your Fans in COVID & Delighting Your Sponsors.Mark Jeffery and Paulo LaGreca of Aquimo brought virtual Fall Summit attendees into live mobile sports games through a QR code scan. Baltimore Ravens, Trey Bennett, Senior Manager, Corporate Partnerships, spoke about how mobile apps allowed fan engagement in-stadium and while everyone is home. Chris Slepokura, Director, Production & Entertainment of the Chicago Blackhawks, broke down the importance of ease in engaging fans. Simplicity of getting fans engaged has proven to be key.


After the breakout sessions, a team of agency and team executives met to share their thoughts on the industry’s position in “On The Firing Line: Managing Through The Age of Coronavirus Super Panel”. The crew took the time to break down their managerial roles within their organizations and with their partners. While discussing partners, Dewayne Hankins, CMO/Innovation Officer of the Portland Trailblazers, explained that “It’s about the relationships, don’t worry about anything else. If we treat people right in these moments, it will help us in the end.” Steve Dupee, CEO, BeCore Experiential Marketing, stressed the importance of empathy and compassion for employees during these times. Moderator Dan Migala, Co-Founder, 4FRONT concluded the session by leaving the word “pronoia/pronia” for the panelist and attendees. This is the idea that the world is conspiring to help everyone.

We wish our Forum Family a healthy dose of “pronoia/pronia” as we all move through these difficult times. We can’t wait to celebrate with ice cold Budweisers when we can all safely be together in person once again.

The NSF Virtual Fall Summit aimed to provide  an easily accessible, informative, and memorable virtual event experience. The NSF is now shifting to the next upcoming Summit Series event, the Virtual Holiday Summit, which will take place December 9-10, 2020. Click HERE to register!


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