Pages and stages: Our speakers in the news

As we approach each of our events, I like to keep an eye on how our speakers are making news across the industry.

Here are some recent mentions of speakers at our World Congress of Sports, which will be held April 19-20 at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, Calif.:

Val Ackerman: The Big East commissioner was named to the board of directors of the U.S. Soccer Federation. Ackerman is part of the opening roundtable on Day 1.

John Angelos: The Baltimore Orioles EVP, who will appear on our regional sports network panel on Day 1 of the conference, said he doesn’t want to see President Donald Trump throw a first pitch at Camden Yards this season. During a B-More Opinionated podcast, Angelos talked about some of the president’s more inflammatory statements, and said, “It’s really incumbent upon any individual who leads the country to step away from those types of statements, to apologize for those statements and retract them. … Until that happens, it wouldn’t be my preference to have the president come throw a pitch.” Read Dan Steinberg’s story in the Washington Post, or listen to the podcast.

Don Garber: The MLS commissioner, who is on the opening panel for Day 2, talked last week with the St. Louis Post Dispatch about today’s stadium referendum: “I’m very confident that if we’re able to go forward here, all that energy behind bringing MLS to St. Louis for many, many years will be fulfilled.”

Sunil Gulati: The U.S. Soccer Federation added a new policy to its bylaws, calling for players to “stand respectfully” during the playing of the National Anthem at any event in which the USSF “is represented,” according to’s Stuart Holden. USSF President Sunil Gulati said that there are “no preset consequences,” and the policy “would be addressed as it happens.” Not everyone was happy with the new policy, with some commentators calling it “misguided.” Read The Daily’s report on the issue. Gulati will join Garber on the Day 2 soccer panel.

Ted Leonsis: Shortly after Capitals star left wing Alex Ovechkin said he was going to the Olympics with or without the NHL’s blessing, Capitals owner Leonsis stood behind his star (see story in the National Post), leading many to think that other owners were likely to follow suit. Leonsis, ever the trailblazer, will appear with his son, Zach, in a video interview with SBJ media writer John Ourand on Day 1 of the event. They’ll talk about their leadership of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, including views on team ownership, media strategies, corporate partnerships and the role of team owners in the community.

Leonsis also made our ’Twitter Me This” feature after Ovechkin recorded his 17th career hat trick:

Of course, the NHL announced this week that, as a league, it will not participate in the Winter Games, setting up some interesting times as we see which stars decide to go anyway, and how the league and owners react.

Burke Magnus: The ESPN EVP was part of an MLB Roundtable published in the March 27 issue of SBJ.

A few key quotes:

On attracting millennials to the game: “From a media perspective, it’s about creating players that are relevant to this audience. … I have a 17-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl in my home now and I kind of pick their brains on why they find certain players interesting, and it’s all about how they relate to them.”

On fan attention to the games: “We remain laser focused on time spent viewing, and we believe that a crisper presentation with not only the competition itself but also the commercialization will be helpful, and we’re looking within a number of properties at innovations in and around that commercialization related to sports, and how can we rely not just on the 30-second spot for the rest of humanity.”

Read the whole thing, and listen to SBJ’s First Look podcast, where editors and reporters discuss the MLB season at about the 14:35 mark.

Magnus is part of the opening roundtable on Day 1 of the World Congress, along with Adidas’ Mark King, CAA Sports’ Mike Levine, MSG’s David O’Connor, Fanatics’ Michael Rubin, the NBA’s Mark Tatum, and Ackerman.

Perkins Miller: GM/StubHub: When the WWE struck its first secondary ticketing deal with StubHub, SBJ’s Eric Fisher noted that “the agreement connects two key parts of the career of StubHub GM for North America Perkins Miller, who from ’12-14 Miller served as WWE Exec VP/Digital Media.”

Erika Nardini: The Barstool Sports CEO was in SBD’s Quick Hits with this quote from a Digiday story headlined “Barstool Sports got 12,500 people to pay to watch amateur boxing”:

Nardini, on the site presenting a PPV stream of one of its employees competing in a boxing tournament: “What I’m trying to do is take something that’s so raw and compelling to a very core audience, and see what other forms it can take. The PPV was a great example of how we can harness the best of Barstool Sports, and not change it in any way, but bring it to a new medium.”

Mark Tatum: The NBA exec was quoted in SBJ’s profile of George Raveling, one of our 2017 class of Champions of Sports Business. Here’s the quote:

“George is so connected, and he connects generations because he has played or coached with or against so many legends,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum, who’s worked with Raveling for more than 15 years on matters involving USA Basketball, Nike’s NBA sponsorship and as a fellow member of the Naismith Hall of Fame board of governors. “He’s had a front-row seat to how things used to be and how they got to where they are, and he shares all that knowledge constantly.”

The whole profile is worth a read, and staff writer Terry Lefton discusses Raveling in the First Look podcast embedded above.

Victor Montagliani: VP, FIFA / president, CONCACAF: Montagliani, who will join Garber and Gulati on the soccer panel to start Day 2 of the conference, recently told The AP that if the U.S., Canada and Mexico win a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup, all three should get an automatic entry into the tournament. It’s unclear whether that could happen, but with FIFA encouraging joint bids as a way to cut down on the obligations of any single host country, it seems like a logical step.

Montagliani was also quoted by REUTERS’ Alan Baldwin as saying last month that “a wall planned by Trump along the U.S.-Mexico border would not present an obstacle to co-hosting the event.”

Casey Wasserman: CEO, Wasserman / chairman, LA 2024: As the apparent race between Los Angeles and Paris for the 2024 Games has heated up, Wasserman has been a regular in news coverage. Read Ben Fischer’s report on a Wasserman op-ed in which he said the IOC’s goal to award the 2024 and 2028 Games simultaneously is fine, as long as L.A. gets the ’24 Olympics. But when the Paris committee head subsequently issued what appeared to be an ultimatum to the IOC — basically, that for Paris it is 2024 or nothing — Wasserman got a lot of good press by taking the high road and refusing to follow suit. It’ll be interesting to see how the IOC decision reflects on the gamesmanship of the committees.

Wasserman also joined the American delegation in Denmark this week for the SportAccord conference. See Fischer’s writeup in SBD Global about L.A. and Paris bid leaders meeting with the IOC to discuss the ’24 and ’28 Games.

Author: Ross

By day, I’m at SportsBusiness Journal, working on web stuff, video stuff, podcast stuff … you name it. By night, I’m watching Netflix. Or playing tennis. Or, if you’re lucky, writing another blog post.

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