Neu(Lion), T(Witch), and the Wardrobe

Last week, SMBA ’17’s Jessica Washington again had the pleasure of working with the SportsBusiness Journal conference staff for another amazing event.  The latest in the string of SBJ events was the Neulion Sports Media & Technology Conference, held at the Manhattan Beach Marriott.  The event was spread over two days and featured several presentations, panel discussions, and of course, great networking from over 300 of the sports business industry’s elite.


The event started out with a bang with a Q&A session featuring Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.  Ballmer discussed many topics including the Clippers potential to build their own arena in the future, growing pains as a new NBA owner, and how his team plans to proceed in terms of the recent national anthem protests.


The remaining sessions on day one had a heavy emphasis on emerging technology using virtual reality,  new uses for data in corporate sponsorships with MLB and NBA, and the changing landscape of sports broadcast media.  The day concluded with a fantastic networking mixer where attendees enjoy the spectacular views from the hotel terrace.


Day two was much of the same in terms of informative and insightful sessions.  The key morning session featured a panel of sports media executives including Laura Froelich, Head of Twitter Sports Content Partnerships.  Froelich discussed Twitter’s new streaming platform for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games, and proclaimed that the company has been very pleased with the results from the first four weeks.  The highlight of the entire conference, however, came in the afternoon with the E-Sports Forum presented by GMR Marketing.  GMR’s Chief Strategy Officer Dave Rosenberg kicked off the forum by presenting the results of a recent study that broke down the makeup of the e-sports player and fan.



Other notable sessions in the E-Sports Forum featured a recap of the inaugural season from Eleague General Manager Christina Alejandre, a panel about the  governance of E-Sports moving forward, and finally a case study on the success that Comcast has experienced by aligning with different E-Sports properties.


Overall, it was an invaluable experience, as expected from an SBJ Conference.  Thank you to the Sports Business Conference staff for allowing our cohort the opportunity to continuously participate in these events!