Last night at Sports Business Journal/Daily’s Forty Under 40 Awards banquet, Executive Editor Abe Madkour alluded to the fact that 20 out of 40 of the award recipients sleep less than 4 hours a night. Props to them! Driving back to San Diego after the banquet and waking up for 8am class this morning wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it.
The 40 honorees, their families, friends, guests, and all other supporters were dressed to the nines last night. The Diamond Ballroom at the JW Marriott at LA Live was filled with some of the biggest names in sports. Among these were Jed York, Casey Wasserman, Jeff Shell, Robbie Kean, Bruce Arenas, Eric Shanks, Randy Freer, Pat Haden, and the list goes on! To get to be a part of an event with such aspirational sports executives was a true honor and set the bar very high for those of us just starting out in our sports careers.
One of the most powerful moments of the night was around the vibe at the AEG table. AEG has had a total of 10 honorees in the history of the award. Last night, 8 out of 10 of the past honorees were in attendance to honor this year’s winner Nick Baker. Another favorite group of supporters was in the front row at the San Francisco 49er’s table. President Paraag Marathe was honored last night and supported by honoree last year, Chief Revenue Officer, Ethan Casson, as well as CEO, Jed York. Wasserman Media Group also had so much support that they needed 2 tables to support honoree Jennifer van Dijk. CAA Sports definitely had the loudest table as they supported their two honorees, Jennifer Duberstein and Seth Jacobs. Just being in the room last night it was easy to see the support and devotion in this elite group and in the sports industry is aspirational and moving.
Another highlight last night was the music that played as the honorees came on stage. They each got to select the song that played as they accepted their award. A couple of the favorites of the night were:
- Ray DeWeese of IMG College/ Ohio State played “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen soundtrack. He blamed his selection on his kids and got a good laugh from the audience.
- Nicholas Carey of Wells Fargo played “The Games Bond Theme” and played the part well!
- Sachi Brown of the Clevland Browns played “Paid the Cost to be the Boss” by James Brown
For the first time in the history of Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 awards, all forty honorees were present last night. The 6 of us from SMBA class of 2016 that got to attend were truly lucky to be in the presence of such esteemed executives in our field. The bar has been set high for us after graduate school, I can’t wait to see where SMBA ’16 lands, maybe one of us will be up there one day! Congratulations to the SBJ Forty Under 40 Class of 2015, it was an honor to get celebrate with you last night.