Tap on a name to read their bio.
Kay hosts the NFL Network’s Emmy nominated daily show, Good Morning Football. Kay also currently hosts NFL Fantasy Zone on Sundays for DirecTV. Over the last several years she’s also hosted on the Red Carpet at the NFL Honors Ceremony, Nickelodeon’s Superstar Slime Showdown, TruTV’s Impractical Jokers Live Special, SB Nation’s Gameday Grub Match, and has served as a special correspondent on EXTRA. This past summer, Kay was the lead sideline reporter for the NFL Network’s production of the inaugural American Flag Football League Championships. Lastly, and most recently, Kay has added boxing to her repertoire as she joined DAZN to serve as the host for each fight broadcast as part of their new deal with Matchroom Boxing.
Vice President, Direct-To-Consumer Services
Vice President, Direct-To-Consumer Services, NBC Sports Group
Portia Archer is the Vice President of Direct-to-Consumer Services for NBC Sports. Archer is responsible for the launch, development and management of NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer business and live streaming product, NBC Sports Gold.
In her role, Archer is charged with understanding and serving the evolving needs of sport fans and audiences. Under her tenure, NBC Sports Group launched “Pro Motocross Pass,” its first international live streaming subscription-based direct-to-consumer product, and “Premier League Pass,” NBC Sports’ first direct-to-consumer product for a major sports league.
Archer joined NBC Sports Group in February 2016 after serving as Vice President of International Distribution, for Home Box Office, Inc., where she was in charge of the strategic planning and launch of HBO channels outside of the U.S. While at HBO, Archer’s duties involved the development and management of multi-platform subscription video on demand (SVOD) channels throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and Canada. In addition, she oversaw the digital/VOD relationships with HBO Ventures: HBO Asia, HBO Central Europe, HBO Nordic, HBO Netherlands, and HBO Latin America.
Prior to joining HBO in 2007, Archer led several large scale transformation efforts in Production, Programming, TV Channels and Digital at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and BBC Worldwide in London. Additionally, she was Executive Director at America Online, Inc., where she reported to the Vice Chairman and was responsible for negotiating deals with key strategic partners and new business development. Archer was also a Senior Associate in the Media & Entertainment Practice at Booz Allen Hamilton, focusing on corporate strategy, operations and technology consulting to global media companies.
Archer is a member of the Women’s Sports Foundation Board of Trustees, Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT), Betsy Magness Class XXIV, and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She is also the founder of NBC Sports Group’s “Huddle Up” mentorship program, dedicated to fostering strong connections and growth opportunities for NBC Sports employees. In 2018, Portia was named one of AdWeek’s Most Powerful Women in Sports.
A native of Chicago, Archer graduated from The University of Chicago with an A.B. in Public Policy and Economics, and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School. Archer currently resides in Westchester, NY.
Senior Vice President, Media
Seth Bacon / Senior Vice President, Media
As Senior Vice President, Media for Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing, Seth Bacon is responsible for developing and executing the direction of the League’s media properties and overseeing the distribution of content and programming on international, national and regional levels through advanced multimedia platform channels.
Bacon works closely with all current and future MLS/SUM broadcast partners -- ESPN, NBC Sports, Fox Sports, Univision, TSN and RDS -- to integrate the League’s television agreements to televise MLS games in the United States and Canada.
Bacon brings nearly 15 years of broadcast experience to MLS and SUM and most recently served as Managing Director, Broadcasting for NASCAR, where he was a core member of the team that negotiated the sport’s multimedia rights agreements. During his 11 years with NASCAR, Bacon managed and maximized relationships and sponsorship opportunities with broadcast partners, developed the organization’s first Hispanic broadcast partnership and was instrumental in renewing NASCAR’s international business with more than 30 broadcast partners.
Before joining NASCAR, Bacon served as an Associate Producer at Fox Sports Net where he was a member of the original production team that launched “The Best Damn Sports Show Period.”
Bacon is a graduate of Emerson College. A native of Maine, Bacon currently resides in Greenwich, Connecticut with his wife Katie and their two sons.
President, NBC Olympics Production & Programming
Jim Bell was promoted to President, NBC Olympics Production & Programming in January 2017. He oversees all day-to-day editorial production and programming aspects of NBC Olympics’ linear coverage of the Games as well as Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, a partnership between the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, and NBCUniversal. Bell also added the title Executive Producer, Telemundo World Cup, in January 2017, in which he will oversee the Spanish-language network’s first-ever coverage of the event in 2018. Bell reports directly to Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Broadcasting & Sports, NBCUniversal.
The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics marked Bell’s 12th Olympics with NBC. He has worked on every Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games with NBC Sports (1992-2004, 2012-2016) or NBC News (2006-12).
Bell is in his second stretch with NBC Sports, as he rejoined NBC Sports Group full-time following seven years (2005-12) as Executive Producer of TODAY. He served as both executive producer of TODAY and the London Olympics in 2012, which is the most-watched event in U.S. television history with more than 217 million viewers. Bell also served as the executive producer of the 2014 Sochi Games, the most dominant primetime Winter Olympics performance on record, and the 2016 Rio Olympics, the most successful media event in history.
During his TODAY tenure, the show extended its dominance in the morning ratings race to 16 years, earned seven Emmys, seven Edward R. Murrow Awards, and nine Headliner Awards. Bell also won Emmys for his work on the 1992, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2012 and 2016 Olympics and a Peabody for NBC’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Prior to joining TODAY, Bell was coordinating producer for NBC Olympics, leading the production hiring for the Olympics unit and supervising nearly 100 hours of afternoon and late night programming on NBC during the 2004 Athens Summer Games.
Bell’s career as a producer for NBC began in 1990 when he was hired to profile athletes for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. He worked each subsequent Summer Olympic Games for NBC, and the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Over the following 14 years, he produced NBC broadcasts of the NFL, MLB, and the NBA, and won Emmys for the 1997 NBA Finals and Wimbledon tennis in 1998.
Bell graduated cum laude from Harvard with a B.A. in government in 1989. He was an All-Ivy defensive tackle and a member of the school’s Ivy League Championship team in 1987. He resides in Greenwich, Conn., with his wife, Angelique, and their four sons.
For more than a decade, Martellus Bennett was one of the top tight ends in the National Football League, but his talents extend well beyond the football field -- he’s a renaissance man in a league of his own. Bennett is an entrepreneur, animator, illustrator, author, app creator, creator, musician, dreamer and much more.
Bennett enjoyed a career year in 2017 – both on and off the field. After winning Super Bowl LI with the New England Patriots, Bennett was named to Adweek’s Creative 100 List and The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans. He was also honored at the 2017 BET Awards with the Shine A Light Award alongside his brother Michael.
In 2014, Bennett founded The Imagination Agency, a multi-media creative production company focused on children’s literature, entertainment and education. The Imagination Agency’s mission is to inspire children to chase their dreams and encourage creativity, all while embracing their own individuality. For his work with The Imagination Agency, Bennett was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Sports list and he delivered a keynote address at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit.
Through The Imagination Agency, Bennett wrote, illustrated and published his first book in 2016, Hey A.J., It’s Saturday, and Hey A.J., It’s Bedtime in early 2018 while also developing and releasing interactive companion apps for both.
Bennett’s inspiration behind the Hey A.J. book series first stemmed from his daughter, Jett. Upon Bennett noticing that none of the characters in the children’s books he read to Jett represented her, he took matters into his own hands and created children’s literature to which African American children could relate.
Since then, the recently retired NFL super star has been working on an AJ animated series, The Fantastical Adventures of A.J., which is scheduled to release in July 2018, and a host of other creative projects.
Bennett’s creative force also transcends into the world of music. In 2017, Martellus dropped a five-track EP, I’m Not A Rapper But Some of My Friends Are, featuring MatchBoxTony, David Allen Dope, Keith Jacobs, Low Down and Franchise Tief. The well-reviewed EP follows his debut mixtape, Year of the Orange Dinosaur, which made its debut in 2014. He followed this up in 2018 with the 5-track EP WNDR TWINS, available now.
In addition to his football and creative work, Bennett is committed to improving his communities. The BET Shine A Light Award honored Martellus and brother Michael for their work in serving underprivileged communities. In response to Hurricane Harvey’s devastation of his hometown Houston, Bennett worked with Donors Choose to raise funds for children’s school supplies in Houston. Additionally, he pledged the proceeds of his 2017 NFL jersey sales to after school programs.
Over his NFL career, Bennett scored more than 30 touchdowns and caught 433 receptions, for 4,500 receiving yards. Raised in Houston Texas, Bennett played football and basketball at Texas A&M before he was selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys in 2008. Bennett has also played for the Chicago Bears, New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Bennett currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with his wife Siggi and daughter Jett.
Senior Director, Interactive Media
Lauren Cochran is entering her sixth season with the Miami HEAT. As the Senior Director of Interactive Media, Cochran oversees digital marketing and strategy for the Miami HEAT by leading a talented team that turn data into dollars. Cochran is responsible for Miami HEAT's digital properties including social media, paid media, email and marketing automation, e-commerce and eSports. Under her leadership, the HEAT Social Media Department is a consistent leader in social media engagement and growth with over 23 million followers, has had record breaking sales on the HEAT online retail store and successfully launched a paid media strategy reaping big returns on ticket sales. Prior to joining the Miami HEAT, Cochran served as the Director of Digital Media for the Philadelphia Flyers for seven seasons overseeing their digital properties that included the website, email marketing, mobile marketing and social media.
Sarah Crennan is the Head of Content for Yahoo Sports where she is living her passions for both digital video and sports content. Tasked with shaping the content strategy for Yahoo Sports, Sarah partners closely with teams across Oath and Verizon to realize the sports vision.
Prior to her role with Yahoo Sports, Sarah was the Senior Director of Content Partnerships and Business Development at AOL where she oversaw the strategy, negotiation, and ongoing management for premium content partners. Sarah also held positions at AOL as Head of Marketing for AOL Video, where she oversaw the annual Newfront event, as well as Chief of Staff to AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstrong.
Sarah is a passionate women's lacrosse fan, having played attack at her alma mater, Georgetown University. She currently remains active with the sport as an on-air analyst for women's lacrosse games, having covered for NCAA, ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN+, CBSSports, and Verizon Fios local channels. Born and raised in Annapolis, MD, Sarah now resides outside of New York City with her husband Kyle and two sons, Ryan and James.
Senior Director, Marketing and Creative
Bio: Pat Donahue is entering his 8th season with the LA Kings. From humble beginnings as a Twitter intern to now overseeing the Kings Marketing, Digital, Social, and Creative teams; he’s continued to evolve the Kings brand and keep them at the top of popularity in sports. Named one of the “Top 50 Most Powerful in Southern California Sports,” Pharah main in Overwatch, and a part-time pizza maker.
Co-Founder & CEO
Growing up along the sidelines of professional sports, Ebersol has built a career on telling the stories behind the sport. He is an award-winning film and television producer, director, and philanthropist. Ebersol has created hit shows, sold franchise film properties, and launched companies and foundations with global brands and personalities. His credits include: “Strike Team” (ESPN Films), “This Was the XFL” (ESPN ‘30 for 30’), “Gold Medal Families” (Lifetime), “The Moment” (USA), critically-acclaimed “NFL Characters Unite” (USA), “Rooster and Butch” (A&E), “The Profit” (CNBC), “West Texas Investors Club” (CNBC), “The Wanted” (NBC),” documentaries “Don’t Look Down” and “Ithuteng: Never Stop Learning.”
Senior Vice President & General Manager
Dan Finnerty is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Spectrum Networks, a series of 24/7 news and sports networks owned and operated by Charter Communications. Mr. Finnerty joined Time Warner Cable in 2011 and remained with Charter when its transactions with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks were completed in 2016.
Mr. Finnerty leads operations, personnel, financial performance and growth of Spectrum’s Regional Sports Networks and local networks in California and Hawaii, including Spectrum SportsNet, Spectrum SportsNet LA, Spectrum Sports (University of Hawaii), Spectrum OC16, Spectrum Surf Channel and Spectrum’s 24/7 news network, Spectrum News 1, set to launch in November 2018.
He also oversees business development, leads the affiliate sales and marketing efforts for Spectrum’s portfolio of sports programming assets, and shapes Spectrum’s overall sports strategy.
Mr. Finnerty joined Charter from Comcast Networks, where he served as Executive Vice President, Network Distribution & Development and managed a team responsible for distribution/affiliate sales and business development for all Comcast Networks. Mr. Finnerty was instrumental in securing critical distribution for a number of startup networks in six years at Comcast. Earlier in his career, Mr. Finnerty held senior sales roles with startup HorseRacing TV, and the digital media company Organic. He also worked as a Los Angeles trial attorney and marine engineer.
Vice President & Executive Producer, ESPN Films and Original Content
Libby Geist serves as Vice President and Executive Producer, ESPN Films and Original Content, overseeing all aspects of the Films group and Features Unit. Her responsibilities include development, production, distribution, branding and strategy for all ESPN Films documentaries, specials, series and features across all platforms. Projects under Libby include the acclaimed series, , , and specials including “O.J.: Made in America,” along with content partnerships across the Walt Disney Company. Geist, a three-time Peabody Award winner, has spent her entire career in documentary film, from production to development and now as an executive producer. She continues to push ESPN’s storytelling to new heights as one of the company’s leaders in long-form.
Geist’s creative contributions to ESPN Films are many, highlighted most recently by overseeing development, production and strategy for “O.J.: Made in America,” the 2017 Oscar Winner for Best Documentary Feature. Over the years, she has contributed to as a producer and development executive, and spearheaded spinoffs including the highly-acclaimed series–nine documentaries about women in sports, by female filmmakers.
Geist has been honored in Variety’s “2017 Women’s Impact Report,” as one of ’s “2017 Women in the Game,” and ’s “Game Changers,” and was featured on The Hollywood Reporters’ 2014 “NextGen” list.
Prior to joining ESPN, Geist’s first production job was at Shoot the Moon Productions under director Dan Klores, where she worked from 2003 to 2008. She worked on four documentaries there, including “Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story” (USA Network), “Viva Baseball” (SpikeTV) and “Crazy Love” which won an Independent Spirit Award. It was her work as a Producer on the four hour, two part documentary “Black Magic” (2008) which won her first Peabody and an introduction to ESPN Films.
As a freelancer in 2008/2009, Geist produced “The Surge: The Whole Story” for PBS and conducted a series of interviews with the E Street Band for HBO’s acclaimed doc “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town”. Geist moved to ESPN Films in late 2008 to work on the series, which brought her a second Peabody.
Geist lives in New York with her husband and two little boys.
Executive Vice President & General Manager
Jeffrey Gerttula is the Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Sports Digital. In this role, he leads the media business for CBS Interactive’s sports properties, which include CBS Sports HQ, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports Fantasy, 247Sports, MaxPreps, SportsLine and Scout Media. Gerttula oversees all aspects of these properties including editorial content, live and on-demand video programming, product, technology and design across all digital platforms.
Under Gerttula’s direction, CBS Sports Digital has grown to be the second largest sports property in the U.S. Gerttula also managed CBS Sports’ award winning live streams of Super Bowl XLVII and Super Bowl 50 on CBSSports.com, which set online viewership records.
Before joining CBS Interactive, Gerttula served as Vice President and General Manager for Sporting News.
Gerttula holds a BA in Quantitative Economics from Tufts University and an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
President, Group Leader & Strategic Production and Programming
Ted Griggs was named President, Group Leader and Strategic Production and Programming, NBC Sports Regional Networks, in October 2016. Griggs oversees NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia +, NBC Sports Washington and NBC Sports Washington + working closely with the general managers of each network to lead strategies promoting the growth and optimization of the businesses. He also oversees the strategy for Production and Programming for the NBC Sports Regional Networks. Griggs reports into David Preschlack, President, NBC Sports Regional Networks, and NBC Sports Group Platform and Content Strategy.
Previously, Griggs served as President of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and Comcast SportsNet California, now NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California. He first joined the network in 1998 as Vice President of Production and Operations. In 2007, Griggs was named Vice President and General Manager, and promoted to President in 2012. Griggs led the operations of the networks, including affiliate relations, advertising sales, production, programming, marketing and public relations.
Before joining NBC Sports Regional Networks, Griggs spent 15 years (1982-1997) at Golden Gate Productions, in a variety of roles and was eventually promoted to executive producer. Griggs worked on numerous sporting events, spanning from “Sports Illustrated For Kids” Olympics Specials to Stanford University Football and World Cup Downhill Skiing. Griggs was named nine times to San Jose Mercury News’ “Bay Area’s 25 Most Powerful Sports People.”
A native of Hayward, Calif., and a graduate of Moreau Catholic High School and San Francisco State University, Griggs resides in Connecticut with his wife. They have three children.
Matt Hong is Chief Operating Officer of Turner Sports, a division of Turner and
WarnerMedia. In this role, he oversees teams responsible for long-term business
strategy, rights acquisitions, league partnerships, programming, marketing, revenue &
sales inventory planning, and day-to-day operations for the division.
Turner Sports presents premium sporting events including NBA regular season, All-Star and
Playoffs coverage, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, MLB regular
season and Postseason, the PGA Championship, ELEAGUE professional eSports, and the
UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League across TNT, TBS and truTV.
In addition to his division-wide responsibilities, Hong oversees the management of various
sports businesses and properties including Bleacher Report, NBA TV, NBA Digital, NCAA
Digital and March Madness Live, PGA.com and PGA Championship Live, and the new B/R
Live OTT offering.
Hong joined Turner Sports in 2008 after previous positions at Thomson and AOL. He
received a JD with honors from Harvard Law School and a BA in economics from NC State
University, where he was the university co-valedictorian. He is based in Atlanta where he
lives with his wife and two children.
Media / PR Contact:
Nate.Smeltz@turner.com (404) 827-4786
Priscilla.Saunders@turner.com (404) 575-7752
Head, Global Live Sports Programming
Peter Hutton has travelled the world in a unique sports broadcasting career that has seen major roles with both broadcasters and agencies. He began as a 16-year-old sports reporter on local radio in Yorkshire, England commentating on football, rugby league and cricket throughout his time at Cambridge University. His TV career began with the BBC, where he worked on the Hillsborough football disaster before becoming one of the first faces on Sky Sports as a reporter/presenter for the launch of pay TV in the UK. In 1993 he became the first producer of the world distributed show ‘Futbol Mundial’ for IMG before becoming the company’s first employee in India in 1994. Based out of Delhi for 8 years, he ran groundbreaking coverage of Indian sports and Bollywood music events. In 2002 he was one of the founders of the Ten Sports channel and was CEO of the company when it was sold to Zee TV in 2010. He joined Fox International Channels to run its international sports business and joined the board of Fox Sports Africa and became managing director of Fox Sports in Asia. In 2012 he became the co-CEO of the MP and Silva agency, before leaving to become CEO of the pan European broadcaster Eurosport, where he acquired the rights to the Olympics in Europe and oversaw the first of the contracted Olympic events in South Korea. In 2018, he became Facebook’s first head of live sports. Peter lives in Paris along with his wife and 2 sons.
Social & Digital
Amie Kiehn started her career teaching middle school on the southside of Chicago with Teach for America. She moved to Charlotte, NC to transition to sports where she’s led the Carolina Panthers social media team since 2017. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa and recently had her first child before the 2018 season opener (Little baby couldn’t wait for Panthers football either).
Peter King, 60, will join NBC Sports Group exclusively in July of 2018. One of the most prolific and respected NFL writers for decades, King will write his popular Monday morning NFL column each week exclusively for NBCSports.com. He will also make weekly appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio, and will continue to contribute to Football Night in America, which he has worked on in some capacity since its inception in 2006.
King will also resume his popular NFL training camp tour for NBCSports.com, filing his column from the road each Monday and providing occasional video or written reports from team to team throughout the preseason. He will report for NBC Sports Digital on numerous events throughout the year, including regular season games, a conference championship game, the Super Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine, the start of free agency, and the NFL Draft.
In addition to his NFL responsibilities, King will report on some of NBC Sports’ most high-profile events, including the Stanley Cup Final, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and more.
King has covered pro football for 35 years, including 29 years at Sports Illustrated. He wrote the internet’s most popular NFL column, “Monday Morning Quarterback,” from 1997-2018 at S.I. In 2013, he founded The MMQB, Sports Illustrated’s pro football microsite, serving as editor-in-chief and columnist.
King was named national sportswriter of the year in 2010, 2012 and 2013 in a vote of his peers by the National Sports Media Association.
He has worked on television for ABC as halftime correspondent for Monday Night Football, for CNN as an NFL reporter, for HBO as managing editor and reporter of Inside the NFL, and for NBC Sports as reporter for Football Night in America since 2006.
In King’s time at HBO, Inside the NFL won the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Studio show in 2002, 2004 and 2005, the first three times the show ever won the award.
King has written five books on pro football, and served on the voting panel for the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 1992.
Born in Springfield, Mass., in 1957, King grew up in Enfield, Conn., and graduated from Ohio University with a journalism degree in 1979. He worked for the Associated Press, the Cincinnati Enquirer and Newsday before moving to Sports Illustrated in 1989 to write the magazine’s “Inside the NFL” column.
He lives in New York City with his wife, Ann. They have two grown daughters, Laura and Mary Beth.
Vice President, Media Analytics Consulting
Brendan Kirsch is currently a Vice President in Nielsen's Media Analytics Consulting practice where he is the lead consultant for Nielsen’s Sports and Entertainment business vertical. During his time with Nielsen, he has led engagements for top clients such as the National Football League, American Gaming Association and NASCAR. Brendan’s expertise is in multi-platform measurement and performance tracking, performance outlooks/forecasts, scenario planning, data integration and media effectiveness studies. Prior to joining Nielsen, Brendan worked for the Strategy and Business Development team at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) where he led UFC’s TV media research initiatives.
Director, Social Media Content and Platform Strategy
Chris Littmann is the Director of Social Media Content and Platform Strategy for NASCAR, leading the team on the front lines of the sanctioning body’s social content creation. Littmann and his team work to grow the sport through innovative content partnerships with social platforms and work in close collaboration with teams, drivers, tracks and broadcast partners to accomplish key initiatives. Prior to joining NASCAR, Littmann worked for more than 10 years at Sporting News, first in editorial and later in social strategy. Littmann is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.
CEO & Commissioner
On June 5, 2018, Oliver Luck, a former NFL and NCAA executive and quarterback, was named the first Commissioner & CEO of the XFL. The new XFL kicks off in early 2020 and will deliver a fan-centric, innovative experience, including fast-paced games and a family-friendly environment, complemented by cross-platform viewing options and real-time fan engagement.
Earlier in his career, Luck served as President of NFL Europe and General Manager of the league’s Frankfurt Galaxy and Rhein Fire. Most recently Luck was the NCAA’s Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, reporting to NCAA President Mark Emmert, where he oversaw all NCAA regulatory functions including enforcement, academic and membership affairs, and the Eligibility Center.
Prior to the NCAA, Luck spent five years as the Director of Athletics at his alma mater, West Virginia University, and served on the institution’s Board of Governors in the two years before assuming that position. During his tenure at West Virginia, Luck presided over the school’s transition into the Big 12 Conference and served on the College Football Playoff selection committee and the Player Safety Advisory Panel for the National Football League.
Before his position at West Virginia, Luck served as the first president and general manager for Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo and led the organization to two MLS Cup titles. He also was the chief executive officer for the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and played a crucial role in financing the construction and management of Reliant Stadium and bringing the NFL’s Houston Texans to town.
Luck was selected in the second round of the 1982 NFL draft by the Houston Oilers where he played until 1986. In advance of launching his professional career, Luck, a Rhodes Scholarship finalist, graduated from West Virginia University where he was a three-year starting quarterback, two-time Academic All-American, two-time team MVP and currently ranks sixth on the school’s all-time list for both passing yards and touchdowns. He is a member of the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni and the St. Ignatius High School (Cleveland) Hall of Fame.
Luck earned his J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, graduating cum laude in 1987. He’s a member of the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame and CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame. Luck also serves on the Board of Directors of American Campus Communities, Inc., a publicly traded REIT (NYSE: ACC), the nation’s largest owner-operator and developer of student housing.
Luck and his wife Kathy have two sons and two daughters: Andrew, a former All-American quarterback, two-time Heisman Trophy finalist at Stanford University and quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts; Mary Ellen, a former volleyball student-athlete and a graduate of Stanford; Emily, also a Stanford graduate; and Addison, a soccer student-athlete at Yale.
Anchor & Correspondent
Anchor & Correspondent, NBC Sports Group
Carolyn Manno is host of NBCSN’s NASCAR America, and among her wide-ranging NBC Sports Group assignments, she has served as a reporter for NBC’s Football Night In America and Triple Crown horse racing, and an anchor for NBC’s Sports Update Desk.
Manno joined NBC Sports Group in August 2009, and has quickly become one of NBC Sports Group’s most versatile reporters, anchors and hosts. In 2013, Manno joined NBC and NBCSN full time as a reporter and anchor.
Carolyn Manno returned to NBC Olympics for the fourth time in Pyeongchang, handling late night and morning hosting duties on NBCSN. Manno made her hosting debut in Rio, and previously served as a freestyle skiing reporter at the 2014 Sochi Games, and was a Sportsdesk reporter at the 2012 London Olympics. Manno also serves as host of the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics, and worked as a studio host during the 2016 Rio Paralympics and the 2014 Sochi Paralympics.
Manno has served as a reporter for NBC’s Super Bowl XLIX, Triple Crown horse racing, college football, college basketball, cycling, and the Dew Tour coverage.
Prior to her assignments with NBC and NBCSN, Manno was an anchor/reporter for Comcast SportsNet New England, and was a contributor to CSNNE.com. While in Boston, Manno covered Super Bowl, Stanley Cup and NBA Finals appearances by the New England Patriots, the Boston Bruins, and the Boston Celtics, respectively.
Manno spent three years in South Bend, Ind., where she covered the Notre Dame Fighting Irish; the Chicago Bears, Cubs and White Sox; the Indianapolis Colts; and the Indy 500. While there, she earned multiple first place awards from the Associated Press including an Edward R. Murrow Award for Sports Journalism and an Indiana Spectrum Award for journalistic excellence.
Manno is a Florida native, and a graduate of the University of Florida.
President & CEO
Sean McGrail has served as President and CEO of NESN (New England Sports Network) since May of 2000. Under McGrail’s leadership, NESN has been transformed into one of the most popular media properties in New England, growing from a premium service with 400,000 subscribers to a standard service with over 4 million homes. The network is also distributed outside New England as NESN National to approximately 5 million homes in nearly 100 DMAs as well as DirecTV and Dish Network and several over-the-top (OTT) distributors. NESN also boasts a digital group that oversees NESN.com, one of the most visited sports websites in the country. In 2017 NESN launched in-market streaming at www.NESNgo.com or on the NESNgo app.
NESN’s award-winning Red Sox and Bruins coverage (the network won 8 NE Emmy’s in 2017) consistently garners higher average prime time ratings than any Boston area broadcast network and consistently ranks among the most watched and highest rated regional sports networks in the country. Forbes Magazine has ranked NESN as one of the top ten Most Valuable Sports Business Brands in the world for six consecutive years.
McGrail engineered NESN’s 2006 relocation to the NESN Television Center in Watertown, MA, considered one of the leading regional sports network facilities in the country. The move also made NESN the first regional sports network in the country to originate every game and studio show in high definition. NESN has recently updated their studios and became the first RSN to bring automation into its studio productions.
In addition to his work at NESN, McGrail also serves on the Boards of Roush Fenway Racing and The Red Sox Foundation.
Roush Fenway Racing is one of the largest and most successful teams in NASCAR, fielding multiple teams in the Monster Energy Cup Series and XFINITY Series. For over fifty years, Roush Fenway Racing has been committed to performance, having won 31 championships and more than 400 races in drag racing, sports car and stock car racing.
The Red Sox Foundation is the official team charity of the Boston Red Sox. The Foundation’s primary focus is in serving the health, education, recreation, and social service needs of children and families in need across New England by harnessing the passion fans have for the Red Sox and transforming it into a vehicle for positive change in the New England community.
A Worcester, Massachusetts native, McGrail graduated from Northeastern University and earned an MBA from Boston University. He began his career at Continental Cablevision before joining NESN’s marketing department in 1985.
McGrail resides in Hopkinton, Massachusetts with his wife Judy and two sons.
Digital & Social Media Strategist
An award-winning thought leader, journalist, speaker and digital consultant, Jeramie McPeek has more than two decades of experience telling stories and achieving business objectives through traditional print, online, social and mobile channels.
McPeek spent 24 years with the Phoenix Suns, most recently as VP of Digital & Brand Strategy, before leaving to launch his own business in October 2016. Since starting his new venture, Jeramie McPeek Communications, he has worked with the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee, the National Women’s Soccer League and mobile app developer YinzCam, and he is currently playing “Social Media QB” for the XFL, kicking off in 2020.
A graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, McPeek previously worked on social media campaigns for the Arizona Super Bowl, the NFL Players Association and the Pope’s visit to the U.S. in 2015, and has had more than a thousand articles published in national magazines over the past 20 years. Additionally, he is currently teaching Digital Sports Strategy at ASU’s WP Carey School of Business.
Named one of America’s top 30 online sports marketers in 2014, @Jeramie owns two Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards and has been a featured or keynote speaker at more than 40 digital and communications conferences in seven countries.
President & Co-Founder
Jaymee Messler serves as President of The Players’ Tribune (www.theplayerstribune.com), a first-of-its-kind content platform that was developed by athletes for athletes to connect them with fans through the power of storytelling. By giving athletes the tools to create truly personal content and tell their stories, The Players’ Tribune is reimagining the world of sports and culture through the player’s point of view.
Messler co-founded The Players’ Tribune with Derek Jeter in 2014. She oversees the strategy and long-term vision of the business, and is leading the new TPT Productions team in Los Angeles. The site continues to break news with announcements and stories, and features a diverse collection of narratives with increasing impact and visibility. In three years, TPT has cultivated an athlete community with more than 1800 contributors and has changed the sports media landscape by transforming how athletes share information.
Prior to The Players’ Tribune, Messler was the CMO of Excel Sports Management, where she developed an industry-leading benchmark formula for player marketing that included client services, public relations, cause- related programs and community outreach, social media and digital programming, branded content and corporate partnerships. At Excel, she engineered partnerships and oversaw marketing for high-profile NBA and MLB clients including Jeter, Paul Pierce, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and Clayton Kershaw. Additionally, she took the helm of all branding and corporate communications on behalf of the agency, created Excel’s corporate digital strategy as well as oversaw the digital and social media strategies for the agency’s individual clients.
In 2018, Messler was named as a Top Woman in Media by FOLIO Magazine. In 2016, she was recognized on Variety’s New York Power of Women Impact List, AdWeek's 30 Most Powerful Woman in Sports, AdAdge's Women to Watch and was named a Top Woman in Digital by Cynopsis Media. She additionally received a Media Award by NYU Tisch Institute and the NYU Sports Business Society and was also named a ‘Gamechanger’ in Sports Business Journal in 2015.
Messler holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and resides in New York City.
Executive Vice President, Research, League Operations and Strategy
Mike Mulvihill, Executive Vice President, Research, League Operations & Strategy, is responsible for scheduling, strategic planning, Nielsen ratings analysis and advertising sales and communications support within FOX Sports.
Milvihill plays an important role in maintaining existing rights deals with several of FOX Sports’ key league partners, including the National Football League and Major League Baseball, and also in acquiring new rights agreements. He was involved in FOX Sports’ rights deal that secured the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2022, as well as the extension adding the 2026 FIFA World Cup to FOX Sports’ portfolio. He also played a key role in the agreement that made FOX Sports the principal domestic partner of the United States Golf Association as well as the company’s agreement with the Pac-12 Conference for regular-season over-the-air college sports, which was the network’s first foray into collegiate athletics.
In his role, Mulvihill serves as a liaison between FOX Sports and league partners including NFL, MLB and NASCAR, providing input on scheduling decisions in order to maximize viewership and exposure. His involvement with game regionalization on FOX Sports’ NFL package has propelled FOX Sports to record ratings in recent years.
Mulvihill joined FOX Sports in 1995 as a research analyst. He was promoted to the position of Senior Vice President in 2011, and was named to Sports Business Journal’s prestigious “Forty Under 40” list as a member of the publication’s 2010 class. He has also participated on numerous industry panels and is regarded as one of the industry’s leading experts on ratings and trends. Mulvihill was named to his current position in 2016. Prior to FOX Sports, Mulvihill worked at CBS in affiliate research.
A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, Mulvihill received his schools’ Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his
Mulvihill graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from his school in 2008. Mulvihill resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Dionne Nosek, and their two children, Nate and Harper.
Co-Founder & CMO
Kyle Nelson is the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of the social media measurement and valuation platform MVPindex, where he has lured some of the best in tech, sports and social media to develop a different kind of company. His innovative vision has resulted in a totally new way for people and brands to explore social media data.
Kyle Nelson’s refreshing take on the world of social media is based on his 25 years experience in technology, sales and marketing, Kyle was one of social media’s first champions, understanding it would become a legitimate marketing channel for brands that wanted to look beyond traditional media, and engage in a meaningful, measurable way.
Kyle has been challenging business models and the status quo throughout his entire career. Prior to MVPindex, he co-founded LaunchFish, a social media marketing and outsourcing agency servicing public companies, such as The Dallas Morning News and AdTran, as well as large SMBs/SMEs. Kyle also founded OpenACircle, a business collaboration and social networking internet company which won Best in Show at DEMO 2008 and was a founding member of Jobs.com, where he headed business and marketing, negotiated all major partnerships and helped raise over $110M from CBS, Adecco, and Idealab.
Kyle loves evangelizing the power of social media and has been a speaker at sports marketing and social media conferences including Momentum Sports Marketing Conference, Summit on Sports Media, Motorsports Marketing Forum, and Intersport Brand Engagement Summit. Kyle has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, CNET, SportsTechie, AdWeek, Bloomberg Business, Sports Business Journal, Sports Business Daily, Sports Business Radio and D Magazine.
Executive Vice President
Peter Nelson is executive vice president, HBO Sports, for Home Box Office. He is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction, programming and operations of the HBO Sports department, including its boxing franchise and HBO Pay-Per-View®. In addition, the HBO Sports portfolio includes the Peabody- and Emmy Award®-winning journalism program Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, the nine-time Peabody Award-winning documentary team, the boxing studio show The Fight Game with Jim Lampley, the innovative talk show partnership with Uninterrupted, The Shop, and the landmark reality series Hard Knocks and 24/7, which have garnered 16 and 18 Sports Emmy® Awards, respectively.
Since assuming leadership of the division, Nelson has engineered a re-boot of the department’s documentary space, fashioning projects that include Bill Simmons, the WWE, LeBron James and Maverick Carter of SpringHill Entertainment and the Zimbalist Brothers (Michael and Jeff). The HBO and IMG Original Content partnership generated the highly visible multi-part douc series BEING SERENA in the spring of 2018 that chronicled the life of tennis superstar Serena Williams. Nelson fostered a relationship with the NBA for unscripted programming that began with the 2018 presentation Courtside at the NBA Finals. He also executed a long-term renewal of the acclaimed reality series Hard Knocks with the NFL.
Nelson joined HBO Sports in 2011 as director of sports and became vice president, programming, HBO Sports in 2013. Prior to HBO, Nelson worked at an art advisory firm in Beverly Hills, Harvard’s Villa I Tatti in Italy, and later as a journalist, having previously done editorial work for Harper’s Magazine and writing for the New York Times, among other publications. In addition, Nelson wrote for HBO’s groundbreaking documentary series 24/7. His reporting was recognized by The Boxing Writers Association of America for best feature writing in 2010.
Nelson holds a BA in Ancient Greek, with magna cum laude honors, from Harvard University, where he also wrote for the Lampoon. He is involved with the humanitarian non-profit the International Rescue Committee, as well as the Harlem Educational Activities Fund. He is a native of Newton, MA.
Deepen Parikh is a Partner at Courtside Ventures, the leading venture capital fund focused on early-stage sports digital media, fitness/wellness, e-sports/gaming companies. The $35 million fund is backed by anchor investor Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Rock Ventures, Quicken Loans and majority owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and WPP, the world’s leading communication services company.
Since launching Courtside Ventures in 2015, they have invested in over 30 companies that are leading innovation across the sports and gaming industries. Some notable investments include Beam (acquired by Microsoft), The Athletic, Freeletics, The Drone Racing League, FanAI, StockX, Players’ Lounge, LiveLike and ZenRez, among several others.
Sitting at the intersection of the rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and the broader sports technology industry, he was recognized as a 2018 Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40 recipient.
Previously, Deepen was a Partner at Interplay Ventures, an early-stage technology incubator and investor, where he was part of launching/building 18 companies and investing in another 12 companies.
He co-founded NYVC Sports, with the mission of bridging the gap between professional sports leagues, teams, investors, entrepreneurs, and media companies. The networking group has over 2,000 senior level members and hosts exclusive events with US leaders across the digital, sports, entrepreneurial, and investment communities.
Deepen started his career as an Associate at UBS Financial Services and earned his BA in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He currently resides in New York City with his wife, Rakhi (who works at MLS) and his daughter Prem.
James Pitaro was named ESPN president and co-chair, Disney Media Networks, on March 5, 2018, after serving eight years as a top Disney executive. In making the announcement, Bob Iger, The Walt Disney Company chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Jimmy’s appointment was the result of more than 20 years spent at the intersection of technology, sports and media.”
Pitaro’s record of success leading businesses focused on consumer products, digital initiatives and sports made him the quintessential selection for ESPN at a pivotal point in its 38-year history: a time of unprecedented technological advancements and rapidly changing consumer habits.
Since February 2016, Pitaro had served as chairman of Disney’s consumer products and interactive media division, the world’s largest licenser of consumer products. Among his many responsibilities, he oversaw the creation of branded digital and physical products, including a robust digital game slate. He and his team brought to life the characters and stories of four iconic brands – Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel – across toys, apparel, home goods, the world’s largest children’s publisher, hundreds of Disney store locations worldwide, the e-commerce destination ShopDisney, and the Disney Digital Network of social and digital channels that reach one out of every three U.S. social media accounts.
Pitaro originally joined The Walt Disney Company in 2010 as co-president, Disney Interactive, where he successfully led the turnaround of the digital media and gaming division.
Pitaro came to Disney from Yahoo, where he rose to head of media. He was in charge of, and set strategy and executed growth driving initiatives for, Yahoo’s media properties, including Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Music. In 2009, he was named to Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” annual list of top achievers in sports for his dynamic leadership and “breathless flurry of market-moving pacts” with major sports rightsholders and media companies.
Pitaro earned a bachelor of science degree in economics in 1991 from Cornell University. He earned his Juris Doctor from St. John’s Law School in 1994. After practicing law in New York for five years, he was named head of business affairs for Launch.com in 1999 before joining Yahoo.
A native of Westchester County N.Y., Pitaro, 48, is ESPN’s eighth president.
Hania Poole is Senior Vice President of NCAA Digital and General Manager of B/R Live, Turner’s premium live sports streaming service. Poole’s responsibilities also include oversight of the day-to-day relationship with league partners at the NCAA. With her diverse industry experience and digital expertise, Poole has overseen the delivery of best-in-class sports content across multiple screens, including Turner’s award-winning NCAA March Madness Live (MML).
Poole reports directly to Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Digital, Turner Sports.
As SVP of NCAA Digital, Poole and her leadership team are responsible for content, operations and product development for the business including NCAA.com, the NCAA Sports App, live digital coverage for all NCAA Championships and the management of MML. Under her leadership, MML received the 2018 Sports Emmy for Outstanding Trans-Media Coverage of the 2017 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament. MML most recently set all-time records during the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament including most live streams for an individual game and the most concurrent streams for an overall game window. The 20 million hours of live consumption across MML during the 2018 men’s basketball tournament was its second most all time.
In 2018, Poole also assumed leadership of B/R Live as General Manager of the direct-to-consumer product. In this role she is responsible for product development, business strategy and operations, content acquisition and marketing efforts for Turner’s new OTT sports platform. In this capacity, Poole leads teams responsible for providing a preeminent destination for passionate fans to both discover and consume live sports content. Among the thousands of live sporting events available directly through the service will be the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, NBA League Pass games, 65 NCAA Championships, the PGA Championship, National Lacrosse League, The Spring League, World Arm Wrestling League and more.
Among her many notable accomplishments, Poole was recognized by AdAge as a distinguished member of its 2018 Women to Watch list, which celebrates executives in marketing, media and advertising who are business visionaries with notable accomplishments from the previous year. She was also listed among Adweek’s 2018 Most Powerful Women in Sports for her influential work across Turner Sports NCAA Digital portfolio and the launch of B/R Live. Poole also ranks among Sports Business Journal’s 2018 list of Game Changers, recognizing women in sports who have made transformative strides in the industry.
Most recently, Poole was VP of Business Operations and GM of NCAA Digital. She previously held several leadership positions throughout her Turner career including Director of Business Operations for Turner Sports, focusing on emerging media partnerships for the company’s broad portfolio of leading sports properties – the NBA, NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, Major League Baseball and professional golf. She has also been Director of Business Operations for PGA.com, the official site for the PGA of America.
Before joining the Turner Sports division, Poole was a Senior Product Manager in Turner’s New Product Development group, in which she helped launch PlayON! Sports, a low-cost, live streaming platform for high school and college sports. She also launched TVinContext, a premium advertising offering.
Poole received her bachelor’s degree in public policy and French from Duke University and earned her master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is based in Atlanta with her husband and two children.
Jim Rome is one of the most influential sports talk personalities in American history. He is the host of ‘The Jim Rome Show,’ airing weekdays on CBS Sports Radio and CBS Sports Network. A graduate of University of California, Santa Barbara, Rome has been nationally syndicated since 1996 and is heard on more than 200 stations across the United States and Canada, reaching millions of sports fans every day. Jim lives in Irvine, California with his wife, Janet, and their two sons, Jake and Logan.
Director, Rights Acquisition
Lindsey Ross is currently Director of Rights Acquisition at FloSports where she is responsible for FloHoops, FloFootball, and baseball events. She has more than 16 years of experience in college conferences and sports media. Ross’ expertise spans creating and fostering relationships, generating new business opportunities to maximize viewership and revenue, coordinating media operations, and negotiating acquisitions and renewals. Prior to joining FloSports Ross worked for ESPN as Manager of Programming and Acquisitions, where she managed and coordinated the construction of the men’s and women’s college basketball schedules across all ESPN networks and platforms totaling more than 3,800 games. In addition, she previously worked for Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Conference USA, University of Miami, and Florida Atlantic University. Ross holds an MBA from Florida Atlantic University and a BBA from the McCombs Business School at The University of Texas at Austin.
Managing Director, Corporate Strategy
Andrew Schnell is the Managing Director, Corporate Development for Stadium. In his role, Andrew is responsible for the company's strategic growth and market positioning. Andrew has led Stadium's partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group, negotiated live rights deals for over 3,000 annual live events, and the development of key corporate partnerships.
Prior to Stadium, Andrew held a variety of investment banking and corporate strategy and development roles in the technology industry.
Andrew graduated undergrad from Stanford and also received his MBA from Stanford Business School. He was a member of the swim team, where he was an NCAA Champion and former American record holder.
Head, Live TV and Sports Marketing
Michael Schneider | Director, Live TV Marketing
Michael Schneider currently leads the Live TV marketing team at Hulu, where he is responsible for the company’s efforts across its Live TV business and oversees all sports marketing partnerships and activations.
Under Schneider’s leadership, Hulu recently served as the Presenting Sponsor of the 2018 NBA Western Conference Finals and Official Sponsor of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Throughout his tenure at Hulu, Schneider has played a significant role in driving Hulu’s sports marketing strategy and has also served as a key member of the Brand Strategy and Marketing Team where he helped develop and set the marketing strategy to launch Hulu’s Live TV service in 2017.
Prior to joining Hulu, Schneider was a member of the founding PlayStation Vue launch team leading customer marketing and strategy and responsible for the service’s subscriber growth.
Schneider has also held multiple senior marketing roles at Charter and Time Warner Cable where he led customer engagement and loyalty initiatives.
Schneider holds an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business and a BA from Vassar College.
Kyle Sherman serves as President of Home Team Sports (HTS), the FOX-owned sales unit that represents TV and digital sponsorships of every MLB, NBA, and NHL team in the U.S., as well as those of major college conferences, including the Big Ten, Pac 12, ACC, Big 12, and the Big East. Sherman also oversees FOX Sports College Properties, the multi-media rights holder for the University of Southern California, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Michigan State, Auburn, San Diego State Villanova, Georgetown, the Big East Conference, and the Las Vegas Classic and Invitational basketball tournaments. HTS also includes Impression Sports (acquired in 2017) which is a naming rights and sports sponsorship practice in Denver, CO. Sherman has P&L responsibility for the business unit and generates over $550,000,000 in annual ad revenue.
Sherman joined Fox in 1998 as FOX Sports Net’s Vice President for Western Region National Sales. Soon afterwards in 2000, he was promoted to Executive Vice President for National Sales at FSN, a position he held until being promoted to President of HTS and FOX Sports College Properties in 2015.
Sherman came to Fox Sports from KABC-TV, where he gained local sales experience to complement his already extensive national sales history. Prior to that, he was the Vice President of Western Region Sales and the Los Angeles Sales Manager for New World Sales and Marketing, where he led the start-up company to more than $70 million in annual ad revenue.
Sherman graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelors of Science in Business and Public Administration. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his family.
Mark Shuken is a widely respected media, sports, and entertainment leader with a track record of driving business results at both major established and emerging sports networks. As President of Pac-12 Networks, Shuken is responsible for leading the country’s first national television network to be wholly owned by institutions of higher education.
Shuken brings to Pac-12 Networks two decades of experience in growing revenue, distribution, and overall value for sports networks. His prior leadership roles include running sports networks for major media companies such as Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Liberty Media, and Fox Sports, including having worked directly with many Pac-12 universities.
Throughout his career, Shuken has developed a reputation as an engaging and driven leader with an entrepreneurial spirit befitting the president of a first of its kind sports network like Pac-12 Networks. He is experienced in developing and driving successful strategies in collaboration with key media stakeholders across all areas of the sports media industry, including content, production, programming, distribution and revenue generation.
At Time Warner Cable Sports Networks, Shuken led the creation of three regional sports networks for the Los Angeles Lakers, the LA Dodgers, and the LA Galaxy from the ground up. He was also responsible for crafting the brand strategy and brand identity of the nation’s first Spanish-language RSN. Additionally, Shuken led the management of TWC’s seven proprietary local sports channels, including rights negotiations, development of core strategies, and coordination with TWC cable in subscriber acquisition and retention.
As President and CEO of DirecTV Sports Networks, Shuken led branding, content, cross-promotional, and acquisition strategies to increase asset value and subscriber acquisition. Before that, as President and CEO of Liberty Sports Group, he created and led a stand-alone division of regional sports networks for Liberty Media Corporation, where he significantly increased earnings, resulting in a more than 60 percent increase in net asset value when the division was sold.
Prior to that, at Fox Sports Net Northwest, Shuken was responsible for a significant increase in distribution, ratings, and brand presence, including through innovative programming strategies and partnership agreements with both professional and collegiate teams. For several years, he beat income targets by more than 30 percent annually.
Previously, Shuken also served as President of Rivals Networks, a leading digital network of over 600 sports websites, where he increased gross revenues by 400% and entered into distribution deals with major digital media companies.
A graduate of Santa Clara University, Shuken has also shared his expertise as an adjunct professor in communications at the University of Washington and Santa Clara University. Shuken additionally serves on the boards of two non-profit organizations: the Jim Mora Count on Me Foundation and NextStep Fitness.
Mark lives with his wife, Eliza and is the father of children Sarah, Scott and Steven, and stepchildren Tucker and Estelle.
Brian Socolow represents athletes, teams, event owners, media companies, equipment manufacturers and others in the sports industry in complex commercial transactions and business disputes.
He has handled transactions ranging from media broadcast and distribution agreements, sponsorships and trademark licenses to venue agreements and the purchase and sale of sports properties. Most recently, Mr. Socolow has represented smart home services provider Vivint in its naming rights deal for the arena home to the Utah Jazz, represented a group seeking an MLS expansion franchise, negotiated an employment agreement for the CEO of World TeamTennis, and counseled the World Freerunning Parkour Federation in negotiations with the International Gymnastics Federation.
Mr. Socolow has provided leagues, event owners and media agencies, such as World Surf League, Tough Mudder, the Ladies Professional Golf Association and AdLarge Media, with strategic counsel in television and radio broadcast agreements, internet distribution and marketing rights arrangements, live event webcasting, exclusive ad partnerships, and sponsorships. He also has notable experience litigating copyright and trademark conflicts, contractual disputes
“I combined my passion for sports with my legal practice, and I look forward to each day and each new challenge helping clients compete in this dynamic industry.”
Mr. Socolow has a particular depth of experience in the rapidly growing sports technology and data sector. He advises manufacturers of wearable devices and other sports technology companies on data collection and use practices, security issues, and licensing matters. In addition, Mr. Socolow has developed a niche in the emerging sports market, helping clients grow their sport and develop their brands.
Mr. Socolow serves on the board of directors of the Sports Lawyers Association and regularly comments on sports-related topics as a legal contributor for top-tier media outlets, such as CNN, ESPN Radio and The Wall Street Journal.
In addition to his sports practice, he represents clients in intellectual property, entertainment and complex commercial disputes.
Bill Squadron, Special Counsel, Genius Sports has been a leading authority in the sports media, technology and data fields for more than 25 years.
With extensive experience as an executive, government official and attorney, Bill has occupied key roles for some of the largest companies in sport. Prior to joining Genius Sports in 2016, he served as the President of Bloomberg Sports, leading the creation of ground-breaking data and analytics products across multiple sports.
Previously, Bill was the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Sportvision, enriching sports telecasts with technological innovations such as the K Zone baseball tracking technology and the NASCAR Race F/X system. He has also headed advanced media and technology in North America for IMG, launching and managing digital products and services for sports clients such as Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova and Jeff Gordon.
In 2001, Ernst & Young named Bill New York City Entrepreneur of the Year in the media category, and in 2014 he received the Executive of the Year Award from the NYU Sports Business Society.
He has a B.A. in English Literature from Swarthmore College, and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
President, Business Operations
Alongside Endeavor Chief Technology Officer Nick Wilson, Will Staeger oversees Endeavor’s business operations in video streaming services, spanning both internally developed streaming technology and the 2018 acquisition of NeuLion and its industry-leading platform technology. In his position as President Business Operations, Will is responsible for managing the company’s relationships with such clients as the NFL, NBA, UFC, Univision, Rogers Sportsnet, EFL, Eleven Sports, PokerGo, and many others. He also oversees the company’s new business growth initiatives and synergies across broader Endeavor company business units.
Before stepping into his role at NeuLion, Will managed strategic content initiatives and executive produced all premium original series and specials as co-head of the IMG Original Content group. He was responsible for the launch and oversight of IMG's content slate through the production of series and specials on HBO, Showtime, Netflix, E!, A&E, Amazon, ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC, Facebook, Go90, Complex, and other services, including a groundbreaking set of new follow-doc projects with European soccer clubs beginning with First Team: Juventus on Netflix and All or Nothing: Manchester City on Amazon. On the strategy side, IMG OC has been at the leading edge of innovative content delivery to consumers for the broader Endeavor brand, coordinating companywide initiatives in film and scripted series financing, podcasts, direct-to-consumer networks and specials, league ownership, and consulting services across numerous media rights negotiations.
Prior to IMG OC, Will oversaw production at WWE as EVP Production, managing the production teams for all original programs included in the launch of WWE’s groundbreaking global premium content platform, the WWE Network. He oversaw development of new programming concepts as executive producer of all original programming on the network, including 70+ hours across multiple original series in reality & documentary genres, 20+ hours of original biographies, new studio shows and pre & post-shows, live red carpet specials, live awards shows, and live breaking news.
Previous to WWE, Will was SVP of Programming Strategy at Dick Clark Productions. As head of new programming, he oversaw development and sales of new series and specials and served as show-running executive producer on all new projects, including two seasons of "Shaq Vs." on ABC, all while managing multiple departments across the company, from licensing, to digital content, to archive sales and the company’s private screening room asset. In this role he oversaw the company’s groundbreaking digital programming initiative, unlocking the vast DCP library for digital distribution and launching original pre-shows and red carpet content around the company’s premiere event properties.
Will has also served as co-head of ESPN’s original programming unit, where he was a part of the launch of such franchises as Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, scripted series Playmakers and Tilt, and numerous original movies and documentary series. Will began his career in feature film development, working for such prolific producers as Joel Silver and Mario Kassar. He is the author of two critically acclaimed international thriller novels and an active coach, referee, and parent in youth soccer.
Head, Football Development
Over the course of a storied 14-year NFL career, Hines Ward proved to be one of the most resilient, reliable, physical and competitive wide receivers in league history. He is bringing these same traits to The Alliance, where he will mentor players and work closely with senior leadership to develop and uphold policies that set players up for success on-and-off the field.
Ward spent his entire career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, becoming the team’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. In 2006, Ward helped lead the Steelers to victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. His five catches for 123 yards and a touchdown earned him the Super Bowl MVP. Ward and the Steelers returned to the Super Bowl in 2009, when they defeated the Arizona Cardinals for his second Super Bowl title. The four-time Pro Bowl WR retired from the league in 2012, one of just two players in league history with at least 1,000 receptions and two Super Bowl rings.
Ward’s challenging upbringing molded him into the athlete and man he has become. Born on March 8, 1976 in Seoul, South Korea to a Korean mother and an African American father, Ward was raised in Atlanta by his single mother. Over the course of his career he formed the Helping Hands Foundation to combat bi-racial discrimination and aid inner city and underprivileged youth in Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Ward was named the Steelers 2008 Walter Payton “Man of the Year,” and in September of 2010, President Barack Obama appointed him as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Dana White serves as President of Zuffa, LLC, which operates UFC®, the world’s leading mixed martial arts
organization. He is responsible for Zuffa’s global business expansion, with over 300 employees across four
continents. In July 2016, White played an essential role in WME | IMG’s acquisition of UFC, which at the time
was the largest acquisition of a sports property in history.
With a strong business acumen and keen sense of competition, White has achieved unparalleled success in the
combat sports industry. Following Zuffa LLC’s purchase of the UFC organization in January 2001, White, along
with then-owners Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta, spent the next 15 years transforming UFC into the
fastest growing global sports brand in history.
UFC’s popularity exploded across the national landscape in 2005 when the inaugural season of the brand’s
reality series The Ultimate Fighter® – which White co-created – delivered record rating on cable television. Since
its first season, TUF has produced 33 seasons with shows based in the United States, Brazil, China and Latin
America. UFC also produced two seasons where teams comprised of athletes from a specific nation (Australia
vs. United Kingdom / Australia vs. Canada) competed for the seasonal title.
In July 2018, shooting began for TUF 28 on FOX Sports 1, continuing it’s 13-year run of producing the next
generation of UFC stars. Since its inception, the show has consistently been recognized as an instrumental
component of introducing UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts into the mainstream, while also familiarizing
fight fans with six athletes that have entered UFC and become champions in their respective weight classes.
In 2017, White launched a new, live original series on UFC FIGHT PASS entitled: “Dana White’s Tuesday Night
Contender Series” exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS, the global brand’s digital subscription service. The weekly
series, now in its second season, features five live fights in each episode, showcasing up-and-coming talent, as
well as athletes striving to revive their professional mixed martial arts careers.
In 2016, White debuted his second UFC-based reality show with “Dana White: Lookin’ For A Fight” also
exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS. Along with former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and former UFC
lightweight Din Thomas, White travels the world to visit regional mixed martial arts promotions in search for
Thanks to White’s vision, UFC has grown exponentially from humble beginnings as a live events company to a
global media powerhouse producing more than 40 live events globally on an annual basis, transmitting
thousands of hours of broadcast and cable programming in 40 languages to 163 countries and territories,
reaching over 1.1 billion houses around the world.
In 2008, both Business Week and Sports Business Journal named White as one of the most influential people
in sports. In 2009, the United States Armed Forces Foundation presented White with the Patriot Award for his
contribution to injured military servicemen and women. That same year, White was named “Nevada’s
Sportsman of the Year” by the Caring Place, a nonprofit organization dedicated to relieving financial concerns of
cancer patients. White was also named as one of the most influential people of 2010 by both Time and Esquire
magazines and was invited to speak at the famed Oxford Union at Oxford University, England. In August 2016,
White and Lorenzo Fertitta were honored with the co-Sports Executives of the Year award by Multichannel
News. In July 2018, White was named one of the 100 most innovative leaders by AdWeek.
Originally a New England native, White spent formative years in Las Vegas where he currently resides with his
wife, Anne, and their three children.