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Kevin April is a sports-media executive and CEO of SportsCastr.Live — a live streaming company based in New York City that allows users to be color commentators and enables viewers to select which sportscaster they wish to have call, recap or make predictions on a game.
Founding partners include David Stern, NBA Commissioner Emeritus; Jim Boeheim, Syracuse University Head Basketball Coach; Donald Schupak, former Managing Partner of the ABA’s Spirits of St. Louis; Vernon Davis, two-time NFL Pro Bowler and Washington Redskins tight end; Andrew Schupak, SGI MB CEO; Eric Bechtel, IdeaQuest Founder and NBA All-Star Steve Smith. Prior to SportsCastr.Live, he was a co-founder at SportsBlog, a social publishing platform with partnerships with the NBA Players Association; Retired NBA Players Association; Women's National Basketball Association and NFL Player Engagement. As an Entrepeneur-in-Residence (EIR) at SGI Merchant Bank in New York, Kevin provides advice to high-growth startups navigating value creation options and lab-to-market paths, and consults with talented executives to help them bring their ideas to fruition. He has been featured in numerous business publications including Wired, Entrepreneur, Ozy and many more.
Managing Partner, Checketts Partners Investment Management
David W. Checketts is one of the most heralded and well-known sports, media and entertainment executives in the industry with a career that has spanned over four decades. Over that time, Mr. Checketts has been responsible for the success of some of the most iconic brands in their respective industries.
Mr. Checketts is the Managing Partner of Checketts Partners Investment Management, a private equity firm founded in 2011 focused on sports, media and entertainment investments. Mr. Checketts served as Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Legends Hospitality Management, founded by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys, from December 2011 to October 2015. Mr. Checketts founded SCP Worldwide in 2006 which owned and operated the St. Louis Blues, Scottrade Center, the 2009 Major League Soccer Champions Real Salt Lake, Rio Tinto Stadium and ESPN 700 Sports talk radio. From 1994 to 2001, Mr. Checketts was President and Chief Executive Officer of Madison Square Garden Corporation. From 1991 to 1994, Mr. Checketts was the President of the New York Knicks professional basketball team. From 1990 to 1991, he was Vice President of Development for the National Basketball Association. From 1984 to 1990, Mr. Checketts was President of the Utah Jazz professional basketball team. As an investor and chairman of an investment firm, Mr. Checketts’ qualifications and experience include business operations, finance and investment experience, knowledge of competitive business landscapes, and experience with customer service, brand and talent management.
Co-Founder & CEO, Rhone
Nate Checketts is the Co-Founder & CEO of Rhone, a premium men’s active wear company founded in 2014. Prior to Rhone, Nate worked for and consulted with some of the biggest technology and entertainment properties in the world including Cisco, The National Football League, Legends and FanVision. Nate is also an avid entrepreneur who founded and launched 4 companies before the age of 30 including Rhone and Mangia Technologies, whose patents were later acquired by the San Francisco 49ers. Nate serves on the boards of Veritone. Nate graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Finance. He and his wife Dayna reside in Connecticut with their three young boys, Gabriel, William and Nicholas.
Director, Center for the Digital Future, University of Southern California
Jeffrey Cole has been at the forefront of media and communication technology issues both in the United States and internationally for the past three decades. An expert in the field of technology and emerging media, Cole serves as an adviser to governments and leading companies around the world as they craft digital strategies.
In July 2004 Dr. Cole joined the USC Annenberg School for Communication as Director of the newly formed Center for the Digital Future and as a Research Professor. The Center is a research and policy institute committed to work that has a real and beneficial effect on people’s lives, while seeking to maximize the positive potential of the mass media and our rapidly evolving communication technologies.
Prior to joining USC, Dr. Cole was a longtime member of the UCLA faculty and served as Director of the UCLA Center for Communication Policy, based in the Anderson Graduate School of Management. At UCLA and now at USC Annenberg, Cole founded and directs the World Internet Project, a long-term longitudinal look at the effects of computer and Internet technology, which is conducted in over 35 countries. At the announcement of the project in June 1999, Vice President Al Gore praised Cole as a “true visionary providing the public with information on how to understand the impact of media.” Sixteen years into the project, the World Internet Project, through its unique data on Internet users around the world, is the leading international project examining the ways in which our social, economic and media lives are changing. Cole regularly presents trends and insights of the project to the White House, FCC, Congress, Department of Defense and to governments around the world. On the corporate side, Cole advises Microsoft, WPP (Group M), Ericsson, Sony, Time-Warner, AT&T, AARP, Wesfarmers, Telstra and others in their traditional and digital media strategies.
In the 1990s, Cole worked closely with the four broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) under an anti-trust waiver that allowed the networks to work together for the first time dealing with television programming issues. Meeting regularly with the CEOs, general counsels, heads of programming and others at the networks, he issued annual reports to the television industry, Congress and the nation. Upon the release of the 1996 report, Cole held a joint press conference with President Bill Clinton, who referred to the Center for Communication Policy as “the premier educational institution setting trends in entertainment.” Nationwide there was unanimous praise for the quality of the reports and their contribution to the television content debate.
Cole has testified before Congress on television issues and has spoken as a keynote and panel member at more than 500 conferences on media and technology. He has worked with both the Clinton and George W. Bush White House on media and telecommunications issues, including detailed briefings on the Center’s work. He regularly makes presentations across the U.S. and in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
In 1994 the Center co-sponsored “The Superhighway Summit” in UCLA's Royce Hall with the leaders of most of the nation's major media companies. For the annual Family Reunion Conferences in Nashville, Tennessee, Cole has worked with Vice President Gore to produce films opening the 1995 through 2002 conferences. The annual films were screened before an audience of 1,400 including the Vice President and President Clinton.
Cole was a member of the Executive Committee of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) from 1997 to 2001 and was the founding governor of the ATAS Interactive Media Peer Group.
At UCLA, Cole taught over 35,000 students. In 1987 he received UCLA's Distinguished Teaching Award.
Co-Founder, Radar Partners
Before co-founding Radar Partners, an early stage venture capital partnership, Kevin was a General Partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valley’s most successful high technology venture capital firms for almost twenty years. Kevin and his partners invested in many of the most powerful and high profile start-ups over the past 30 years, including Google, Amazon, VeriSign, Genentech, Citrix Systems, Netscape Communications, Intuit and Juniper Networks.
Kevin has been featured in many technology publications, has been profiled in Fortune, Forbes and Inc. Magazine, and has been ranked as one of the top Venture Capitalists in the world. The Forbes “Midas Touch” ranking of top investors has named Kevin as one of the top private investors in the world on numerous occasions ranking him in the top ten three times.
Outside of work Kevin enjoys family time, playing hockey and working with youth sports. His passion for sports extends into the professional sports arena as well. Kevin was the co-owner of the National Hockey League San Jose Sharks, the American Hockey League Worcester Sharks, and Sharks Sports & Entertainment from 2001 – 2012.
Eli Dawson is the Co-Founder, CEO of StatMuse, the leader in Natural Language Processing for sports. Whether you are discussing your favorite team with friends, or watching the big game, StatMuse will change the way you experience sports entertainment.
Prior to StatMuse, Eli was a private equity investor at Bertram Capital, where he focused on tech buyouts, and worked as a tech M&A investment banker at Lazard, where he advised Google on their $12.5BN acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Eli received his Bachelors in Finance from University of Arkansas and learned to code after leaving Wall Street.
Mr. Frank is Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of Cognizant. He joined Cognizant in 2005 and has helped the company grow to over 250,000 professionals. Prior to joining Cognizant, he was CEO of CXO Systems, CEO of NerveWire Inc., and Senior Vice President at Cambridge Technology Partners.
As a recognized industry thought leader, Mr. Frank is a frequent speaker on key issues of digital business. He is co-author of the 2014 best-seller "Code Halos" and 2017's best-seller "What to do When Machines do Everything." He is frequently quoted in the press, is the subject of a Harvard Business School case study on Leadership and Management and was named “One of the most influential people in finance” by Risk Management Magazine.
Mr. Frank is also a member of the FactSet Board of Directors.
He is a graduate of Yale University with a degree in Economics, and was a three-year starter on the Bulldogs’ football team.
Former Chairman, FOX Sports; and Founder & Producer, Hilly, Inc.
Considered by many in to be the father of modern live sports television coverage, David Hill has spent a lifetime in the medium in a variety of capacities. Hill has served as executive producer on many of the world’s biggest television programs, from the Oscars to the Super Bowl to American Idol. He holds numerous patents for production innovations, and his creations include football’s on-field first down marker and the ubiquitous constant score and clock graphic (commonly known as the Fox Box).
In 2015, Hill started his own production company, Hilly, Inc., and the company’s first undertaking was to produce the 88th Oscars, which aired in February, 2016, receiving major critical acclaim. This July, he’s producing and promoting the Masters Darts Championship in Las Vegas, the first major darts event played in the United States.
Hill, Australian by birth and naturalized American by choice, began his illustrious career as 17-year-old copy boy at the Daily Telegraph in Sydney. Later, he became a television journalist, followed by a period as a documentary producer/director. Eventually, Hill shifted to live television production with Australia’s 7 Network, followed by a move to sports at the Nine Network.
In 1988, Rupert Murdoch lured him to England to help launch Sky Television, Britain’s first satellite distributed television service. He then became Executive Producer of Eurosport, then created Sky Sports. Mr. Murdoch then sent Hill to America to serve as FOX Sports’ first president in late 1993, launching the NFL on FOX just eight months later.
Hill became FOX network chairman in 1996, and within three years the network jumped to No. 2 overall and No. 1 in the key adult 18-49 demographic. His next challenge came when News Corporation purchased DirecTV, and Hill was appointed president, entertainment in 2005.
During his time running FOX network and DirecTV, Hill continued running FOX Sports, which eventually grew into the FOX Sports Media Group. He directly or indirectly oversaw the launch of several sports outlets, including FOX Sports Net, FOXSports.com, Big Ten Network and FOX Sports 1. Hill oversaw thousands of events aired by FOX Sports and its affiliated channels during his 20-year association, including six Super Bowls, 14 World Series, five Stanley Cup Finals and eight Daytona 500s. He also created and/or served as executive producer of countless studio shows, including FOX NFL SUNDAY, the most-watched NFL pregame show since its debut in 1994.
In 2011, Hill shifted the lion’s share of his focus to entertainment television when he was appointed executive producer of the long-running hit series American Idol, which he oversaw for three seasons, as well as running the National Geographic Channel.
CEO, Rugby International Marketing
David Sternberg has served as Chief Executive Officer of Rugby International Marketing, the commercial arm of USA Rugby, since May 2016. He assumed the role following a successful career in sports media spanning nearly two decades with Fox Sports, Universal Sports Network and Manchester United Football Club.
As CEO of RIM, Sternberg is responsible for overseeing sponsorship sales, event management and content distribution for the governing body of rugby in the United States. During the nine months prior to his appointment, Sternberg served as a consultant to RIM on its broadcasting and digital media strategy. He was particularly influential in the creation of The Rugby Channel, RIM’s groundbreaking “over the top” video platform featuring live and on-demand rugby video content from the United States and around the world.
At Manchester United, the world's most popular football club, Sternberg oversaw strategy and operations for all of the team's media businesses, including the MUTV television network, the manutd.com website, mobile apps and services, social media channels and print publications. During his tenure from 2013 to 2015 the club expanded the global reach of MUTV to 90 territories; launched official accounts on Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Sina Weibo and WeChat; grew its total social media reach to over 100 million followers; secured new magazine, program and book publishing partnerships; and introduced its first-ever suite of smartphone apps in partnership with regional mobile operators across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Before joining Manchester United, Sternberg served for three years as the Chief Executive Officer of Universal Sports, an Olympic-themed sports television network in the United States jointly owned by NBC Universal and Intermedia Partners. He managed all aspects of the network's operation, including distribution, advertising sales, programming, marketing, technical operations, finance and administration and digital media operations. Before going to Universal Sports in April 2010, Sternberg spent nearly 12 years as a senior executive at Fox Sports, managing sports TV channels in the United States, Latin America and the Middle East. He holds an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA and a BA from Princeton University.
CEO, Virgin Sport
Mary Wittenberg is the CEO of Virgin Sport, an active life style company within Sir Richard Branson’s global Virgin Group.
Prior to her role leading Virgin Sport, Mary was the President and CEO of New York Road Runners (NYRR) and Race Director for the New York City Marathon. Under her leadership, the positive impact of NYRR and the New York City Marathon grew substantially. In 2013, Mary’s final year at the helm, it became the (then) largest marathon ever, boasting more than 50,000 finishers and raising over $25 million for charity.
Mary, the first woman to lead NYRR, and team pioneered the World Marathon Majors and National Running Day while expanding NYRR’s commitment to the five boroughs of New York City through youth running events and a year-round calendar of major events, classes and health programs.
Mary earned her BA from Canisius College and JD from the University of Notre Dame Law School. She currently lives in Manhattan with her husband Derek and two sons. Mary is a former Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier; and currently avid runner, aspiring cyclist, November Project devotee and fitness enthusiast.