McCormack Sport Leaders Forum’s Inaugural New York City Event a Huge Success
April 23, 2019
The 2019 McCormack Sport Leaders Forum, presented by Scout Sports and Entertainment, proved immensely successful in its inaugural year with more than 30 sport organizations and 170 sport management students on hand for a day of learning, networking, and professional development. The Forum took place at Scout Sports and Entertainment’s midtown agency office in New York City on March 30.
The schedule kicked off with a bang with two prominent keynote speakers addressing the crowd of eager future sport industry leaders: Burke Magnus and Jon Ledecky. Burke Magnus MS ’94 is Executive Vice President of Scheduling and Programming at ESPN, and Jon Ledecky is co-owner of the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders and President of New York Hockey Holdings. Moderating the two keynote addresses were Bonnie Bernstein, Entrepreneur and Founder of Walk Swiftly Productions, and Michael Neuman, Executive Vice President and Managing Partner of host Scout Sports and Entertainment.
Following the keynote addresses, the excitement shifted over to two concurrent panels focused on specific subjects impacting the sports industry. The first set of panels—filled with current athletes, former Olympians, and executives from the sport industry—were titled “Athlete Activism” and “Diversity & Sport Culture,” as current industry leaders shared their vision for the future with students. Following these discussions, attendees grouped with industry professionals for “Lunch and Learn” breakout sessions to learn about niche areas of the sport industry, including college athletics, measurement and analytics, and apparel. Over lunch, students had the opportunity to ask insightful questions for guidance in their future careers. Lunch transitioned into a second set of concurrent panels, titled “Digital Strategies” and “e-Sports.” Todd McCormack—son of Mark McCormack, for whom the UMass Sport Management Department is named—led the digital panel with executives from ESPN, the PGA of America, Octagon, and Seat Geek.
The Forum included a session hosted by Scout’s Michael Neuman, who provided inspiration and insights on how to establish one’s own brand and set oneself apart in the competitive and dynamic sport industry. The Forum concluded with closing remarks from the Forum’s student directors and Scout S&E’s Scott Savran ‘15, and transitioned into a cocktail reception where attendees were able to interface one on one with industry professionals and friends were able to gather and reflect on the eventful and inspiring day.
The McCormack Sport Leaders Forum is a “by students, for students” event that strives to cultivate a platform for learning and growth while providing access to leading industry professionals at an affordable rate, relative to industry trade events. This mission was clear and executed beautifully by UMass’s group of student directors and the advising faculty from the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management.