Leaders Week New York brought together 1000 senior decision makers from across the sport business industry for a week of learning, knowledge sharing and networking, all across the city. The week featured the world-renowned Sport Business Summit, 2 focused case study-led forums, 1 think tank and 4 evening networking events.
THE SPORT BUSINESS SUMMIT MLB Commissioner: Stepping up to the Plate
Robert D. Manfred, Jr. was elected as the 10th Commissioner in the history of Major League Baseball on August 14, 2014 by a vote of the 30 Clubs. He officially became the sport’s leader on January 25, 2015. As Commissioner, Manfred has set goals for the industry that focus on the expansion of youth participation, international growth, improved pace of game, the infusion of technology, increased marketing of the game’s young stars and furtherance of the game’s diversity goals. The 2016 season produced a new five-year collective bargaining agreement, continuing an unprecedented era of labor peace through 2021, and a record year for industry revenues and overall business performance
Manfred became MLB’s Chief Operating Officer in 2013. Prior to that, he had served as Executive Vice President since 1998, directing all collective bargaining issues, including successful renewals of the Basic Agreement in 2002, 2006 and 2011 and dramatically improved competitive balance. Manfred is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School. He and his wife, Colleen, have four adult children
Chief Marketing Officer & Director of Brand
THE SPORT BUSINESS SUMMIT FC Barcelona, Packers & New Zealand Rugby: A Rich History, a Golden Future
As Chief Marketing Officer & Director of Brand at FC Barcelona, Guillem Graell is responsible of leading the global growth of the Barça Brand across the strategic markets. Guillem is leading a team of more than 100 people across the global functions of Marketing, Communications, Digital Content, Brand Experience and Protocol and institutional relationships. FC Barcelona is heading towards the vision of becoming “the most admired and loved Sports brands” that represents a true revolution on the approach to fan reach and engagement.
Prior to joining FC Barcelona, Guillem was Chief Marketing Officer & Communication Director for the Codorniu Group (leading Spanish wine Group) and previously held numerous marketing and management positions at FMCG leading companies such Chupa Chups, Reckitt Benckisser and Procter & Gamble in several locations across Europe.
Executive Creative Director
THE SPORT BUSINESS SUMMIT Alexa: How do you Make Great Content?
Michael Boychuk is ECD at Amazon’s global internal agency, D1. Michael has led creative for global advertising campaigns that have included Echo, FireTV, Kindle and the launch of Prime Day, Amazon’s annual global sales event. Michael led Amazon’s last three Super Bowl campaigns including this year’s “Alexa Loses Her Voice” spot which was voted #1 on USA Today’s Admeter. Michael also kicked off the brand redesign and the move to the smile as the standalone global representation of the Amazon brand.
Michael started his career at WONGDOODY in Seattle where he was the third employee to join. In 1997 he moved to Los Angeles where he helped found WONGDOODY’s first satellite office. He then moved to Las Vegas where he was ECD at SK+G advertising. In 2011 he joined Leo Burnett in Chicago where he was Senior Vice President and ECD. While there he led the Sprint account. Michael has also led creative work for Samsung, Clif Bar, Adidas, ESPN, The CW, Full Tilt Poker, Fox Sports, MGM, The Los Angeles Dodgers, and The Sonics.
Michael has been recognized with awards in advertising and design from the Cannes Advertising Festival, The Clios, The One Show, The Obies, Communication Arts, Type Director’s Club, Adweek Best Spots, Kinsale, IAB MIXX and Lurzer’s Archive.
THE SPORT BUSINESS SUMMIT ESPN in the spotlight: The vision and strategy for the Worldwide Leader in Sports
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. 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 the company’s 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. 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. 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.
Chief Executive Officer
THE SPORT BUSINESS SUMMIT Angry Birds: A Digital Story Across Gaming, Movies & Sports Partnerships
Kati Levoranta has been Rovio’s Chief Executive Officer since January 2016. Previously she headed Rovio’s consumer products business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and also served as the company’s Chief Legal Officer. Creator of the world famous mobile game Angry Birds, the firm has recently embarked on sports partnership with a recently announced deal with EPL side, Everton FC. Prior to joining Rovio, she held several positions at Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks. A dedicated triathlete, Kati holds a law degree from the University of Turku, an MBA from the Helsinki School of Economics and an LL.M from Columbia Law School.
Chief Brand & Innovation Marketing Officer
THE SPORT BUSINESS SUMMIT In Credit: Visa’s Next-Gen Sponsorship Strategy
Chris Curtin is the Chief Brand & Innovation Marketing Officer at Visa, where he is responsible for shaping Visa’s marketing strategy to drive the commercialization of digital payment products and platforms with issuers, merchants, global mobile network operators, and new channels. Prior to joining Visa, Chris held executive leadership roles at HP and at Disney. Chris is a member of the DMG World Media Board of Governors, the Market Advisory Board for Bloomberg Businessweek and the board of directors for the Association of National Advertisers and Georgetown Technology Alliance. He is also co-chair of the Digital Collective, which provides a peer forum for heads of digital marketing.
Chief Executive Officer
THE SPORT BUSINESS SUMMIT Dunkin: Consumer-Focused Sports Partnerships
Nigel Travis was named Chief Executive Officer of Dunkin’ Brands in January 2009 and appointed to the additional role of Chairman of the Board in May 2013. From 2005 through 2008, Travis served as President & CEO of Papa John’s, the pizza chain with annual system-wide sales of $2.1 billion and more than 3,300 restaurants throughout the U.S. and 29 international markets. Prior to Papa John’s, Travis was with Blockbuster, Inc. from 1994 to 2004, where he served in increasing roles of responsibility, including President & Chief Operating Officer. Before that, he was with Burger King, first as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and later as Managing Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
He has been an avid sports fan all his life with his true passion being his support of the East London Football team, Leyton Orient F.C., which along with a consortium he bought in June 2017. Travis now is Chairman of the Club. He has also coached in the UK and America for 48 years and currently coaches his two young children in Wellesley, MA. Travis received a bachelor’s degree in business administration for Middlesex University in England. He previously served as Lead Director on the Board of Directors for Office Depot, where he currently serves as a board member.
Chief Marketing Officer
THE SPORT BUSINESS SUMMIT Inspiring the Builders of Tomorrow: How LEGO is Engaging a New Generation of Kids and Parents
As Chief Marketing Officer at the LEGO Group, Julia Goldin is responsible for leading and inspiring the creation of LEGO play experiences which excite and educate kids. Julia’s talented team is at the core of the LEGO brand, developing the product portfolio and experience, as well as marketing and building of the brand to tell the stories of how millions of kids play and learn with LEGO through content, communication and digital channels.
Julia is responsible for a diverse team, including product development, marketing, research and insights, media and marketing strategy, social media, licensing, partnerships and sponsorships, and also the LEGO Group’s own creative agency. During her time with the LEGO Group, Julia has led her team to launch the brand’s award winning safe social media platform for kids called LEGO LIFE; two highly successful movies – LEGO Batman Movie and LEGO Ninjago Movie; and new products which integrate innovative digital technology to enhance play experiences for kids, such as LEGO BOOST.
Prior to joining the LEGO Group in 2014, Julia was Global Chief Marketing Officer at Revlon. She also had a 13 year career with the Coca-Cola Company, where she held several senior global and regional marketing roles.
"The best sports conference in the world and the only one I’ll attend."Billy Beane, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Oakland Athletics
"Leaders bring together some of the best and brightest minds in the sports world. "Adam Silver, Commissioner, NBA
"The quality of the speakers and the level of people in the audience is truly amazing."David Levy, President, Turner
"Leaders gather the best minds in sports in one place."Pam El, Executive Vice President, CMO, NBA
"Leaders have really become the benchmark for conferences about sport business."Francesco Calvo, Chief Revenue Officer, FC Barcelona
"It’s an amazingly impressive group of Leaders in the sports world."Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sport