Show cover of Navigating Sports Business

Navigating Sports Business

Gain exclusive insight into the professional and personal worlds of high-level executives in sports and entertainment as we host top decision-makers in the industry to discuss emerging topics, their business, careers, and personal life stories.   From collegiate conference commissioners to professional sports team executives and owners, to CMOs and leading marketers at global brands, Navigating Sports Business takes listeners inside the lives of key people making a major impact on the sports and entertainment industry.

Tracks

Highlight: Rich Franklin - ONE Championship
Rich Franklin – VP of ONE Championship – on his transition from elite MMA fighter to executive, and how his mindset as an athlete has helped him succeed.   His current role involves working with sports commissions to pave the way for ONE to host events in those locations.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=dd737148b64032b84f53bedb88b0002c   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
02:14 6/12/24
94. Bob Thurman - Wilson
Bob Thurman - Global VP, WIlson R&D & GM, Global Golf at Wilson - shares the process behind designing and producing high-quality sporting goods, from the classics to the ground-breaking new technologies.   He gives our listeners a behind-the-scenes tour of Wilson's famous Innovation Center, including the file cabinet that contains the specs for personalized golf clubs for everyone from Michael Jordan to Gerald Ford.   He also discusses his background in aerospace engineering and how it led him to his current career. As far as we know, he's the first guest on Navigating Sports Business to hold a patent (and he owns several)!   Details: 2:15 - Bob’s engineering background 6:00 - Wilson’s patents 13:50 - The R&D process 18:50 - Wilson Golf 19:45 - The Wilson Innovation Center 28:20 - Working with youth sports 30:05 - Rapid Fire Questions   Links: ARC'TERYX Brand Bob and Wilson's list of Patents   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
35:16 6/5/24
Highlight: Mike Buckley - United States SailGP Team
Mike Buckley – Co-Owner & CEO of the United States SailGP Team – shares his excitement upcoming New York Sail Grand Prix, now less than a month away.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=bd72917e7532c2539a4ce4e7783f67b5   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
02:02 5/29/24
93. J.J. Gottsch - Austin Gamblers
J.J. Gottsch - CEO of the Austin Gamblers - explains how he transitioned to running a Professional Bull Riders team after more than two and a half decades working in baseball.   The team-based model of PBR aligns more closely with other professional sports, so that new fans feel a familiar atmosphere despite many being previously unacquainted with bull riding.   Details: 1:40 - J.J.’s baseball background 11:25 - Moving to the Austin Gamblers 18:20 - The Ride docuseries 20:15 - Who are the bull riders? 22:15 - The team model 27:20 - The outlook for season 3 31:45 - Rapid Fire Questions   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
35:44 5/22/24
Highlight: Sameer Ahuja - GameChanger
"We have the largest video and stats database in sports ever created."   Sameer Ahuja – President of GameChanger and SVP at DICK’S Sporting Goods – reveals plans for new video-based AI features that will allow fans and coaches to film games and have stats and data be automatically recorded.   He and Jeff Nelson also discuss the benefits of building this kind of feature in-house, and why data is the key to a successful AI model. With 40 million games logged in GameChanger, their dataset is unrivaled.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=21d0de0b7c3b0e9dff2212531f0d32a1   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
02:59 5/15/24
92. Rich Franklin - ONE Championship
Rich Franklin - VP of ONE Championship - describes his transition from elite MMA fighter to executive at Asia's largest sports property, and his role in ONE's expansion into the U.S.   A lot has changed since we published our interview ONE Founder Chatri Sityodtong, including their debut U.S. event last May. An important part of Rich's role is working with cities to get new events approved, including upcoming showcases in Denver and Atlanta.   Details: 3:15 - ONE Championship is not just an MMA company 5:35 - Last year’s U.S. debut in Denver 10:50 - Getting the rule set approved 12:20 - The Amazon Prime streaming deal 13:50 - Goals for the future 14:45 - Rich’s background in martial arts 21:00 - The shift from athlete to executive 27:55 - Rapid Fire Questions   Listen to our Chatri Sityodtong interview: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=00fc4b4c5f1a52e93d212ebc4391651b   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
34:46 5/8/24
Highlight: Jen Spicher - Pro Volleyball Federation
Jen Spicher – CEO of Pro Volleyball Federation - on "converting the unconverted" and looking to attract new fans to the league.   She also explains their strategy on expansion, aiming for 10 teams in 2025, and as many as 20 by 2026. She says that she has conversations every day with someone interested in putting a franchise in a new market.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=3adf6a8e5fb4c4dc5d85085821b7881f   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
01:46 5/1/24
91. Mike Buckley - United States SailGP Team
Mike Buckley - Co-Owner & CEO of the United States SailGP Team - shares his excitement around the sport of sailing and the upcoming New York Sail Grand Prix.   As both an executive and a champion sailor himself, Mike has a unique perspective not shared by many other owners of professional teams.   His fellow investors in the U.S. team include include boxer Deontay Wilder; NFL players DeAndre Hopkins, Malik Jackson, and Roquan Smith, actress Issa Rae, and many other big names.   Details: 1:30 - Mike's experience with sailing 6:30 - The growth of SailGP 8:50 - SailGP's Climate Positive status 11:00 - The U.S. team 14:25 - The NYC race 17:25 - Rapid Fire Questions   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
19:51 4/24/24
Highlight: Meredith Batcheller - Adobe
Meredith Batcheller – Head of Global Sports Marketing at Adobe – explains the tech integration behind their partnership with Major League Baseball.       Using Adobe's technology, MLB is able to create customized messaging for fans entering ballparks. The partnership allows Adobe's marketing team to reach MLB's evolving fanbase.       Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=124923b48ee30a1f41faf912f015cec9       For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
02:02 4/17/24
90. Sameer Ahuja - GameChanger
Sameer Ahuja - President of GameChanger and SVP at DICK'S Sporting Goods - leads the largest youth sports video streaming platform in the country. More hours are streamed in a single year on GameChanger than have been played in the entire history of Major League Baseball.   As youth sports continues to become more sophisticated, GameChanger exists to fill a need for stats, video, and more. Sameer joins Jeff Nelson to explain the business model that has led to scalability and success.   Details: 2:00 - What is Gamechanger? 6:55 - The business model 14:59 - Surviving COVID without live events 17:15 - Sameer's background 24:55 - Future of youth sports 34:15 - Rapid Fire Questions   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
39:39 4/10/24
Highlight: Anne Ristau - Navigate
Navigate's EVP of Consulting, Anne Ristau, discusses the role of private equity in sports, both at the professional and collegiate level.   She and Jeff Nelson emphasize the importance of innovation and increased capital as property valuations soar, while maintaining a focus on what's best for the fans.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=b728858b6e8d1d69cf8164e195eb5af2   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
03:57 4/3/24
89. Jen Spicher - Pro Volleyball Federation
Jen Spicher - CEO of Pro Volleyball Federation - discusses the league's rapid ascent to national prominence, as well as the general rise of women's volleyball.   She and Anne Ristau also explore the work that Navigate did with Pro Volleyball Federation to help secure their media rights deal with CBS Sports.   Details: 1:35 - Jen's background as a student athlete 3:20 - Pro Volleyball Federation 8:00 - The rise of volleyball 10:10 - The future of the league 12:50 - Working with Navigate and CBS Sports 14:00 - The business model 22:25 - Rapid Fire Questions   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
25:43 3/27/24
Highlight: Matthew Holt - U.S. Integrity
Matthew Holt – President of U.S. Integrity – shares the story of a boxing manager who is being investigated for placing a massive wager on his own client.   He explains how U.S. Integrity monitors nefarious activity in sports betting.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=26b5af50fdc633e2edb4e7236f2139ad   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
02:31 3/20/24
88. Meredith Batcheller - Adobe
Meredith Batcheller - Head of Global Sports Marketing at Adobe - explains the "why" behind some of their most exciting sports partnerships, including MLB and the NWSL.   She also shares how her experience on the agency side of the business, and her time as a student athlete, have prepared her for success in her current role.   Details: 6:30 - Experience on the agency, B2B, and B2C sides of our industry 13:45 - Adobe 21:00 - NWSL partnership 27:55 - The outlook for the rest of 2024 30:35 - Rapid Fire Questions   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
36:19 3/13/24
Highlight: Julie Roe Lach - Horizon League
Julie Roe Lach – Commissioner of the Horizon League – on how the House v. NCAA lawsuit is impacting her conference and the mid-major level of college athletics.   The Horizon League is not a named defendant in the case, limiting the information that she and her team receive. However, they still manage to keep their presidents and chancellors up-to-date on this lawsuit and others that have the potential to dramatically alter the state of college athletics.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=e9ec57108b66ff425cb53b8386dd24c2   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.  
03:18 3/6/24
Highlight: Whit Babcock - Virginia Tech
Whit Babcock – Director of Athletics at Virginia Tech – on the possibility of NFL-style contracts finding their way into college football, and why he thinks that future is not dissimilar from the present.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=ae8d2b98dc149a023be6909fd08d9af4   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
02:27 2/28/24
87. Anne Ristau - Navigate
In our first ever internal podcast, Navigate's new EVP of Consulting, Anne Ristau, joins the show to discuss her time as Head of Sponsorships for Dell and how she is using that experience now in her new role.   Anne will also be joining Navigating Sports Business as a recurring host, so keep an eye out for future episodes featuring Anne on the other side of the desk as the one asking questions.   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
40:25 2/21/24
Highlight: Rick Schlesinger - Milwaukee Brewers
Rick Schlesinger – President of Business Operations for the Milwaukee Brewers – explains why MLB expansion is more viable now than in years past due to the lessening importance of the size of a media market which opens up more cities as potential suitors for a new franchise.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=37dc5be7b4b34c9d20973b4605521420   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
02:15 2/14/24
86. Matthew Holt - U.S. Integrity
Matthew Holt - President of U.S. Integrity - on how he and his team monitor the sports betting landscape for suspicious activity.   As rule-breakers continue to develop new methods of gaming the system, U.S. Integrity is continuously developing and employing new technologies in order to keep up.   Every transaction, whether or mobile or in a physical casino, can be tracked by the sports book operator or by an independent integrity monitor like USI.   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
51:24 2/7/24
TEDx Teaser: How Sports Fandom Can Solve a Growing Crisis
Hear an excerpt from AJ Maestas' recent TED Talk on the benefit of sports fandom. You can find the full talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEm0XHOs_JI&t=8s   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
01:03 1/31/24
85. Julie Roe Lach - Horizon League
Julie Roe Lach - Commissioner of the Horizon League - joins the show to discuss how the biggest stories in college sports (realignment, NIL, the House v. NCAA lawsuit, and others) impact the mid-major level and schools without football.   She and Jeff Nelson also discuss her role as the Chair of the Indiana Sports Commission Board of Directors and why that city is so all-in on hosting major sporting events.   Details: 3:00 - Realignment at the mid-major level 10:55 - House v. NCAA 14:15 - How would you change college athletics? 30:45 - The Horizon League’s brand refresh 32:35 - Indianapolis Sports Commission 37:00 - Rapid Fire Questions   Links: The Secret Game, by Scott Ellsworth The Generosity Factor, by Ken Blachard and S. Truett Cathy Previous Episode: Blake Lawrence - Opendorse   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
42:06 1/24/24
Highlight: Blake Lawrence - Opendorse
Blake Lawrence – Co-Founder/CEO of Opendorse – gives us a crystal ball look into the next six years of NIL, collectives, and revenue sharing in college athletics. He predicts that athletes will receive a payout directly from the school or conference, but will not be classified as employees.   He suggests what the landscape will look like for his youngest brother, football prospect Brock Heath, and how his future school's administration, coach, and collective will all sit down to discuss terms prior to him committing.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=56317ddb47247d855e3576efd49f0fb3   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
01:45 1/17/24
Highlight: Phil Knight - Nike
Phil Knight – Co-Founder & Chairman Emeritus at Nike – gives his solution to fix college sports. A bold idea for a three-tiered approach that separate football, basketball, and olympic sports.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=d0a972b133a5996e283c0bafed374775   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
02:15 1/10/24
84. Phil Knight - Nike
Phil Knight - Co-Founder & Chairman Emeritus at Nike - joins AJ Maestas for an exciting interview about branding, Oregon football, and their experience working together.   Phil is one of the biggest university benefactors in the country. His donations to Oregon athletics are well known, as he has helped transform the program into a perennial powerhouse across sports, but his efforts have also included helping to fund a new law school building, a new library, and a half-billion-dollar donation for the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact.   Details: 1:55 - “Air” movie 5:05 - Phil’s role in growing Oregon athletics 10:10 - The state of college athletics 16:10 - Oregon’s brand 18:05 - NIL and college apparel deals 25:15 - Phil’s legacy 27:10 - Keys to success in sports business 31:55 - Rapid Fire Questions   Links: Shoe Dog  Revolution Commercial  Phil watching LeBron break the scoring record For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
39:12 1/3/24
83. Whit Babcock - Virginia Tech
Whit Babcock - Director of Athletics at Virginia Tech - on why donations to NIL collectives have a more immediate impact on winning than a longer-term project like a new facility.   He and Jeff Nelson also discuss the NCAA's proposal for a new subdivision and how schools would look to increase revenue to meet rising expenses.   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
43:25 12/27/23
Highlight: Jim Delany - Former Big Ten Commissioner
Jim Delany – Former Commissioner of the Big Ten – on the challenges related to the current collegiate model. He discusses NIL and how any future system needs to ensure that payouts are made in compliance with Title IX.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=5a7928eec786137cdf7c90201ccd5dc7   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
04:05 12/20/23
82. Rick Schlesinger - Milwaukee Brewers
Rick Schlesinger - President of Business Operations for the Milwaukee Brewers - joins life-long Brewers fan Jeff Nelson to discuss the state of the team and their new long-term lease that runs through 2050.       They also discuss the RSN situation in Major League Baseball, robot umpires, and how to overcome a "small market."       Details: 1:45 - The Brewers/Cubs rivalry 4:00 - American Family Field renovations  10:40 - The sports media landscape 14:55 - Small market vs. large market 18:10 - Growing up a Brewers fan 21:45 - Sharing best practices with other teams 24:05 - Membership programs in sports 30:00 - MLB Expansion 32:30 - Robot umpires 34:55 - Rapid Fire Questions       Rick’s Milwaukee restaurant recommendation - Carnevor (718 N Milwaukee St)       For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
40:27 12/13/23
Highlight: Mat & Justin Ishbia - Phoenix Suns and Mercury
Mat and Justin Ishbia – Governor and Alternate Governor of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury – on their ground-breaking decision to broadcast their games over-the-air for free. Additionally, they distributed 25,000 antennas to support their community and grow their fan base.   While the future of sports media remains uncertain, the Suns and Mercury have now established themselves as pioneers of the free-to-air model.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=f190d632d202df98428bbe02ec850084   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
03:26 12/6/23
81. Blake Lawrence - Opendorse
Blake Lawrence - Co-Founder/CEO of Opendorse - shares his unique perspective on the NIL marketplace and what the data tells us after 2+ years.   He also gets into the precarious relationship between athletic departments and collectives, and how forward-thinking ADs are prioritizing NIL dollars in order to ensure sustained success.   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
44:52 11/29/23
Highlight: Jon Steinbrecher - Mid-American Conference
Jon Steinbrecher - Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference - on the origins of MACtion in November and why midweek football games do so much to drive exposure for the schools in the MAC.   He and AJ discuss the benefits that come with that exposure, such as recruiting advantages for coaches and increased brand awareness. They also highlight some of the challenges that midweek games create, particularly for campuses on game day.   Listen to the full episode here: https://nvgt.com/podcast/?ppplayer=98f56b6dd6dca41729f186d12a4d1251&ppepisode=7975a5a8599641b461e1fa1039a24166   For more insights, visit our LinkedIn page or learn more about Navigate at https://nvgt.com/.
05:10 11/22/23