Putting together a sports media conference isn’t as easy as crafting a brand strategy, analyzing content or discovering talent. It’s a daunting challenge, one that I’ve embraced, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times where I’ve questioned if it was worth the stress.
Those who either know me in the industry or follow me on social media have seen the constant promotion of the event, but what you don’t see are the numerous phone calls, unanswered and rejected requests, in-person visits, and financial commitments made just to make the two-day event happen.
Some have asked me “why do it if you’re not going to break the bank?” That’s a valid question, and I wish sometimes that my purpose was driven strictly by the desire to enjoy economic prosperity, but what can I say, I love this crazy business. The opportunities in front of us in the sports media industry are tremendous, and if I can connect, educate, inspire or improve one brand or individual, and help this industry improve its position then that’s time worth spending.
It’s because of my passion and belief in this business that I’ve invested the hours necessary to create a special event for industry professionals. The 2019 BSM Summit in Los Angeles will be a fantastic two-day show because it has tremendous support from a lot of high caliber people. Without them this event would stand no chance of succeeding.
Fortunately, I’ve made a few friends, shaken the right hands, and stumbled into a little bit of luck to be able to earn the industry’s confidence. I greatly appreciate it and don’t take it for granted.
If you’ve been keeping tabs on BSM thru our website, podcast, social media, or email then you’ve already seen some of the heavy hitters we’ve lined up for this event. I’m elated to have Jeff Smulyan, Tony Bruno, Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock, Jorge Sedano and Eric Bischoff joining us, along with a slew of programmers, market managers, executives, talent, and agents from the radio and television business.
Included among those brand leaders are Traug Keller and Justin Craig of ESPN Radio, Norm Pattiz of Podcast One, Bruce Gilbert of Cumulus and Westwood One, Don Martin and Scott Shapiro of FOX Sports Radio and Premiere Radio Networks, Jacob Ullman of FOX Sports, and Mike Thomas of Beasley Media.
I’m also grateful for the support from VSiN Chairman and co-founder Brian Musburger, Action Network’s Head of Content Chad Millman, Matthew Kramer and the crew at CAA Sports, sports radio’s imaging and voice whiz Jim Cutler, and media friends such as Bryan Curtis of The Ringer, and Perry Simon of All Access.
But as strong as those names are, if there’s anything I’ve learned about sports media folks over the years it’s that they always want more. With that in mind, it’s time to tell you about the next group of speakers who are also scheduled to be with us in February.
It gives me great pleasure to share that we’ll be joined at the BSM Summit by Houston Rockets GM, SSAC co-founder and Clutch Gaming co-owner Daryl Morey, Echo Fox President and former NBA/College Basketball star Jared Jeffries, Immortals CEO Ari Segal, and Activision Blizzard CMO Daniel Cherry. All four men have extensive knowledge and experience in the sports world, and will be part of an interesting conversation examining eSports’ place and value in the sports media industry.
Additionally, I’m excited to welcome Steven Goldstein of Amplifi Media for a dive into the podcasting space, Warren Kurtzman of Coleman Insights, who will lead a session on programming strategies for a changing world, and FanDuel President and COO Kip Levin and DraftKings Chief Business Officer Ezra Kucharz who will join Millman and Musburger for a panel on sports betting moderated by Joe Fortenbaugh of 95.7 The Game.
Though the focus has been and continues to be on assembling a kick ass agenda that inspires and informs attendees, and connects individuals who can help one another achieve larger success in the sports media space, I also recognize the importance of giving folks a chance to unwind. What better way to do that then with food and drinks.
Thanks to my friends at ESPN, we’ll have a private 1-hour cocktail reception for attendees at Tom’s Urban following the first night of festivities. Folks may choose to stay after the party and continue eating, drinking, and networking, but I have a strong suspicion that the Lakers PR department will be receiving more press requests than usual for the Lakers-Rockets game down the street at the Staples Center.
The work is far from done, but the progress leading up to February’s show has been excellent. I’m planning to finalize a few programmer sessions soon, as well as talk to my executive circle to determine our recipients for the inaugural Jeff Smulyan and Tony Bruno awards. I do want to thank Premiere Radio Network/FOX Sports Radio for sponsoring our awards ceremony and the handful of company’s who’ve already jumped on board as session sponsors. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Being transparent, I’d like to add a few women to the show. The sports media industry may be male dominated, but I believe in having all viewpoints presented. I’m not going to get too deep into the weeds for the planning of this event, but requests have been made for some exceptional female speakers. I’m hoping to make more progress on that soon.
For those of you who’ve asked “what can I do to help”, all I ask is that you let others in the business know about the event. Something as simple as a retweet or share of one of our social postings goes a long way towards filling the room. Also, if you know someone in L.A. who does great video work on a freelance basis I’m open to suggestions.
On the business front, if you own, operate or represent a company and are looking to reach sports media professionals, we do have a few sponsorships remaining and would love your support. To discuss the matter further, please email JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
I’ll admit that selling people on why they should attend this event has never been an area of comfort for me. I understand there are many factors to consider when deciding whether to make a trip and attend a show. That said, if your time and finances allow you to do so, I do think it’ll be worth your while. It’s not everyday that you get to be around the key decision makers in your business to meet and learn from. The sports media industry is built on relationships, and if you want to separate yourself from the rest of the pack, it helps to make personal connections.
Having spent over two decades in this business, I know that one thing too many of us are guilty of is not getting out of our buildings enough to meet new people, hear different ideas, and expand our thinking. You may be enjoying success today, and your knowledge of your brand and business may be superb, but this industry rapidly changes. If you don’t make time to educate yourself on where the world is heading other than reading about it on the internet, at some point it’s going to catch up to you.
I can’t promise that two days in L.A. will increase your ratings and revenue, but I do know that increasing your knowledge, relationships, and ideas is the first step to doing so. I hope to see you at the summit in February.