On Monday, November 8th, the Los Angeles chapter of the Georgetown Entertainment & Media Alliance (GEMA) hosted a panel on Perspectives on the Sports Industry. With approximately 100 GEMA members convening at Creative Artists Agency in Century City, GEMA Chairman Rich Battista (B’86) moderated the discussion with panelists Lindsay Amstutz (L’06) Vice President Business Development, LA Sparks; Maidie Oliveau (SLL’74, L’77) Counsel, Arent Fox LLP; David Rone, Co-Head of the Sports Media Advisory Group, Evolution Media Capital, LLC; Claude Ruibal (L’82) Chairman, Universal Sports Network and Bill Ryan (F’96) Assistant General Counsel, DirecTV.
Lee Reed, who was named the 17th Director of Athletics at Georgetown this past April, gave opening remarks and an update on sports on the Hilltop. Responding to a question about Georgetown’s viability as football pushes the birth of super conferences, Reed said, “(I want) Georgetown Athletics positioned as best as possible no matter what happens.”
Mr. Battista posed questions covering a variety of topics ranging from changes in sponsorship deals and increasing television rights fees as it relates to the economy to the explosion of mobile, broadband, social media and international and the opportunities and challenges those expanding markets present.
As one would expect with a panel of such diverse experiences, there was a wide-ranging discussion about the various topics. In the area of sponsorship, Ms. Amstutz felt that sponsors today are more focused than in the past on their return on investment (ROI). Ms. Oliveau echoed this, stating that all relevant divisions of a company often will weigh in today before making a final decision on spending money on a sponsorship.
There was general agreement from the panelists in regards to one topic: We are in the early stages of maximizing the advances in digital technology to expand distribution channels and give customers a diverse offering of sports programming — not just of the traditional major sports such as football, basketball, soccer, etc., but even cricket.
Mr. Ruibal spoke about the emergence of mobile and by way of example, Universal Sports Network offered live coverage of the New York City Marathon via mobile phones http://gema-hoyas.org/minor.
Mr. Rone, whose firm represents a number of top athletes, spoke about the explosion in social media and the opportunities it has created to enhance the exposure of its clients in new and interesting ways, and in turn, to more effectively build the “brand” of their clients.
After an audience Q & A session, the event culminated in a post-panel reception.
GEMA thanks Creative Artists Agency, STATS, The Georgetown Club of LA, Hoyas Unlimited and Georgetown Alumni Career Services for their support in making this event possible.
- Article by Markhum Stansbury (C ’91)
- Photos by Sean Smith