Q&A is a feature where Sports Business Canada sits down with someone involved with the sports industry in Canada. This week we chat with University of Toronto Sports Business Association Vice-President Daniel Bruno to discuss the organization’s upcoming 2014 Sports Industry Conference taking place on March 12th.
Sports Business Canada: Tell us about the UTSB Sports Industry Conference?
Daniel Bruno: The UTSB Sports Industry Conference is only in its 3rd year of existence, yet has grown and become one of the largest student-run sports conferences in Canada. The goal is to connect students who are interested in pursuing a career in the sports industry with real time executives and companies in the industry. There is no other group like ours on campus which focuses on bridging the gap between students and industry professionals. Not only is there top tier panels and keynotes at the event, we also run a Career Fair with sports companies looking for interns.
SBC: How many attendees are you expecting for this year’s conference? What can they expect?
DB: We are expecting over 300 attendees with a diverse demographic. We have students from many different programs from within UofT and other universities, MBA students, UofT faculty members, and industry professionals. We have many great speakers attending our conference, including some big names in sports such as Michael Landsberg, Dwayne DeRosario, Keith Gordon and James Duthie. Don’t forget about all the representatives from companies at our career fair as well!
Attendees can expect an entire day to immerse themselves in the sports business field. It is a great opportunity to learn about the upcoming trends in sports, enjoy listening and meeting top tier speakers, and have the chance to network to crack into the sports field themselves.
SBC: How have you aimed to improve over last year’s conference?
DB: Our aim has always been to become the best student run sports industry conference in Canada, and then North America. We believe we are on the right track. After a successful conference last year, we decided to expand our team and conference to meet the high demand of sports business fanatics. We have a bigger venue, larger audience, and most importantly have bigger speakers. We have also made a strong effort for attendees to have a well rounded experiences in terms of listening to panels/keynotes, networking sessions, career fair, and surprises throughout the day!
SBC: Who are the speakers for this year’s conference?
Michael Landsberg – Host of TSN’s Off The Record, Dwayne De Rosario – Star striker Toronto FC
(1) Twitter And The New Age Of Fan Interaction Moderated by Gurdeep Ahluwalia, Anchor, TSN SportsCentre – David Hopkinson, Chief Commercial Officer, MLSE – Debora Silveira, Twitter Canada – Keith Gordon – President of NFL Players Inc. – James Duthie – Host at TSN
(2) Trust The Data? Sponsored By Bloomberg Sports Moderated by Matt Mitchell – Professor Rotman School – Alex Rucker, Senior Analytics Consultant, Toronto Raptors – Rob Shaw, VP Content/Media, Bloomberg Sports – Reid Mitchell, Director Hockey and Scouting Amin Toronto Maple Leafs – Timothy Chan – Professor UofT Engineering – First place winner of MIT Sloan Analytics Research paper Contest 2013
(3) Athlete Branding In The New Age Moderated by Richard Powers – Professor Rotman School – Corey Friesen – Director of Marketing, Under Armour Americas – Matt Maccarone, National Sports Marketing Manager, Nike – Greg Wood, Head of marketing and Parntership UFC – Bruce Popko – SVP Business Development, Buffalo Bills
SBC: How did you determine the topics for this year’s panel?
DB: For the panels, we had some heated debates on what topics we should. As a team, we decided to pick Twitter, sports analytics, and athlete branding, as we thought they were hot topics in the sports industry that you would want to hear the inside scoop on. These topics are very interesting for a listener to learn about the business in sports, take away key insights from industry professionals, and a topic any sports fan can enjoy. 6. What panel are you most excited for?
I am most excited about our panel on Twitter and how social media has become a huge player in sports. Firstly I am very excited to see and hear what James Duthie and Keith Gordon have in store. Secondly, having Debora Silveira and her view on Twitter and sports from Twitter is something you don’t get to see very often.
SBC: There’s a panel discussion focused on the new age of fan interaction. How has UTSB used social media to promote this event? Will social media be integrated during the conference?
DB: UTSB has had a strong presence on social media right from its foundation, and we have grown our Facebook page to over 1200 likes and over 1600 followers on Twitter. Using our network, we have been able to promote our event on several social media platforms. We have executed our social media marketing strategy, comprised of timely updates, teasers, prize giveaways and fan interaction. Our hashtag is #2014SIC, and we are going to be updating the social media world mainly though our Twitter, alongside getting many of our speakers and corporate partners involved.
SBC: Being a student organized event, what can attendees expect from the career fair? What companies will be represented? How has this aspect grown since the 1st annual conference?
DB: Many of our attendees aspire to crack into the sports industry, and we believe that the 2014 SIC is the perfect starting point. The sports industry being the size that it is and so tightly knit, we understand the difficulties of having a job in sports first hand. As most stories go from speakers and our members that have landed jobs in the sports industry, networking is key. We provide exactly that. Students will get to talk to company representatives to learn about the company, the culture and seek possible jobs for the near future. Confirmed companies so far include the Toronto Blue Jays, MLSE, Blade Tech Hockey, Merit Sports Travel, Cosmo Sports and many more.
Visit http://sportsandbusiness.ca/conference/ for more information about the event.