SB Canada @ 2013 UTSB Sports Industry Conference Live Blog


Sports Business Canada is at the 2013 UTSB Sports Industry Conference today in Toronto. We’ll be live blogging our thoughts along with pictures and videos throughout the day. Follow along!

4:53PM – looks as though the sports business content is over and this is more laid back. I’ll sign off for now, thanks for reading all day. Stay tuned for more content from the conference.

4:46PM – cabbie and his producer Dave Kirkst on now

4:35 PM – now talking about red bull, and how they view sponsorship. Brands building properties is what Josh Epstein calls it.

4:23PM – now talking about different types of sponsorship and where they see it going. NFL talks about how they don’t see on field sponsorship happening. Will probably see an article on this soon.

4:06PM – now talking brand protection against the risks of head injuries in respective sports. Interesting to hear what NFL says here…basically he said: they’re bigger and faster so it’ll happen, but we are working to fix it. The NBA doesn’t really have an issue there, and is somewhat smug about.

3:55PM – Dave Shaw from UFC now talking about the challenges of when GSP leaves the sport. Basically, they realize it’s an issue and they are thinking about how to combat it.

3:51PM – some slight technical difficulties. The NFL seems to have some great initiatives for getting social media engagement. UFC now talking about their incentives for tweeting.

3:45PM – talking social media now. Interesting to see the different opinions on social media.

3:39PM – just finished lunch (yes late lunch). Time to talk sponsorship and valuation.

2:33PM – now talking about attention to detail, and how important that is in law. The Ryan O’Rielly deal came up, as did a contract with Nike. Interesting stuff, but very dry. Don’t think anyone is being converted to law from listening to this.

2:21 PM – this panel is very dry, but interesting. Talking about negotiation style, and the different ways to negotiate for clients. Los of insights here, where ownership is, where the client is, and a few other factors. Neat stuff.

2:12 PM – law panel going on now, interesting for the people interested in sports law.

1:47PM – fun fact U of T has a sports business group and a sports and entertainment law society. Lots of academic sports fans in TO.

1:43PM – Sports Law Panel about to begin.

1:18PM – this talk is more about how great Adidas is and how many cliches one can throw out. Where does he see the industry going? Who are his icons? What is their strategy for growth I’m Canada? Wasn’t really into watching Messi commercials.

1:13 PM – getting an insight into what Adidas is as a brand. Interesting to see the complete picture, it it a great campaign. However, as noted on other sites…best branding in the world doesn’t help when you’re key endorsers are injured. They carry the message of the brand.

1:12PM – now talking about the street and their music endorsers.

1:08PM -talking about how great Messi is now. Still not sure soccer matters enough in Canada for him to be the face here. Nevertheless, cool video. Addressed how Messi doesn’t dive.

1:04PM – “Our brand started in the stadium and moved to the street” very interesting take.

12:55PM – Woodman in the past year has been to a champions league final, euro cup semi final, ManU vs Real Madrid uefa champions league tie and the NBA all star game. Needless to say he’s probably got a few aeroplan points.

12:48 PM – Gerald Woodman Director of Sporting Goods Channel up next

12:36PM – Weekes just compared Mario Lemiux to Wayne Gretzky from a business perspective. Using Mario’s involvement as an owner as reason to show him being a better business mind than Wayne. This is wrong on a few levels. 1) Mario only took ownership to ensure he received deferred payments owed to him. 2) Wayne got screwed out of that Coyotes deal. Staying away from the NHL may prove to be a sound decision. 3) Mario tried to sell the team recently.

12:30PM – Kevin Weekes has a smart/measured response about social media. He states you need to keep a level head, need to understand the process, and the medium. Additionally he talks about employers checking your social feeds and how it relates to corporate brands.

12:23PM – Just talked about UA as his inspiration. Kevin once wore UA, once an endorser always an endorser.

12:13PM – I’m going to be a bit critical here, but this doesn’t seem like the most thought out business. It does sound familiar to other athlete ventures that start out hot and then settle out. Nevertheless, nice story, and I hope it works out.

12:04PM – Kevin Weekes now talking about how his career ended somewhat surprisingly and abruptly. Offers kind of dried up, and broadcasting opened up, so he took it on. Suddenly, he became a broadcaster.

11:52 AM – talking about his entry into hockey, and the path.

11:46 AM – Kevin Weekes about to talk about his new brand: I Have No 5 Hole

11:38AM – Now Kirke is talking about Analytics, how to use them when they work and how to avoid when they’re deficient for your client. Also he just talked about the drafting of Lindros and the Quebec issue. He admitted his media relations was not good enough to handle that story. He has been very open and honest at the event.

11:31AM – going into detail about paying for future and the Rick Nash deal. He leaves out the part where with Nash that franchise was going to be buried. He held all the cards and got a great result for Nash.



11:24 AM – Just listed who he represents from a sports broadcasting perspective, it was basically the whole Fan590 team. Bobcat, Brunt, Cox, it’s easy to forget how big Kirke is in Canadian sports business.

10:20AM – if they weren’t called the jays it would have been the toronto beavers…almost as bad as the Raptors.

11:17AM – Talking about how they brought the Jays to Canada.

11:13AM – It seems Kirke bumped into a ton of clients. Started with a tennis player, moved into golf. Then he ended up with Gordon Lightfoot. From there, he said it took minimal marketing, just word of mouth and referrals. Eventually repping Dolly Parton and so on. Tons of students in the room saying “word of mouth? Happenstance!?” But yes sometimes, doing great work is all it takes.

11:09AM – Kirke to give a talk about his career and how he got there…believed he would never do sports/entertainment law.

11:07 AM Gord Kirke is about to take the stage.

10:57 AM – opening comments about to start.

10:51 AM – MLSE has a careers booth here, still carrying on Burke’s belief in getting not only the best talent; but all the talent.

10:37 AM trend I’ve noticed at different sports conferences is more and more women at the events. As the sports business world evolves, to get the largest talent pool the industry must widen its interest base. Getting women involved is a great start. Also worth noting, only 1 women speaking at the event.

10:28 AM – an agenda of today’s events

Keynote with Gord Kirke
Talk about professional athlete to businessman with Kevin Weekes
Gerald Woodman – director of sporting goods at Adidas
Talk on contract law
Talk on branding and sponsorship
Talk with cabbie

Overall I’m most excited about branding and sponsorship. I will also be intrigued to see what Kevin Weekes talk is like; considering all the hype of late about athletes going broke and taking too much risk.

10:20 AM – Jeff here live at the UTSB Sports Industry Conference. The room is filling up and we can’t wait to see what happens! Adam will be tweeting info over on our twitter feed @sportsbizcanada so check that out. Ill be here updating throughout the event.


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