April 9 Symposium Explored Changing Landscape of Sport Event Industry

April 9 Symposium Explored Changing Landscape of Sport Event Industry March 20, 2013- Eight of the sport event industry’s leading executives and visionaries offered valuable first-hand perspectives during the Syracuse University chapter of Women in Sports and Events’ (WISE) second annual symposium. “A Word to the WISE: Testing the Limits,” took place on Tuesday, April 9, 2:00-4:00 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse 3, followed by a reception. The symposium was interesting to those considering a career within the sport industry, with a particular focus that informed students about how to prepare for the changing landscape of the sport event industry.

While interest in traditional sport events continues to grow, there has been a new wave of these events that has taken the sport industry into a new sector. This changing landscape has raised significant questions as to how it will impact the future of sport events. Included in this discussion will be topics such as digital marketing, global growth, event venue operations, risk management, social media, and the crossover of traditional entertainment with the new wave of sport events. SU alumnus Dennis Deninger, professor of practice in the Falk College’s Department of Sport Management and director of the Newhouse Sports Communications graduate program, moderated the panel discussion that included :

  • Joe De Sena, chief executive officer, Spartan Race
  • Dennis Deninger, Professor of Practice, Syracuse University
  • Patti Kleinman-Fallick, SU alumna, director of broadcast operations, MLB Network
  • Shana Gritsavage, director of global events, Under Armour
  • Amy Hobbs, SU alumna, development director, National Wheelchair Basketball Assoc.
  • Laurie Orlando, SU alumna, senior vice president, talent development & planning, ESPN
  • Deane Swanson, director of content, ESPN Global X Games
  • Circe Wallace, senior vice president, Wasserman Media Group
  • Mary Wittenberg, chief executive officer, New York Road Runners

The symposium was free and open to the campus and greater Syracuse community. Information can also be found via Twitter, @WISE_SU, and Facebook.

WISE is a resource to professional women in the sports and events industries. Through meetings, special events and mentoring programs, WISE offers members the opportunity to gain insight and make connections that can help women receive a competitive advantage in their current and future positions. WISE at Syracuse University, the first collegiate chapter in the country, was founded by the Department of Sport Management in the Falk College.

About The Speakers:

Joe De Sena

Co-Founder, Spartan Race

Joseph De Sena, 43, has been an entrepreneur since his pre-teens. From selling fireworks at age eight, to starting a t-shirt business in high school, to building a multimillion-dollar pool business in college, to creating a Wall Street trading firm, De Sena is a living definition of the word “entrepreneur.” Currently he is a managing director for ICAP, a brokerage agency. De Sena knows what it feels like to succeed outside the office, too – and that’s the feeling he seeks to bring to the world’s athletes with the Spartan Race series. Throughout his lifetime, he’s competed in any extreme sports adventure he could find, testing his mental and physical endurance against nature. It’s also well documented that Joe turned an interest in endurance racing into a passion. His racing resume is the stuff of legends – over 50 ultra-events overall and 14 Ironman events in one year alone. Most of his races are 100 miles or bmore with a few traditional marathons in the mix. (He once said that running a 26.2 marathon distance was “adorable.”

Dennis Deninger

Professor of Practice, Syracuse University

An award-winning television producer and educator who has produced television programs from every continent of the world. Dennis Deninger is president and executive producer of Deninger Media, an independent production and consulting firm based in Cheshire, Connecticut. In his 25 years at ESPN, Dennis led production teams for studio programming, live remote events and digital video platforms. He now develops, produces and directs television and video, and provides consulting services for the television industry.

Deninger joined ESPN in October 1982 as one of the first four coordinating producers for SportsCenter and held that position until 1986. That was the year he created the Scholastic Sports America series which continued for 15 years on ESPN. During the course of his career at ESPN, Dennis Deninger launched more than a dozen new televised series and events including the National Spelling Bee, Major League Soccer, and Racing to the Kentucky Derby, plus he created the most successful daily sports series in the history of the internet, SportsCenter Right Now.

The winner of three Emmy Awards for innovation in sports television, production on digital platforms, and educational television, he developed for American television the instant review technology called “Shot Spot” now in use at virtually all major tennis tournaments. He launched ESPN’s coverage of Wimbledon and the French Open, plus was the executive in charge of production for a dozen Australian Opens, Friday Night Fights, Triple Crown horse racing, PBA bowling and a variety of other live events.

As Coordinating Producer for World Cup ’94 on ABC and ESPN, Dennis Deninger designed the first continuously displayed scorebox for live sports, which has become a staple of American television. He won an Emmy and three Parents’ Choice Awards, plus the National Clarion Award as executive producer of ESPN SportsFigures, an educational series that shows how math and science are at work in every sport.

In addition to his role as an adjunct professor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communication, his alma mater, and in the David B. Falk Center for Sport Management, he also provides media coaching for students and athletes. He is on the board of directors of the Cheshire Education Foundation which works to enhance public education in Cheshire, CT. He is on the board of managers for the Boys and Girls Club of New Haven.

Patti Kleinman-Fallick

Director, Broadcast Operations & Strategy, MLB Network

During her time at MLB Network, Fallick has received two Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Technical Team – Studio and two Outstanding Daily Studio Show Sports Emmy Awards as Operations Producer for “MLB Tonight.” Fallick is based at MLB Network’s Secaucus, New Jersey headquarters, reporting to Susan Stone, SVP of Operations and Engineering.
Fallick graduated from Syracuse University in 1978 with a bachelor of science degree in television and radio from the Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor of arts degree in American history. She currently serves as a member of the Sport Management Advisory Council. Fallick lives in Lake Success, New York with her husband David, a 1979 Syracuse alumnus, and their three children, Perry (Syracuse ’07), Ashley and Scott.

Shana Gritsavage

Director of Global Events, Sports Management Resources (SMR)

Shana Gritsavage leads the Under Armour Global Events team as Director of External Events including major league, international, and sports marketing events as well as trade shows, grassroots, retail, and title sponsorship events. Ms. Gritsavage joined the Under Armour team in 2007 as an ecommerce manager and was promoted to Manager of Events & Charitable Giving in April of 2008. She was promoted to Senior Manager at the beginning of 2010 and began her current role in November of 2011.

A graduate of the United States Naval Academy in 1997 with a bachelor of science in economics, Ms. Gritsavage is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. She received her MBA in Sports Management from San Diego State University in 2007 and is currently an adjunct faculty member of the Georgetown University Sports Industry Management Program as well as the Real Madrid Sports MBA Program. She lives in Baltimore, MD and is an avid swimmer, runner, skier and traveler.

Amy Hobbs

SU alumna, development directors, National Wheelchair Basketball Assoc.

Amy Hobbs is the Development Director for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, based in Colorado Springs, CO. She started her role at the NWBA in January 2013, and is working at raising funds and awareness for the sport of wheelchair basketball, and the 2,000+ athletes across the country.

Prior to her role at the NWBA, Amy served as the Suite Services Manager for the San Diego Chargers, NFL organization. She was involved in every facet of the “Suite Life,” managing tickets, contracts, payments, customer service, game day production and events.

Leading up to her position at the Chargers, Amy worked in the athletic development office at the University of Louisville; raising funds for the new basketball arena, the KFC Yum! Center, and helping in the expansion project of the football stadium. She also took on the role as Director of Special Events while at Louisville.

Amy is a native Central, New Yorker, and graduated with her bachelor in sport management from Syracuse University in 2008. Throughout her time at Syracuse, Amy was actively involved in the Orange Club, where her career kicked off in athletic fundraising. She now resides in Denver, CO with her fiancé, Matt Lawicki, who is the assistant women’s lacrosse coach at the University of Denver.

Laurie Orlando

Senior Vice President, Talent Development and Planning, ESPN, Inc.

Laurie Orlando oversees the newly created Talent Office and the relationships with the on-air personalities who represent the ESPN brand across all multimedia platforms. Orlando is focused on negotiation and facilitation of contracts; identification and recruitment of new talent; and establishing development, communication, coaching and feedback processes. Orlando is based in Bristol, Conn., and reports to Steve Anderson, executive vice president, news, talent and content operations.

Orlando joins ESPN from MSG and Fox Sports New York where she was senior vice president, executive producer. Prior to that, she spent nearly five years at College Sports Television (CSTV) as vice president of programming, original programming and development, and vice president of remote and feature production. She has also held significant production and programming roles at Oxygen Media and Classic Sports Network.

This is the second ESPN stint for Orlando, who worked for ESPN Classic as a coordinating producer in 1999. In her earlier role, Orlando oversaw the development, supervision and execution of all original, documentary and long-form programming, including the Sweet Science documentary series and other critically-acclaimed original programs.

Orlando was graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor of science degree in international relations, as well as a bachelor of arts in television and film writing from the University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, and serves as a member of the Sport Management Advisory Council.

Deane Swanson

Senior Director, Content Strategy, ESPN Global X Games

As senior director for the X Games, Deane Swanson helps manage one of ESPN’s most prestigious properties, the X Games. During his seventeen years with ESPN, Swanson has helped develop the X Games from a little known event into a global brand.

In 2010, Swanson joined the Content Strategy group as part of the X Games Global Expansion. Swanson took charge and devoted his full time efforts to developing and managing the X Games Host City Bid Process. Upon completion of the process in May 2012, ESPN announced that the X Games would expand and hold X Games events in six locations annually. In addition to existing events in Aspen, CO; Los Angeles, CA; and Tignes, France; the X Games would also hold events in Munich, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; and Foz do Iguacu, Brazil starting in 2013.

Prior to his position with Content Strategy, Swanson was responsible for X Games Event Operations. Swanson led the transition from conducting X Games events in temporary venues, to holding events in permanent stadiums and arenas. He developed a comprehensive X Games Event Management Plan and successfully organized X Games events in multiple domestic and international cities. The event operations staff specialized in teamwork, innovation, and creativity which produced extremely popular and highly rated events. In January 2005, the X Games won a prestigious Gala Award for Achievement in Logistics from the International Special Events Society.

In addition to his X Games responsibilities, Swanson managed the high profile ESPY Awards Red Carpet from 2002 to 2010. Swanson joined ESPN in 1995, the first year of the X Games (formerly the Extreme Games) held in Providence, RI.

From 1993 to 1995 Swanson served as Assistant Professor at Johnson & Wales University. Prior to Johnson & Wales, Swanson coached High School and College Football and served as Director of Recreation for the Town of East Greenwich, RI.

Circe Wallace

Senior Vice President, Action Sports and Olympics, Wasserman Media Group

Circe Wallace joined Wasserman Media Group’s Action Sports Division in 2007 and currently serves as Senior Vice President. During her time at Wasserman, Wallace has successfully identified and groomed emerging talent and built strong diverse programs around them to promote sponsor images and products. Some of her clients include street skateboarders Paul Rodriguez and Chaz Ortiz, snowboarders Travis Rice, Nicolas Mueller, Iouri Podladtchikov and Olympians Torah Bright and Scotty Lago.

One of the only female high-level executives in the world of action sports, Wallace previously served as Senior Manager at Octagon, where she was responsible for athlete sponsorships, negotiations and content production, and as Vice President at leading action sports agency IMS Sports.

Wallace began her career by helping establish the prominent management company The Familie, which was acquired by Wasserman in 2003. Wallace was elected one of action sports’ most influential women by Transworld Business as well one of Sports Business Journal’s Women in Sports Business Game Changers, and she also sits on the board of Boarding for Breast Cancer. She currently resides in Cardiff, California with her daughter Ava and husband Charlie.

Mary Wittenberg

President and CEO, New York Road Runners

As president and CEO of NYRR and race director of the ING New York City Marathon, Mary Wittenberg is responsible for setting strategy and overseeing the business and operations of NYRR. Pursuing a consistent growth strategy, Wittenberg and her team have elevated NYRR’s prominence and impact as they seek to lead a global running movement by making running more accessible to a broader audience.

Wittenberg, the first woman to lead NYRR, and her team have expanded the organization’s commitment to the five boroughs of New York City through youth running events and community health programs—creating an unrivaled urban running model. Under her leadership, NYRR has broadened its horizons, fueled by a year-round calendar of classes, clinics, and events. Off the race course, the organization’s media reach includes digital, broadcast, and print vehicles. The ING New York City Marathon and its impact have grown dramatically—in 2011, the largest marathon ever boasted more than 47,000 finishers, $340 million in revenue for our city, and over $34 million raised for charities. They’ve also created new events like the NYC Half.

Partnerships are crucial to furthering NYRR’s mission, and have grown substantially. This year, Wittenberg and her team secured a five-year deal to return the New York City Marathon to live national television for the first time in almost 20 years. And to build the sport’s fan base and inspire the next generation of runners, NYRR has offered unprecedented support to world-class competitors. Leaders of the pack in New York and across the United States have gained strength through NYRR’s post-collegiate running groups, and athletes from around the world come together in the World Marathon Majors—a two-year, five-race series created in 2006 in partnership with the directors of the Boston, London, Berlin, and Chicago Marathons. Wittenberg and her team have also hosted several national championships, including the 2006 USA Cross Country Championships and the 2008 US Men’s Olympic Trials Marathon.

Wittenberg joined NYRR in late 1998 and became its first Chief Operating Officer in 2000. In 2005 she became President and CEO as well as Race Director of the New York City Marathon. Prior to joining NYRR, she was a partner in the law firm Hunton and Williams in Richmond, VA, and New York City. Wittenberg is a graduate of Canisius College in Buffalo and holds a law degree from Notre Dame University. She won the 1987 Marine Corps Marathon and competed in the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon. She and her husband live a short run from Central Park with their two basketball-playing sons.

About WISE:

WISE is a resource to professional women in the sports and events industries. Through meetings, special events and mentoring programs, WISE offers members the opportunity to gain insight and make connections that can help women receive a competitive advantage in their current and future positions. The organization works to be the definitive source for businesswomen seeking information about issues, challenges, and opportunities impacting all points of their career as well as career transitions. WISE now has chapters all over the country and has branched out with its first collegiate chapter at Syracuse University. WISE at Syracuse was founded by the Department of Sport Management in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.