Student conference explores sports & tech

by Joe Rapolla (FCRH ’13)

Six established men in the sports industry shared their biographies and insights during this month’s Business of Sports Today conference. What they said was extremely useful to the students in the audience, many of whom aspire to careers in sports business.

Three speakers made it apparent that technology is creating new opportunities and opening frontiers in sports.

Vince Gennaro, president of the Society for American Baseball Research, and Cory Schwartz, vice president of statistics for MLB Advanced Media, talked about how technology has advanced to a point where there are more recordable stats than teams and scouts know how to use.

Mark Conrad, director of the Gabelli School’s new sports business specialization, talked about how social media have shaped sports—and described how some teams have had to take legal measures against “knuckleheads” on their rosters who disobey team online-media rules.

Bringing welcome news for this particular audience was Roy Krasik, MLB’s senior director of major league operations, who predicted the creation of new jobs in sports leagues because of the growing number of tasks that the commissioner’s office must handle. These positions will deal with off-field discipline, of the kind Professor Conrad discussed, and instant replay and other technology that assures correctness, which Gennaro and Schwartz spoke about.

Two young Fordham alumni who have quickly made names for themselves in the sports world wrapped up the conference: Kenneth Pordon (FCRH ’07), coordinator of fan strategy and marketing for the NFL, and Bobby Coyle (GSB ’09), a marketing account executive for CBS Radio, the station of the New York Yankees. A rapid rise in a sports career is no easy task, and Pordon and Coyle explained that it’s impossible without hard work and an open mind. Neither started out in the field, but by remaining flexible, they found niches where they truly excel.

The conference was arranged by the Business of Sports Society and co-sponsored by the Gabelli School’s sports business specialization and a new student club, the Digital Business Society.

 

Photograph courtesy of Dennis Crowley on Flickr’s Creative Commons.

 

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