In his 14 years with the company prior to becoming ESPN President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks on January 1, 2012, John Skipper was a key architect of ESPN’s explosive growth. He played leadership roles overseeing the company’s television, digital, print and advertising sales initiatives, as well as ESPN’s focus on brand extensions, bringing the company’s “best available screen” philosophy to life across more platforms and with more wide-ranging major rights agreements than at any time since ESPN’s launch in 1979. This strategy, along with an emphasis on live sports, has strengthened ESPN’s unparalleled relationship with fans while meeting the growing business needs of ESPN’s distributors and advertisers.
Under his leadership, ESPN has consistently set records for television ratings and digital consumption, and negotiated several wide-ranging, major rights agreements with the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, the BCS, FIFA, the Masters Tournament, the British Open, the USTA, Wimbledon and several college conferences. Each of those agreements was marked by a significant change that took hold under Skipper — a wide swath of multimedia rights that went well beyond just television to include all forms of media, and terms that extended for a much longer period of time, sometimes a decade or more. This change of approach envisioned an evolving media world driven by the marriage of technology with content, and established stability for ESPN and all of its business partners for years to come.
Bob Bowman joined Major League Baseball Advanced Media LP (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball, as its first President and Chief Executive Officer in 2000. MLBAM operates the official League site, www.MLB. com, as well as each of the 30 individual team sites. Prior to joining MLBAM, Mr. Bowman was President and Chief Operating Officer of ITT Corporation, one of the world’s largest and pre-eminent conglomerates. Mr. Bowman successfully oversaw the growth and operations of the $8 billion conglomerate until its merger with Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 1998. During his tenure, Mr. Bowman and the senior management team at ITT created more than $25 billion of value for the company’s shareholders. Mr. Bowman graduated from Harvard College in 1977, and received his M.B.A. from The Wharton School in 1979.
Jaymee Messler serves as President of The Players’ Tribune, a first-of-its-kind digital media company, founded by Derek Jeter, dedicated to empowering athletes with the tools they need to tell their stories. In addition to first-person essays, the platform features an array of video content, podcasts, and original photography.In her role, Messler oversees the strategy and long-term vision of the business, industry relations, sales and marketing, and athlete relations. In under a year, the company has grown in every way possible since it launched. The platform has published more than 600 pieces of original content from more than 300 athlete contributors.
Messler joined The Players’ Tribune from Excel Sports Management where she was one of the first hires when the agency was established in 2002. From 2002-2014, she worked her way up to one of the most powerful sports marketing executives in the business. As the agency’s CMO, she developed an industry-leading benchmark formula for player marketing that included client services, public relations, cause-related programs and community outreach, social media and digital programming, branded content and corporate partnerships.
At Excel, she engineered partnerships and oversaw marketing for high-profile NBA and MLB clients including Paul Pierce, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Tyson Chandler, Deron Williams, Jason Kidd, and Kemba Walker. In 2011, when leading MLB agent Casey Close joined Excel, she added Jeter and Clayton Kershaw to her marketing responsibilities. Messler also branched out into golf, working with veteran golf agent Mark Steinberg when he joined the firm in 2011, on representing Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Cheyenne Woods, Patrick Cantlay, and Justin Rose.
She took the helm of all branding, corporate communications, and corporate relationships on behalf of the agency. She had the foresight about the emergence of digital into the marketing spend mix, and created Excel’s corporate digital strategy, website and social media presence, as well as oversaw the digital and social media strategies for the agency’s individual clients. This foresight has been the cornerstone for many initiatives that has brought millions to the athletes and great success to brand partners.
Messler holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and resides in New York City.
Tirico has handled a variety of assignments for ESPN, ESPN Radio and ABC Sports since 1991, establishing himself as one of the most recognizable faces and steady voices across ESPN’s multimedia platforms and in the industry at large.
In 2006, he assumed one of the top positions in sports television as ESPN’s Monday Night Football play-by-play commentator. Tirico’s other major roles include NBA, college basketball and golf play-by-play/host and studio host for major events. Tirico works alongside analyst Jon Gruden on MNF, the most-viewed series in cable television history. He is just the fourth person – joining broadcasting legends Keith Jackson, Frank Gifford and Al Michaels – to occupy the play-by-play post in the more than 40-year history of sports television’s signature series. Tirico handles play-by-play for NBA games paired with analyst Hubie Brown on ESPN and ABC, as well as the NBA Finals on ESPN Radio. In 2012, he returned to ESPN’s college basketball coverage as the play-by-play voice for weekly Super Tuesday Big Ten games alongside analyst Dan Dakich. A regular host and contributor to ESPN Radio, Tirico is part of the weekly Countdown to Kickoff and hosts the “Open Mike” podcast.
It was an absolute pleasure to take part in the Michigan Sports Business Conference. The panel discussions were engaging and I enjoyed interacting with both students and industry leaders in a University setting. What impressed me most about the conference was that it was entirelystudent produced and organized, yet it had the look and feel of an industry level conference – a true example of the Michigan Difference!
“I really enjoyed the entire experience. It was without question the finest student-run conference that I have ever participated in. You guys did a wonderful job with the logistics, the topics and the speakers. It really was quite impressive and resulted in a lot of meaningful dialogue and discussion.”
“The MSBC is one of the finest sports conferences in America, period. Great content, terrific speakers, first class environment and well-attended. That students organize and stage such an outstanding event makes it even more impressive!”
“I am proud to have been an MSBC Board member since its inception and continue to be impressed by the students who run this organization. Each year they take it to the next level and have established the MSBC as one of the premiere conferences in the industry.”
“Had a great experience. It is great to catch up with so many alumni that all work in the same business while also rewarding talking to students about our career paths/choices and the future of the business. I highly recommend it to both speakers (who have UM ties) as well as students in terms of attendance.”
“The MSBC is run as well as any conference I have been associated with in my career. They attract a “Who’s Who” of everyone in the sports industry.”
I was thrilled to be invited and to be part of the MSBC. The student leaders put together a smart and innovative agenda, touching various facets of the sports business industry. I look forward to future conferences, and seeing how the students continue to build on the sport business conference’s great success. Go Blue!
The MSBC is a truly exceptional conference. The fact that it is put on by undergraduate students is a testament to the caliber of students that come out of U of M. Despite only being 2 years old, the MSBC executed a flawless run of show, impressive list of speakers and subsequently, has gained recognition throughout the industry.
The MSBC was a productive and rewarding experience. I gained insight from my fellow panelists and appreciated the opportunity to interact with other presenters, members of the Ross faculty, and the students. It was clear that the Ross students have cultivated an impressive asset for themselves and the industry.