- Buy Tickets
- The Conference
- The Team
- The BIG Initiative
- Startup Competition
Don Garber was named Commissioner of Major League Soccer, the premier professional soccer league in the United States and Canada, in 1999. During his tenure, MLS has expanded from 10 to 23 teams, added 20 new owners and secured long-term broadcast agreements with ESPN, FOX and Univision and major broadcasters in Europe, Asia and South America. Garber has also led efforts to develop more than 15 soccer-specific stadiums in the United States and Canada.
Early in his tenure, he created MLS WORKS, a League-wide community outreach initiative dedicated to addressing important philanthropic and social issues.
In 2002, Garber created Soccer United Marketing (SUM), an affiliate of MLS and one of the world’s leading commercial and media soccer companies. SUM represents a wide variety of soccer properties, including the United States Soccer Federation, the Mexican Soccer Federation and the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).
Prior to joining MLS, Garber spent 16 years in a variety of sales, marketing, programming and event management positions at the National Football League. In 1996, he launched NFL International, a division he managed that was responsible for all aspects of the NFL’s business outside the United States.
Commissioner Garber serves on a variety of professional and philanthropic boards, including the executive committee of the United States Soccer Federation, the Committee for Club Football at Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and Vice President of Hope and Heroes, an organization raising funds and creating programs for pediatric cancer patients at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Garber received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the State University of New York and was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at his alma mater, SUNY Oneonta.
Long regarded as one of the media industries most influential executives, David Levy is president of Turner. In this capacity, Mr. Levy oversees Turner’s leading portfolio of domestic entertainment, sports, kids and young adult networks and businesses, including TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, truTV, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), Bleacher Report, FilmStruck and ELEAGUE, Turner’s entry into the red hot esports category. Additionally, Mr. Levy leads advertising sales strategy and operations, affiliate sales, programming acquisitions, marketing promotion, interactive television and technology business development for the domestic Turner businesses, as well as CNN and HLN’s ad sales and affiliate sales. He also has oversight of Turner Sports’ programming acquisitions, production, marketing, league relations and sports ad sales. He is based in New York.
Mr. Levy assumed executive oversight of Turner’s domestic portfolio in August 2013. Under his leadership, the Turner networks have increased its investment in original premium content across its portfolio of entertainment, kids and young adult brands. Both TBS and TNT have experienced significant brand evolutions with each network launching distinct and buzz-worthy original content during the past 18 months. truTV has further evolved its programming schedule and ranks as one of the youngest skewing cable networks in the television universe.
Each of Turner’s networks have maintained top competitive rankings, including #1 spots in key metrics for Adult Swim, TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network, as well as a leading digital portfolio of brands, including Bleacher Report, one of the Top 5 most popular and fastest-growing digital properties in the U.S.
Under his leadership, Turner has consistently been recognized as the leading television and digital sales organization in the media industry. Turner has aggressively led efforts to further enhance the consumer and advertising experience with a number of industry leading initiatives, including efforts to reduce commercial loads, the introduction of cutting-edge data and ad-products, the launch of audience-based adverting initiatives and custom branded content capabilities.
Mr. Levy has led a significant expansion in digital media and new businesses designed to grow Turner’s portfolio. In 2015, the company purchased a majority stake in streaming video pioneer iStreamPlanet, a move that expands Turner’s capabilities to offer live events and cultivate future business opportunities on digital platforms. In May 2016, Turner launched ELEAGUE, a new professional esports league created in partnership with WME | IMG. In 2016, Tuner launched FilmStruck. the company’s first U.S. domestic subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service and followed up with its second SVOD offering – Boomerang in the spring of 2017. In addition, he has supported strategic investments in companies like Refinery29 and Mashable, as well as new business alliances with companies including Snapchat and Twitter.
Also under Mr. Levy’s guidance, Turner has become an industry leader in creating affiliate value by leveraging the company’s portfolio of networks. Mr. Levy and Turner Content Distribution, the company’s affiliate sales division, continue to drive the company’s industry leading efforts for TV Everywhere (TVE), now available in more than 86 million households.
Since assuming executive leadership for Turner Sports in 2003, Mr. Levy has been instrumental in deepening and expanding Turner’s media rights and defining the division by its association with premium sports content, brands and events, including the NBA, the NCAA for the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, Major League Baseball and the PGA. He has negotiated a number of wide-ranging agreements, each representing a significant change that extended well beyond traditional television rights.
In 2010, Mr. Levy was instrumental in orchestrating a landmark deal, partnering with CBS for the television, internet, wireless, marketing and corporate sponsorship rights to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. As part of the agreement, TBS exclusively televised the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in 2014 and the National Championship in 2016, marking the first times in the event’s history those key games were televised by a cable network. Following the 2016 tournament, Turner and CBS announced that they had extended their agreement with the NCAA through 2032. The new deal includes expanded rights to create content, engage with fans and build new related businesses through both current and future technology and platforms.
Mr. Levy led Turner’s efforts in expanding its media rights partnership with the NBA in October 2014. The deal continues TNT’s successful and popular Thursday night NBA franchise and cements the network’s foundation for televising more NBA playoff games than any other network. It also provides TNT with an additional 12 showcase games, extends the network’s exclusive coverage of the league’s signature All-Star Weekend events and provides enhanced rights for Bleacher Report and activation opportunities.
In 2012, Turner reached a new, long-term, multimedia rights agreement with Major League Baseball, the most expansive in the company’s history with the league. Levy also led Turner’s efforts in the acquisition of Bleacher Report, a leading online multi-sport destination.
Prior to being named to his current position, Mr. Levy served as president of sales, distribution and sports for TBS, Inc.
Mr. Levy, who has received numerous awards for his professional achievements during his career at Turner, was elected to the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2012.
Turner, a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; kids and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.
Dan Gilbert is Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans Inc., the nation’s second largest mortgage lender. He is also Founder and Chairman of Rock Ventures LLC, the umbrella entity for his portfolio of business and real estate investments, and majority owner of the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Rock Ventures and its more than 100 affiliated companies across the country employ more than 25,000 team members.
Since 2013, Detroit-based Quicken Loans closed $220 billion in home loan volume across all 50 states, and in 2015, for the sixth consecutive year, earned J.D. Power’s highest rating for client satisfaction among all U.S. mortgage lenders. Quicken Loans is No. 1 on Computerworld magazine’s “100 Best Places to Work in IT” and has been named one of FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for 13 consecutive years.
Dan is also a shareholder in several sports-related consumer and technology businesses, including a leading wall graphics company (Fathead), electronic ticketing company (Flash Seats) and innovative sports equipment helmet maker (Xenith).
Dan began moving his Family of Companies to Detroit’s central business district in 2010 in an effort to help lead the transformation of a great American city. In January 2010, Dan co-founded Bedrock Detroit, a full-service real estate firm specializing in purchasing, leasing, financing, developing and managing commercial space based in downtown Detroit. Since then, he has invested more than $2.2 billion to purchase and renovate more than 95 commercial properties accounting for more than 15 million square feet in the city’s urban core. Thousands of jobs have been created, and today more than 15,000 Rock Ventures team members work in downtown Detroit.
Dan also founded JACK Entertainment, a developer and owner of unique urban casinos in downtown Cleveland, Cincinnati and Baltimore. In 2013, the company also acquired Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel, which will be renamed as JACK Detroit Casino-Hotel Greektown later this year.
In March 2013, Rock Ventures, in collaboration with the Downtown Detroit Partnership and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, unveiled and implemented a visionary placemaking and retail plan centered on creating activity and vibrant, distinct destinations to draw people to the region using a multifaceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces.
Dan is a Founder and Principal of Detroit Venture Partners (DVP), a venture capital firm that funds startup and early-stage technology companies in Detroit. He is also a Founding Partner of Detroit-based private equity group Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC, which invests in growing businesses in the financial services, Internet technology, consumer-direct marketing and the sports and entertainment industries across the United States.
In September 2013, Dan was named co-chair of the Blight Removal Task Force. The group, appointed by the Obama Administration, published a detailed plan in May 2014 to remove all blighted structures and lots in the city of Detroit. He also serves as Vice Chairman of the M-1 RAIL initiative, which began construction in July 2014. The 6.6-mile modern streetcar system, known as QLINE, is designed to spur economic development and improve downtown and midtown Detroit’s transportation infrastructure.
Dan serves on the boards of the Cleveland Clinic, the Washington D.C.-based Children’s National Medical Center and the Children’s Tumor Foundation, which is focused on finding a cure for the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his law degree from Wayne State University.
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 entirely student produced and organized, yet it had the look and feel of an industry level conference – a true example of the Michigan Difference!
I definitely got a lot of value from attending the MSBC. Gathering with senior sports execs to talk through the issues of the day, engaging with brilliant students and taking in the legendary Michigan warmth and charm together made it a breakthrough experience.
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 networking opportunity with industry professionals was outstanding. The student planning team was exceptionally competent and responsive making the experience for a speaker smooth and comfortable. In addition to the opportunity to revisit Ann Arbor, participating in a conference the caliber of MSBC was an overall fabulous experience.
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.
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.
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!
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 U-M ties] as well as students in terms of attendance.
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.