Former MSBC speakers listed among SportsBusiness Journal’s annual “50 Most Influential People in Sports Business”


SportsBusiness Journal released its annual list of the 50 most influential people in sports business, which included a record six individuals who have spoken at the Michigan Sport Business Conference in the past. Featured below are the former MSBC speakers who made it onto SBJ’s esteemed list along with their reasons for being included among the most influential in the industry.

John Skipper, President of ESPN

SBJ Rank: No. 7

Year at MSBC: 2013

Panel/Breakout: Keynote Conversation with Mike Tirico of ESPN (now NBC Sports)

Why Skipper (from SBJ): Skipper quietly put together a stellar year amid the cloud of layoffs at his network and cord cutting among viewers. ESPN signed an affiliate deal with Altice that set a precedent for future deals. It won its first Academy Award for its “OJ: Made in America” documentary series. And Disney took a majority ownership in BAMTech, paving the way for the debut of an ESPN-branded video streaming network early next year.


David Berson, President of CBS Sports

SBJ Rank: No. 12

Year at MSBC: 2012

Panel/Breakout: “Media and Reshaping the World of Sports” with Darren Rovell of ESPN, Scott Burton of ESPN The Magazine and Stephen Master of Nielsen

Why Berson (from SBJ): Berson, along with Chairman Sean McManus, effectively manage CBS Sports’ first-class image, cultivating a reputation of executives who do things the right way. They have the respect of leagues, competitors, on-air talent and staff, which has created a culture at the network that is second to none.


Don Garber, Commissioner of Major League Soccer

SBJ Rank: No. 17

Year at MSBC: 2016

Panel/Breakout: Keynote Conversation with Abe Madkour of SportsBusiness Journal, SportsBusiness Daily and SportsBusiness Daily Global

Why Garber (from SBJ): The record-breaking launch of Atlanta United and significant renewals with Adidas and Fanatics highlighted another year of growth for MLS under Garber’s watch. While the league is set to announce two new expansion clubs next week, threats of relocation by founding member Columbus Crew may undermine the league’s connection with communities and soccer supporters.


David Levy, President of Turner

SBJ Rank: No. 18

Year at MSBC: 2017

Panel/Breakout: Keynote Conversation with Abe Madkour of SportsBusiness Journal, SportsBusiness Daily and SportsBusiness Daily Global

Why Levy (from SBJ): Levy and Turner Sports President Lenny Daniels did not stay quiet this year, even with the pending AT&T acquisition hanging over their heads. The duo shocked the sports business by picking up UEFA Champions League rights and showed their vision by announcing plans for an OTT sports service to launch next fall.


Jim Delany, Commissioner of Big Ten Conference

SBJ Rank: No. 30

Year at MSBC: 2014

Panel/Breakout: “The Economic Reforming of College Athletics” with Abe Madkour of SportsBusiness Journal & SportsBusiness Daily, Ben Sutton of IMG College, Burke Magnus of ESPN, Julie Kimmons of NCAA and Mark Silverman of Big Ten Network

Why Delany (from SBJ): Big Ten revenue is up. Big Ten exposure is up. And the conference’s veteran commissioner has been right in the middle of it, negotiating a new $2.64 billion media deal with FOX and ESPN that kicked in this season. Along the way, he took the conference’s basketball tournament to D.C., providing it with an unprecedented spotlight on the East Coast.


Dan Gilbert, Owner of Cleveland Cavaliers & Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures

SBJ Rank: No. 32

Year at MSBC: 2016

Panel/Breakout: Keynote Conversation with Stephen M. Ross of Related Companies & the Miami Dolphins and Abe Madkour of SportsBusiness Journal, SportsBusiness Daily & SportsBusiness Daily Global

Why Gilbert (from SBJ): Gilbert controls his sports empire led by the powerhouse Cavaliers and continues his commitment to a massive rebuilding effort in downtown Detroit. He also joined Tom Gores and the Ford family in their effort to bring an MLS team to the Motor City, which the league recently named as one of four finalists for expansion.

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