The Sport Management program maintains an external Advisory Board in order to develop and nurture connections with leaders in the sport industry. The advisory board contributes to our vision of achieving excellence in undergraduate sport business education.
The board serves in an advisory role to the Sport Management faculty, providing critical input related to the program’s curriculum to ensure that undergraduate students are prepared for the changing and emerging demands of sport business and related industries. The board also provides important links to the sport business community, facilitating internship and employment opportunities for Sport Management students.
Members of the Sport Management Advisory Board are:
Jessica Berman oversees all of the league’s legal affairs and transactions, manages team services, and assists the Commissioner with the NLL’s overall growth strategy.
She is the first woman to hold the title of Deputy Commissioner at any professional sports league in North America.
Prior to joining the NLL, Berman served as Vice President, Special Projects & Corporate Social Responsibility for the National Hockey League (NHL). She designed and executed the League’s strategic CR goals, initiatives, policies and programs in the areas of importance to the League, the NHL Foundation, the NHL Clubs, the NHL’s business partners and the hockey community generally. She also participated in the design and execution of the League’s player development programs covering life skills, mental health, social issues and other areas that may require assistance. Prior to this position, she was VP & Deputy General Counsel for the NHL. She was a member of the collective bargaining team for the 2012 NHL/NHLPA CBA, which involved working on the League’s labor strategy, negotiating with the NHLPA, drafting the CBA, and analyzing the impact of proposed CBA provisions.
Berman graduated from Fordham University School of Law where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Fordham Sports Law Forum and an Associate Editor of the Urban Law Journal. She graduated from the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology with an undergraduate degree in Sport Management & Communications with distinction. In 2009, the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology awarded her the Early Career Achievement Award.
David Berson (LSA ‘94) became President of CBS Sports in 2013. He joined CBS Sports in 2011 as Executive Vice President of CBS Sports and President of CBS Sports Network after 16 years at ESPN, where he began his career as a college intern and later worked in various capacities in programming, affiliate sales, and marketing and business development. Berson helps oversee all aspects of CBS Sports’ day-to-day management and also continues to lead CBS Sports Network, the company’s fast-growing cable sports channel. Since joining CBS Sports, Berson has significantly grown CBS Sports Network across all fronts leading to record business results. Under his leadership, the Network has increased its distribution by more than 30 percent and has fully integrated with CBS Sports and its assets, including CBSSports.com, CBS Sports Radio and SHOWTIME Sports.
David Blumenfeld currently serves as Principal of the Blumenfeld Development Group and has been the driving force behind many of the company’s high profile projects, including the acquisition and development of East River Plaza in Manhattan and The Arches at Deer Park. East River Plaza, home to the only Costco and Target in Manhattan, is an innovative vertical urban power center that is often cited as being the spark that ignited the revitalization of Upper Manhattan.
In addition to this role, David also serves as President of BDG Construction Corp.
He has two sons who recently graduated University of Michigan and his youngest is currently attending as a first-year student.
Carrie Brzezinski-Hsu (LSA ‘00) is Vice President of Marketing Solutions at ESPN. She leads CreativeWorks, ESPN’s in-house creative and strategic agency, which ideates and pitches creative campaigns and content integrations to top-level marketers such as Amazon, Apple, Beats by Dre, GM, Ford, Nissan, Bud Light, Dominos, AT&T, Sony, Universal Studios, and Disney. She oversees brand integrations for the network’s flagship SportsCenter and all the programming on ESPN2, including Mike & Mike, First Take, SportsNation and His and Hers, as well as oversees ESPN the Party, the annual Super Bowl event. Prior to ESPN, Brzezinski-Hsu spent her career in media at DoubleClick, USA TODAY, Hachette Filipacchi Media, Blender, and MAXIM, creating advertising programs. A rabid Wolverine fan and alum, her career highlight is when she gets to return to Ann Arbor with ESPN’s College GameDay. As a fan herself, Brzezinski-Hsu spends every waking hour finding better ways to connect with other fans on behalf of some of the biggest marketers in the business.
Michael Cantor, PhD '14, works for Sterling Project Development in New York City, focusing on real estate development. Cantor has consulted for a number of professional sport franchises, municipalities, and universities with regards to sports facilities, economic and real estate development. Select clients have included: the New York Mets, Detroit Red Wings, Green Bay Packers, The University of Nevada - Las Vegas, the City of Hamilton (ON), and the City of Edmonton (AB). Cantor holds his Ph.D. in Kinesiology, Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.), and B.A. from the University of Michigan, concentrating on the convergence of sports, real estate, urban planning, and economic development.
Jon Diament is the executive vice president for Turner Sports Ad Sales. In this capacity, he provides leadership and strategy for all aspects of the division including ad sales, sponsorships and promotional efforts for Turner Sports’ featured properties, which includes the NCAA, MLB, NBA, PGA, and Bleacher Report. Diament also oversees strategic custom brand integrations that expand beyond the Turner Sports brands to powerful sister Turner brands and parent company Time Warner divisions.
Diament has been instrumental in growing the Turner Sports business year-over-year by building new advertiser and category relationships, while enhancing existing client plans through fully-integrated partnerships. The team has achieved significant growth across the NBA brands, notably introducing dozens of new advertisers to NBA TV. During the first few years of the partnership with the NCAA and CBS, the sales team experienced unprecedented revenue growth for both the linear and digital properties supporting NCAA March Madness.
Diament graduated from Syracuse University in 1986 with a bachelor of science degree in communications.
Paul Dolan is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland Indians. He was born and raised in Chardon, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. He graduated from St. Lawrence University and earned his law degree from Notre Dame Law School in 1983. After law school, Dolan worked for the firm of Thrasher, Dinsmore, and Dolan, where he became a partner in 1992. His father purchased the Cleveland Indians in 2000 and Dolan was hired as Vice President and General Counsel. In 2004, he was promoted to president and took his current position in 2011.
Steve Dubin is currently a sports agent and attorney agent at Los Angeles-based Yee & Dubin Sports LLC. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1985 and his law degree from Loyola University in Chicago in 1992. Following law school, he practiced law for five years in Los Angeles. In 1997, he joined Donald Yee, an established sports lawyer and agent, in forming Yee & Dubin Sports. The company focuses on football, and includes players, coaches and broadcasters. They handle the players’ playing contracts, endorsements, marketing, public relations and legal matters. Among their clients are NFL players Tom Brady (New England Patriots), Julian Edelman (New England Patriots) and Sean Payton (Head Coach, New Orleans Saints).
Steve’s wife, Brenda Ellerin, also graduated from Michigan, and their two sons (Matthew and Justin) currently attend U-M
Mark Fischer is CEO of Eastbridge Sports Management, a Shanghai-based and China-focused provider of sports management and marketing solutions to brands, sports properties, and relevant entities.
Prior to launching Eastbridge Sports Management, Fischer was President and CMO at OCEANS Sports & Entertainment Inc., a premier sports marketing agency that provides a full range of marketing, event organization, sponsorship consulting, and digital and broadcast media services to leading properties and consumer brands throughout the Greater China market.
Fischer also previously worked in various senior executive roles for the National Basketball Association (NBA) in Asia for 12 years, including as Managing Director of NBA China from 2003-2008 when he led that market’s explosive growth from startup to valuation of $2.3 billion. Later as EVP & MD of Asia for the Ultimate Fighting Championship from 2010-2014, he established the UFC’s operations in the Far East and drove roughly 10-fold increases in both audience and revenues. A fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese, Fischer holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Michigan.
Tom Garfinkel began his career working for Miller Brewing Company in regional sales and marketing in the southeast. His career then took him to New York City to work for Texaco in corporate branding and sponsorships. After spending two years earning his MBA at the University of Michigan, Garfinkel took a job with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams in 2001, running business operations and revenue generation. He then made a switch to baseball in 2006 to the Arizona Diamondbacks as Chief Operating Officer. Nearly three years later, he was named president of the San Diego Padres. In 2013, Garfinkel became president and CEO of the Miami Dolphins; in 2018, he became vice chairman.
John is a founding partner of Brand Velocity Partners, a disruptive lower-middle market private equity fund that focuses on consumer and information services companies with $2-10 million of EBITDA. BVP is differentiated because of its focus on marketing, something its competitors lack. John takes great pride in BVP’s core values -- integrity, thoughtfulness and kindness.
Goldman also serves as President of JRG Business Solutions Corp., a boutique advisory firm and is a former senior partner at Herrick, Feinstein LLP serving as co-chair of the firm’s Sports Law Group.
With over 20 years of experience on both the brand side and the property side, Daniel Griffis has built a career by thinking differently. Named one of the most Innovative People in Experiential Marketing in 2015, Daniel is a creative problem-solver and believes in creating the remarkable. As a former Officer and Vice President of Marketing at Target Corporation, Daniel managed a portfolio of Sports, Entertainment, Fashion and Corporate Social Responsibility for the $76B company. Previous to Target, Dan spent 10 years running all marketing and sales for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc., worked in the finance practice at KPMG consulting and earned a MBA with distinction from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business.
Howard is a transformational business leader with vision and a track record of success across a range of consumer-driven industries including media, sports and entertainment, mobile, tech, subscription services and consumer products.
He is currently President of 313 Presents, a joint venture between Olympia Entertainment and Pistons Sports & Entertainment (PS&E) which is committed to providing the very best in diverse, world-class, live entertainment experiences for passionate fans, and venues of all sizes, in southeastern Michigan and beyond. Handler, oversees the booking, production, marketing and business opportunities at Little Caesars Arena, Comerica Park, the Fox Theatre, DTE Energy Music Theatre, Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on the campus of Oakland University and Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill.
Handler served as President of h2 Advisors, a full service consulting firm that completed the launch plan for the XFL, a new football league scheduled to kick off in 2020, partnering with its founder to create a 5-year financial modeling and full go-to-market plan.
Howard has ignited and grown the businesses and brands of some of the most noted companies in the world: Major League Soccer, Madison Square Garden, Virgin Mobile, The National Football League, MTV, Saturday Night Live, and Quaker Oats. Operating at the intersection of media, technology and popular culture, Howard has consistently delivered results.
A Detroit native, Howard holds a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA from the University of Michigan.
Wally Hayward, a veteran of more than 25+ years in the sports marketing industry, launched W Partners as a joint-venture with the Ricketts Family in February of 2013. W Partners is a sales and marketing company focused on sports, entertainment, and culinary properties. W Partners was responsible for securing over $400M+ in Legacy Partnership revenue for the Chicago Cubs and Hickory Street Capital (Ricketts retail entertainment and hotel development adjacent to Wrigley Filed. W Partners has also closed Winning Partnerships with The PrivateBank Theatre naming rights with the Nederlander Organization, Navy Pier-wide exclusive partnership with MillerCoors, the James Beard Foundation Awards & Culinary Events, and other high-profiled negotiations. Prior to starting W Partners, Hayward was the EVP/Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of the Chicago Cubs, and the first Associate hired when the Ricketts family took ownership over the Club.
Hayward was responsible for corporate partnerships, marketing, ticket sales, broadcast/media relations, licensing, fan experiences, and creative services. He helped create the Allstate Wrigleyville Classic game and sign a 5-year exclusive agreement with NU Football and NU Athletics for future games at Wrigley Field. Hayward was inducted into SportsBusiness Journal’s Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame in 2008. Hayward is a 1990 graduate of Northwestern University. He has served as a board member for the Chicago Sports Commission, World Sport Chicago, The 100 Club, and the Northwestern Gridiron Network.
He and his wife, Jenny, have two daughters: Riley and Hope.
Devin Johnson is the president and chief operating officer of UNINTERRUPTED, a premier digital media company founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter. Johnson oversees the platform’s daily operations and strategic direction. With UNINTERRUPTED, he has successfully released original content, including the documentary The Carter Effect; the short-form series The Shop with LeBron James, Draymond Green, and 2 Chainz; and The Machine, coming soon on Verizon’s go90.
Previously, Johnson spent time at Tribune in Chicago as the SVP of digital, leading all digital efforts. He served in a multitude of digital executive roles at NBCUniversal, where he was instrumental in developing the company’s global digital innovation efforts. Johnson was also the chief operating officer at Studio One Networks.
A Chicago native, Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. In addition, Johnson is on the board of USA Taekwondo, the national governing body recognized by the US Olympic Committee.
Kate Johnson is working to build Google's Global Partnerships, Content and Sports Media team from the group up. Kate has proven herself as a leader in the corporate partnership space, previously serving as global head of sponsorships at Visa, and looks to build value for brands in authentic and meaningful ways.
Kate Johnson led the University of Michigan to its first Big Ten rowing titles in 2000 and 2001, and won a silver medal in the women’s eight at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. She then followed a job with IMG consulting that took her from New York to Toronto for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and then to London to work on the 2012 Summer Olympics, for brands including British Airways, Cadbury and GE. She started at Visa in 2013 as senior director/head of Olympics and became global head of sponsorships in October 2015. She was named to SportsBusiness Journal’s Forty Under 40 in 2017.
A 25-year sports and entertainment veteran, Matt Kauffman is Vice President of Consulting for The Montag Group, a leading talent management, consulting, and media strategy company. In his previous role with Intel Corporation, Kauffman drove the transformation of the consumer experience through the use of cutting edge technology with the NFL, NBA, MLB, ESPN X Games, Red Bull, Intel Extreme Masters eSports, and the Grammy Awards. Intel’s technology integrations and award-winning marketing vaulted the company to Ad Age’s “Marketer A-List.”
Prior to Intel, Kauffman was responsible for Visa’s brand sponsorship portfolio. Visa’s innovative sponsorship marketing is renowned for building the Visa brand and business, and Visa was recognized by the Sports Business Journal as the 2010 “Sports Sponsor of the Year”. Its partnerships include the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, NFL, NFL teams, MLB teams, NBA teams, NASCAR, Pixar, Disney, Marvel Entertainment, and others. Kauffman also worked for 10 years at General Motors EventWorks, where he served as Vice President of Sports and Entertainment Marketing.
Kauffman was recognized as one of the “Forty Under 40” most influential sports executives by the Sports Business Journal. He has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Michigan.
Stephen Master is the chief revenue officer at SimpleBet. He spent the last 10 years as the Global Head of Sports for Nielsen. Prior to Nielsen, Master was VP of business development for the NFL. Prior to that, he was VP of marketing solutions at Octagon, and prior to that, was VP of international business development at the NBA. In addition to his work with SimpleBet, Master is currently an adjunct professor at the NYU Stern Business School and has been a guest lecturer on the business of sports at the Wharton School of Business, Northwestern University, and the University of Michigan.
Michael B. Melnitzky is a Vice President of Allen & Company, a private investment bank based in New York City. Since joining the firm in 2009, he has worked on a variety of investment banking assignments with an extensive focus on advising sellers and buyers of professional sports franchises. In addition, he has significant experience in advising sports teams, leagues and conferences on media rights agreements including negotiations over rights fees and ownership interests in television networks. Prior to working at Allen & Company, Melnitzky worked for Credit Suisse in its investment banking division, focusing on media & telecommunications. Melnitzky graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Sandy Montag, a 30-year industry veteran, is President and CEO of The Montag Group. The Montag Group is a talent management, consulting, content development, and media strategy company focused in the world of sports, entertainment, and lifestyle.
Montag represents a wide variety of clients in various fields including broadcasting, coaching, culinary, and team sports. Included among them are John Madden, Bob Costas, Mary Carillo, James Brown, Jim Nantz, Erin Andrews, Mike Tirico, Ming Tsai, Jay Bilas, Scott Van Pelt, Jeremy Schaap, and Tom Coughlin.
Montag spent 30 years at IMG, joining the company in 1985. He started as an assistant to John Madden, traveling the country with Madden by train and on the first “Madden Cruiser.” He went on to run IMG’s Clients operations for ten years.
Montag developed and launched Ari Fleischer Sports Communications with Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to President George W. Bush after Fleischer left with White House in 2003.
Montag is active in several charities, serving on the advisory boards for Madden Charities, Tom Coughlin’s “Jay Fund Foundation”, Team LeGrand, and the Alan T. Brown Foundation. He also sits on the Sports Management Advisory Boards at Syracuse University, the University of Michigan, and NYU as well as the Advisory Board for the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
The Montag Group is based in White Plains, New York and New York City.
Since graduating from the University of Michigan in 1995, Jonathan Paley has spent his entire career in advertising. Prior to creating The Vault NYC, Jon worked at some of the most prestigious companies in advertising including Ogilvy & Mather and Cliff Freeman & Partners. There he worked on many high profile accounts such as American Express, Little Caesars, and Coke. In addition, Mr. Paley was a graduate of Saatchi & Saatchi’s acclaimed management training program. Before founding The Vault, Jon was a Partner at Curious Holdings. The Vault services many blue chip sports clients such as ESPN, the NFL, Academy Sports + Outdoors, CBS Sports, Under Armour, and Foot Locker. Jonathan has won almost every advertising award in the industry and was honored with an early career achievement award from the University of Michigan’s School of Kinesiology.
A 20-year veteran of the sports and entertainment industry, Parker currently serves as the Managing Director of the New Directions Group, LLC.
He has held executive positions at both the team and agency level including stints with Pegula Sports and Entertainment, Premier Partnerships, the Nashville Predators, Detroit Pistons and the San Jose Sharks. A proven leader with a track record of success, Parker has distinguished himself as a growth and transition manager. Recently, Parker has focused his efforts on the areas of naming rights, business development, sales representation and corporate consulting. Throughout his career, Parker has successfully sold, serviced and activated close $500 million worth of sports related revenue across teams and properties in almost every major sport / league in America. His resume also includes the sale of several major facility and property naming rights including New Era Field, Bridgestone Arena, HP Pavilion (now SAP Center) and the Ford Ice Center.
In 2007, he received the Early Career Achievement Award from the School of Kinesiology. His sports career began in 1994 as an intern with the International Hockey League in suburban Detroit. Parker is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Sports Management and Communications.
Estee Portnoy manages the day-to-day business & marketing activities of Michael Jordan. In this capacity, she has worked extensively with Jordan and his key financial, legal, and business advisors for over 15 years to manage and grow Jordan’s brand. Portnoy oversees Jordan’s business endeavors with companies such as Nike, Gatorade, Upper Deck, Warner Brothers, Hanes, Sara Lee, Bijan, and others to manage strategy, promotions, licensing, media, and advertising campaigns. She is Senior Vice President at Jump.DC, a division of LiveNation, and serves on the Executive Committee of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. An honors graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Marketing, Portnoy also received an M.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Maryland.
Matt leads ROSSETTI’s framework for innovative thinking and developed the firm’s strategic design approach, called Return on Design™. This approach addresses client project investment by translating market data into design. He has grown the 50-year-old firm into an internationally-recognized architecture and planning firm with a portfolio of award-winning projects spanning sports + entertainment, hospitality, commercial and retail.
Matt was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows for his work in the convergence of real estate with sports developments. He received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture degrees from the University of Michigan. Notable projects include The Miami Open; The Inverted Bowl; USTA National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open; the Green Bay Packers’ ‘Titletown District’ sports anchored development; Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions; and the LA Lakers Training Facility.
In January of 2018 Bobby stepped back into professional athletics accepting a role as Assistant Field Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In that capacity he is responsible for the efficient execution of organizational standards and the professional development of minor league coaches and players throughout the Pirate minor league system. Additionally, Bobby is responsible for the coordination of outfield play and base running tactics throughout the Pirate minor league system. In 2017, Scales founded the Scales Sports Group, LLC. The Scales Sports Group is a sports consultancy specializing in the consultation of individuals, organizations and facilities on all matters related but not limited to operations, business development, culture and leadership development. After a 14 year playing career that saw him log time in the Major Leagues with Chicago Cubs and with two clubs in Japan, Scales stepped directly in an executive role in baseball operations for the Los Angeles Angels. From 2012-2015 he was the Director of Player Development where he developed and implemented organizational philosophy, managed relationships between Angels Baseball and seven minor league affiliates throughout North America and the Caribbean, directed staffing within the player development department and led minor league player acquisitions. During his tenure Bobby was also key in identifying, acquiring and re-developing a new facility in the Dominican Republic for the Angels Latin American Academy. On the field, Bobby oversaw the development of 15 homegrown players that made their debut in an Angles uniform and four others that did so after trades to other organizations. In 2015 Scales was promoted to Special Assistant to the General Manager where he evaluated professional and amateur players both internationally and domestically. In addition to talent identification he served as an advisor to the GM and executive leadership on player acquisitions. Bobby also has experience as a speaker at numerous events where leadership development, talent acquisition, onboarding and culture development are topics.
Mark Silverman is the President of National Networks at FOX Sports and oversees all programming, production, marketing, and digital for FOX, FOX Sports 1, and FOX Sports 2 live events and studio shows. Previously, Silverman served as the Big Ten Network’s first president, where he set the strategic direction and manages all aspects of BTN, a joint venture between FOX Sports and the Big Ten Conference. BTN is the first successful collegiate television network to be partially owned by a conference. Silverman guided the network to profitability within two years of launch, established and grew the BTN brand and led the network to achieve its distribution goals.
Renowned architect and urban planner Janet Marie Smith was named as the Dodgers' Senior Vice President of Planning and Development in 2012, where she oversees upgrades and enhancements to Dodger Stadium. Smith is probably best known in the baseball world for her work on the influential Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Smith worked for the Orioles from 1989-94 as vice president of planning and development during the design and construction of the park. Prior to joining the Dodgers, Smith had a second tour with the Orioles as vice president of planning and development from September 2009-August 2012. In that role, Smith directed renovations and expansion of the Orioles' new spring training facility in Sarasota, FL, as well as upgrades and enhancements to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to celebrate the park's 20th anniversary.
Ira Stahlberger began working at IMG Worldwide in 2009 and acts as an agent/brand steward for top clients helping them build their personal brands. Before joining IMG, Stahlberger’s career included positions at Leo Burnett, Coca-Cola, and Intersport, where he led their business development efforts. With WME/IMG, Stahlberger has worked with a plethora of clients including: Wayne Gretzky, Terry Bradshaw, Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, Scott Van Pelt, Terry Bradshaw and many others. For each client, he handles endorsements, licensing, appearances, and events.
Jeffrey Wilpon serves as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the New York Mets, where he oversees the day-to-day baseball and business operation. He is Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Mets Development Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the New York Mets, which was responsible for the planning, design development and construction of Citi Field. Wilpon also serves as the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he worked in partnership with the City of New York to oversee the planning, design and construction of KeySpan Park, the Cyclones' ballpark. He serves on the Boards of many non-profit organizations and institutions including: NY Hall of Science; NYC Police Foundation; NYC & Co.; Greenwich Country Day School; and the Association of a Better NY. A former catcher, he was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1983 and played the season with Jamestown (A) of the NY-Penn League.