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.
Sport Management Advisory Board Members
As commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), Jessica Berman oversees all operations of the league with a focus on supporting players on and off the pitch, working with NWSL clubs to continue to build on the positive momentum of the league’s growing audience, and collaborating with NWSL partners to create the most engaging and entertaining fan experience. She formerly served as deputy commissioner and executive vice president of business affairs at the National Lacrosse League (NLL), and was the first woman to hold this title 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. 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 was named President, CBS Sports, in June 2013. He joined CBS Sports in January 2011 as Executive Vice President, CBS Sports, and President, CBS Sports Network, after 16 years at ESPN, where he started as an intern during college.
Berson oversees all aspects of CBS Sports across broadcast, cable, digital and streaming, and manages the relationships with CBS Sports’ partners, including the NFL, the Masters, PGA TOUR, PGA of America, UEFA, NCAA, Southeastern Conference and Big Ten Conference.
During Berson’s tenure at CBS Sports he has been an integral part of all the company’s rights acquisition negotiations, with the division successfully signing rights agreements with many marquee partners, including:
- Four rights agreements with the NFL, extending CBS’ longstanding relationship with the league through the 2033 season;
- Numerous long-term golf deals for CBS, including two separate nine-year PGA TOUR rights agreements (2013-2021 and 2022-2030), plus an historic 11-year deal with the PGA of America for CBS's carriage of the PGA Championship through 2030;
- Acquisition of more than 10 new soccer properties, highlighted in 2020 by making CBS Sports the home of the UEFA Champions League, the most prestigious club soccer tournament in the world;
- Secured multimedia rights for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (March Madness) through 2032; among many others.
He has also overseen numerous high-profile on-air talent acquisitions, including Tony Romo, Nate Burleson and Kate Abdo, and extended the deals of many longtime CBS Sports voices including Jim Nantz, Ian Eagle, James Brown and Bill Cowher.
Berson is an eight-time Emmy Award-winner, and a graduate of the University of Michigan.
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 is Vice President and Head of ESPN Creative Studio, responsible for creating the design, animation, music, highlights and commercials that surround all ESPN programming. Brzezinski-Hsu is also Vice President of Disney CreativeWorks, the in-house ad agency for the Disney media portfolio that includes ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, Freeform, FX, Hulu, and National Geographic. Carrie has spent her career in the media industry pioneering breakthrough marketing programs. At ESPN, she developed sports campaigns and content platforms to integrate advertisers with the ESPN brand. She most recently united the creative teams of ESPN to establish the first-ever 450-person Creative Studio. Brzezinski-Hsu has been recognized on the Adweek Creative100 list and as a Sports Business Journal Game Changer. In 2021, she received both a Sports Emmy and Cannes Lion for her team’s work on the fan-favorite State Farm campaign in The Last Dance. Carrie holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where she majored in Organizational Studies with a focus in advertising and marketing.
Michael Cantor, PhD '14 is Director 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 Chief Revenue Officer for Turner Sports Ad Sales. Previously, as Executive Vice President at Turner, he provided 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 Guardians. He was born and raised in Chardon, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. A graduate of St. Lawrence University, Dolan earned his law degree from Notre Dame Law School in 1983. After law school, Dolan worked for the firm Thrasher, Dinsmore, and Dolan, where he became a partner in 1992. His father purchased the Cleveland Guardians 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.
As President of Global Partnerships for Oak View Group, Dan Griffis currently leads all revenue across the company, including OVG’s arena development projects. Dan, a former senior marketing executive at Target Corporation, was one of the original founders of Oak View Group in October 2015 with Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff. In the last 12 months alone, OVG Global Partnerships has sold over $1.5B in COI, including unprecedented naming rights to five venues - Climate Pledge (Amazon) Arena, UBS Arena, CoOP Live, Subaru Park, and Moody Center. In addition to naming rights, OVG GP has successfully sold NBA jersey patches, League partnerships, NCAA partnerships, founding, presenting and arena-level team sponsorships, museum partnerships, hotel partnerships, etc. Before OVG, Dan was the “Curator of Culture” for the Target brand across fashion, sports, entertainment, CSR, grocery, and home, spent a decade as the head of marketing and sales for Chip Ganassi Racing teams, and started his career at KPMG as a management consultant. Dan earned a degree with honors in history and economics from The College of Wooster and an MBA with distinction from the University of Michigan. Dan is also proud to serve on the Sport Management Advisory Board (SMAB) at the University of Michigan as well as on the Board of Directors at Grambling State University. Dan currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife (Janna) and three children (Riley, Holden, and Eliza).
Hayes Grooms IV is the Head of Athlete Marketing at Dapper Labs and oversees athlete, talent, and influencer marketing and athlete partnerships and relations across all of Dapper Labs’ sports portfolio (NBA/WNBA Top Shot, NFL ALL Day, La Liga, UFC) and on the Flow blockchain. Leveraging his experiences in deal making and storytelling, he has championed the partnerships between the world’s best athletes and Dapper Labs from NIL athletes to world-renowned stars like Kevin Durant, Patrick Mahomes, Lisa Leslie, Magic Johnson, and more. Prior to Dapper Labs, he held senior roles at MasterClass, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equity (RISE), and French West Vaughan (FWV). He also started his own athlete management company Grooms Athletic Management and Entertainment (G.A.M.E.) that was later acquired by FWV.
Additionally, Grooms devotes tremendous efforts toward philanthropic endeavors. He serves as a mentor with Buzzer’s Strive Mentorship Program which aims to foster meaningful connections between Black students enrolled in HBCUs and experienced industry professionals.
He is a former University of Michigan athlete and holds a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and Communications there.
Howard Handler is President of 313 Presents, Detroit’s premiere live event company. Inspired by the soul of Detroit, 313 Presents produces and promotes more than 350 concerts, theatrical productions, sporting events and family shows a year at six world-class venues across southeastern Michigan, including Little Caesars Arena, the Fox Theatre, Comerica Park and Pine Knob Music Theatre. Consistently ranked in Pollstar’s top 10 for year-end attendance, including Pine Knob as #1 Amphitheatre in the World in 2019, 313 Presents is a partner of choice for marquee artists, tours and productions.
Since earning his bachelor’s degree and Master's of Business Administration from the University of Michigan, Howard has established himself as an entertainment and sports industry innovator with a track record of success across a range of world-class companies and institutions including Major League Soccer, Madison Square Garden, Virgin Mobile, The National Football League, MTV, and Saturday Night Live.
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 of The SpringHill Company, the athlete and artist empowerment company founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter. Devin has P&L responsibility for all business lines including the studio, brand partnerships, ecommerce, and experiences. His prior roles were leading the launch and growth of UNINTERRUPTED which remains a major brand within The SpringHill Company portfolio of brands. Devin also plays a vital role in original content development as an executive producer for The Shop, More Than an Athlete, Elite Youth, and many other UNINTERRUPTED original productions that reside on networks such as HBO, Fox, Netflix, and ESPN Networks. Previously, Devin was the SVP of digital media for Tribune Media ($1B revenue) where he led all digital efforts helping transform a legacy media business into a leading digital player, and prior to that, Devin held several digital executive roles at NBCUniversal where he was instrumental in developing the global company’s digital innovation efforts. Devin began his career working in finance working for media and consumer product companies. A Chicago native, Devin 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, Devin is the former board chair of USA Taekwondo, the national governing body recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee, and serves on the boards of University of Michigan Sport Management and the Boys and Girls Club of Metro LA.
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 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 40 Under 40 in 2017.
A 25-year sports and entertainment veteran, Matt Kauffman is Vice President of Consulting for The Montag Group (a Wasserman Company), 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 co-founder of Amaze Media Labs. Formerly he was 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.
Eryn McVerry joined the Chicago Blackhawks in a new role as EVP Brand, bringing a mix of agency, brand and team experience. She spearheads all efforts to bring the Blackhawks brand to life, ensuring the team and organization are connecting culturally both in Chicago and throughout the globe through media, sports and community initiatives.
Prior to joining the Blackhawks, Eryn was with the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning, where her leadership contributed to the Lightning's marketing efforts being honored as Team of the Year by the 2021 Clio Sports Awards. Before working in professional team sports, Eryn spent her time in advertising at TBWA\Chiat\Day, mcgrarrybowen, Ogilvy and Momentum—leading the creation of campaigns for iconic brands in and around the world of sport, including NASCAR, Budweiser, Gillette, Sport Check, the U.S. Army and more.
Eryn received her bachelor's degree from the University the Michigan and her master's in advertising from Michigan State University. However, her loyalty lies with the Maize and Blue.
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, serves as President of The Montag Group. TMG was acquired by Wasserman Media Group in 2021.
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, Julie Foudy, Mike Tirico, Ming Tsai, Scott Van Pelt, Jeremy Schaap, and Tom Coughlin.
Montag has been an Executive Producer on numerous documentaries, including Amazon Prime’s “All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines,” Showtime’s “Perfect in ’76,” HBO Max’s “Extra Innings from 9/11: 20 Years Later” and ESPN’s “The Class That Saved Coach K,” which aired with the launch of the ACC Network in August 2019.
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 the 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, the Alan T. Brown Foundation and March of Dimes. 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. Syracuse University honored Montag with Newhouse’s 2019 Marty Glickman Award for leadership in sports media.
The Montag Group is based in Manhattan and White Plains, New York.
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 Sport Management and Communications.
Estee Portnoy is a senior executive in the Michael Jordan Family Office and is the primary point of contact for the day-to-day marketing, media relations and philanthropic activities for the NBA Hall of Famer. In her more than 25 years with Jordan, she has helped to manage and grow Jordan’s brand, working with companies including Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, and Warner Bros. In 1997, Portnoy was part of the team that advised Jordan on the launch of Nike’s Jordan Brand, and today is a member of the Jordan Brand Advisory Board. Portnoy is an executive producer of 2020’s Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Documentary, The Last Dance, a 10-episode docuseries chronicling the Chicago Bulls and Jordan’s rise during the 1980s-90s. She also serves as a member of the Office of the Chairman of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, of which Jordan is an owner. Portnoy is a 1989 graduate of the University of Michigan, and received her MBA from the University of Maryland in 1996. She serves on Hillel International’s Board of Directors, is a past chair of the International Board of Directors of BBYO, and is the co-founder of KEEN USA, a sports program for children with disabilities. She and her husband, Elliott, reside in Bethesda, Maryland with their three children, Joshua, Noah and Daniela.
Anne Ristau is head of Global Sponsorships at Dell Technologies. In this role, she manages a portfolio of highly visible marketing partnerships including the PGA TOUR, the Boston Red Sox, McLaren and many more. She leads the development and structuring of new partnerships, with a focus on opportunities to showcase innovative uses of technology within the context of culture. Ristau and her team then work with global stakeholders across Dell Technologies to activate each partnership and deliver measurable business results.
Anne holds a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
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.
Following 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 into 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 Angels uniform and four others that did so after trades to other organizations. In 2016 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.
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.
From 2018-2020, Bobby served as the Minor League Field Coordinator. In that capacity he was responsible for the efficient execution of organizational standards and the professional development of minor league coaches and players as they matriculate through the Pittsburgh Pirate minor league system. In 2021, Scales switched roles and became the Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives for Player Development. In this role he was responsible for creating progressive path forward for the Pirates as a thought leader in baseball development. Furthering coaching and player development praxis by cultivating relationships with other sporting organizations and conventional business entities. He created content driving leadership and professional development opportunities for Pirate Player Development staff members. Currently Bobby has placed a renewed focus on the work with The Scales Sports Group with a renewed focus on the professional development of coaching staffs in all sport cultures. Bobby has conducted sessions and spoken numerous times on leadership development, talent acquisition, onboarding and culture development worldwide.
Aaron Seabron is currently the Vice President and General Manager of US & Specialist Sports at adidas. In this role, he is responsible for the Football, Baseball/Softball, Hockey, Volleyball, Swimming, Tennis, and Cycling categories. He directly oversees product marketing, merchandising, design, and brand communications and works in close partnership with sports marketing and product operations. He is a member of the North America Senior Leadership Team and the 401K and Deferred Compensation Committee. Prior to his current role, Aaron was Senior Director of the Global Baseball and Softball Business unit. Aaron joined adidas in 2016 as Director of North America Wholesale Strategy. Before adidas, Aaron worked at General Mills in Minneapolis, MN across various brand marketing roles of increasing responsibility including Totino’s, Fiber One, Walmart, and Betty Crocker.
Aaron earned an MBA from The Samuel Curtis Johnson School of Management at Cornell University in 2012. During his graduate studies he was a Roy H. Park Leadership Fellow, Chairman of the Johnson Student Council, and Student Liaison to the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. Prior to business school, Aaron lived in New York City and held positions in non-profit and Investment Banking at Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) and Lehman Brothers. At MLT, he was responsible for the activation and renewal of corporate partnerships across four industry sectors. During his tenure at Lehman Brothers, he led the execution teams for global communications, media, and technology debt financing transactions valued at $19.9 billion.
A native of Metro Detroit, Aaron studied Sports Management and Communications at the University of Michigan and graduated with distinction in 2006. He serves on the Michigan Sport Consulting Group Advisory Board, the U-M Sport Management Advisory Board, and on the Board of Directors for Sport Oregon. Aaron’s personal interests include fitness and nutrition, fantasy sports, and he is a voracious reader. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Ashley, son Lucas, and dog Nilla.
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 is now partner. Before, he acted as 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.
With over thirty-five years of experience actively overseeing major construction projects, Jeff Wilpon serves as Chairman and CEO of Alta Vista Partners, a Real Estate Investment and Operating Platform, and Founding Co-Partner of Sterling Project Development. Mr. Wilpon’s relevant endeavors include the planning, design, and construction of projects such as 383 Madison Ave, Citi Field, MLB headquarters and NHL headquarters in New York City, a 45-acre, master-planned development at Titletown in Green Bay, Radio City Music Hall, and facilities for the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, FL, Syracuse NY, the Dominican Republic, Kingsport, TN.
In addition, Mr. Wilpon is a Partner of the UBS Arena at Belmont Park. He served as Chief Operating Officer of the New York Mets and the Brooklyn Cyclones for over eighteen years. His development responsibilities in Brooklyn included working in partnership with the City of New York to oversee the planning, design, and construction of MCU Park.
Mr. Wilpon currently sits on the Executive Committee of Association for a Better New York (ABNY), the 92nd Street Y Board, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum Board of Trustees, the Harlem Village Academies Board, the Michigan Medicine Advisory Board, the Michigan Sports Business Conference Board (MSBC), and the Titletown Tech Board of Advisors.