Six years ago, Russell Scibetti sent out a blog post. The message? Simple. A call for sports business professionals to meet and discuss the industry. The response? A bit more complex … and still growing.
“One day, I posted on the blog, ‘Hey, I’m going to be in New York tonight, who wants to meet up for drinks? I’ll be here.’ And eight people showed up,” said Scibetti. “I did it again a couple months later and we had around 30 people show up. I decided that I wanted this to be a thing.”
Six years, thousands of #SportsBiz professionals, and 50 cities spanning eight different countries, led to what we now call Sports Business Week, or as it was called this year on social, #SBWeek16.
“SB Week really grew as an extension of my blog,” said Scibetti. “I’ve been doing thebusinessofsports.com since about 2008. I thought that maybe there was a need for people who are active on the social side, digitally, to get together face-to-face.”
#SBWeek16 events kicked off worldwide during the week of September 12 and hosted over 1,800 industry professionals of all backgrounds and career paths, giving them the opportunity to meet in-person. From sales to sponsorship to public relations to marketing, all aspects of the industry were welcomed.
“The power of networking just kind of feeds itself,” said Scibetti. “I’m an avid networker. It is something that was ingrained in my head early on when I tried to get into sports. It is something I put a lot of energy into.”
This year, the outreach included a presence in the United States, Canada, Brazil, England, India, Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands. The events, run by local sports business professionals in each city, were put on with a zero dollar budget, yet Scibetti and team found a way to give back to the sports community.
SB Week partners with a charity each year that serves as the beneficiary of the five-dollar ticket proceeds. This year’s proceeds benefitted The V Foundation for Cancer Research, and, while nothing is locked in for 2017, most eyes remain on benefitting Jim Valvano's legacy.
"The V Foundation has been a great partner for #SBWeek and are extremely supportive of what we're doing,” said Josh Duboff, a Product Manager at Reuters News Agency who helped organize #SBWeek16. “Having the events connected to a foundation that is already embedded within the sports industry has obvious benefits. We're not introducing anyone to The V Foundation; everyone already knows their mission."
Looking ahead to next year, Sports Business Week hopes to build on the success of 2016 and aid sports business professionals in bringing their professional network to the next level. For Scibetti, the continued success is simply a testament to the efforts he and his team have put forth to make the event run worldwide.
“It is kind of fun,” said Scibetti. “I get excited by how enthusiastic everyone gets about it. It re-affirms that there is a need for this. It’s an industry that I am very passionate about. It is very satisfying to see how it has really taken on a life of its own.”
For more information about #SBWeek16 and to keep an eye out for #SBWeek17 details, please visit www.TheBusinessOfSports.com.
Russell Scibetti is the founder and primary author of TheBusinessOfSports.com, an industry blog dedicated to news, opinions and best practices across all aspects of sports business. His professional career has landed him in many roles throughout industry, including stops at Arizona State where he served as a Marketing Coordinator and the New York Jets where he spent over four years as the Director of Relationship and Database Marketing. He currently serves as the Vice President of Product Strategy for KORE Software. Tweet him @RScibetti.