Got an invite to this year’s NBA Technology Summit from Adam Silver (David Stern’s #2) which took place at All Star Weekend well before the “hoopla” began. This gathering is generally the only serious business that takes place at ASW and this year and Silver made sure we were in the house. What made this year’s Tech Summit special is that everyone was asked to sport jeans and work clothes so that we could all go into the streets of New Orleans for NBA “Day Of Service.” Not only was that the right thing for the NBA to do, it also made the atmosphere less stiff and gave even the corniest a little edge!! I thought Kevin Colleran’s (Facebook) mobile photos from the streets on his Facebook Profile said it all
The first of three panels was on the topic of “Which Screen Are You Watching.” Highlights of the panel included a very innovative, yet very midwestern Daniel Gilbert (owner Cleveland Cavaliers, Chairman, Quicken Loans). Jim Dolan (Chairman, MSG and President/CEO, Cablevision) played the role of naysayer and instigator but had very practical viewpoint of the web and the opportunity. Though I differed with a lot of his opinions his role was a necessary one on the panel. David Levy and John Skipper represented Turner and Sports Illustrated respectively and really had the “old media becoming new media” viewpoints that were refreshing but not mindblowing. My favorite, because he best represented my viewpoints, was Jason Hirschhorn (former President @ MTV.com, now President @ Slingbox). Sure I want Jason to send me the newest Slingbox, but he was my favorite because he represented the freshest view on a panel of very risk averse old media guys. I’m not going to bore you with loads of quotes from the panel (get an invite for next year), but the panel was promising and pessimistic at the same time. The crowd was a “who’s who” of big shots from the world of media, corporate, advertising, etc. In my area you had Bill Walton, Daniel Mullally (FedEx), Steven Horowitz (Inner Circle Sports), Keith Clinkscales (ESPN), Steve Stoute (Translation), Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors), etc.
The next panel, “The Socialization of Sports” was definitely my favorite as Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors), Mark Cuban (Owner, Dallas Mavericks), Sean Moriarty (Ticketmaster), and Bill Simmons (ESPN Blogger) lead a very spirited conversation that I believe scared the “bejezzers” out of most of the “not so connected” folk in the audience. Loved Bosh’s perspective on why he created the viral video on youtube and what motivates him about the web. Mark Cuban was well…..Mark Cuban. What else can you say about an owner who has a Twitter page, Facebook page and well trafficked blog? He made his fortune in the space and continues to play in the space. Sean Moriarty’s perspective really centered around Ticketmaster’s interest in social media via iLike, a property they have invested in and breaking new ground.
Between the cocktail party the night before where I reconnected with old colleagues, to the event I felt like New Orleans gave me everything I needed in a 24 hour span.
Thanks to: Stephanie Meiseles (NBA), Chrysa Chin (NBA), Lindsey Robinson (NBA) for the hospitality.
Staci Kramer from PaidContent (sat right in front of me) provides commentary here.