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Sport & Entertainment Management Program Hosts Nationally Recognized Speakers at its Annual Lecture Series

By Keith Morelli

Lecture Series

TAMPA (September 15, 2017) -- Three heavy hitters in the business of sports are the guest speakers at the Muma College of Business Sport & Entertainment Management program's annual fall lecture event. They will discuss the future of the industry from managing professional sports and venues to developing ancillary products like simulated video game systems.

"What Tomorrow Might Look Like" is the theme of the event, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at the University of South Florida's Sun Dome and features Brendan Donohue, managing director of the NBA 2K League; Jeff Wilpon, COO of the New York Mets; and Tim Leiweke, founder and CEO of Oak View Group, a mega sports and entertainment management corporation. To register for the event, click here.

"I'm really excited about this year," said Bill Sutton, director of the dual-degree Sport & Entertainment Management graduate program. "It is our fifth annual Fox Sports Florida/Tampa Bay Lightning USF Speakers Series."

This year, the panel will offer perspectives on future facility designs and renovations to meet the needs and interests of tomorrow's fans, take a look at the rapidly developing world of e-sports and some insight into how entertainment is being developed and delivered to global audiences, Sutton said.

"The financial support of Fox Sports Florida and the Tampa Bay Lightning is essential," he said. "I am unaware of a similar program anywhere that is designed to be free to the public, offering something to the residents of the region to enhance their lives without asking for anything in return."

The lecture series coincides with USF Homecoming Week on the Tampa campus. The week is filled with comedy shows, concerts, luncheons, a homecoming ball and a parade, culminating with a home football game against the University of Cincinnati.

All three guest speakers will be on stage with moderator Abe Madkour, executive editor of Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal. The setting is informal and conversational and questions will be fielded from the audience.

Here's some background on the guests:

Brendan Donohue

Brendan Donohue

Brendan Donohue is managing director of the NBA 2K League, which offers a series of basketball simulation video games. Overseeing the newly formed e-sports system that is set to launch next year, Donohue is a sports industry front-office veteran with more than two decades of experience in team and league operations. The NBA K2 League will feature 17 of the NBA's 29 teams in its inaugural season.

Donohue has been managing director since April. Prior to that, he served as senior vice president of the NBA's Team Marketing & Business Operations department, where he led the strategic planning and management for all teams across the NBA, WNBA and the NBA G League.

Before joining the NBA league office in 2009, Donohue spent five years as vice president of ticket sales and service with the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena.  Prior to that, he held positions with the then-New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans), Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports and Entertainment.

Jeff Wilpon

Jeff Wilpon

Jeff Wilpon is the chief operating officer of the New York Mets, overseeing the day-to-day baseball and business operations of the club and the Mets Foundation. He is active on a number of non-profit organizations and serves on the board of MLB Business and MLB Media.

He also is the co-managing partner at Sterling Project Development, which specializes in both new construction and the renovation of existing residential, commercial and sports properties, and was responsible for the planning, design, development and construction of Citi Field, the Mets' home stadium. He is also a founding partner at Sterling VC Funds, which is involved in the Overwatch League, an e-sports venture that features simulated games and matches between sports teams from different cities.

He is a former catcher, drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1983.

Tim Leiweke

Tim Leiweke

Tim Leiweke is the founder and CEO of the Oak View Group, a development company that recently invested in Miami Beckham United, a proposed MLS team led by global soccer icon David Beckham. With over 30 years of global sports and entertainment experience, Leiweke is a respected industry leader and has been deeply involved in the evolution of the NHL, the NBA and MLS.

Prior to assuming his role with Oak View Group, Leiweke served as president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, where he led a transformation of the Toronto Raptors into a team with a record number of wins and back-to-back division championships. It was during this time that Leiweke ranked fifth on the Sports Business Journal's 50 Most Influential list.

Before that, he was CEO of the Anschutz Entertainment group, leading the company's rise into a global live entertainment organization capable of developing, producing, marketing and managing sports and entertainment programming in its venues worldwide. He also supervised the development of O2 Arenas and stadiums in London, China and Germany.

The lecture series is free and open to the public at the Sun Dome, 12499 USF Bull Run Drive on the USF Tampa campus. To register, click here.