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Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program Hosts Cutting-Edge Analytics Conference in March

By Keith Morelli

Vinik Sport and Entertainment Analytics Conference

TAMPA (January 9, 2018) -- Strategies revealing how to get sport and entertainment fans into seats and engaged are the focus of the fourth annual University of South Florida's Sport & Entertainment Analytics Conference, scheduled for March 28-29 on the Tampa campus.

The conference is gaining prestige in the emerging world of analytics and creativity as it relates to sports and entertainment. Guest speakers come from around the country are on the cutting edge of data collection and analysis and devising ways to improve customer/client/fan experiences.

The conference, to be held in the USF Alumni Center, provides a platform for students and industry professionals to discuss the important role of analytics in the global sport and entertainment industries. Key thought leaders will share valuable insights that promote education, business growth and analytics innovation.

The two-day conference will take place from 1-6 p.m. on March 28 and 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. the following day. The conference is organized by the USF Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program, which is part of the Muma College of Business. Price of admission ranges from $46.46 for USF students, faculty and program alumni to $92.90 for non-USF faculty and professionals. Admission for non-USF students is $70.16. To register, click here.

"We think the 2018 conference will certainly be one that will attract an audience of front-line professionals as we continue to establish a reputation for hosting this first-rate analytics event," said Mike Mondello, conference chair and associate program director who teaches sport/business analytics and finance classes.

"This has been achieved by inviting industry leaders to serve as speakers and panelists," he said. "We are delighted to honor our first lifetime-achievement award recipient and we look forward also to recognizing our second honoree for the Innovator in Sports Analytics Award."

Last year's inaugural recipient of the award was Jessica Gelman, CEO of Kraft Analytics Group, a technology company based in Boston which does much of the data analytics work for the NFL's New England Patriots and the MLS' New England Revolution.

Mondello said that conference goers, including sports/business students, industry practitioners and faculty, will have an opportunity to learn, engage and network over eight sessions spanning the conference's two days.

"Attendees are encouraged to register early," Mondello said, "as participants at last year's conference filled the venue."

Here's a sampling of who's speaking:

Julien Brisebois

Julien Brisebois, assistant general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the past eight years. He reports directly to vice president and general manager, Steve Yzerman, and assists in all aspects of player personnel decisions, player development, analytics, contract preparation and negotiation, as well as salary arbitration for the Lightning and the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, for which he also serves as general manager. Brisebois also oversees interpretation of the NHL's collective bargaining agreement and the salary cap for the Lightning.

Russell Scibetti

Russell Scibetti, vice president of product strategy, for KORE ProSports ticketing, sponsorship, suites and premium and DWA software products. He is responsible for the strategic vision, planning and development. Prior to joining KORE, he was the director of database marketing for the NFL's New York Jets, where he managed a cross-departmental, customer-relationship initiative that connected ticketing, sales, service and marketing to the execution of multi-channel sales and retention campaigns. He also provided insights into the team's corporate and consumer business efforts. Scibetti is the founder of and primary author for, an industry blog that discusses practices in sports business and hosts industry networking events around the world.

Andy Rentmeester

Andy Rentmeester, Chief Revenue Officer for LaneOne, a recently launched joint venture between Azoff MSG Entertainment and Live Nation Entertainment created to reimagine the sales, distribution, and service layer for the premium experience category of the live event business. He was previously Sr. Vice President of Revenue Planning and Operations at the Madison Square Garden Company, focused on ticket sales optimization, premium sales strategy and marketing platforms for the New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty franchises. Prior to his time in New York, Andy focused on marketing at the Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas) Raiders of the NFL and the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers.

Matt Levine

Matt Levine, sports/business and marketing strategist and tech sports innovator. Levine is a marketing/business development executive and sought-after public speaker focused on branding/sales/digital media and cross-platform strategy; market, distribution, retail channel and consumer positioning; organization development and identifying and building new revenue streams. His expertise is in translating consumer packaged goods' best practices into sports/entertainment industry performance improvement. Levine is the managing director of Source USA, a sports, live entertainment and event branding/image elevation and audience-building program.

Karri Zaremba

Karri Zaremba, founder and COO of Venuetize, a mobile-first platform that optimizes the intersection of personalized data, marketing analytics, relevant/targeted content and interactive technologies. She brings 20 years' experience across all platforms. Her company offers managed services and fully-integrated, native-mobile solutions for entities including professional sports teams, venue owners and operators and other clients. Prior to her current position, Zaremba served in senior roles at Vubiquity and was founder and CEO of Media Gateway, a Dubai-based business that focused on global content rights aggregation and multiplatform distribution. She is responsible for five startups over the course of her career.

Karlis Kezbers

Karlis Kezbers, director of business intelligence and ticket strategy with the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder for more than nine years. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma, his alma mater. Over the course of his career with the Thunder, Kezbers oversaw season ticket retention, premium service, ticket operations and business analytics. He now supervises development and management of customer relations management and database warehouse strategy. Kezbers also has worked in accounting for the Phoenix Suns. He is a member of the National Sports Forum Steering Committee.

John Breedlove

John Breedlove, manager of insights and strategy with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since October 2012. In this role, he maintains and develops the customer relations management and marketing automation systems and assists in the planning, creation, deployment and reporting of all email marketing. He also creates, administers and analyzes all proprietary research efforts; manages digital marketing programs and is responsible for website analytics via Google Analytics and Omniture SiteCatalyst. His job also requires him to analyze syndicated data from Scarborough Research and Nielsen ratings to assist various business units and implement new technologies to help drive business results. He conducts research and data collection on game days and runs ad hoc analyses to support all business units.

Rich Luker

Rich Luker, founder of Luker on Trends, a company that supports corporate responsibility and sustainability strategies. Luker works to integrate community engagement with sensitivity toward the environment and consultation with companies on how the economy and other dynamics of change impact their marketing efforts. He also develops new social and market research models and specializes in sports research and consulting specialties.

Mike Bernstein

Mike Bernstein, vice president of Wasserman Media Group, a sports-marketing group that synthesizes data, insights and classic strategic analysis into consumer engagement approaches.  Bernstein is a skilled consultant, project manager and team leader and has served as vice president for the past three years. Prior to that, he was senior director of global consulting with Wasserman. And before taking that position, Bernstein was a consultant and project leader of the Boston Consulting Group. He also is the cofounder of Indicium Solutions, a company he built to mine and aggregate data.

Brendan Russell

Brendan Russell, business intelligence manager with Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment. His major areas of focus include data strategy, data management, predictive modeling, business analytics and customer relations management strategy. The Massachusetts native holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA in sport management from Florida Atlantic University. Prior to joining Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment and the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2015, he worked in advanced analytics for Liberty Mutual Insurance in Boston for five years.

Ali Anderson

Ali Anderson, manager of strategic projects at the Orlando Magic, joined the NBA franchise this season. She received her MBA and bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Florida. Before joining the Magic, she worked in revenue management and strategic operations for Wyndham Vacation Ownership and with the Miami Dolphins. She is responsible for mobile platform management, pricing and promotion strategies, and mobile rewards program.

Lauren Lambis

Lauren Lambis, assistant director of direct marketing with the Orlando Magic, is in her fifth season with the organization, leading direct marketing efforts for the team. She has 10 years experience in digital marketing, specializing in optimized revenue and engagement through personalized customer communications. Lambis holds a bachelor's degree in business from the USF.

Bernie Mullin

Bernie Mullin, founder and chairman of the Aspire Group, is globally recognized for innovative strategic consulting, research and ticketing services. Aspire works with partners to maximize organizational effectiveness, grow revenues and attendance by building an avid and sustainable fan/corporate partner base. Under Mullin's guidance, Aspire has grown into a company that generates over $200 million annually in revenue and has served 200-plus brands and properties across 11 countries on three continents in 17 different sports. Previously, he served as president and CEO of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks; the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena, He was the senior vice president of marketing and team business operations for the NBA and vice chancellor of athletics at the University of Denver, He also has served as senior vice president of business with the MLB's Colorado Rockies and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Shelley Pisarra

Shelley Pisarra, senior vice president of research and insights at Wasserman, develops and executes strategic frameworks that identify new growth territories for clients. She and her team are also responsible for keen measurement of execution to ensure optimal results for clients' investments. Pisarra is a veteran of the brand world with over 20-years experience building brands globally. She has a passion to find the core insight upon which to build a strategy that will unlock growth today and in the future. By assembling world class research and insights foundations across some of the biggest brands in the industry, she has brought new capability and action to the likes of Unilever, Nestle, Novartis and most recently, PepsiCo.

Erin Quigg

Erin Quigg, manager of customer relations management strategy of the Orlando Magic, is in her fifth season with the team. She began in 2013 after receiving a bachelor's degree from Baylor University, where she majored in sports sponsorship and sales. As the manager of CRM strategy, Quigg works with all sales and marketing departments to leverage the organization's CRM system to drive business results.

Jay Riola

Jay Riola, vice president of strategy with the Orlando Magic, begins his 12th season with the franchise and was promoted to vice president of strategy last August. Riola oversees the Magic's business strategy efforts including data strategy and analytics, mobile strategy, direct marketing and marketing technology, as well as other strategic initiatives and special projects. Riola began with the Magic as an intern in 2006 and worked as part of the Magic's internal team overseeing the design and construction of the Amway Center until its opening in 2010. In addition to his role with the Magic, Riola is an adjunct instructor with the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at the University of Central Florida where he teaches a sport business analytics course. Riola also serves on the boards of the National Entrepreneur Center and Sports2Change, a nonprofit he founded that encourages volunteerism among youth student-athletes.

For tickets, click here.