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Pondering the Future of the Sports Industry

COM and Athletics cohost Play It Forward summit


Get the Duck boats ready.

Leaders from the Patriots, the Red Sox, the Celtics, and the Bruins, as well as journalists, sports agents, and former players, will gather on campus on Friday, April 15, for a University-wide Play It Forward sports communication summit, cohosted by the College of Communication and BU Athletics. The daylong event will bring together people from fields like law, medicine, safety, and communications to discuss the future of the sports industry.

Open to the general public (free for BU faculty and students, $75 for all others), attendees should expect to glean insights and perspectives from the day’s talks and networking opportunities, says NFL Network chief correspondent Andrea Kremer, COM’s Andrew R. Lack Fellow and a lecturer who teaches a class on the art of the interview.

“To me, the key thing about the sports industry is that you must be conversant in a bunch of different topics—communication, safety, technology, law, business,” says the Emmy award winner, who was charged with planning the summit as part of her duties as Lack Fellow. “I think that people will walk away with a tremendously entertaining and informative experience.”

“Here in the consummate sports town, it makes perfect sense for BU to introduce this summit,” says athletics director Drew Marrochello, referring to Boston’s ranking as the country’s most successful sports city. He says Friday’s summit is an opportunity for Athletics and COM to work together “to educate and enlighten our campus community and the city about the future of sports.”

At the Breakfast with Champions kickoff event, Kremer will be joined by Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, Boston Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs, New England Patriots executive director of community affairs and former player Andre Tippett, and Boston Celtics chief marketing officer Shawn Sullivan. She says the convergence of high-ranking executives from all four teams offers a rare opportunity for attendees.

“I want to ask them to list one thing from another league they wish they could integrate into their own, and I’m also curious about how competitive and cooperative they are with each other,” Kremer says. She points to this winter’s NHL Winter Classic Game, held at Gillette Stadium, and how Bruins head coach Claude Julien attended a Patriots practice. “They’re pulling for each other, but there are only so many consumer dollars. How closely do they watch and compete with one another?”

Other speakers include the codirectors of BU’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center, former professional wrestler and Harvard football player Chris Nowinski and Ann McKee, a School of Medicine professor of neurology and pathology, whose work has alerted the public to the long-term dangers of repetitive hits in football and other sports; Michael Harper, a School of Law professor of law, who teaches a seminar on law and sports; NFL agent Neil Schwartz; Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Don Van Natta (COM’86); New Balance sports research engineer Pedro Rodriques; and Olympic ice hockey medalist Angela Ruggiero.

The Play It Forward summit is Friday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Agganis Arena’s Club Room, 925 Commonwealth Ave. Registration is free for students and faculty, and $75 for alumni and the general public. Breakfast and lunch are included.

The summit is supported by gifts from Bruce Levy and Jane Levy (COM’74) and Andrew R. Lack (CFA’68).

Read the spring 2016 COMtalk cover story on how the sports industry is changing here.

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Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

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