Syracuse Sport Business Conference kicks off inaugural events Thursday

SSBC kicks off inaugural events Thursday

The conference includes two career fairs and keynote speakers Leigh Steinberg, Brandon Steiner and Cynt Marshall.
Published: April 14, 2021
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The Syracuse Sport Business Conference (logo above) begins its inaugural, virtual event on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

In 2019, before the normalcy of hybrid and virtual conferences, events and classes, a group of Syracuse students drafted a plan for the inaugural Syracuse Sport Business Conference. Drawing on inspiration from other schools and the Mary Kline Classic Sports and Business Symposium, co-founder and President Ben Alon took the group’s 16-page plan to the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics for approval.

While approved, the initial attempt at an in-person event was shut down to allow for more planning. In 2020, the conference was delayed, as were many things, because of COVID-19.

The model was set. Fly in 12 high-level sport business professionals for an all-expenses paid weekend at the Turning Stone Resort Casino and offer them a chance to give back to the students so eager to learn from their careers. Aside from selling the original model, the SSBC hasn’t had to persuade its panelists.

“The people that we have on the conference have a shared vision of not only giving back to students, but understanding that the conference has the objective to create an intimate setting where students can learn the business of sports in an educational environment that supports career growth,” Alon said. “They want to give back to students.”

The conference runs from Thursday, April 15 to Friday, April 16. Speakers include, but are not limited to, Noah Eagle, Taylor Rooks, Cynt Marshall, Brandon Steiner, Andre Cisco and Leigh Steinberg.

In addition to back-to-back days of panelists, there will be two career fairs where students can interact with media and business professionals virtually.

Despite having some elements available virtually last year, the SSBC and Alon consider this to be their first official conference.

“This is actually going to be the inaugural Syracuse Sports Business Conference this Thursday and Friday, which is really exciting,” Alon said. “It’s been two-and-a-half years in the making.”

Alon, a Whitman senior studying finance and marketing, said that because of the uncertainty revolving around COVID-19, there is no official plan for an in-person conference in 2022, but he highlighted the advantages of a hybrid model moving forward.

“There’s pros and cons to both,” Alon said. “When we were having the in-person event, we were putting them up in a five-star resort and casino for the entire weekend. On top of that, they were going to come and network with amazing people, all expenses paid for. Now, the benefits are (that) you’re able to go on with your daily life and still network at a great event.”

Connor Silva, one of the team’s marketing coordinators and a Public Relations and Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises sophomore, joined the team last year but wanted an expanded role in 2021. He worked with the social media and sponsorship teams before finding his niche in marketing. After a year of involvement, he said he’s ready for the SSBC to kick off.

“I feel like this year, we’ve really been able to see our hard work pay off,” Silva said. “It’s really come together over this year. We’ve made leaps and bounds. I’m just excited to sit back during the conference and listen to these great panels.”

As the team’s leaders and one of the brains behind the initial plan nearly three years ago, Alon is eager to finally realize his plan before he graduates. While there is no successor lined up, elections will be held among those in and outside the organization to determine the future of the SSBC. Despite leading the way since its inception, Alon credits the team as the conference approaches.

“We would not be here today if it wasn’t for our team,” Alon said. “They’ve put in a ton of hours and selflessly worked so hard to share in this vision with us. I really have to give all the credit to them.”

Interested students can still sign up for Thursday’s and Friday’s events. The conference kicks off with a career fair at 1 p.m. tomorrow, followed by panels until 7:30 p.m. Festivities continue Friday with a career fair at 11:30 a.m. and events until 6:30 p.m.

Alon’s inaugural conference will also be his last as a student, and he said excitement far outweighs any nerves leading up to Thursday.

“I think we have a successful conference when all the panels are performed seamlessly,” Alon said. “As long as students are in an environment where they feel comfortable asking questions … I think that’s a successful conference. Everybody sharing that vision that we all want to be great, we all want to learn the business behind sports, and we all want to help each other.”

Avatar for Henry Sutter

is a magazine, news and online graduate student and lead sports producer for The NewsHouse.