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by Étienne Lajoie October 31, 2017
Trading sticks for stocks

Annual John Molson Sports Business conference to feature NFL, Sportsnet speakers

Nicholas Vonapartis was attempting to find speakers for the John Molson Sports Business conference when he received an email from Sportsnet president Scott Moore.

“He sends me an email [saying], ‘How do you like Bill Daly?’” recounted Vonapartis, the vice-president of speaker personnel for the John Molson Sports Marketing Committee (JMSM), in an interview with The Concordian. That is how the conference managed to book the National Hockey League’s deputy commissioner as a speaker.

According to Vonapartis, two elements came into play when the committee began reaching out in June to potential speakers: name recognition and educational purpose. Daly fits both criteria.

In a few days, students from 23 North American universities will flock to Montreal for the three-day conference taking place at Hotel Bonaventure. According to JMSM vice-president of marketing Romana Kazi, 300 tickets have already been sold for the event.

Daly is one of more than 20 speakers, including lawyers from National Football League teams, public relations agents representing the biggest names in sports and Major League Soccer franchise presidents.

Daly’s panel with Moore and Sportsnet columnist Stephen Brunt will kick off the conference on Nov. 2. A discussion between Montreal Impact executive vice-president of soccer operations Richard Legendre and Toronto FC president Bill Manning will follow.

Vonapartis said the committee had a specific vision for the panels, and then found individuals who embodied that vision to participate. In short, the committee wanted to keep the panel discussions “completely up to date,” according to Vonapartis.

Consequently, the topic of national anthem protests in the NFL will be touched upon during a workshop featuring New England Patriots general counsel Jack Mula, Vonapartis said.

During Legendre and Manning’s discussion, Vonapartis expects the increasing number of MLS franchises to be addressed. The MLS imposes “huge franchise fees, but profits are nowhere to be found,” Vonapartis explained.

Some familiar faces

The Concordia Stingers 2015 rebrand featured new colours and a new identity, but more importantly, a lot of business decisions. The man responsible for it, Patrick Boivin, will return to Concordia more than a year after leaving the school to join the Montreal Alouettes as the organization’s president. He will host the VIP breakfast on Nov. 4.

Boivin’s short-lived tenure with the university—just over three years—doesn’t match Matt Pfeffer’s one-year stint as a consultant with the prestigious Montreal Canadiens.

Pfeffer––a data analyst for the Nashville Predators––is remembered not for the duration of his time with the Canadiens, but rather for the way his tenure ended.

Following the blockbuster trade that sent Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Shea Weber, Pfeffer wrote in a statement that he “made a passionate case in favour of Subban” prior to the trade. He added: “There was never a meeting with [Canadiens] management” prior to the trade.

A month later, the Canadiens fired Pfeffer. Pfeffer will talk about hockey analytics alongside Sportsnet writer Dimitri Filipovic, hockey analyst Mike Kelly, Stathletes co-founder Meghan Chayka and Florida Panthers assistant general manager Eric Joyce.

The conference is a representation of Vonapartis’ overall goal for panels. The JMSB student said he wanted “a mix of three things: journalistic perspective, independent company perspective and internal [team] perspective.”

Courtesy of the John Molson Sports Marketing Committee

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