The Future of Sports and Media: Newhouse NYC’s Event with former NBA Commissioner David Stern and Edward Bleier (’51)
By Omneya Aboushanab, Newhouse NYC student and BDJ senior
At 7pm ET, Newhouse NYC‘s Fall 2017 students, along with about 50 Newhouse alumni, filled Syracuse University’s Fisher Center in New York City to listen to a riveting conversation between the two media moguls. But the talk reached far beyond the room. Since the event reached capacity so quickly, it was simultaneously live streamed on Newhouse NYC’s Facebook page with more than 2,500 views. (We invite you to watch if you haven’t already.)
Newhouse NYC director Cheryl Brody Franklin and program advisor Marisa Ramel made the event more than just a talk. From 6-7pm, students and alumni enjoyed refreshments while networking with one another. While networking can be hard for students, the setting made it simple because nothing is easier than bonding over your love for ‘Cuse. Even our guests of honor Stern and Bleier casually walked around and had conversations with various attendees.
At 7pm, Stern and Bleier began their strategic conversation surrounding the radical changes in the communications industry, including those implemented by Stern during his 30-year reign as NBA Commissioner. Stern, a fan favorite, is arguably one of the biggest and most effective executives in media and sports. And Bleier, like so many distinguished Syracuse alumni, is a media legend. The combination of the two left the audience in awe. From the conversation, it became clear that Stern is a big reason why sports and media are the way they are today–from the way sports are broadcast to how they’ve transformed over the years into an extraordinarily lucrative business.
Especially enjoyable was the Q&A portion of the evening, when audience members and Facebook Live viewers had their questions answered. Some questions centered around the NBA, obviously, but others focused on the media industry in general. A particularly popular topic was the growth in companies like Amazon, YouTube, and Twitter doubling as streaming services. Stern said that digital streaming will continue to end the ubiquity of cable in sports viewing, even predicting that Netflix will eventually try its hand in the sports world. He said that this was something the industry will have to get used to, specifically in the context of those companies bidding on NFL games now, and possibly other leagues later on.
In the back of the room, BiB Media, a Brooklyn-based production company founded by two Newhouse alumni, seamlessly ran our Facebook Live stream. A few lucky Newhouse NYC students were invited to help. I was in charge of vetting the comments section and selecting ten viewer-submitted questions that would spark the most conversation. My other two classmates, Nikki DeMentri and Logan Grossman, were also working in what we called the “command center.” They were replying to viewer questions and comments, as well as posting important snippets from Stern and Bleier’s conversation. Being that the three of us are BDJ students, it came as no surprise that we wanted a hand in the broadcast of the event.
After the talk and Q&A ended, the night didn’t. More mingling, conversations, and fan moments happened. A line of people formed around Stern, as Newhouse NYC’s sports-obsessed students couldn’t wait to grab a photo with the NBA legend. Mr. Stern and Mr. Bleier posed for plenty of pictures, while Mr. Stern showed off his customized ‘44’ basketball jersey.
It was a night to remember, and we couldn’t be more thankful for a program that provides its students with amazing opportunities like these. A huge thank you to David Stern and Edward Bleier for their wisdom, and another thank you to everyone who attended and tuned into our Facebook Live.