State of the Industry Conference Attendees Don’t Hurt

Tamika Tremaglio came across as charismatic, affable, yet disciplined while impressing attendees at this month’s State of the Industry conference in New York City, SBJ’s first joint event with SportTechie. She was comfortable and didn’t venture far from her playbook as she discussed her first three months as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. While its predecessor Michele Roberts brought strong legal credentials and a serious, hard-nosed approach, Tremaglio seems more approachable, being less rooted in litigation and more in business. It’s easy to see why she won over players during the interview process, with her intelligence and focus on growing the basketball business. She recognized this approach when she sat down with me in New York, saying she was intrigued by the opportunity to work with players. “When I thought about what they needed next, it was more business-oriented. Michele has done an exceptional job of really getting them to where they are now. But now it’s about making that pie bigger … How do we build a forum of equity for our players to create generational wealth?” At the end of our conversation, I asked, 51 years old and in a position to retire, why take on such a role? She wanted to push herself and live by her motto. “Never get comfortable,” she said. “When you feel comfortable, you don’t grow and it’s important to always grow “That stretch you’re feeling is a good thing. It was part of the reason I’m here.”

DAZN Joe Markowski sounded the alarm about sports piracy at State of the Industry, a long-simmering topic that doesn’t make headlines because it’s not a new or even sexy topic. But Markowski has always had informed opinions about media and consumer habits, and said widespread global piracy sucks billions of dollars — yes, billions — from rights holders and distributors. “We have to find a solution to piracy,” he said. “One hundred percent. It’s not talked about enough in conferences like this. I worry a lot about it. Go on Twitter tonight and whatever the game is going on, you can find a [pirated] flow. There must be a solution. We need to have a more open conversation. There must be a dialogue between rights holders, broadcasters, lobbyists, the government in Washington, London, Brussels. It’s really difficult. And it’s really easy for the consumer to do that. La Liga Boris Gartner echoes that widespread piracy negatively affects media revenues for rightsholders. “When we discuss media rights and distribution deals with partners, it comes up. ‘What is the level of piracy on your specific product? What are you doing about it? Markowski countered, “At the end of the day, the best protection is having the best quality experience on your platform. …if you can only experience an interrupted stream on an illegal platform versus a multi-engagement tool, the experience is going to outweigh the risk and challenge of getting it on an illegal platform. Thus, the best form of defense is attack, and attack with the quality of your product while you also have the technicians looking for solutions to protect you technically. Markowski is right – it’s a critically important topic that isn’t covered enough, probably because any solution is incredibly complex and difficult.

Let’s end with a nod to a longtime sports executive Len Komoroski, who is stepping down as CEO of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Rock Entertainment after this season. Komoroski, who will remain in an advisory role with the organization where he has worked since 2003, had a stellar career as a successful brand builder for nearly two decades in Cleveland. His leadership in the massive $185 million renovation of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse has made this arena one of the best in the NBA and the Cavaliers have been nominated for Sports Team of the Year at the Sports Business Awards three times. since 2009. He has been a leader in Cleveland’s local issues as well as a key player on the national sports scene and leaves the organization in great shape – a playoff team with one of the youngest rosters in the NBA , a 37-year-old new CEO and one of his mentees, Nic Barlageand a successful 39-year-old CEO Koby Altman. Additionally, the executive tree of those who have worked for him over his nearly 40 years in the business is one of the strongest in the sport. Whenever I was with Komoroski, he spoke passionately about the ability of sports leaders and organizations to inspire communities and bring people together to make a difference. He personified this passion through his actions.

Abraham Madkour can be contacted at

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