10 takeaways from Variety’s Sports and Entertainment summit
Sports entertainment executives from across the industry came together virtually on July 14 to VarietyAnnual Sports and Entertainment Summit.
The summit focused on the impact of the pandemic on how the pandemic has changed sports media and why sport can be a vehicle for social justice. Here are 10 takeaways from the event.
Sport is a great equalizer
During the Visionaries of Sport lineup, sports media executives discussed the joys and challenges of producing sports content, sharing what inspires them about the sport and the philosophy of their business.
“For black people, sport was the first place we started to be recognized as human,” said Raina Kelley, vice president and editor of The Undefeated at ESPN. “The first time people saw Jesse Owens and thought he was a spectacular human being with that kind of ability. And that is being built as black people participate in more and more sports, times of civil rights, times of social justice. It is an integral part of our culture.
Haley Rosen, CEO of Just Women Sports, added, “There’s a theme here that sport is the great equalizer, and I think that’s one hundred percent true. We see it with the United States Women’s National Team, they are at the forefront of the fight for change. And if we want more women like this – if we want more women at the helm of companies and as CEOs and in major subjects – let’s get them involved in sport. “
“Formula 1: Drive to Survive” hopes to enter F1
“With ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’, there was a definite desire for us to present this sport to a larger audience, or to an audience that had perhaps never watched an F1 race before,” said executive producer Paul Martin.
The Netflix series gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the drivers and racing at the Formula 1 World Championship, which Martin says is exciting because the show’s executives never really know what they’re going to get.
“Sometimes you just need to take a step back and admire what you see unfolding in front of you and document it in the best possible way because, you know, you can’t control it.”
Time may be the key to unlocking authenticity
Carmelo Anthony is a follower of the 10,000 hour rule.
The 10-time NBA star recently launched his own production company called Creative 7, which aims to promote diverse perspectives on screen. He said that in order to create authentic projects you have to be prepared to put in the time and effort.
“We had to sit down and really figure out what the purpose of Creative 7 would be? What is the brand ? What’s behind it? What is the message ? ” he said. “And once we figured out what it was, we were able to choose which projects we really want to talk about, and then which stories we really want to tell.”
The importance of giving back to the community
Anthony added that the idea of inspiring the next generations and spending a lot of time giving back to his community is genuine in its nature, and also attributes to its well-being and success.
“It’s just who I am, I’ve always been about my community and giving back,” Anthony said. “Most importantly, people understand that I am a strong person. I’m not perfect, I’m a tough guy though. I want to help others, I want to bring others with me, I want to teach and at the same time I want to learn from people. So when people have this connection to this reality and authenticity of an individual, nothing else ultimately matters. “
COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the symbolic nature of the Olympics opening ceremony
Because the Tokyo Olympics were postponed for a year due to the pandemic, executive producer and president of NBC Olympics Molly Solomon and her team realized the opening ceremony was going to be a “global moment.”
“When you think about it, this is the first time the world is going to come together,” she explained. “So many different regions in the world are in different places to go through the pandemic, but nonetheless there will be 206 delegations that will enter this stage. And that’s a moment. It’s not over, but we are starting to see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
As a result, NBC decided to broadcast the ceremony live from Tokyo that morning and then broadcast it again later for a prime-time show in the evening.
Postponement of Summer Games means back-to-back Olympic broadcasts for NBC
After the climax of the Tokyo Olympics in August, NBC will only have six months to go until the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. NBC’s Molly Solomon said the planning took a lot of discipline, but that in the end of account, it is an opportunity for the audience.
“The day the closing ceremony ends in Tokyo is 180 days before the Winter Olympics. And there just happens to be an NBC Super Bowl smack dab in the middle of the Olympics,” Solomon said. We can’t wait to embrace this synergy because it truly is a once in a lifetime moment. “
Solomon further compared the situation to 1984, when ABC hosted the Winter and Summer Olympics in the same year. In contrast, ABC produced a total of 243 hours of total coverage between the two games, while NBC is expected to produce over 9,000 hours.
WNBA embraces multifaceted needs of its players – but there is still room for growth
Chiney Ogwumike, who plays basketball for the Los Angeles Sparks, said female athletes are often asked to stick with the sport and everything else is put on the back burner. Although she said the league is starting to understand that it is a league full of women entrepreneurs and diverse mothers, she believes there is still room for growth.
“We are women who compete at a high level and balance jobs and family and all the daily obligations,” Ogwumike said. “You have mothers who take their kids to games and practices and then also win MVPs and are champions in this league. So I think that aspect of embracing who we are, especially from this note and realizing that we have a space that is, has room for growth.
WBNA players set to represent themselves authentically
Speaking about new ways to partner and continue to expand the WBNA platform, Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird said it’s important for the organization to represent the most authentic versions of their players.
“I’ve been in the league long enough to know when maybe they wanted to make us look a little more feminine and not say what our sexual preference was,” Bird said. “I just think in the world, period, forget about sports – people are drawn to authenticity. People want to be surrounded by genuine people.
“Ted Lasso” opened the door to more sports comedies
As an Apple TV Plus production, “Ted Lasso” proved that sports comedies don’t need to be affiliated with sports-oriented outlets to be successful.
“Now with Amazon, Apple, Netflix, ESPN, Disney Plus, there are so many platforms for you and for the content. So I think when you’re successful with ‘Ted Lasso’ it opened the door for so many other sports comedies or sports stories to be told on non-traditional sports media, ”said Michael Strahan. .
Sports storytelling is about human connection
Founded by Gotham Chopra, Michael Strahan and Tom Brady, the storytelling developed by Religion of Sports is “not about who is going to win,” Chopra explained.
“We use sport as a backdrop, the language to talk about bigger things, like the human experience. Almost everything that happens on the planet can be explained through the filter or the framework of sport, ”he said.
“It’s about the connection, the human element, bringing life and experience to people in a different way,” Strahan added.