L-R: Dan Guerrero, Karen Brodkin, Jordyn Wieber, and Steve Derian
A roster of stars in the business of sports helped launch the Ziffren IN-Series – a series of presentations by entertainment, sports and technology law experts, sponsored by UCLA Law's Ziffren Center for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law.
The inaugural IN-Sports event featured AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman; WME|IMG Executive Vice President of Content Strategy & Partnership Karen Brodkin; UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero; and UCLA alumna and Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber for a robust discussion on the economics of sports, at both the professional and collegiate levels. More than 60 executives, lawyers and law students attended the event, held at UCLA's Morgan Center on Sept. 13, 2017.
Beckerman's insightful keynote address highlighted AEG's success and growth over its 20-year history. AEG has become one of the preeminent sports and entertainment presenters in the world, owning several teams and owning or being affiliated with more than 100 sports and entertainment facilities worldwide. Beckerman described AEG's approach to building the Los Angeles Kings (NHL) and Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) franchises into consistent contenders. He also recounted aspects of his negotiations with Los Angeles Chargers majority owner Alex Spanos to bring the Chargers to the StubHub Center—primarily citing the complexities of navigating state regulations and playing pro football in a small MLS stadium located on a college campus. Beckerman used the complexity of the Chargers deal as an example of why lawyers play an ever more important role in the business of sports.
Following the keynote, UCLA Law professor and sports law expert Steve Derian led a panel discussion with Guerrero, Brodkin, and Wieber on the business of collegiate athletics. Wieber shared her personal experience with the difficult decision young athletes must make when choosing between competing as amateurs at the collegiate level or pursuing professional aspirations. Wieber and Brodkin also discussed the challenge student-athletes face in balancing their rigorous academic and athletic schedules. Guerrero, a former UCLA baseball player, acknowledged that universities must do more to ensure that student-athletes succeed on and off the field.
Guerrero and Brodkin delved into the recent broadcast negotiations between the major NCAA conferences and large television networks. Brodkin, who oversaw the launch of the Fox Sports 1 and the Pac-12 networks before taking her current post at a leading talent agency, discussed the complexities in the latest Pac-12 Network TV deal with Fox, including sponsorships, media rights and managing game time schedules for equitable airtime. Guerrero also addressed the impact of major licensing deals such as the $280 million agreement forged between UCLA and Under Armour in 2016. He noted that the deal calls for a coordinated $1 million marketing campaign between the company and the university, an agreement without precedent at UCLA. Guerrero also touched on the difficulty that athletic directors face in equitably managing the budgets of each sport in which the university fields a team.
The IN-Series is a new Ziffren Center initiative to assemble the most prominent business and legal minds in the worlds of media, entertainment and sports, so they can share ideas and insights with the UCLA and greater Los Angeles communities. Coming in early 2018, an IN-Sports event on the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.