It's a fact: Women continue to have a greater and greater impact on the sports landscape. Women have advanced professionally in the sports industry and personally through athletic participation, creating more opportunities in sports business. To promote those opportunities to students and to bring together top female executives in the industry, the James H. Warsaw Sports Marketing Center hosted the tenth Women in Sports Business Symposium, April 27-28 at the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business.
The event, organized by M.B.A. students, featured sports industry executives from Nike, ESPN, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Oregon Athletics, Cal Athletics, LÄRABAR, NAU Inc., and the Portland LumberJax. Dozens of students from various disciplines across campus attended panels and presentations discussing the female fan, female consumer, and female athlete. "Thanks to community support and participation of some of the most influential women in sports, the symposium has grown in scope and national relevance," said the event's student co-directors Kirsten Eckelmeyer, M.B.A. '07, and Kristin Harrer, JD/M.B.A. '08.
Lee Ann Daly, former executive vice president of marketing for ESPN who now works in an advisory role for the company, delivered the event's inspiring keynote. In addition, Jim Warsaw, the center's namesake, presented Daly with the Warsaw Sports Business Woman of the Year Award, recognizing her contributions to the advancement of women in sport.
"You need to think about yourselves as dreamers and creators. You have to think about the whole realm of how sports impacts peoples' lives and how you can be part of that," Daly told the audience, her words resonating with students.
"Her talk was amazing," said Natalie Kinsey, a junior concentrating in sports business. "She really hit home with me. It was great to hear from somebody who has overcome challenges and become so successful in her career. It was really motivational."