Paley Dialogues Reception

GameChangers: Creating the Future of Sports

Jul 18, 2017
6:30 – 8:00 PM
New York

“GameChangers: Creating the Future of Sports,” served as a centerpiece of our industry program season and explored the myriad seismic shifts – from the rapid growth of international audiences, ever expanding network, cable and over-the-top distribution deals, to technological innovations including multi-platform livestreaming, to social media integrations, mobile interactivity and VR—which are altering the ways audiences consume sports while creating a world of opportunity for sports teams and media companies.
This unprecedented summit also explored 21st century challenges including navigating security challenges in an increasingly unsafe world, cultivating the next generation of superstar athletes, changing the pace of play to decrease down time in television broadcast and tapping the unrivaled opportunity for growth in millennial sports audiences


Gary B. Bettman
Commissioner, National Hockey League

Gary Bettman has served the National Hockey League as Commissioner since February 1, 1993 and has guided the world’s top professional hockey league through more than two decades of growth and advancement on and off the ice. Record revenues, record attendance and numerous fan-friendly and community-minded initiatives are just a few examples of the ways Commissioner Bettman has brought the NHL to a broader audience, through more media platforms, than any time in League history.

By negotiating a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement with the National Hockey League Players’ Association and long-term, multi-billion-dollar national broadcast rights agreements in the United States (NBC Sports) and Canada (Rogers Communications) plus an innovative digital rights agreement with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), Commissioner Bettman has fostered unprecedented economic stability for the League’s Member Clubs. League revenues have increased more than tenfold during Commissioner Bettman’s tenure and franchise values have increased exponentially.

A calendar of innovative signature events – including iconic outdoor games (the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series and the Heritage Classic) – has driven fan engagement and sponsor participation to unprecedented levels. These achievements were recognized with three Sports Business Awards accorded by the Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily in 2014, with Commissioner Bettman being named Sports Executive of the Year; the NHL being named Sports League of the Year, and the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic – which attracted a crowd of over 105,000 to the University of Michigan’s “Big House” stadium on New Year’s Day – being named Sports Event of the Year.

Advancements in the game under Commissioner Bettman include the implementation of overtime and the ‘shootout,’ which eliminate tied games during the regular season. The League’s implementation of the two-referee system revolutionized hockey officiating around the world. Other innovations include the development and advancement of video review (since replicated by the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association), emergency on-ice trauma care and elevation in the study of injuries.

In addition, Commissioner Bettman created the first Department of Player Safety in pro sports. The Department is entrusted with the continued consideration of suggesting proposed changes to rules and equipment that will make the game safer for the players. The NHL also was the first sports League to explain player supplementary discipline rulings in videos available to all through the League’s digital outlets – an advancement that has been hailed throughout the sports world.

Commissioner Bettman also has focused attention on the League’s international makeup and appeal. NHL players have stocked the rosters at each of the past five Olympic Winter Games, beginning in 1998 at Nagano, Japan, and the World Cup of Hockey tournament returned to the NHL calendar in September, 2016. As a further testament to the League’s international appeal, NHL games are televised in more than 160 countries and covered on in seven languages – Czech, Finnish, French, German, Russian, Slovak and Swedish – in addition to English.

A native of Queens, NY, Mr. Bettman also served 12 years with the National Basketball Association. Prior to that, he worked in the Proskauer Rose Goetz & Mendelsohn law firm. Commissioner Bettman graduated from Cornell University and the New York University School of Law. He and his wife, Shelli, have three children – Lauren, Jordan, and Brittany – and three grandchildren.

Roger Goodell
Commissioner, NFL

Roger Goodell is the eighth chief executive of the National Football League, now in its 98th season.

Commissioner Goodell took office on September 1, 2006, 24 years after he joined the league, where he held numerous football and business operations roles prior to being appointed Commissioner. Commissioner Goodell’s priorities have focused on making the game better and safer, while successfully growing the popularity of the NFL and its 32 teams. Fan interest in the NFL has soared under Goodell, including the largest audiences in television history, as well as enormous growth in digital and social media engagement.

Under Commissioner Goodell’s leadership, the NFL has focused on improvements to player health and safety, benefits for retired players, the league’s personal conduct policy, expanding social responsibility initiatives, diversity in hiring practices, revenue sharing, stadium development, fan experience, media innovation, international development, officiating and rules changes – all to increase the quality, safety and enjoyment of the game.

In 2011, Commissioner Goodell led the league to secure a landmark 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association. Under his guidance, the NFL has developed innovative media initiatives, including Thursday Night Football’s tri-cast distribution model, partnerships with YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat and others, and long-term extensions of the NFL's television contracts. And in 2016, after more than two decades without a team, Commissioner Goodell helped usher the return of football to Los Angeles.

Commissioner Goodell and his wife Jane are the proud parents of twin girls. Goodell serves on the boards of the NFL Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of New York City, the National Football Foundation and GENYOUth Foundation.

Robert D. Manfred, Jr.
Commissioner of Baseball

Robert D. Manfred, Jr. was elected as the 10th Commissioner in the history of Major League Baseball on August 14, 2014 by a vote of the 30 Clubs. He officially became the sport’s leader on January 25, 2015.  

As Commissioner, Manfred has set goals for the industry that focus on the expansion of youth participation, international growth, improved pace of game, the infusion of technology, increased marketing of the game’s young stars and furtherance of the game’s diversity goals. The 2016 season produced a new five-year collective bargaining agreement, continuing an unprecedented era of labor peace through 2021, and a record year for industry revenues and overall business performance

Manfred became MLB’s Chief Operating Officer in 2013. Prior to that, he had served as Executive Vice President since 1998, directing all collective bargaining issues, including successful renewals of the Basic Agreement in 2002, 2006 and 2011 and dramatically improved competitive balance.  

Manfred is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School. He and his wife, Colleen, have four adult children.

Adam Silver
Commissioner, National Basketball Association

Adam Silver was unanimously elected NBA Commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, by the NBA Board of Governors.
Silver presides over a league that is a global leader in social responsibility, a model for international sports marketing, and one of the largest providers of sports programming in the world.  He is dedicated to increasing transparency, leading with integrity, and inspiring youth to live healthy lifestyles through basketball.  
In 2016, SportsBusiness Journal ranked Silver No. 1 on its list of the 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business.  In 2015, Silver was named to TIME’s list of the 100 Most Influential People.  He also earned Sports Executive of the Year honors at the 2015 Sports Business Awards and was named to Fortune’s 2015 list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.  In 2014, Sports Illustrated named him Executive of the Year.
Prior to becoming commissioner, Silver served as NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer for eight years.  In that role he was instrumental to many of the league’s signature achievements, including the negotiation of three collective bargaining agreements with the National Basketball Players Association, the development of the WNBA and NBA Development League, the partnership with Turner Broadcasting to manage the NBA's digital assets, and the creation of NBA China.
Before serving as the league’s second-in-command, Silver spent more than eight years as President and COO, NBA Entertainment.  Since joining the league in 1992, Silver has also held the positions of Senior VP & COO, NBA Entertainment; NBA Chief of Staff; and Special Assistant to the Commissioner.
Silver was elected to Duke University’s Board of Trustees in 2015 and received the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Chicago Law School.  He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the board of the Lustgarten Pancreatic Cancer Foundation.  
Before joining the NBA, Silver was a litigation associate at the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he concentrated on media and antitrust cases.  He also served as a law clerk to Federal District Court Judge Kimba Wood in New York.  Silver graduated from Duke University and the University of Chicago Law School.

David Zaslav
President and CEO, Discovery Communications

As chief executive of Discovery Communications, David Zaslav sets the strategy and oversees all operations for the company’s global portfolio of premium nonfiction, lifestyle, sports and kids programming brands across pay-TV, free-to-air and digital platforms in more than 220 countries and territories. Under his leadership, Discovery began trading as a public company on the Nasdaq stock exchange in 2008 and, in 2014, became a Fortune 500 company.

Since Zaslav took the helm in 2007, Discovery has launched some of the fastest-growing cable networks in the U.S., including Investigation Discovery, Velocity, and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, and has expanded to reach 3 billion cumulative worldwide viewers. Zaslav has diversified the company’s nonfiction content offering with investments in kids in Latin America and sports in Europe, where he led Discovery’s acquisition of Eurosport, Europe’s leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports. Under Zaslav’s leadership, Eurosport became home to the 2018-2024 Olympic Games across Europe.

He has expanded Discovery’s audiences across screens through over-the-top offering Eurosport Player, as well as the GO portfolio of TV Everywhere apps in the U.S. Most recently, he led Discovery’s investment in Group Nine Media, a new digital content holding company consisting of Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo and Discovery’s digital network Seeker, as well as a partnership with MLB Advanced Media’s BAMTech to create new digital technology provider BAMTech Europe.

In 2016, Zaslav led the launch of the company’s latest global conservation initiative, Project C.A.T.: Conserving Acres for Tigers, to help double the global wild tiger population by 2022.

Prior to joining Discovery, Zaslav had a distinguished career at NBCUniversal, where he was instrumental in developing and launching CNBC and also played a role in the creation of MSNBC. He was previously an attorney with the New York firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby & MacRae and graduated with honors from Boston University School of Law.

This event is exclusive to Media Council members and other invited guests. Please check your invitation for registration information. To find out more about Media Council membership, contact

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