Paley Media Council

The Next Big Thing in Sports VR

Monday, April 18, 2016
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
New York

Have we reached the next frontier in sports and Virtual Reality (VR)? Leagues and sports networks are already using VR to transport fans into the middle of the action, while behind the scenes, coaches are reimagining their strategy and player training through VR. As the full potential of the $70 billion industry is realized, we assembled key decision makers from the networks and leagues, along with technology innovators and inventors, to discover what's next in this revolution of the immersive sports experience. NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern led our panel of experts.

Doors at 6:00 p.m.
6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Panel Discussion
7:30 to 8:30 p.m. VR Demos & Cocktail Reception

Panelists:

Brad Allen
Executive Chairman
NextVR
Brad Allen, executive chairman of NextVR, is a specialist in investment banking and securities, previously working for major public and private firms on Wall Street,  and in Los Angeles and Hong Kong. He has created, funded and operated two start-ups in the e-commerce and enterprise software sectors and remains a venture partner with Miramar Digital Ventures.  “This is the most exciting venture I’ve ever been involved in,” Allen says of NextVR. “It is like putting together a 10,000-piece puzzle; it intersects so many businesses.” Allen leverages his relationships and international business development skills to lead NextVR’s financial initiatives. He is the “first contact” for NextVR’s scores of partners, from broadcasters to financiers.

 

Derek Belch
CEO
STRIVR Labs
Derek Belch is the founder and CEO of STRIVR Labs, Inc., a Palo Alto based startup that uses virtual reality to train athletes. Belch laid the foundation for STRIVR during the 2014 season with the Stanford Cardinal football team, when he was an assistant coach for the team while completing a masters degree. His thesis project was exploring virtual reality applied to sports training and he worked with the Cardinal during the season to build and test the technology that is now STRIVR. Belch was a former kicker for the Cardinal from 2003-2007 and is one of only two Stanford kickers in history to hit two 50-yard+ field goals in a single game. He kicked the winning extra point in Stanford’s historic upset of USC as 42-point underdogs. Belch holds three degrees from Stanford (BA Communication, MA Journalism, MA Media Studies), as well as an MBA from the University of Southern California.

Michael Davies
SV
P of Technical & Field Operations
Fox Sports
With over two decades of experience in sports television, Michael Davies serves as Senior Vice President, Technical and Field Operations, FOX Sports. He manages all day-to-day aspects of live broadcast operations and oversees integration of new and emerging technologies for FOX Sports and FS1, specializing in technical production and innovation for large sporting events.

As the head of field and technical operations, he manages a highly talented team of individuals responsible for the thousands of live sports broadcasts yearly at FOX, including the technical execution of Super Bowls XLII, XLV and XLVIII, including a multi-level 40-by-40 foot set in the heart of New York City’s Times Square for Super Bowl XLVIII.  In 2015, Davies and his team simultaneously managed the production of both the Women’s World Cup, anchored in Vancouver, and the US Open in Chambers Bay, Wash.

In the past, Davies has also supervised complex military remotes like the FOX NFL SUNDAY pregame shows broadcast live from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in 2009, Qatar in 2010, Seoul in 2011 and Pearl Harbor in 2015.  

In addition to technical design and oversight, Davies oversees FOX LAB, a designed approach to exploring technical partnerships to enhance the viewing experience. FOX LAB has positioned the network at the forefront of technical innovation in sports broadcast, including several high-profile live activations in virtual reality as well as incorporating a high-tech production arsenal for coverage of events such as like the Super Bowl, U.S. Open, World Series and the Daytona 500.

Davies has also been instrumental in the development and integration of this technical arsenal, some of which have become FOX’s signatures: the turf/track level HD camera used during NASCAR and MLB telecasts; advances in High Speed coverage for all sports; Super Zoom 4K camera arrays; as well as innovations utilizing augmented reality such as golf’s Rangefinder.

Before joining FOX Sports in 2006 as Director of Field Operations, Davies was with HBO Sports for 10 years. As Director of HBO East Coast Production, he worked on a variety of HBO “Sports of the 20th Century” documentaries as well as Inside the NFL and Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.  He also coordinated operations and the technical management for HBO’s boxing and pay-per-view events. Prior to his time with HBO, he worked for King World Productions.

Davies has won multiple Sports Emmy Awards for his work with both FOX Sports and HBO including technical team remotes for NASCAR, MLB and NFL coverage and long-form sports programming.

Born in New York City, Davies grew up in both Ivinghoe, UK, and Chatham, NJ. He graduated from University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Production Management. A drone hobbyist and avid sports fan, he currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

Miheer Walavalkar
Chief Business Officer
LiveLike VR 
Miheer is responsible for LiveLike’s global business development and financing strategy. Upon finishing his Masters in Electrical Engineering at Georgia Tech, Miheer worked in the Investment Banking group at RBC Capital Markets in New York. He later transitioned into RBC’s Global Arbitrage and Trading group where he created stress testing frameworks and hedging strategies for the group’s $30 billion portfolio. Upon returning to India in 2011, Miheer co-founded Zaya, an education technology company that educated students in low-income schools using an innovative digital platform. The Company won multiple awards such as NASSCOM’s Social Innovation Honor and the Global Education Challenge. For his work, Miheer was also featured as one of CNBC India’s Young Entrepreneurs. Since 2013, Miheer has been actively involved in sports technology. As CBO and later CEO, he led the global expansion of YouFoot, a UK-based tech startup that works with soccer federations and teams around the world.

Moderated by:

David Stern
Commissioner Emeritus
National Basketball Association
David Stern completed his three-decade tenure as NBA commissioner on February 1, 2014. As commissioner, Mr. Stern built the model for professional sports in league operations, public service, global marketing, television distribution and digital technology.  He oversaw the NBA’s extraordinary growth with seven new franchises, a more than 30-fold increase in revenues, a dramatic expansion of national television exposure and the launch of two leagues, the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA Development League.  He negotiated the first anti-drug agreement in professional sports and introduced the salary cap system and revenue sharing to the NBA.

The NBA also experienced tremendous global growth during Mr. Stern’s tenure and was the first U.S. professional sports league to stage regular-season games outside North America.

Mr. Stern oversaw the launch of the leagues’ digital assets, including NBA.com, WNBA.com, and NBADLeague.com; social media platforms; NBA LEAGUE PASS; NBA TV; and mobile applications, all of which reach hundreds of millions of fans every day.

Mr. Stern was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2014.  He is a 2013 recipient of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, awarded by Harvard University in recognition of contributions to African and African-American culture, and a recipient of the Yale Legend in Leadership Award, awarded by the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute to celebrate contemporary business leaders who have made transformational contributions across sectors.  He is the chair emeritus of the Trustees of Columbia University and serves or has served on the boards of Beth Israel Medical Center, the Rutgers University Foundation, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Paley Center for Media, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  A native of New York City, Mr. Stern is a graduate of Rutgers University and Columbia Law School.


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