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Rosner leads "The Big Game Sports Law CLE Breakfast" in Miami

Big games take big commitments, not just for players and teams but from the staff and volunteers behind the scenes that have to band together to make something like the Super Bowl work. As part of their during Super Bowl week in Miami, the Sports Management program partnered with the University of Miami Law School's Entertainment and Sports Law graduate program and the O'Melveny law firm for a Thursday morning panel discussions on some of the key business topics in and around South Beach this winter, with the biggest being the Business of the Super Bowl.

“The Big Game Sports Law CLE Breakfast” featured a packed room of close to 100 students, colleagues, alumni from both schools and interested professionals. Speakers included Miami Dolphins Senior Vice President and General Counsel Myles Pistorius, Miami Marlins Vice President and General Counsel Ashwin Krishnan, Miami Super Bowl Host Committee Vice President and General Counsel Bruce Colan, along with Charles Baker, Co-Chair of O'Melveny's Sports Industry Group and Stephanie Toothaker, an attorney who represents MLS expansion team Inter Miami CF. The topics ranged from everything from the challenges and opportunities that having the game back in Miami presents, to what’s coming in the global world of football, soccer in Miami in the coming months. Scott Rosner, the Academic Director of Columbia's Sports Management program, moderated in the morning session at the JCC of Miami Beach, just minutes from the hub of activity at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The discussions were both engaging and honest and gave all in attendance a great feel for the responsibilities taken on as game day came and went.

“One of the biggest things we tell people is to manage expectations,” said Pistorius in opening the session. “There is sometimes a presumption when you get an event like the Super Bowl that it will be business as usual for our sponsors, our fans and other partners, when in reality the NFL really comes in and takes over, and what people know as ours during the regular season no longer belongs to us as much.” He pointed to things like Hard Rock Stadium’s name getting ancillary exposure, but not being included in any official NFL public-facing documents, and the issues with potentially covering signage in the stadium so as not to conflict with league sponsors, or season subscribers who may have assumed a transfer of tickets that would be coming when in reality only a set number of tiered season subscribers would get access to potential tickets for the game. “Those issues take education, and sometimes it means people questioning why we would host the game.”

The reason, as Colan pointed out, is the exposure and the dollars that flow into the area well in advance and away from kickoff. A full workforce of people come in to stage the game, while thousands flock to a wide area of South Florida for days to enjoy everything around the game, from sponsor events to the Super Bowl Fan Experience at the Convention Center. “The amount of people this game touches as impacts for days leading up, along with the exposure we get for the area on such a global broadcast platform, really is why cities take on these opportunities, and you can reap benefits way beyond the issues,” he added.  

One team that did get a bump in experiential exposure was the rebuilding Marlins, whose stadium hosted thousands of media members for Super Bowl Media Day, along with several thousand fans who came along to watch the annual early week spectacle. Opening the doors of the stadium, and being able to talk to brands who came to Miami for the game, is an ancillary set of benefits for a team that is reviving both its narrative and its business portfolio. “We are getting ready for a new season and we have our share of changes, and being able to be part of the Super Bowl experience lets us learn lessons and best practices that we would not normally have had,” Krishnan said during the panel. “There are many who came to the stadium on Media Day for the first time and walked away impressed with what we are doing. That type of touchpoint is invaluable for us and we were glad to be a part of the week.”

While the actual economic impact of the Super Bowl in Miami won’t be known for some time, all were sure that it would be in the millions and an uptick from when the city last hosted the game ten years ago. It also set a great stage for the city’s next big event (short of a World Series or NBA Finals) - next year’s College Football Playoff Championship Game.

“There are many challenges that we know going into a big event like this, but showcasing our city, our people, our culture to the world only comes with big events, and Miami knows how to do this,” Colan added. “Whether it’s film or art or music, we are a destination that can handle big challenges and opportunities, and there is none bigger than what we are experiencing.”

From an event standpoint for our program, Rosner added the value and knowledge gained as well from bringing groups like this together. “Working with both O'Melveny, University of Miami Law School and the Miami Beach JCC during such a busy week was a great experience. Similar to the Host Committee, Dolphins and Marlins we saw the value, and being able to deliver on that value to an engaged audience like we had was a real win,” he concluded. “It really helps build our brand and further establishes our faculty, our students, and our alumni and staff in conversations that you can only have by being here. It was a pleasure to be a part of the event, and we are looking forward to the next one in Tampa.”