2019 NFL Agent Exam: Lessons Learned

Monday, we published the Year 1 fears of several people who’ll be taking the NFLPA exam later this month (July 18, to be exact). It sparked a reaction on Twitter from a veteran contract advisor, with a handful of other agents “liking” his tweet. Members of the NFL business community are passionate about the business; they have to be if they want to succeed in such a competitive environment.

So what were the lessons learned by first-year agents over the past 12 months? We asked several of the clients we worked with this year. Here were some of the lessons they said they learned.

Don’t go in expecting a daily party: “Being an agent is not all glitz and glamour. . .  This is not a job where you are hanging out with players all day, every day,” said Peter Ariz of First-Round Management. Peter was the only rookie agent from 2018 who co-repped a first-rounder, Texans OT Tytus Howard of Alabama State.

Scouts are not your friends: “The difficulty of making connections on the scouting side” is one of the hardest parts of the business according to Austin Pfenninger of Pfenninger Management Group, who had two players sign UDFA deals.

Save money for combine prep: “Have more information on the training process for clients,” cautioned Sean Russi, whose first-year success landed him a role as director of AG Sports. “Training fees can cost around $20,000 for pre-draft training at high-end training facilities.”

Don’t count your chickens . . . . : “Just because you have multiple conversations with potential clients doesn’t guarantee anything,” said Anthony LaRubbio of JL Sports, who had a draftee and two UDFAs in his first year in the biz. “These athletes are 21, 22, 23 years old, and have a lot of people in their ears. Things can change in an instant.”

Film counts, not numbers: “(Don’t) get too bogged down on stats,” said Chad Berger of Enter-Sports. “A player’s film speaks more to NFL decision-makers than what the stats say on paper.”

For more reactions from first-year agents, check out our full spate of interviews here. We wrote extensively about expectations and lessons in last week’s Friday Wrap. You can register for the Friday Wrap — it’s free, and everyone in the football business reads it — here.

Of course, you can’t learn the lessons of being an agent until you are one. The exam is just about two weeks away. If you’re one of those people who’s getting set to take the exam, make sure you check out our study guide and two practice exams, the leading aids on the market. You can read more about them here.

 

 

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NFL Agent Exam 2019: What Do Agent Hopefuls Fear Most?

The 2019 NFLPA Contract Advisors exam is less than three weeks away, and we’re hard at work helping dozens of would-be agents get ready for a pretty challenging test by using our exam prep materials. Still, the exam itself is just the first challenge our clients face.

We do extensive interviews with the rookie agents we worked with to find out what they learned from Year 1. However, this year, we decided to look at the issue from the other side, so we asked several prospective 2019 agents this question: What do you expect will be your biggest obstacle in Year 1? What do you see as the greatest hurdle you will face as a rookie agent, presuming you pass the exam?

This is actually a continuation of the report we filed in last week’s Friday Wrap; you can read it here. But because there were so many responses with different points, we thought we’d include a selection of them here:

  • “Transferring all the new information from knowledge to experience (will be the biggest obstacle). It’s never as black and white as it is on paper. (Also,) being a woman entering into a male-dominated industry (and) going at it without a big brand name machine to rely on. But I am a former hurdler, and I always ran strong races and pulled off upsets. I’m prepared for this hurdle race, too.”
  • “I appreciate that representing players in the NFL is a complex and nuanced endeavor. It will take time for me to recognize and understand much of the intricacy involved in the business.  There is no substitute for experience, so patience and diligence will be key for me. . . I anticipate that it will be challenging to begin the process of developing a rapport with team representatives, players and other agents that will be essential for me to attract and effectively represent players. In addition to continuing to learn the business, I will immediately begin initiating and fostering relationships.”
  • “From what I understand, (1) a majority of the players are represented by a select few agents or agencies, and (2) many players’ first question when you approach them is, ‘who else do you represent?’ Having said that, I believe the greatest hurdle is going to be procuring my first client. I am likely going to have to find a player who is willing to take chance on a rookie agent, or I will have to find a ‘diamond in the rough’ . . . and find a player who is under the radar and doesn’t have the big agents recruiting him.”
  • “I think the biggest obstacle in Year 1 will be learning the process: getting to different universities, meeting with clients, which events to attend, and putting that all together to maximize your impact and gain new clients.  Presuming I pass the exam, I see the greatest hurdle as a rookie free agent is gaining client #1 (and) building trust and rapport for that initial person to take a chance on a rookie agent.”
  • “I believe that the biggest hurdle I will face is being a first-year agent trying to attract quality clients without representing anyone currently. We are in a time where people are sold on what you have already accomplished, so the ice-breaker is being able to establish that connection and prove my competency.”
  • “The biggest obstacle will be connecting with an agency or getting my first initial client. (The) greatest hurdle will be the cost factor down the line when it comes to the clients training.”
  • “I think the biggest obstacle is going to be breaking into an area that is top-heavy.  In other words, there are a handful of agencies that represent a majority of the available players; at least, that is my perception. While there are still clients to be had, I think it is going to be challenging to establish those connections and relationships in order to position myself to land my first client. Although I have a football background, athlete representation will be new to me, so it will take some work to establish credibility once those connections and relationships are established.”
  • “(The biggest obstacle will be) answering the question from prospective clients, who you got? (Also,) funding.”
  • “I think it would be expected for me to say being a female agent would be an obstacle, but I don’t see that as an obstacle whatsoever (even though the number of female agents have decreased). I personally think my biggest obstacle will be something I can’t pinpoint right now, but probably something that catches me off guard. I’ve been lucky to have some really great NFL agent mentors/friends who’ve given me their ‘rookie’ stories (the good and the bad) so I feel pretty confident. I will say, most likely, spending a lot of time recruiting a player for them to go a different direction probably will be one of those ‘unexpected hurdles’ I encounter that hits me a certain way Year 1.”

We’ll continue to look at the 2019 NFL agent exam from all angles this week, so stay tuned.

Sports Tech with Ric Serritella: The NFL Gets Ready for Augmented Reality

Succeed In Football is dedicated to keeping you informed with the latest gridiron trends and technology. Be sure to check back periodically for new updates and stay ahead of your competition!

The OneTeam Collective is the sports industry’s first athlete-driven business accelerator for innovative companies seeking to incorporate sports strategies to drive growth. Launched in December of 2016, the organization consists of the NFLPA, BlackRock, Harvard Innovation Lab, Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, CSM LeadDog, Madrona Venture Group and Sports Innovation Lab.

Since then, OneTeam Collective has invested in companies featuring blockchain, wearables, voice recognition, digital media, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, health and wellness, active gaming and live video streaming. Many of these industries were highlighted in our column last week, when we discussed some of the hot technology that has NFL players buzzing.

Today, we examine the latest strategic investment by OneTeam Collective, which includes a partnership with ByteCubed Labs, an advanced technology product development startup that combines data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented/mixed reality to change the way fans interact with sports.

Just seven months old, ByteCubed Labs made waves with its initial launch of PRE-GAME PREP, the world’s first holographic training platform for football, attracting clients from both college and NFL teams.

The joint venture between OneTeam Collective and ByteCubed Labs will focus on bridging the gap between players and fans, utilizing content and data-driven products, as they plan to create distribution channels and engagement models for new forms of fan-player interaction, as well as transforming athletic training across all elements of game-day preparation.

One of their featured products under development includes a mixed reality and fan interaction platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which they claim will be a first in sports. Fans will get a glimpse of similar technology this weekend in a PPV broadcast dubbed, “40 Yards of Gold,” which plans to crown the NFL’s fastest man. Athletes will appear to run over futuristic platforms thanks to projection-mapping technology.

“Developing cutting-edge, player-driven fan experiences is what really excites us about this collaboration,” NFLPA President Eric Winston was quoted in the press release. “ByteCubed Lab’s approach to content through the use of mixed reality and artificial intelligence could be a game changer as it relates to fan engagement.”

As social media continues to evolve, the way we watch sporting events continues to change, and the way we view an NFL game could look completely different from today’s viewing experience, thanks to technology.

This could mean a viewing experience would include:

  • An arena filled with cheering Disney characters rather than fans
  • The end zone catching fire as a rusher crosses the goal line
  • A receiver’s uniform to change color, along with the cornerback defending him, to spotlight the pending catch
  • A Steelers home game against the Bengals that looks like it’s being played in Paul Brown Stadium
  • The odds of converting on a third-down play printed on the field depending on where it’s thrown, or the direction of the rush
  • A quarterback that appears to throw a Big Mac to a hungry tight end, rather than a football

The possibilities are endless, and not always pretty.

For those interested in learning more about how augmented and virtual realities work, the history of the technology behind it and what lies ahead in the future, here is a recommended article.

In order to Succeed In Football, you need to have a competitive edge. Visit our premium website, InsideTheLeague.com, for insider information in the football community and more ways to get ahead! You can also register for our weekly look at the pro and college football business community, the Friday Wrap, here.

 

Sports Tech With Ric Serritella: Not A Businessman but A Business, Man

Stay on top of hot topics and latest trends in Sports Tech with Ric Serritella of the NFL Draft Bible…

We’ve all heard the term “locker room talk,” but what exactly do players discuss amongst themselves when hanging in the locker room? One topic that has become prominent amongst players is entrepreneurship.

When a player is chosen in the NFL Draft, not only is he rewarded with a lucrative professional contract, but he’s also suddenly inundated with an abundance of business opportunities; the same is true when he signs a mega-dollars deal in free agency. A smart investment can reap a handsome return on investment (ROI), but a poor business decision could be costly and, as we’ve seen far too often, can even bankrupt athletes.

Several weeks ago, we highlighted some of the premier sports tech events occurring this summer, including the 49ers/SportTechie NEXT at Levi’s Stadium earlier this month. The event highlighted several interesting topics, including the attitude a player has towards his involvement with a product. Athletes no longer just want to slap their names on items. Instead, they want to be influencers, want to be part of the ‘creative’ process, want to have a say in how the message is delivered, and/or want to be rewarded with a piece of ownership.

Much of the locker room chatter these days revolves around what to invest in, how the process of investing works, and who to trust. So what are some of the hot topic industries that have players’ buzzing? One popular topic is CBD products such as water and supplements. Others are curious to see how the legalized sports gambling landscape shakes out, while some have invested in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

Having stock in some of these businesses could be risky and deemed controversial by ‘The Shield.’ Hence, players must be well-informed and educated in order to make the right decisions. With so much new technology emerging, it can be difficult to decipher the difference between the next big, lucrative opportunity or an overhyped, new technology that fails to deliver.

Casey Schwab knows a little about that topic. The 49ers/SportTechie NEXT event featured Schwab, who serves as Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at NFL Players Inc., among its panelists. Schwab told a story of the time when the licensing arm of the NFLPA was offered a business proposition: forego its traditional player licensing fees in exchange for capital in Bitstrips, the parent company of the Bitmoji app. The NFLPA declined and, two years later, in March of 2016, Bitstrips was acquired by Snap for $115 million.

Some of the most successful athletes (Derek Jeter, LeBron James, etc.) made or make more money from their business ventures than from the teams that employ them. They have provided a model for what every pro player should aspire to be.

*Want to Succeed In Football? Looking for an edge to get ahead? Check out our premium service at www.InsideTheLeague.com, which is geared toward guiding agents, trainers and football industry professionals in achieving their business goals. 

 

Ask the Scouts: Are TV Draft Gurus Legitimate GM/Front Office Candidates?

If you follow the NFL scouting profession — and maybe even if you don’t — you’ve noticed that more and more often, NFL teams are looking to the broadcast booth to find their GM and executive candidates. As you might expect, this has not gone unnoticed in scouting circles.

We thought we’d ask some of our friends in the scouting community what they thought about this. We posed this question: What are your thoughts on McShay, Jeremiah, Mayock, getting NFL jobs or consideration for them? Net positive (brings attention to scouting, which might improve pay/conditions) or net negative (people w/yrs of scouting/dues-paying getting overlooked)?

We got 12 responses, and some of them were pretty positive. Here’s a sampling:

  • “The scouting community has changed over the past five years. New/younger owners and new/younger GM’s have depleted front offices of experienced scouts and hired brand-new-out-of-college ‘information-gatherers.’ This has dropped salaries of scouts tremendously. Assistant coaches in the NFL have seen a 400% salary increase in the past 20 years, whereas scouting salaries have stayed the same with experienced scouts but dropped overall because of the high amount of young inexperienced personnel. Adding GMs with zero NFL front office experience but just TV doesn’t help this new model, but only hurts the overall product. Daniel Jeremiah and Louis Riddick are different because each have a lot of experience in NFL front offices.” 
  • “I really don’t see any big problem with it, if they convince an owner they are qualified. I think (the) biggest concern would be “boots on the ground” time at schools — all the contacts and little day-to-day items that scouts do. But then again, for the roles they are up for (director level), that’s not as important. Hell, some of the names who are scouts that get interviewed aren’t qualified, and we’ve seen some colossal flame-outs as well.”
  • “I see it like Hollywood going to war. No more rubber bullets (fans and viewers). Now the bullets are real (owners). (Former Lions GM) Matt Millen might could answer the question from similar experience!”
  • “In the end, I would like to think that there are worthy candidates already in the profession, but that being said, being a scout doesn’t necessarily prepare you for leading people or an organization.  Oftentimes the clubs want a smooth, media-friendly guy to be the face and those guys have that.  I would think the hard thing is the learning curve…you only have 2 or at most 3 years to get it right so learning on the job is a hard ask.”
  • “There are others that have been promoted to GM positions that have been shockers, either because their agent has strong influence, or the media has them as the next up-and-coming person because that individual has struck up a personal relationship with the media and being pushed. I question the owners’ ability to make consistent informed decisions, but that is just me. What would be interesting is to see how much the turnover has been in GM positions in the last 20 years.  The age of GMs getting the position and age they are getting fired. The owners have put in their rule that you must have permission to interview to move up except for the GM position which keeps very capable individuals stuck without the ability to better their lives just so they can save money yet from what I see lately are guys unqualified getting the jobs and fired early, which costs the owners more in the long run. More, as in the millions.”

Naturally, not everyone saw the bright side of the broadcasters-to-scouts trend. Some were outraged, while some were more nuanced. You can read their responses in today’s Friday Wrap, which comes out in less than three hours. The Wrap is our weekly review of the pro and college business, and it comes out at 7:30 p.m. ET every Friday. You can check out last week’s edition here, and you can register for it here.

We hope you can join us. You won’t regret it.

 

Do Head Coaches Have All The Power in Today’s NFL?

The Texans’ dismissal of Brian Gaine as GM last week was part of a trend, but probably not a trend anyone is discussing much these days. I think Gaine’s exit is the latest confirmation that the center of power has changed from the general manager to the head coach, especially in the last 2-3 years. Consider:

  • The Bills gave first-time head coach Sean McDermott almost complete control of decision-making after the team cleaned house in the scouting department in April 2017, just four months after hiring him.
  • Similarly, just a few months after hiring Adam Gase as head coach, the Jets allowed Gase to force out GM Mike Maccagnan and bring in a GM with which he is far more comfortable, Joe Douglas.
  • The Panthers and the Chiefs — two teams with tenured, established head coaches — each fired respected GMs in the summer of 2017, a previously unheard-of move with training camp just weeks away.
  • The Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, who had been fired at Texas Tech, as their new head coach though he had no previous NFL experience. Then they spent the No. 1 pick on his guy, a player that the team will have to completely reshape their offense to fit and dumped last year’s first-round QB.
  • In New Orleans, GM Mickey Loomis doesn’t even spend all his time on the Saints, as he also has a leadership role with the NBA Pelicans. Most of his duties are business- and cap-related, anyway.
  • Though Falcons Assistant GM Scott Pioli left on his own terms after the draft, his departure gives head coach Dan Quinn a much stronger hand in the organization’s direction.

That’s eight teams (Bills, Cardinals, Chiefs, Falcons, Jets, Panthers, Saints and Texans) that have acted decisively to hand the iron in the organization to the head coach, or that have a structure that doesn’t put the locus of strength in the front office. You can expect other teams to copy them, given that five of those eight teams have been in the playoffs at least once since 2017.

Reasons for this are multiple.

  • The real innovation in football is taking place at the college level offensively. NFL teams are doing what they have to do to find college coaches that can bring in new ideas.
  • Today’s NFL rules strongly favor the offense, so you better have a head coach that can take advantage of that. If that means increasing his authority, you have to do it.
  • NFL coaches pay is skyrocketing. It’s not nearly as easy to just dump a coach and eat his salary as it used to be.

So what does this mean for scouts? It’s probably not good news. The GM is to scouts as the head coach is to assistant coaches, which means evaluators are probably not gaining in influence. It also means teams are likely to lean more on their coaches for draft decisions. This doesn’t say good things for where scout pay is headed.

Does this topic interest you? Would you like to read more about how NFL front offices are structured, where teams are looking for new coaches and GMs, what kinds of ideas are taking hold in NFL war rooms, and other such subjects, make sure to register for our free newsletter, the Friday Wrap. It’s a weekly recap of the business of football. If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll like the Friday Wrap even more. Register here.

A Look at Modern NFL Scouting Department Models

This time of year, we are pretty active on Twitter publishing the scouts getting hired and fired by NFL teams. There is always plenty of misunderstanding of how this works and why it’s done, which we try to clear up along the way.

I thought I’d discuss a few archetypes in NFL scouting departments as well as some that are unique, for various reasons. I’ll be talking about this further with Matt Manocherian and Aaron Schatz on the Off the Charts Podcast this week.

Also, note that last summer we counted the members of each NFL team’s staff that had “scout” in the title, and we totaled it all up on our home site. We’ll draw on those numbers as we look at a few teams in the subsequent paragraphs.

Browns: The Browns are unusual in that they have more scouts and scouting assistants than anyone in the NFL (17 as of our count last summer). Most of this is a hangover from Sashi Brown’s days as GM, when the team was focused on a total changeover to analytics. That said, GM John Dorsey has been with the team for two offseasons now and he hasn’t reduced the size of the department, so apparently this is the Browns’ direction. By our count last year, only six teams had as many as 14 employees with “scout” in the title. Strengths: No one has cracked the analytics code, and with so many scouts on staff, Cleveland has as much chance to do that as any team. Weaknesses: Having so much redundancy makes for a fat payroll, and anyway, how many scouts is too many?

Patriots: New England is at the forefront of a model that’s gained serious traction in the last 10-15 years. Head coach/GM Bill Belichick and a couple selected confidantes sit at the top of a pyramid, and for the most part, the area scouts aren’t expected to come back with opinions. They’re expected to do the work that the combines, National Football Scouting and BLESTO, would normally do, i.e., bring back facts — injury histories, arrests and suspensions, heights and weights. Then Belichick & Co. do the rest. As we’ve seen teams (Lions, Falcons, Bucs and Titans among them) hire former Patriots officials as GMs, this philosophy has spread around the league. Strengths: The team has excellent continuity in its drafting philosophy between coaching staff and personnel department. Weaknesses: Though they have respected evaluators, Patriots have not always been as consistent on draft day as other teams, and must excel on the pro side.

Colts and Seahawks: Indianapolis and Seattle have gained a reputation of being the anti-Patriots, as they pride themselves on leaning on and trusting their evaluators, which is more of an old-school philosophy. Despite this, Chris Ballard (Colts) and John Schneider (Seahawks) both have excellent reputations and are seen as some of the best in the business. That’s why people like Ed Dodds, Dan Morgan, Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, who all cut their teeth in Seattle, regularly get interviews when GM jobs come open. You’ll start to see the same happen in Indy as Ballard builds his team in Indy. Strengths: Talented people who have the trust of their GMs make for talented teams. Weaknesses: This structure keeps the pressure on the GM to constantly seek and hire talented executives as he inevitably loses some to other teams. Also, a couple bad hires can set the team back immensely.

Bengals: Cincinnati has always been known as a team that counts its pennies and checks them twice. This is why the team doesn’t employ a traditional scouting department, per se. Instead, the team tends to lean on its coaches to make the major personnel decisions, and though the team is slowly expanding its scouting presence, evaluators have to mold their opinions to coaches, instead of vice versa. Strengths: The Bengals may not be perennial Super Bowl contenders, but they have been remarkably consistent over the past 10-15 years. Weaknesses: The Bengals have been burned by character risks more than once; is that because they are more risk-tolerant, or because there are things they miss?

Others:

  • The Broncos and Texans were historically teams that toyed with the Bengals model, giving their coaches more input than other teams, but subsequent GM changes have muddied the waters there.
  • The Cowboys have had incredible continuity over the years with a rather lean department; given their turnover this year, it will be interesting to see if they adjust their philosophy at all.
  • Green Bay has historically put a lot of value on hiring former players, especially those with Packers roots, but that seems to be changing under new GM Brian Gutekunst.

Check out Inside the League for more discussion of scouts totals, areas, hires, and team philosophies. You can also register for our Friday Wrap, which is a weekly wrap-up of what’s going on in the football industry. Also, listen in as Matt, Aaron and I discuss scouting departments in the Off the Charts Podcast this week.

 

Sports Tech with Ric Serritella: Crowning the “King of Speed”

Each week, Sports Tech with Ric Serritella, features innovative technology being used in the world of American football.

The pro football season is a little less than 100 days away. Still, if you’re a rabid fan of the NFL, there may be a way to get your fix before camps start.

The event goes by the name 40 Yards of Gold, and the competitors intend to declare the “King of Speed” in the NFL by fusing entertainment and technology. They will do so utilizing what Quince Imaging calls, “projection mapping.” For the first time in history, fans will get to witness the new technology, which will create illusions on the field that make the participants appear to be running on futuristic platforms.

Projection mapping, also known as video mapping and spatial augmented reality, is an experience that needs to be seen to be fully understood. That’s why we dug up this video to help provide a visual. Professional sports are not a new arena for Quince, which is considered to be an industry leader in projection mapping and has also worked with Major League Baseball.

A couple of weeks ago, Saints wide out Ted Ginn declared that he’s “willing to race anyone for “$10,000 or better.” Now he’ll get a chance to put his money where his mouth is, with a twist. While no details of background images have been announced, projection mapping technology could make it appear that Ginn is running in outer space, on the moon, or on top of Mount Everest. It certainly will add to the entertainment value of the event, which will be held June 29 in Miami at a venue to be determined.

In addition to Ginn, the tournament will also feature NFL players Alvin Kamara (Saints), Kevin Byard (Titans), Corey Coleman (Giants), Robby Anderson (Jets), Mark Ingram (Ravens), Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Redskins), Trae Waynes (Vikings) and many more. Seeds will be determined by fan voting. Anyone interested in casting a ballot can do so here.

There will also be separate tournaments for youth, high school and college athletes. These respective races will be dubbed the ‘Gods of Speed’ competitions.

Additional website features will include highlights, interviews, articles, original content and much more, offering fans an inside look at the fastest players in the sport. For good measure, the event is also expected to have live music performances and fan features.

While many have clamored for the NFL to bring back the QB Challenge, this might be the next best thing. No word yet on if the 40 Yards of Gold event will be televised. Stay tuned! For more information on registration and tickets, click here.

Did you see which NFL players are investing in bitcoin? Check it out here. Plus, a list of sports tech events coming up this summer! Succeed in Football is part of the Inside The League network, which provides inside information to those who work in the football industry. Learn more here. And to register for the weekly Friday Wrap, a rundown on the football industry, click here.

 

Sports Tech with Ric Serritella: “Pay Me In Bitcoin”

Check back weekly for the latest ‘Sports Tech’ with Ric Serritella of NFL Draft Bible as we explore the impact of technology in sports and how it applies to the gridiron!

If the headline sounds intriguing, it is. Maybe it sounds preposterous. Could bitcoin really cross over into pro sports? According to one crypto insider, at least one NFL player has already attempted to be paid in bitcoin.

For those of you not familiar with the term, bitcoin is a form of crypto currency (electronic cash) free of government regulations and it operates independently of any banks. Bitcoin can be sent from peer to peer and is stored in a digital wallet. Transactions occur through blockchain technology, which makes it nearly impossible to hack. As of today, one bitcoin equals $7,659.71.

You can see why folks are “bullish” on the potential for bitcoin. Quarterback Matt Barkley was denied his request both in 2017 (49ers) and 2018 (Bengals). But what if a marquee free agent demanded to be paid in bitcoin? The extent that NFL teams are willing to go in order to land franchise players would certainly make for an intriguing story. Los Angeles Chargers offensive lineman Russell Okung apparently wants to be paid in bitcoin too and would like to see that headline scroll across the bottom of ESPN.

Bitcoin isn’t new; it’s been around since 2009, a decade in the making. So why hasn’t bitcoin caught on yet? The value of the currency is volatile, which does incur high risk, such as this fraudulent investment by former NFL running back Darren McFadden, which cost him $237 millionMore recently, former Minnesota Vikings stakeholder Reginald Fowler, who was originally named as one of the Alliance of American Football league’s bigger investors,was tied to this $850M crypto mysteryCases like these certainly highlight the volatility in bitcoin and make it easy to see why the currency has yet to reach mainstream status.

Still, crypto believers will be paying close attention to others who have gone ‘all in’ on bitcoin such as San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who began accepting bitcoin in exchange for merchandise on his website in 2014. Sherman contends that crypto currency is a hot topic in NFL locker rooms.

While there will be plenty of those on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of how they view bitcoin, one must wonder how long is it until a mega superstar hits the open market and demands from his agent, “Show me the bitcoin!”

The summer is about to begin and we have the must-attend technology events that are sure to heat up, check out our list here. Remember, check out our premium site InsideTheLeague.com for the latest in NFL scout hiring and firing, agent insider news and industry-related updates.

 

Sports Tech with Ric Serritella: Mark Your Calendar for These Events

Here at Succeed In Football, our focus is on helping you advance in the sports industry by keeping you up to date with the latest tech trends and news. Today, we highlight a few upcoming sports tech events around the country that offer up a tremendous amount of cutting-edge value.

49ers/SportTechie NEXT at Levi Stadium — Bay Area, CA  (June 6-7): The San Francisco 49ers and SportTechie are teaming up to present an excellent sports business, technology and analytics conference. The conference brings together executives and thought leaders to discuss and present the most important trends and events shaping the industry. The Horizon Summit provides a platform for leagues, teams, corporate partners, vendors, innovators and investors to come together to share ideas, experiences and outlooks. By encouraging learning across key themes and trends, they ensure you will remain at the forefront of your industry and be prepared for what is approaching on the horizon. Tickets are expected to sell out, but you can reserve a spot here.

LiveWorx19 in Boston (June 10-13): This four-day event features keynote speakers from various industries but football tech junkies will be interested to know that Michelle McKenna, the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of the NFL, will be speaking June 12. McKenna, who oversees the organization’s technology strategy and shared service delivery, will discuss how she is “quarterbacking” a digital revolution for the NFL with an “augmented workforce.” McKenna will also introduce a new set of technological capabilities that integrate with human skills and expertise on how to enable workers to become “human+” in order to help organizations thrive. Over 2,000 companies, 9,500-plus attendees and 500-plus speakers are scheduled to appear at LiveWorx. For more information on this event, visit here.

Sports Techie & NFLPA – Accelerating Change: Sports Tech & Innovation in Washington, D.C. (July 16): During MLB All-Star Week in Washington, D.C., the NFL Players Association and SportTechie present an exclusive, invitation-only event that brings together sports industry executives and thought leaders for an evening of discussion on sports technology and innovation. Spots are limited to this invite-only event. For more information on how to register, visit the website.

Sports Video Group (SVG) OTT Forum in New York City (July 25): Over-the-top distribution and direct-to-consumer live-streaming packages are poised to dramatically change the world of live sports video. While the entire media ecosystem is approaching this new era of consumer behavior, the sports media industry faces its own unique set of challenges and opportunities. SVG will have its second-annual SVG Sports OTT Forum to be held July 25 at NYIT in New York City. To register for this event, click here.

Remember, there are numerous ways to advance your career in the sports industry, which include adapting to new technology, learning innovative strategies and expanding your network. The aforementioned events will help you achieve all of those.

And don’t forget! If you aspire to work in football and are looking for an edge, subscribe to our premium insider content at Inside the League at $30/mo, or sign up for our free weekly look at what’s happening in the college and pro football industry, the Friday Wrap, here. You can read last week’s edition here.