University of South Carolina

Sport and entertainment leaders flock to USC

By Ryal Curtis,, 803-777-6491     

We enjoy being entertained. And we’ll spend big bucks to make it happen.

There are plenty of statistics to back that up. The average American household spends about $2,500 each year on entertainment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A family’s entertainment budget on average is actually larger than what it puts aside for health care, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Sport and entertainment combined has grown into a $500 billion industry. And it takes skilled workers to keep this global economic engine running.

In South Carolina alone, sport and entertainment is responsible for some 117,000 jobs. The jobs, the industry and where both are headed is the focus of the SEVT Conference 2012 hosted this week in Columbia by USC's Department of Sport and Entertainment Management

“The sport and entertainment industry continues to represent one of the world’s fastest-growing industries,” said Andy Gillentine, chair of the department of sport and entertainment management at USC. “With new opportunities also come new challenges. That’s where SEVT Conference comes into play.” 

What began in 1989 as the "International Conference on Sports Business," is now a must-attend annual industry conference hosted by USC in collaboration with Venues Today magazine. The SEVT Conference (Sport Entertainment & Venues Tomorrow) brings together industry leaders, academics and students from around the United States with an interest in sport, entertainment and venue management.

They exchange ideas, talk about research and discuss ways to advance the industry. 

“SEVT truly is a conference like no other,” said Frank Roach, senior lecturer in USC’s sport and entertainment management department. Roach joined USC in 2003 after spending more than 30 years in the entertainment business, including VP roles at Clear Channel Entertainment, MCA/Universal and FELD Entertainment. He’s credited for bringing the entertainment piece to USC’s sport and entertainment program, which before he joined focused primarily on the business of sport.

Roach says the focus of SEVT is on what the industry will look like tomorrow and how leaders can work together to meet the developing challenges in this ever-changing industry.

“Instead of debating current issues, we try to identify future trends and develop ideas to keep them from becoming issues,” said Roach. 

This year’s SEVT Conference (Nov. 15 an 16 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center) features guest speakers, panels and research addressing the most pressing and timely issues confronting the sport and entertainment industry, including a discussion this year on the sky-rocking growth of Internet connectivity at live event venues and its related impact on the fan experience and fan attendance (or lack thereof). Other panel discussions include:

Sorry, You’re Not on the List: The Highs (and Lows) of the VIP Experience
Social Media Strategies That Make Money: Using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to Sell Tickets and Drive Revenues
The Next Big Thing: Teaching Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Chaos at the L.A. Coliseum: A Case Study in Venue Ethics. 

The following individuals will be recognized with awards at this year’s SEVT Conference: 

Lifetime Achievement in Sport and Entertainment Award: Brad Mayne, CFE, President and CEO at MetLife Stadium
Pioneer in Sport and Entertainment Award: Barbara Hubbard, executive director at American Collegiate Talent Showcase (ACTS)
Academic Achievement in Sport and Entertainment Award: William A. “Bill” Sutton, founder and principal at Bill Sutton & Associates and founding director of the Sport and Entertainment MBA Program at the University of South Florida

SEVT Conference also features a sold out career and internship fair for students. The 35 participating exhibitors include many of the industry’s biggest names: FELD Entertainment, Comcast-Spectacor, AEG Facilities, Ticketmaster, LiveNation, NASCAR, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., and the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks, among many others. 

“One of the most important things an academic department can do for its students is to put them in contact with the industry leaders that can help shape their career paths,” said Gillentine. 

Brian J. Mihalik, Dean of USC’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, agrees.

“SEVT is a signature event for our sport and entertainment management program, the university and industry,” he said. “And by hosting over 30 different universities from across the country and more than 35 partner industry companies from around the world, the students are provided VIP access to top decision makers. Together, they’re mapping out the future of the sport and entertainment industry.”

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Posted: 11/15/12 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 11/15/12 @ 5:07 PM | Permalink