Back to Hashtag Sports 2020 VRTL

Hashtag Sports 2020 VRTL Agenda.

Our series of back-to-back panels, presentations and interviews will address the most critical challenges and opportunities in fan engagement today. Sessions will be conducted via live stream video powered by Grabyo Producer and organized around five agenda themes.

This year's event has 5 agenda themes:

Sports Betting Media Summit.

Tuesday, 10/20 @ 9:50AM EDT

Opening Words

Tuesday, 10/20 @ 10:00AM EDT

The State of Digital Marketing in the U.S. Sports Betting Market

As sports betting continues to spread across the United States, digital marketing will become even more of a key differentiator for brands looking to cut through the noise and engage users. Those that leverage industry-leading innovations and solutions will be poised to excel as the market expands, leaving competitors in the dust. Join our panel of experts as they explore the current state of digital marketing in sports betting, common challenges, and acquisition strategies, as well as what’s to come next year and beyond.


Tuesday, 10/20 @ 10:45AM EDT

Product Innovation and Micro-Wagering Will Change The Sports Industry Forever

Presented with Phenix

Today's streaming limits in-game betting to betting at the end of an inning or quarter thus, minimizing the amount of handle generated. What most people don't realize however, is that the technology now exists for "micro-wagering" - betting on every play in a game. Our panel will explore how broadcast companies and sports leagues are addressing sports betting and in-game or, micro-wagering, the latest in technology and product innovations allowing micro-wagering to grow not only betting revenues but engagement too and what the future will bring for an industry ready to explode.


Tuesday, 10/20 @ 12:15PM EDT

Featured Interview: David Levy

As the former President of Turner Sports, David Levy has seen firsthand the power of legalized sports gambling in shaping strategy for both legacy and new media companies. Now as an investor and advisor, he's helping to amplify new business ideas and modern sports content strategy in the space. Join us as Levy and prominent investor Keith Bank discuss the impact of sports betting on major media rights deals about to be up for grabs, opportunities to drive revenue and engagement through esports gambling, the future of personalized betting in-venue, the rise of SPACS, and other hot button trends and topics.


  • David Levy – Founder, Back Nine Ventures
  • Keith Bank – CEO & Co-Founder, KB Partners (moderator)

Tuesday, 10/20 @ 1:00PM EDT

How to Use Content to Engage Audiences and Drive Market Share + Revenue

Presented with Data Skrive

As sports betting continues to grow, content remains the most effective driver of new bettors and deposits. Whether you’re a sportsbook, affiliate, or sports media company, your ability to cost-effectively scale content will determine how successful you’ll eventually be. Learn how industry leaders are leveraging automation to scale content production, reduce costs, and grow market share.


Tuesday, 10/20 @ 1:45PM EDT

New Fans & New Markets: Models for Marketing & Content Partnerships

Media companies, sportsbook operators and sports properties are in a race to join forces through formalized partnerships in the North American sports betting ecosystem. While each deal is different, one tenant remains the same: an emphasis on premium content and multi-platform media opportunities. Join this panel of marketing leaders to discuss how they're continually evolving brand strategy to engage as their organizations enter new markets; insight into driving revenue and user acquisition through digital media; and how they're shaping multi-platform, content-led partnerships to be the cornerstone of their marketing and revenue strategy.


Tuesday, 10/20 @ 2:30PM EDT

ESPN and the Sports Betting Opportunity

For years, ESPN has long recognized sports betting as becoming more and more endemic to the overall experience of the fan by delivering sports betting content across its platforms. Specifically, in the past year alone, ESPN has grown its presence in this space for opportunities to expand its brand and audience and increase fan engagement. Join ESPN’s Mike Morrison (vice president, business development & innovation) and Doug Kezirian (sports betting analyst and Daily Wager host) for a conversation on how ESPN has approached the sports betting opportunity to further innovate and deliver the best and most seamless experience for fans.


Special Event.

Wednesday, 10/21 @ 1:00PM - 2:00PM EDT

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 2020 Honors Luncheon (Virtual)

In collaboration with Intel Sports

Join Intel Sports and Hashtag Sports for a special luncheon on Tuesday, October 21 at 1PM EDT to honor Kerry Chandler, Chief Human Resources Officer at Endeavor and Mark Tatum, Deputy Commissioner & COO at the NBA for their outstanding work to champion diversity, equity, and and inclusion across sports & entertainment. Request an invite here to join and hear insights from Kerry and Mark as to how they approach their workplace culture and envision the future of talent. We will also engage in roundtable discussions with small groups to exchange dialogue and ideas as to how we can enable opportunity and inclusivity. Complimentary lunch provided by Yahoo Sports.


Evolution of the Fan Experience.
presented by Greenfly

Wednesday, 10/21 @ 2:00 PM EDT

Unlock Your Sports Content to Build Global Fan Engagement and Brand Value

Presented with Greenfly

Today, sports leagues and teams are high-volume content producers. It doesn’t matter where your fans are or when they’re watching — they can connect to your sports brand 24/7 through the goldmine of meaningful photos and videos you’re capturing every day. The key is dismantling your content silos and harnessing your network of advocates to get fans that high-quality media and engage with them more deeply. Hear from top sports marketers around the world who are reimagining the global fan experience by bringing them the content they want from their favorite athletes — right as they step off the playing field. With a content strategy and workflows built for speedy worldwide delivery, engaging your fans and boosting your reach and brand value is easier now than ever.


Wednesday, 10/21 @ 2:45PM EDT

New Normal Meets New Generation

Just as a shift in a younger generation of fan's habits began to take hold in 2020, a once-in-a-generation sports hiatus promised to shake up the industry even more. The games are the same, but the gameplans are changing. This session will examine how our new normal and the ushering of attempts to attract younger fans are converging. Join experts in discussing Ticketing 2.0 concepts, best practices in fan experience learned from the sports restart, and how sports organizations are working with partners to bring the in-arena excitement into fans' homes.


Wednesday, 10/21 @ 3:30PM EDT

Engaging Fans and Brands in the Moment with Effortless Visual Storytelling

Presented with PhotoShelter

With lean teams and limitations on fans in the stands, sports brands are leveraging compelling content and powerful AI technology to bring fans closer to the action. Find out how artificial intelligence is revolutionizing photography and social media workflows in sports.


Wednesday, 10/21 @ 4:15PM EDT

Bubble Engagement: How the NBA, Turner Sports and Twitter Innovated Through an Unprecedented Basketball Season

Presented with Tagboard

With the unique circumstances of the pandemic, we look back at how the NBA, Turner Sports and Twitter looked for new ways to engage with fans during this unprecedented basketball season in the NBA bubble through innovation. We'll discuss fan engagement across NBA Bubble, #NBATwitterLive, NBA on TNT and NBA TV and what lies ahead for the future.


Revenue & Recovery.
presented by Grabyo

Thursday, 10/20 @ 10:10AM EDT

Opening Words

Thursday, 10/22 @ 10:15AM EDT

Fulfilling Event-Based Business Models with Content

The pandemic may have halted the annual International Champions Cup from bringing Champions League teams to the U.S. this year, but it hasn't impeded Relevent Sports' mission to continue growing American interest in international soccer. Through insider content, video series, and production arms, organizations are finding storytelling effective until fans are able to fill stadiums once ago. Hear takeaways from senior executives' shift to storytelling from live events that can help your organization drive revenue and engagement.


Thursday, 10/22 @ 11:00AM EDT

The Value of Digital in the Absence of Live Fans

Presented with Grabyo

Sports organizations are preparing for the long-term financial effects of the pandemic. Without fans in stadiums, lost ticket and sponsorship revenue is placing a strain on organizations. To combat the current situation, creative innovation is key. From fan subscriptions, licensing, and e-commerce to branded content and digital activations, organizations are utilizing their digital assets to recoup lost revenue and maintain fan engagement.


Thursday, 10/22 @ 11:45AM EDT

The Intersection of Content and Ecommerce

Two tenants of fandom that have not been casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on sports: original content and ecommerce—and the intersection of the two has made for a increasingly powerful way to generate needed revenue. From making DWade's World Tour a mainstay to collections for the NFL Draft and more, Bleacher Report is turning moments and memories into merchandise. Meanwhile, esports team FaZe Clan has formed apparel partnerships with teams and leagues like Man City and the NFL on its way to billions of video views (and potential for a billion-dollar business). Learn how ecommerce and merchandise can grow into a bigger piece of your revenue pie chart, and explore tips and tricks for partnerships from some of the best in the business.


  • Ed Romaine – CMO, Bleacher Report
  • Xavier Ramos – VP, Creative Business Development, FaZe Clan
  • Rael Enteen – Sr. Director Content Strategy, Washington Football Team (moderator)

Thursday, 10/22 @ 12:30PM EDT

How to Maximize the Value of Social Media in the COVID Era

Presented with Slate

With (mostly) empty stadiums and fans stuck at home in front of their screens, the role of social media for sports organizations has grown in importance for both fan engagement and sponsor integration. All while internal resources for social content creation have been cut. We discuss how teams can take full advantage of the opportunities that exist on social media in the current environment to deepen fan engagement, sell sponsorships, and be ready to convert engagements into ticket sales when fans can return.


Engage & Empower.
presented by Opendorse

Thursday, 10/22 @ 1:10PM EDT

The Evolution of Athlete-Driven Media in the NIL Era

Presented with opendorse

In 2021, student-athletes will be able to accept compensation for their name, image, and likeness (NIL). In a mad dash to prepare and compete in this new reality, college athletics programs are embracing personal brand-building solutions and education for their student-athletes. But a challenge remains: athletes need access and rights to more high-quality media. They need to share more content to be in position to win in the NIL era. Overtime and Opendorse are at the center of this world where the value of content rivals currency itself. The media and technology companies have become a centerpiece in this conversation with a laser-focus on those who create moments and drive culture in sports -- the athlete. Co-founders Zack Weiner (Overtime COO) and Blake Lawrence (Opendorse CEO) will be joined by Moderator Paige Dimakos of the Draft Network to discuss the athlete-driven media industry's rapid evolution, and how athletes and college athletics departments win together in the NIL era.


Thursday, 10/22 @ 1:55PM EDT

Event & Venue Innovation: Planning for Uncertainty

NOTE: Technical difficulties prevented this session from airing in full on our live stream yesterday. We are re-airing a recording of this panel during this new time block.

Perhaps the only thing certain about the state of live events is how much uncertainty looms in 2021. Organizations of all types—from agencies and media companies to venues and leagues—are under immense pressure to deliver safe experiences for fans and value for clients, sponsors, and advertisers. Hear how a panel of entertainment and event experts are thinking about tentpole events like March Madness, the Super Bowl and Olympics; their approach to contingency planning for activations & experiences; and how technology is enabling new types of experiences in the interim.


Thursday, 10/22 @ 2:40PM EDT

Athlete Impact: Partnerships with a Purpose

Presented with NFLPA

Athletes and brands are aligning more than ever before around shared values, creating united voices to make a positive impact. Whether supporting charitable causes and community opportunities or advancing social justice initiatives, values are coming first in athlete and brand partnerships. Get insight from NFL star Michael Thomas, EA Sports’ Ty Stover and the NFLPA’s Gina Scott on how you can create unique athlete partnerships with strong purpose.


Thursday, 10/22 @ 3:20PM EDT

How COVID Has Hit The Reset Button on Society and What It Means For Marketing

Presented with STN Digital

From your grandparents learning how and what zoom is for digital happy hours, to restaurants going to only delivery only, the world changed on a dime and brands/restaurants/corporations all had to make adjustments on the fly. Do we need to send employees on long distance flights + hotels for meetings now that Zoom is normalized? Do we need to pay millions of dollars in rent for expensive NYC offices? Taking a look at how the population was educated at scale and how the marketing world is forever changed.


Thursday, 10/22 @ 4:00PM EDT

The Mental Health Toll: Sports and Social in 2020

For those in social media and digital roles, the crafting, monitoring, and responding never stops—not even during a pandemic, sports pause, or period of national unrest and calls for social justice. This session will explore the mental health toll that 2020 has put on engagement experts in sports and entertainment, discuss resources used by peers to improve mental well-being, and examine how organizations of different types are empowering and engaging employees in these "always-on" roles.


Thursday, 10/22 @ 4:40PM EDT

Channeling Athlete Media into Charitable Causes and Change

In an unusual and difficult year, fundraising, philanthropy and advocacy have risen to the forefront on social media. From fundraising for social justice and driving donations for the healthcare industry amidst the peak of the pandemic, to ensuring no nonprofit's needs go unnoticed during turbulent times, organizations who wish to remain steadfast in their commitment to charitable causes will be well-served if they are well-versed in working with athletes, celebrities, and influencers to spread the word and secure support. Join us to examine the intersection of athlete marketing, media and philanthropy, and hear how nonprofit The V Foundation for Cancer Research, celebrity video app Cameo, and players themselves are empowering fans to contribute to the causes they care about most.