Posted on: April 11, 2017
Anniversaries are a time for reflection and celebration as well as a reason to look to the future, and the 20th Sport Entertainment and Venues Tomorrow conference (SEVT) provided plenty of all three.
The event, hosted March 22-24 by the University of South Carolina College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, was attended by students from all over the world, as well as an impressive lineup of industry leaders who shared their experiences on panels, at a career fair for students and in countless informal conversations.
"I think it helps us get outside the classroom and show off the skills that we've learned,” said Glenn Ivol, a sport and entertainment management student who served as a volunteer coordinator for the conference. "We can show them what we know now and what we've done.”
There were plenty of industry heavyweights on hand to network with the students, including Florida Panthers Executive Chairman Peter Luukko, EventBooking CEO John Platillero, Feld Entertainment Vice President Mark Duryea, executives from the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets and Carolina Panthers, and many more.
“The industry people here, whether our panelists or career fair or just attending the conference, they get to know our students, which helps a lot,” said HRSM Department of Sport and Entertainment Management Chair Matt Brown. “Student enrollment was up this year, which was nice. We had many more students from other universities here as well.”
Students from all over the United States attended along with international visitors including a contingent from Ulster University in Northern Ireland. Ohio University took home the Case Study Cup for the second straight year, but the hometown students also impressed.
Educator and author Bill Sutton said he was “totally blown away by the quality of undergraduate students at the University of South Carolina” while attending the conference. Brown said since mostly undergraduates attend, the conference also serves as a recruiting tool for students who may come to USC for graduate or postgraduate studies.
Many past award winners and speakers returned for the 20th conference, including Herb Appenzeller, who served as a consultant in 1987 during the creation of the sport and entertainment management program at USC.
"It's amazing what they have done since then. It's just one of the premier programs in the country,” Appenzeller said of USC’s program. "I was really impressed with the group of students, with the faculty here, and with the mission of the university to really have a program that'll be international, be global, and be statewide. They're doing a beautiful job."
Conference award winners at the 20th SEVT were Luukko (lifetime achievement in sport and entertainment), Platillero (pioneer in sport and entertainment) and Dallas Branch of the University of West Virginia (academic achievement in sport and entertainment.
Brown said the success of the 20th conference has his department looking eagerly to next year and beyond. He said this year’s eSports panel was especially popular, and could be expanded in years to come. Security, new technology and sustainability may also be popular discussions, but the conference will always be one which evolves with the times.
"A lot of it is student-driven,” Brown said. "We're always looking at the future of the industry."