The Gabelli School of Business announced the launch of the Gabelli Sports Business Initiative, “a new way to dissect sports” and to “examine the tough issues involving the sports business,” said founder Mark Conrad, J.D.

“We’re going to take a deep dive in the sports industry over the coming months and years, bringing together stakeholders and the professional, collegiate, amateur, and international sports arenas for a series of symposia, podcasts, lectures, and possibly more,” said Conrad, associate professor of law and ethics at the Gabelli School.

Speaking at the online 10th annual Sports Business Symposium on April 7, Conrad said the initiative will be a “mini center” that will tackle cutting-edge issues that impact the sports business landscape, both now and in the future.

Tackling Timely Issues in Sports

Conrad said the initiative plans to host at least one symposium on one of these topics: sports at a time of war; diversity, equity, and inclusion in sports; the professionalization of college sports; and a deep dive into sports betting, particularly the public health aspect.

The Sports Business Initiative will officially launch this summer with podcasts, a website, and a newsletter before moving into hosting symposia, lectures, and other programming in the fall.

“There will be lectures by Fordham faculty, professional and amateur athletes, league and Olympic officials, government representatives, grassroots groups—we’re looking for a broad group of stakeholders to participate in this initiative,” he said.

“We want to make this a real go-to place—and not just for New York City, not just for Fordham—but really for the nation and the world,,” Conrad said, adding that events will be hosted on Zoom to draw people from around the globe.

Conrad said the initiative will not only draw top sports professionals, but also Gabelli School students who are interested in sports business. Students in Fordham’s business school as well as the liberal arts colleges will have a chance to participate.

Conrad serves as the faculty adviser for the Business of Sports Society, which hosted the April 7 event. The society is one part of Fordham’s many sports business offerings, which include a sports business concentration; courses such as sports marketing, communications, law, and a new course on sports business and diversity; and internship opportunities.

A Hub for Forward-Thinking Ideas and Solutions

Conrad said that he’s currently gathering ideas for what topics should be examined in sports business, what issues need to be addressed, what solutions are available, and how can sports business become more diverse, accountable and transparent.

The idea has been in the works for about a year, Conrad said, and was supported by Gabelli School of Business Dean Donna Rapaccioli; associate deans Francis Petit, N.K. Chidambaran, and Elizabeth Cosenza; professors John Fortunato, Brent Horton, and Amy Aronson; and Athletic Director Ed Kull.

In addition to growing awareness about the initiative, Conrad said they’ll be working to grow their social media presence and work on fundraising for their efforts.

Mackenzie Cranna, a senior at the Gabelli School of Business and current co-president of the Business of Sports Society, told Conrad she knows the initiative will be great for Fordham..

“I think you’re providing the University with some really awesome sports business opportunities,” she said. “Everyone in this club has a lot to look forward to next year.”