After hundreds of hours of Zoom meetings and months of grueling work, the inaugural Duke Sports Business Conference (DSBC) is finally on.
The DSBC will commence this Thursday, March 25 at 6 p.m., opening with a keynote from Duke alum Jason Robins (Co-Founder and CEO of DraftKings), closing with a keynote from former MLB superstar Alex Rodriguez (Chairman and CEO of A-Rod Corp) and featuring several notable speakers across four panels. Among the panelists is current Duke Men's Basketball Director of Operations and Player Development Nolan Smith, who will speak in the Social Justice in Sports Panel.
Sports business conferences have existed for years at high-profile universities across the country, most notably at Michigan and Penn State.
Despite previously wanting to get one off the ground at Duke, it was only this past year that senior Miles Feuer approached junior Bryan Edwards and senior Harrison Yue to turn this dream into a reality.
“[Around] two days after the [fall] semester ended, we hopped on a call and started to map out what was going to be our mission for the conference,” Edwards said. “And then it just took off from there. We met pretty much every day for a full month outside of a couple days off for Thanksgiving, a couple of days off for Christmas.”
Last semester, the co-founders had a couple of high-profile speakers on Zoom conferences through the Duke Sports Management Club. Although these events didn’t have as large of an audience as they anticipated, they provided invaluable experience for Feuer, Edwards, Yue and the club.
The three went to work over this past winter break, spending 200+ hours on calls with each other, designing the conference’s panels and reaching out to alumni and faculty alike to develop professional advisory boards and make the inaugural conference as enticing as possible.
“We wanted to build a pipeline for the Duke community and show that you don’t need to have any prior experiences or connections to have a career in sports,” Yue said.
Their work could hardly have gone any better. With a large student team behind them, an all-star cast of speakers and a schedule designed to maximize the entirely virtual conference, the Duke Sports Business Conference had over 500 attendees registered as of this past Monday, with the team expecting at least a couple hundred more by the time it kicks off.
“I think [it’s a] testament to Zoom—the fact that you can get so close to somebody, and work so closely with them, and not be with them, it blew my mind. And the whole event, I think our expectations continue to grow. And it's been amazing to see it all come together,” Feuer said. “It's been a really great culmination of my Duke experience. I’ve learned so much about myself.”
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The Duke Sports Business Conference will take place tomorrow, this Thursday, March 25 from 6-9 p.m. EST. You can register for the event here.