The ROI of the Fan Experience:
How Sports Franchises Benefit from Creativity, Business Analytics, and Operating Efficiencies When Moving Tens of Thousands of Customers In and Out in Just Hours
Discussion Leader: Robert Raiola
Panelists: David Denenberg | Brian Friedman | Charlie Mierswa
Operating the operational and financial components of sports franchises requires more than just a seasonal effort. Irrespective of the particular game, sports franchises operate twelve months a year, like most other businesses. During the playing season and off-season, management and the CFO are busy considering how to improve the fan experience, how media, technology, big data, historical and predictive analytics all come into play. And, in a business where successfully moving tens of thousands of customers into and out of a stadium or arena in four hours is the key to success, finance, risk, and strategy take on an entirely different meaning.
Join Brian Friedman, CFO of The New York Jets, Charlie Mierswa, CFO of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, Frank Gumienny, and David Denenberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media Distribution & Business Affairs of the National Basketball Association, as they discuss strategies and the business of managing sports franchises and thousands of fans.
Robert Raiola is the Sports and Entertainment Group Manager with over 20 years of experience in both the public and private sector. He provides business management services, tax planning and business consulting to high net worth individuals and their families in the sports and entertainment industries. Over the years, he has worked closely with many small business owners on tax consulting and cash flow management.
Robert co-authored the AICPA book Winning Tax Strategies for Athletes & Entertainers and has lectured nationally on the topic. In addition, Robert was a founding trustee of the Chatham Athletic Foundation, an organization based in Chatham, NJ which is focused on promoting youth athletics and safety in athletics through public education programs. In June 2011, Robert received the Chatham Jaycees Distinguished Services Award for his work with the Chatham Athletic Foundation.
As Senior Vice President, Global Media Distribution & Business Affairs for NBA Entertainment (NBAE), David Denenberg is responsible for negotiating agreements and helping manage relationships relating to all facets of NBAE’s domestic and international media business, including television, film, radio, music, digital media, photography and talent. Denenberg also negotiates distribution and affiliation agreements relating to NBA TV and NBA LEAGUE PASS, and frequently advises NBA and WNBA teams on a variety of issues relating to their television and entertainment businesses.
In addition, Denenberg oversees the league’s footage licensing and extended-market television businesses, and is actively involved in advising USA Basketball on a variety of initiatives, including its new focus on youth basketball. Denenberg currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where he also serves on the Finance Committee. Prior to joining the NBA in March 1995, Denenberg worked in the Corporate Department of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in New York City.
A 1991 cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, Denenberg graduated magna cum laude from Colgate University in 1988. He currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and three children.
Brian Friedman is responsible for all financial planning and daily accounting operations for the team, financial oversight of the team’s interests in MetLife Stadium and all internal and external reporting to the NFL and various other agencies. In addition he oversees information technology and practice facility operations.
Prior to joining the Jets, Friedman was the chief financial officer of Blissworld, LLC, the owner and operator of Bliss spas and seller of a full line of skin care products. At Bliss, he was responsible for all financial operations and new business development. Before joining Bliss, he was the senior director of finance for the Columbia House Company and prior to that held several finance roles of increasing responsibility at Polo Ralph Lauren. Friedman began his career at Price Waterhouse and is a certified public accountant. Friedman has a degree in Economics and Business Management from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia University. He lives in Monmouth County, NJ with wife, Diane, and their children, Alexa, Matthew, and Jenna.
Charlie Mierswa is in his tenth season as Executive Vice President of Business Operations, and Chief Financial Officer of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. Charged with overseeing the finance, box office, and MIS departments, Mierswa’s leadership is a key ingredient in management’s vision of continuing to transform the front office into one of the most successful in all of professional sports.
Prior to joining the Nets, Mierswa was the Chief Financial Officer of U.S. Music Operations for Clear Channel (currently named Live Nation), the largest SEC registered concert promoter, producer and venue operator for live entertainment events. Mierswa brings not only venue and event experience, but a strong accounting and finance background which he developed through almost 10 years at Ernst & Young, one of the largest CPA firms in the world.
Featured in the First Quarter 2014 issue of CFO Studio Magazine as well as prior issues of Journal of Accountancy and CFO Magazine, Mierswa has been recognized for his extraordinary financial and operational knowledge that has been a key component to the success of the Nets’ management team.
Mierswa received his B.A. in economics and Spanish from Hamilton College and his Masters in accounting from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
A long time Nets fan, Mierswa grew up watching the team on Long Island. Mierswa lives in Westfield, New Jersey with his wife, Julia, and they have two children, daughter, Georgia, who is working in global marketing for Oxford University Press, and son, Philip, a senior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.