Winners of the 2011 The Business of Sports Awards

After much tough deliberation and discussions with other trusted peers, I’m excited to announce the winners for the 2nd annual The Business of Sports Awards!

Best Sports Business Blog

  • Winner:  Partnership Activation – Another year of tremendous work by Brian Gainor, who consistently seeks out and shares the best practices in sports sponsorship, activation and marketing tactics. In particular, Brian does an excellent job seeking out emerging trends and new ideas, giving his readers the change to stay ahead of the curve. His site is a must-read for any sports marketer.
  • Runner-Up:  Sports Marketing and PR Roundup – Joe Favorito was one of the first to get into the sports business blogging world and he continues to produce incredibly valuable content across a wide range of industry topics. Whether the topic is PR, marketing, sponsorships, ticket sales or more, Joe uses his wealth of experience to keep us all informed.

Best Sports Business Twitter Account

  • Winner:  J.W. Cannon (@cannonjw) – Beyond being a go-to sports business expert on Twitter, J.W. is one of the most honest and direct professionals out there, always willing to share new ideas and personal opinions. You can learn a lot from his tweets!
  • Runner-up:  Liz Mullen (@sbjlizmullen) – Of all the individual SBJ contributors, Liz has the most followers and that can be attributed to the incredible amount of interaction she offers. She has a wonderful talent for mixing personality and enthusiasm with valuable sports business content.

Best Sports Business Content – Company

  • Winner:  CNBC – Darren Rovell continues to be arguably the most prominent sports business contributor, and in turn, making CNBC into a top industry news resource. Whether it’s his regular blog posts, video segments or his steady stream of tweets (steady may be an understatement), you will always stay up to date on sports business news through Rovell and CNBC.
  • Runner-up:  IEG – Runner-up in this category last year as well,  IEG continues to share their industry insights across multiple channels. Their bloggers at provide a wide-range of perspectives and in-depth expertise and their line-up of active Twitter users is always engaging with the online community on almost any sponsorship-related topic.

Best Sports Business Up and Comer

  • Winner:  Tariq Ahmad – In a short time, Tariq has made his name known as a top sports and social media expert, highlighed by his session at SXSW on social media and the NBA. Tariq is a very active participant on Twitter, both in sharing his own views and in seeking out other valuable resources that we can all learn from.
  • Runner-up:  Joshua Boren – Also featured as a Rising Star by Partnership Activation, Joshua has accomplished a lot in a very short time in the field of venue design and fan experience and his contributions in the digital sports business conversation cover a wide range of topics. I know that he will be a valuable resource for a long time.

Best Alternative Sports Business Content

  • Winner:  #SBChat – The creation of Lou Imbriano and J.W. Cannon, #SBChat has become a wonderful way for industry professionals of all backgrounds to come together. Whether the topic is current best practices in sponsorship activation or advice on building a career in sports, this weekly Twitter chat provides quality insights for all participants.
  • Runner-up:  The Row Show – Runner-up now in back to back years, the Row Show is a fun, creative and entertaining way to learn about the latest trends in sports and technology. Their show provides a great balance of discussing current events and sharing best practices and useful tips.

Best International Sports Business Contributor

  • Winner:  Daniel McLaren – Daniel is the man behind, a great resource covering a variety of sports business and digital marketing topics from the United Kingdom. Beyond the UK and Euro-specific content, the insights that Daniel provides, particularly when it comes to fan engagement and social media, apply to any sports organization across the globe.
  • Runner-up:  Cedric Grundler – Cedric is the created of, a French sports business blog covering global sports marketing, sponsorship and communications. While you may need Google Translate for this one, it’s definitely worth it. And for those who are fluent in French, he’s recently started an in-depth podcast interview series (wish I could enjoy those too!)

Best Sports Business Email Newsletter

  • Winners:  Sports Business Daily (Paid Subscription) / Sports Marketing and PR Pros (Free) – For this category, we ultimately decided to have two winners, recognizing the best paid and free newsletters available. Every day, in fact multiple time per day, Sports Business Daily keeps their subscribers up to date on every piece of breaking sports business news available, making them a must-purchase subscription for anyone in sports. Meanwhile, Joe Favorito has built up his free weekly newsletter to over 22,000 members. Every Sunday, he shares links to valuable news stories, books, networking events, brands looking to connect and job openings, providing a valuable service to all his subscribers
  • Runner-up:  Partnership Activation 2.0 – Every month, Brian Gainor manages to put together a detailed and engaging list of best practices, emerging trends, case studies and rising professionals. While the main focus is around corporate sponsorships, he also includes information on ticketing, social media, brand management and communications. Every example is supported with links and vivid photos to really drive home the value of each tip and tactic.

Best Sports Business Book

  • Winner:  Moneyball by Michael Lewis – Not surprising to see this book as the top choice. Moneyball is a rare book that covers both the on-field and off-field aspects of sports business in way that is intriguing and education for fans and industry professionals alike. I don’t think any other sports book of the past 20 years has shifted the landscape of the industry the way Moneyball has.
  • Runner-up:  Veeck as in Wreck by Bill Veeck and Ed Linn – While this might not be a sports business book by definition, you can learn a great deal about the industry through the life of Bill Veeck. Veeck was always willing to push the envelope in a constant effort to create a memorable fan experience, an admirable goal that we all should share.

People’s Choice – Sports Business Social Media Contributor of the Year

  • Winner:  Darren Rovell – The people have spoken (819 total voters) and with 48% of the vote (394 votes), Darren Rovell is the winner of the 2011 People’s Choice – Sports Business Social Media Contributor of the Year. There is little doubt that Darren has the most extensive reach in creating and sharing sports business content, as demonstrated by his 83,000+ Twitter followers and who-knows how many blog readers. When you combine the quality of his insights, the quantity of posts/tweets/etc, his industry knowledge and his tremendous reach, it’s clear that Darren has created quite an impressive brand for himself in the sports and social media landscape.
  • Runner-up:  Brian Gainor – This year’s winner for Best Sports Business Blog and runner-up for Best Newsletter, Brian consistently uses multiple social media channels (his blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and more) to share his industry knowledge with all of us. Brian came in 2nd with 20% of the vote (164 votes), and it’s clear from the response and my conversations with others that he’s a respected and appreciated voice when it comes to educating and engaging with those working in sports.

Thank you to everyone who sent in nominations and voted in the People’s Choice poll. This process is very challenging with so many great sports business contributors out there. And of course, congratulations to all of our winners. Make sure you continue to follow them and all of this year’s nominees to learn from their wonderful industry resources.

One thought on “Winners of the 2011 The Business of Sports Awards

  • May 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Congrats to all! Proud to be in the Sportbiz with all these great pros!

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