SBJ Behind the Scenes: ALL IN

Last week’s SBJ ALL IN event in Cleveland, presented by the Underdog Venture team, focused on the conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion in the sports industry. Attendees listened to sports managers, team owners and other experts in the field to amplify and enhance the conversation about DEI so those who lead the way forward can effect change in the sports industry.

Attendees also got a great look at what the city of Cleveland has to offer, from the sights and awesome sounds at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Cavaliers’ Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and some amazing local food from minority-owned businesses.

Many thanks to all our sponsors and participants (on site and virtually)!

A welcome reception at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opened ALL IN in Cleveland earlier this year, hosted by the event’s official hospitality sponsor, Aramark Sports + Entertainment. Whether it was Bill Withers or queengreat music permeated the event.

Aramark provided a great menu for attendees that included imported cheese, charcuterie pasture station, sushi, mini lobster rolls, poached shrimp cocktail, schnitzel sandwiches with crispy onions, mushroom ravioli with chicken medallions and Marsala sauce.

There was also a connection to a minority-owned company that Aramark contracted with in Cleveland, as the Cleveland Mofongo Latin Grill brought some local flair with empanadillas and cubanos.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame hosted an inaugural reception for ALL IN

Cleveland Mofongo Latin Grill brought some local color to the opening reception

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Here is a selection of the headlines from sessions and interviews during this year’s ALL IN event:

Steelers owner Art Rooney II spoke about minorities in the NFL coaching ranks

Attracting, recruiting and retaining diverse talent was among the panels at ALL IN

MLB’s Kurt Hunzeker, who rocked a unique MiLB jersey on stage, spoke about integrative marketing

Aramark presented an eclectic ALL-IN lunch buffet menu highlighted by three local chefs featured at an annual Taste of Black Cleveland event co-hosted with the Cavaliers, the NBA and the NAACP.

There was a chilled station with items like mushroom polenta cake, gorgonzola cream, chive oil, Moroccan chicken tagine, braised chicken ras el hanout, spiced za’tar naan, carrot salad and grilled flatbreads. A special Cavs note was the “Wine and Gold” hummus (harissa hummus and turmeric hummus). A hot station had hand-carved beef tenderloin with Gorgonzola cream, Boursin mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus, crispy shallots and eggs, and waffles.

All stations – including a grandiose dessert – were fantastic, but the guests couldn’t stop raving Chef Tiwanna‘s Shrimp and Rice Bowl.

Acqua di Luca hosted a VIP dinner at this year’s ALL IN event. The Cleveland Restaurant was established in a renovated warehouse by Luke and Lola Sema, offers Mediterranean cuisine based on Luca’s childhood near the Adriatic Sea (seafood, unique pasta dishes, steaks and more). Acqua di Luca is one of the few restaurants that the Semas operate in town.

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The menu for the event included shaved pecorino, crab meat, neviola cheese filling, sun-dried tomato cream mignon, pollo alla picatta, mashed chicken breast, sweet potato gnocchi, and lobster knuckles and claws.

Underdog’s team loved Acqua di Luca so much they went twice — just to have the moose back.

On the Wednesday before the formal conference began, SBJ, the Underdog Venture Team and Cleveland’s Three Team Alliance (the Browns, Guardians and Cavaliers) joined forces as part of ALL IN to create a Sports Career Combine for more than 100 underserved youth from across the Northeast to host Ohio’s.

The event took place at the Discount Drug Mart Club in Progressive Field. High school-age students were treated to baseball fare for lunch before being greeted by Matt GrimesDiversity, Justice and Inclusion Leader for the Guardians.

Brian Westbrook, a former running back for the Eagles and now executive director of the Underdog Venture Team’s athlete-entrepreneur network, shared with the students insights into the benefits of hard work and his transition from college football to the NFL and then to a post-game career in business . Westbrook then introduced himself JB BickerstaffCavaliers coach who also shared his views on hard work and the importance of being a good person and building relationships for life.

The students also heard from four young professionals who work for local sports teams as well Nicole Jeter WestCEO of the Underdog Venture Team, in a panel discussion that explored their career paths to their current positions.

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The day concluded with five 30-minute breakouts during which students learned about sales, community engagement, corporate partnerships and agency verticals in esports, and leadership skills.

As lunch drew to a close on Thursday, attendees at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse were treated to a surprise “kickdown” from the Warrensville Heights Marching Machine drumline.

The group of nine students marched through the “C” Level Hall and assembled in Bridges where the afternoon sessions of ALL IN were preparing to begin. They played a 15-minute showcase and helped engage attendees for the remaining half-day of content.

Patrick Stack, the co-founder and CEO of Sports Biz Camps and a native of Cleveland, had just booked a trip to Italy with his fiancé when he was contacted to speak at ALL IN. They were due to leave on September 22nd. He was conflicted but had to forgo attending the conference.

Fast forward 24 hours and he reached out to SBJ again to accept the invitation, saying he had definitely found the right woman to marry because she recognized how important it was to him to share the Sports Biz Camps history at ALL IN to tell in Cleveland.

We wish both Patrick and his fiancee all the best on their Italian adventure which has been rebooked for next week.

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