China's impact on the sports landscape

By 2025, China’s sports market is predicted to exceed ~$750 billion in value - a huge increase from the ~$150 billion industry it is today.  This panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges in China from the vantage point of the collegiate, professional, and business players in the region.


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Sachin gupta

Former VP of Basketball Operations, Philadelphia 76ers

Gupta served as Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers from 2014 to 2016. Gupta joined the Sixers in a full-time capacity after completing his MBA from Stanford, during which he served as a Sixers consultant.

Gupta began his NBA career with the Houston Rockets in 2006 as General Manager Daryl Morey's first hire, laying the foundation for the team's extensive analytics undertaking. In addition to his responsibilities as an analyst, Gupta also assisted in managing the team's salary cap during his six-year tenure in Houston. Prior to joining the Rockets, Gupta spent two years at ESPN where he developed the widely popular NBA Trade Machine.


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Samuel Pearton

Founder & CEO, PressPlay Global

Samuel Pearton is the CEO and Co-Founder of PressPlay, a content-driven digital media company bridging the gap between leading international talent and emerging markets. Prior to establishing PressPlay, Samuel spent five years based in China developing a digital agency focused on international sports, fashion and music. During this time he identified an opportunity in the immense success Chinese celebrities have had, using direct-to-consumer media channels to control their brand, growth, loyalty and commercialization.

Samuel has successfully executed projects in the Chinese digital and commercial space for some of the world’s biggest athletes and brands. He founded PressPlay to enable controlled engagement into China with revenues passing directly back to talent and their partnered brands.

With offices in San Francisco and China, PressPlay first began developing their platform for prominent American NBA star Stephen Curry. PressPlay recently launched Curry’s official WeChat channel in China, and is preparing to launch Brazilian professional footballer Neymar in mid 2017.


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Bruce Tobey (moderator)

Partner and Co-Head of Entertainment and Media Practice, O'Melveny

As co-head of the Firm’s Entertainment and Media Practice, Bruce Tobey is a highly regarded entertainment transactions lawyer with more than a decade of executive experience. Bruce’s practice covers all aspects of production, distribution, financing and licensing of feature film and television productions as well as digital media. He also provides strategic and operational advice to investors and companies in both traditional and new media.

Bruce is the former Chief Operating Officer of CBS Films, which he helped found, and oversaw all aspects of its motion picture development, production, and distribution businesses and operations. His executive duties included the negotiation of all of the company's strategic agreements, including key distribution and production arrangements.

Previously, Bruce served as Executive Vice President of Paramount Pictures Corporation. There he was responsible for the business, legal, and administrative operations of the company, including Paramount’s digital entertainment division, and the financing of both individual films and slates, and was involved in the full range of key transactions and strategic decisions for the company. He also served as one of two Paramount representatives on the Motion Picture Association of America’s Board of Directors. Bruce also served as an Executive Vice President of the Viacom Entertainment Group, which comprised businesses focused on television production and distribution, print publication, consumer products, theatres, and music publishing.

Before joining Paramount, Bruce was the General Counsel and Vice President of Broadband Sports, an “all-sports” on-line business venture. Prior to that, Bruce was in private practice for over 15 years, during which time he specialized in entertainment transactions work and achieved the status of named partner at a firm of approximately 150 lawyers.


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jim wilkinson

Chairman and CEO, TrailRunner International

Prior to founding TrailRunner, Jim served as SVP, Head of International Corporate Affairs for Alibaba Group, the world's largest online and mobile marketplace. At Alibaba Group, Jim played a key leadership role in the company's historic IPO in 2014. He also designed and led Alibaba's international communications strategy, and he built the company's international corporate communications and government relations teams.

Prior to joining Alibaba Group, Jim served as Executive Vice President, Communications for PepsiCo, a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion. Jim joined PepsiCo from Brunswick Group, where he served in San Francisco as Managing Partner for International Business and Financial Strategy, providing strategic counsel on global corporate mandates spanning international operations, corporate and financial communications, corporate reputation, investor relations, crisis management, and litigation. Jim also worked for Brunswick Group in Texas, where he established and built the firm’s Dallas/Fort Worth office.

Prior to Brunswick Group, Jim served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson, serving as Paulson's senior strategist and counselor, and working on matters of financial policy and crisis management. Prior to his work for Treasury, Jim served as Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and worked with Rice in the White House as Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications. From 2002-2003, Jim was Director of Strategic Communications for General Tommy R. Franks at U.S. Central Command, and from 2000-2001 served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications. Prior to working in the White House, Jim spent several years working in the U.S. Congress for House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Jim served as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves, and also taught international communications at The Johns Hopkins University. Jim holds degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington (BBA, Finance) and The Johns Hopkins University (MA).

He is an endurance sports enthusiast (including 26 marathons) and enjoys trail running, playing chess, skiing, snowboarding, and playing acoustic guitar.


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Jamie zaninovich

Deputy Commissioner and COO, Pac-12 Conference

Deputy Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich comes to the Pac-12 after six years as the commissioner of the West Coast Conference. At the Pac-12, Zaninovich has responsibility for all aspects of the Pac-12 Conference’s administrative operations, including television administration, sport management, championships, football bowl relationships, governance, enforcement, compliance, and officiating.

In his time with the WCC, Zaninovich led the conference through a period of unprecedented membership growth, transformed the conference basketball championships into successful events, and brought forward television and digital media advances that showcased the WCC’s brand regionally, nationally and internationally. Zaninovich was a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee from 2011-2014 and is a past Chair of the Division I Collegiate Commissioners Association Division I Subdivision. He is also a founding member of the Board of Managers and Competition Committee of the Men’s Basketball Officiating LLC, a past member of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics and was named one of the prestigious “40 Under 40” honorees by the Sports Business Journal in 2010.

A native of Eugene, Oregon, Zaninovich is a graduate of Stanford University and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.  Prior to the WCC, he served as a sports administrator at both Stanford and Princeton University.