2020 SVG Venue Summit: Virtual Series

Speakers

Brad Baker, Nashville SC, Senior Director and Executive Producer

After graduating from the North Carolina School of the Arts School of Filmmaking, Brad Baker spent several years in Los Angeles working for the producer of the Rush Hour franchise before finding a marriage of passions while working for the NFL Network: sports and filmmaking. After two seasons in the NFL as production manager for the Washington Redskins, he spent the following four years developing and building the video production department for IMG at the University of Georgia. Baker then invested the next five years taking a small, second-division soccer club, Minnesota United, to Major League Soccer, overseeing all video production, in-stadium entertainment, and broadcasting for one of the league’s biggest brands. He then spent two years as the vice president of broadcast for USL, managing broadcast operations for 46 teams across two leagues and playing a key role in successfully renewing a multi-million dollar rights deal with ESPN. Now, Baker serves as the executive producer for MLS’s newest franchise: Nashville Soccer Club.

Bob Becker, Van Wagner Productions, EVP

One of the most respected producers in the sport presentation industry, Bob Becker has overseen the game presentation and video operation for such teams as the Florida Marlins, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Carolina Panthers. Along with producing stadium and arena shows that have been among the nation’s most creative and entertaining for fans, he has developed high-end digital control rooms that serve as examples for the balance of the video/message board industry.

Becker has enjoyed great success as project manager for multiple Olympic Games including Salt Lake City, Athens, Vancouver, Sochi, Rio, and PyeongChang, as well as the 2018 Wounded Warrior Games at the Air Force Academy. The multiple award winner has also served as live event producer for the World Series, Ryder Cup, NHL Winter Classic, Kentucky Derby, Men’s Final Four, College World Series, Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement & Game, NFL International Series, and many more. Becker has been an editor, director and game presentation producer for the past 25 Super Bowls. In 2016, Becker was inducted into the Information Display and Entertainment Association Hall of Fame for his work and innovation in live event sports production.

Laura Johnson, San Francisco 49ers, Director, Game Presentation and Live Events

With over seventeen years of sports production, event management, and entertainment experience, Laura Johnson enjoys the thrill of live events and thrives under stadium sports lighting. Beginning her professional sports career in 2003 producing MLB Spring Training games for the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, Johnson has since worked with many professional sports teams producing events, in-venue entertainment, and videoboard shows, including: the Arizona Cardinals, UCLA, Churchill Downs, The Kentucky Derby, the NCAA Men’s Final Four, the College Football Playoff National Championship, the BNP Paribas Open, the Fiesta Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, and Super Bowl XLII, XLIX, and 50, to name a few. Johnson begins her 13th season in the NFL and fifth with the San Francisco 49ers as the director of game presentation and live events.

Justin Lange, Allegiant Stadium, Manager of Audio, Video, Broadcast and Cisco Vision Operations

Justin Lange is the manager of audio, video, broadcast and Cisco Vision operations for ASM Global at Allegiant Stadium. Lange has more than 12 years of experience in the broadcast industry ranging from local news to college athletics and now modern NFL stadium builds. He is an experienced production manager and broadcast engineer, most recently spending the past four years as EIC at U.S. Bank Stadium, where he managed technical integration for Super Bowl LII, the Final Four 2019, the X Games in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and Minnesota Vikings Football. Other major projects include the NHL Stadium Series 2016 in Minneapolis where he was the venue production manager and the Rio Olympic Games where he performed venue video director duties for Lagoa Stadium.

Kristian Hernandez, SVG, Associate Editor and Social Media Manager; 2020 Venue Summit Program Director

Kristian Hernandez handles the day-to-day construction of the SVG Insider newsletter, oversees all social media content distribution, and covers various sports technology topics for Sports Video Group. In addition, he is the program director for the annual SVG Venue Summit. Before joining SVG, Hernandez served as co-founder of CHC-TV, the first student-run television studio at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA. While at CHC, Hernandez produced a daily sports show named On the Hill with Hernandez — covering all men’s and women’s athletics for the college. Also, Hernandez spearheaded the college’s newspaper, The Griffin, as its Sports Editor. Hernandez graduated with a BA in Communications. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he currently lives in Queens, NY.

Jami Itiavkase, Cincinnati Reds, Director of Productions

Jami Itiavkase is the director of productions for the Cincinnati Reds and has been with the club since 2007. She studied radio/TV production at Northern Kentucky University and graduated in 2008.

 

Gregory Kuh, Ross Video, Content and Workflow Specialist, Sports & Live Events

Gregory Kuh is the senior content and workflow specialist for Ross Video’s Sports & Live Events team. Kuh began his broadcast career in 2005 at a Madison, Wisconsin ABC affiliate. He started as a weekend Deko operator while attending college. In 2006, Kuh became a full-time technical director at WKOW-TV and shortly after, in 2008, he accepted a role as a graphic artist, where he later assisted in the HD transition of 12 television markets.

Kuh began freelancing for Ross Video in 2011, where he traveled the globe working with broadcasters, as well as live events and venues. He accepted a full-time position in 2013 and a year later, he helped create Ross’ in-house Creative Service team, alongside Andrew Sampson. Since 2014, Kuh has worked exclusively with Sports and Live Event clients across North America. His portfolio includes organizations across the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, and MLB, as well as dozens of universities in the U.S. Kuh’s previous event work consists of the Academy Awards, the College Football National Championship, and the past four Super Bowls.

When not living at stadiums, Kuh resides in Madison, WI.

Eric Long, Philadelphia Eagles, VP, Content and Production

Eric Long serves as VP of content and production for Eagles Entertainment, the internal content department of the Philadelphia Eagles. His team is responsible for the creation and distribution of multimedia assets across the team’s digital, social, and broadcast platforms, as well as the production of live events at Lincoln Financial Field. Long has been employed by the Eagles since 2009 and he previously worked in full-time and freelance positions for several major and minor league sports organizations. He is a graduate of the film program at Penn State University.

Carl Mandell, Philadelphia Union, Director, Broadcast and Video Production

Carl Mandell is the director of broadcasting and video production for the Philadelphia Union. This is his 11th season  with the Union, joining the club prior to their 2010 expansion season. Mandell oversees all broadcasting, game presentation, in-stadium, and digital production needs for the Philadelphia Union and Subaru Park. Under his direction, the Philadelphia Union won Best Show in Soccer at IDEA in 2015, 2017, and 2019, as well as MLS Digital Team of the Year in 2017. Prior to the 2020 season, Mandell oversaw the design and installation of the newly renovated HDR control room and video screens at Subaru Park. He also works on various production crews for the Philadelphia Eagles, Villanova University, and La Salle University. Prior to joining the Union, Mandell held various video production positions in MiLB, MLS, and MLB.

Mandell is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Penn State University with a B.S. in telecommunications.

Andrew Sampson, Ross Video, Technical Solutions Manager, Sports & Live Events

A graduate of the Television Broadcasting program at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Andrew Sampson spent the early part of his career freelancing in a variety of production roles and handling graphic design/editing for Canadian Forces Radio Television. He became the first North America based demonstration artist for XPression in 2010 and has been with Ross ever since.

Sampson has held positions within the XPression product team and more recently spent three years as part of the Rocket surgery Creative services team where he spent most of his time deploying real time graphics projects at major sports venues worldwide. He relies on his experience delivering professional services in the sports market, as well as gathering valuable feedback from customers and business partners to ensure Ross Video technology is well positioned to keep pushing the boundaries of sports & live event productions.

David Saphirstein, Venue Edge, Founder/Consultant

David Saphirstein is the founder of Venue Edge, a company focused on helping partners to better engage with their fans through innovative content, activations, and new technology. Saphirstein is a media executive with a proven track record for merging creativity and technology. He has led teams to develop new products, business opportunities, and relationships. Saphirstein launched ESPN’s Sports Lab based at Full Sail University in Orlando and led/directed teams to develop new technologies, content, media, and applications. He has managed teams of engineers at ESPN Innovation Lab, developing innovative products to engage viewers and sports fans. Saphirstein has a passion for mentoring, leading, and developing talent.

As creative director at ESPN based in Bristol, Connecticut, Saphirstein led art directors, designers, and animators in award-winning creative development for properties including NFL, NASCAR, MLB, college football, college basketball, golf, tennis, and ESPNEWS. He was also creative director for the rebranding of ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World. While at ESPN, Saphirstein also produced and directed live-action shoots for opens, sponsors, and marketing.

Saphirstein is a faculty member at Full Sail University, where he teaches in the sports marketing and media program. He also directs broadcasts and in-stadium presentations for major sporting events.

Saphirstein earned a B.S. degree in communication from Hofstra University and an M.B.A. from The University of Hartford.

Pete Soto, Los Angeles Chargers, VP and EP of Fan Experience & Production

Pete Soto is the vice president and executive producer of fan experience and production for the Los Angeles Chargers. Soto is responsible for designing and implementing innovative strategies to enhance the gameday fan experience and production.

Prior to joining the Chargers, Soto worked for the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. He oversaw game presentation, live events, and stadium production including the 2018 College Football National Championship, MLS All-Star Game, Atlanta United MLS Cup Championship Game, and Super Bowl LIII.

Prior to that, Soto worked for the Florida Panthers Hockey Club and Carolina Hurricanes Hockey Club, where he oversaw the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals Championship production. He also worked for the Florida Marlins Baseball Club, where he oversaw the 1997 World Series Championship Production.

Soto has also acted as video director for the 2002 Winter Olympics ice hockey venue in Utah, the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics ice hockey venue in Sochi, Russia, and the 2018 Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Soto oversaw NC State basketball and football for 11 seasons in Raleigh, North Carolina and was the associate producer for five Super Bowls.

A native of New York, Soto holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast communication from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. He resides in Huntington Beach, CA.

Chris Sullivan, Diversified, VP, Business Development, Sports and Live Events

Chris Sullivan is vice president of the Sports Group at Diversified and is a leader in the sports technology and broadcast market. With more than 30 years of experience, he has served as the lead executive for many high profile projects in the sports and large screen technology (JumboTron) business including Levi’s Stadium, the Dallas Cowboys, Madison Square Garden, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the LA Dodgers, the San Diego Padres, MetLife Stadium, Barclays Center, the Philadelphia Phillies, and countless others.

Prior to his role with Diversified, Sullivan served as Sony Electronics’ national sales manager for their sports division and was a two-time recipient of their prestigious Samauri award for outstanding sales achievement and leadership.

Matthew Tape, Houston Rockets, Director of Broadcast and Video Production

Matthew Tape has been with the Houston Rockets since 2010 and his department is in charge of engineering (video), IT (video), pre/post/live production, and in-arena entertainment. Tape helped oversee a control room build out in 2012 and worked an All-Star game and a couple NBA international games. Earlier, he freelanced regularly for the Houston Texans and the Houston Dynamo.

Jeff Volk, Alpha Video, VP

Jeff Volk is VP of Alpha Video and the founding officer/director of the Alpha Video Sports & Entertainment Group. With 29 years of industry experience, 27 at Alpha Video, Volk has overseen the negotiation and installation of over 100 major sports venue technology integrations including control rooms, sound systems, broadcast infrastructures, A/V systems, and IPTV/digital signage solutions. Recent projects include the new AAC Network production facilities for Temple and UCF, the new production facility at the Las Vegas Raiders’ new team headquarters, and the new IP control room at Allegiant Stadium, amongst others. Volk uses his knowledge of technology, fan engagement, and team ROI to create technology environments that help better engage fans and drive revenue.

Bradley Wasilition, Ross Video, Sports Analysis/Piero, Business Development Manager

Bradley Wasilition is business development manager for Piero and sports analysis at Ross Video. His previous experience includes roles as director of sports analysis at ChyronHego, sports analyst at Hego US, research analyst for the NFL Network, football and salary cap analyst for the Tennessee Titans, and graduate assistant football coach at the University of Florida.

Wasilition earned his M.B.A. and M.S. in sports management from the University of Massachusetts, and a Bachelor of Arts degree, with Honors, in economics from the University of Virginia. Bradley also studied at the London School of Economics & Political Science.

Fred Wright, BeckTV, Senior Director of Sales, Central Region

At BeckTV, Fred Wright is the senior director of sales for the Central region. He brings over 40 years of experience in the television broadcast market encompassing engineering, market development, system integration, and broadcast sales. For the last 11 years at BeckTV, he has focused on the sports marketplace. This has brought many successful broadcast video control room projects to BeckTV including the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, and collegiate sports, etc.

Duane Yoslov, Diversified, SVP, Sports and Live Events

For more than two decades, Duane Yoslov has dedicated his career to systems integration, designing and installing professional video and audio systems worldwide. His passion and leadership have been instrumental in the success of Diversified’s media and entertainment business, where he has led teams on groundbreaking projects from television’s first regularly broadcast HD program for NBC’s The Tonight Show to Facebook’s corporate broadcasts in multiple cities across the globe.

In addition to traditional broadcast, Yoslov spearheaded the creation of Diversified’s Sports and Live Events division with the completion of more than 75 sports venues and mobile production units. His experience and expertise in designing, building, and managing all aspects of a project are key factors in why he is considered one of the most dynamic leaders in the industry.