September 10, 2024 ⎮Los Angeles

CNBC x Boardroom: Game Plan

CNBC and Boardroom are teaming up once again to produce Game Plan, a high-powered event bringing together industry leaders, visionaries, and influencers to explore the dynamic intersection of business, sports, music, and entertainment.

From what drives the modern-day sports fan to emerging opportunities in teams and leagues, this invite-only event will host the most influential leaders from across the sports landscape including athletes, owners, investors and innovators to devise a GAME PLAN for a rapidly evolving world.

Past Speakers

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is a 14-year NBA veteran and forward for the Phoenix Suns. He is a 2x NBA Champion and Finals MVP, having also won an NBA MVP Award, four NBA scoring titles, two Olympic gold medals, two NBA All-Star Game MVP Awards, 13x NBA All-Star, and an NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He is also included in the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

Off the court, Durant is co-founder of Thirty Five Ventures (35V) alongside his business partner Rich Kleiman. Founded in 2016, 35V incorporates the duo’s business entities across sports, tech, media, philanthropy, and more.

35V’s portfolio includes Boardroom, a media network covering the business of sports, entertainment, and culture; ownership stakes in emerging and undervalued teams sports properties, including Athletes Unlimited, Gotham FC, Philadelphia Union, Premier Lacrosse League, and Major League Pickleball; film and TV projects including the Academy Award-winning Two Distant Strangers (Netflix), the critically acclaimed scripted series SWAGGER (Apple TV+) and documentary NYC Point Gods (Showtime.) The company’s investment portfolio also includes 100+ early stage investments.

The Durant Family Foundation’s signature programs include Build It and They Will Ball, a global basketball court renovation project with 28 courts completed to date, and The Durant Center, a 10-year, 10-million dollar program in partnership with College Track that helps low-income and underserved students enroll and graduate from college. Durant received the season-long NBA Cares Community Assist and ESPN Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian awards in 2018.

Clara Wu Tsai

Clara Wu Tsai is a businesswoman, investor, and philanthropist. Ms. Wu Tsai is the Governor of the WNBA's New York Liberty and, along with her husband, is an owner of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and the NLL's San Diego Seals. As Vice Chair of BSE Global, she oversees all matters relating to civic and community engagement, fan development, and the role Barclays Center plays within Brooklyn. As Founder of the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation, Ms. Wu Tsai pursues philanthropic investments across the arts, sciences and social justice spaces. She established the Social Justice
Fund in 2020 to work toward economic mobility and racial justice in Brooklyn, New York. She is a founding partner of the REFORM Alliance, which seeks to reform the criminal justice system. In science and technology, the Foundation supports the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford University and the Wu Tsai Institute at Yale University for understanding human cognition. In 2020, Ms Wu Tsai founded the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance, which works across six universities to bring together world-class talent to advance the science of human performance. Ms. Wu Tsai serves on the Boards of Trustees for Stanford University, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington. She was an executive producer of Into the Okavango, a 2018 conservation documentary, Blue Bayou, a 2021 drama, and Unfinished Business, a 2022 documentary about the WNBA. Previously, Ms. Wu Tsai was General Manager of the Hong Kong operations of Taobao, China’s largest online shopping website, and a Vice President at American Express in New York and Hong Kong. Ms. Wu Tsai holds a B.A. in International Relations and a M.A. in International Policy Studies from Stanford University, and a M.B.A. from Harvard University.

E. Stanley Kroenke

An American businessman, entrepreneur and conservationist widely regarded among the towering figures in professional sports, Stan Kroenke owns the Los Angeles Rams (NFL) Arsenal Football Club (English Premier League), the Denver Nuggets (NBA), the Colorado Avalanche (NHL), the Colorado Rapids (MLS) and the Colorado Rapids (NLL).

In recent years, his success as a leader and owner is unrivaled. Under his stewardship, his teams have won two Super Bowls, two Stanley Cups, an MLS Cup, x FA Cups, two National Lacrosse League titles and mostly recently an NBA title in June.

In addition to his sports holdings, Mr. Kroenke owns numerous entertainment venues, including Eimirates Stadium in London and Ball Arena and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado. He is the developer and owner of the celebrated SoFI Stadium, often referred to as “the 8th Wonder of the world.” The venue, situated in Inglewood, California, hosted Super Bowl LVI—where Mr. Kroenke’s team, the LA Rams, won the championship.

A native of Missouri, Mr. Kroenke ranks is one of the world’s leading real estate developers, owners, and operators. He has developed, owned, and managed more 100 million square feet of real estate, including retail, residential, and warehouse properties throughout North America and the United Kingdom. A deeply committed conservationist, Mr. Kroenke also ranks among the world’s leading ranch owners.

James Pitaro

James "Jimmy" Pitaro was named Chairman, ESPN in February 2023, responsible for full operational control and financial responsibility for ESPN, one of the three core business segments of The Walt Disney Company. This includes the management and supervision of the company’s full portfolio of sports content, products and experiences across all of Disney’s platforms worldwide, including its international sports channels, creative development, marketing, sales, distribution and technology.

This includes eight linear domestic networks, including ESPN and ESPN2; sports content across all Disney domestic and, going forward, international platforms; ESPN+; ESPN Audio; ESPN Digital; ESPN Social; ESPN Fantasy and a variety of owned sports events, among other responsibilities.

Previously, he was Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content, since October 2020. He was named ESPN president and co-chair, Disney Media Networks, on March 5, 2018, after serving eight years as a top Disney executive.  In making the announcement, Bob Iger, then The Walt Disney Company chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Jimmy’s appointment was the result of more than 20 years spent at the intersection of technology, sports and media.”

Pitaro’s record of success leading businesses focused on consumer products, digital initiatives and sports made him the quintessential selection for ESPN at a pivotal point in its then 38-year history: a time of unprecedented technological advancements and rapidly changing consumer habits.

A visionary leader, Pitaro has identified and consistently communicated internally and externally five business priorities — Direct to Consumer, Innovation, Storytelling and Programming, Audience Expansion as well as diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging within ESPN’s ranks — to keep ESPN poised for future success.

Since Pitaro was named ESPN’s leader, his collaborative leadership style has led to impressive employee engagement and results, clearly evident in ESPN’s performance during the pandemic and social justice movement in 2020 and continuing today.

Under Pitaro, ESPN has reached creative new rights agreements with the NFL, UFC, SEC, NHL, MLB, PGA Tour, XFL, La Liga, Wimbledon and more, encompassing Disney-wide assets; achieved linear ratings successes in 2022 in total day (+8%) and primetime (+22%); remained cable’s leader in the key male and adult demos; achieved several ratings successes with a variety of shows and series, including ESPN’s signature show, SportsCenter,  Get Up and First Take; and fueled consistent growth in ESPN+’s distribution and offerings since the April 2018 launch of Disney’s multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service.

Also, ESPN continues to further strengthen its hold as the sports leader on digital and social platforms, standing as No. 1 among U.S. digital sports properties; the ESPN App is the clear No. 1 U.S. sports app; and ESPN Social remains the No. 1 sports media publisher. In 2022, ESPN set all-time records across its digital platforms, including an average of more than 108 million unique users in the U.S. each month and 7.5 billion engagements on social media.

Pitaro’s focus on innovation has led to two developments that have changed how fans watch sports: Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli, and putting microphones on Major League Baseball players on ESPN’s popular Sunday Night Baseball series.

During the pandemic, the innovative and hard-working culture of ESPN led to: moving up “The Last Dance,” which shattered ESPN records for documentary viewership and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series; a ground-breaking collaboration with the NFL for a totally virtual NFL Draft telecast; critical contributions to the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando; the successful presentation of Major League Baseball’s “Fall Frenzy;” and many other accomplishments in event and news programming.

From February 2016 through March 2018, Pitaro had served as chairman of Disney’s consumer products and interactive media division, the world’s largest licenser of consumer products. Among his many responsibilities, he oversaw the creation of branded digital and physical products, including a robust digital game slate. He and his team brought to life the characters and stories of four iconic brands – Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel – across toys, apparel, home goods, the world’s largest children’s publisher, hundreds of Disney store locations worldwide, the e-commerce destination ShopDisney, and the Disney Digital Network of social and digital channels that reach one out of every three U.S. social media accounts.

Pitaro originally joined The Walt Disney Company in 2010 as co-president, Disney Interactive, where he successfully led the turnaround of the digital media and gaming division.

Pitaro came to Disney from Yahoo, where he rose to head of media.  He was in charge of, and set, strategy and executed growth-driving initiatives for, Yahoo’s media properties, including Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Music. In 2009, he was named to Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” annual list of top achievers in sports for his dynamic leadership and “breathless flurry of market-moving pacts” with major sports rightsholders and media companies.

Since joining ESPN, Pitaro was honored as 2018’s Multichannel News Sports Executive of the Year. Sports Business Journal named him Sports Executive of the Year for 2019-20, citing that the biggest company in sports media continued to grow, highlighting the expansion of its linear footprint with ACC Network, growth from ESPN+, moving further into the sports betting space and continued aggressive moves in the digital and social arenas, which saw significant growth.

He serves on a variety of industry and charitable boards, including the NCTA, the Paley Center for Media, The V Foundation, The National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, Pacer and CoachArt. Pitaro also serves as Co-Committee Chair of the March of Dimes, and is a Board Observer at Draft Kings. In October 2022, he will serve as Honorary Chair of NAMIC’s 36th Annual Conference. He is a member of the Cornell Athletic Alumni Advisory Committee.

Pitaro earned a bachelor of science degree in economics in 1991 from Cornell University. He earned his Juris Doctor from St. John’s Law School in 1994.  After practicing law in New York for five years, he was named head of business affairs for in 1999 before joining Yahoo.

A native of Westchester County, N.Y., Pitaro, 53, is ESPN’s eighth leader.

Linda Alvarado

Paolo Banchero

2023 NBA Rookie Of The Year, Paolo Banchero, is a professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic.

After an impressive high school career in Seattle, Paolo committed to Duke where he earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors, led all true freshmen in scoring nationally and owned one of the highest NIL valuations in all of college sports.

Drafted #1 in the 2022 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic, Paolo had one of the best rookie seasons in NBA history, winning 4 consecutive Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month awards and ultimately 2023 Rookie of the Year.

More than an NBA superstar in the making, Paolo looks forward to giving back to the community in his new home of Orlando, as well as hometown of Seattle.

Jessica Berman

Jessica Berman is the Commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League where she oversees all operations of the league with a focus on supporting players on and off the pitch, working with NWSL clubs to continue to build on the positive momentum of the league’s growing audience, and collaborating with NWSL partners to create the most engaging and entertaining fan experience.

Berman joined the NWSL after two and a half years serving as deputy commissioner and executive vice president of business affairs at the National Lacrosse League. During her time with the NLL, Berman’s responsibilities included overseeing team services, operations, marketing and communications, broadcast and content, community engagement, human resources, and league governance.

Prior to her time with the NLL, Berman spent 13 years with the National Hockey League, first serving as vice president and deputy general counsel for the organization before becoming vice president of community development, culture and growth and executive director of the NHL Foundation. In her role as Deputy General Counsel, she was involved in collective bargaining negotiations, and was a key contributor in creating and executing the NHL’s labor strategy during the 2012 talks.

Berman’s later roles with the league focused on bolstering the sports experience for NHL and hockey enthusiasts around the globe. This included implementing a positive, inclusive, community-friendly approach across the league and working to increase access to hockey at all levels of the game. In addition, Berman oversaw the design and execution of the NHL’s corporate social responsibility goals and initiatives, an area she is particularly passionate about.

A graduate of the Fordham University School of Law, Berman also worked as an associate at Proskauer Rose LLP in the labor and employment sector where she represented several employers in collective bargaining negotiations, arbitrations, mediations and litigations, and worked on pro bono cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault and military matters.

Berman completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, graduating with a degree in Sports Management and Communications.

During her time at Michigan, Berman was involved with the men’s hockey and football programs as an assistant in the sports information office. While completing law school, she served as editor-in-chief of the Fordham Sports Law Forum and was an associate editor of the Urban Law Journal.

Berman has earned several distinctions throughout her sports career. She was named to Sports Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list in 2014. She currently sits on the Sports Lawyers Association Board of Directors, the University of Michigan Sport Management Advisory Board, the Fordham Sports Law Forum Board of Advisors, Sports Innovation Lab Women Executive Network, the Vice Chair of SIGA America Advisory Board and is a founding member of the Pro Sports Assembly, an organization dedicated to promoting diversity & inclusion in the professional sports industry.

A Brooklyn, New York native, Berman resides in Larchmont, New York, with her two sons and two rescue dogs.

Aryeh Bourkoff

Aryeh B. Bourkoff is Chairman and CEO of LionTree, an independent merchant bank advising and investing in the companies and entrepreneurs leading the evolution of the global digital economy. Through its M&A advisory, capital markets, and asset management businesses, LionTree works in partnership with CEOs, creators, and investors to build and shape industries over the long-term, leveraging its thematic advice, strategic insights, capital resources, and global connectivity.

Prior to founding LionTree, Aryeh spent 13 years at UBS, closing his tenure as Vice Chairman and Head of Americas Investment Banking. Prior to UBS, he was a high‐yield research analyst at CIBC World Markets and Smith Barney and ranked as the number one cable and satellite analyst by Institutional Investor for seven consecutive years.

Aryeh serves on the boards of Yahoo, Gagosian, and Carnegie Hall. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Board of Trustees of both The Paley Center for Media and the Royal Academy of Arts. Aryeh graduated from the University of California at San Diego and resides in New York City with his family.

Lexie Brown

Lexie Brown was one of the founding members of Athletes Unlimited when it launched in 2021. She spent her first season on the Player Executive Committee in 2023 and was recently appointed Chairwoman of the PEC for the 2024 season. Brown finished fourth on the leaderboard in 2022 and earned a place on the inaugural Athletes Unlimited All-Defensive Team. In 2023, Brown recorded another successful season in which she accumulated almost 4,000 leaderboard points and led the league with a .448 three-point field goal percentage.
Brown, currently playing for the Los Angeles Sparks, won a WNBA title with the Chicago Sky in 2021. She signed on with the ACC Network as a college basketball analyst for the 2022-23 season.

As a standout with Duke, Brown earned the 2018 ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. She became the first player in NCAA history to earn AP All-American honors at two different schools (Duke & Maryland) and just the 41st player in NCAA history to earn three AP All-American recognitions.

Jessica Holtz

Jessica Holtz is the Co-Head of Basketball at CAA Sports, a division of leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). CAA Sports represents more than 2,000 of the world's best athletes in sports such as baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer, in addition to icons in individual sports, on-air broadcasters, coaches, and other pre-eminent personalities. Beyond on-field athlete representation, CAA Sports provides unique opportunities for clients off-field, in areas including licensing, endorsements, speaking, philanthropy, video games, and digital. Holtz is based in the New York office and represents many of the world’s top basketball players, including Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Elena Delle Donne, both on and off the court, as well as Chris Paul, D’Angelo Russell, and others off the court. Jessica Holtz began her career at the National Basketball Association from 2007-2011. She then joined Excel Sports Management from 2011-2014 as a Senior Director of Marketing. She joined CAA in 2014. Holtz graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Sports Journalism, and minors in Spanish and International Studies. She earned her MBA at Baruch College. Holtz was named to the Class of 2018 Sports Business Journal’s Game Changers for women in sports. Holtz said her ability to help her star clients deal with the pressure of their careers and to achieve their life goals is what she enjoys most about her job. “What I like to do day to day is making their lives easier off the court, securing partnerships and growing their brand in a way that really matters. It’s authentic to them and that really moves the needle,” she said.

Larry Jackson

Rich Kleiman

Rich Kleiman is Kevin Durant’s long-time manager and co-founder in Thirty Five Ventures (35V) and Boardroom. Founded in 2016, 35V incorporates the duo’s existing business entities, including a media network, Boardroom, that sits at the intersection of sports, entertainment, business, and culture; Durant’s personal brand/marketing portfolio and on-court contracts; and an investment portfolio that includes ownership stakes in emerging teams and leagues such as Athletes Unlimited, Gotham FC, Philadelphia Union, and Premier Lacrosse League.

Other projects under the 35V/Boardroom umbrella include the critically acclaimed scripted series SWAGGER in partnership with Imagine Entertainment and Apple TV+, the Academy-Award-winning short film Two Distant Strangers (Netflix), and Emmy-nominated documentary NYC Point Gods (Showtime). The company’s investment portfolio includes over 100 early stage investments across sports, technology, finance, media, and more.

Kleiman serves as the Executive Director of the Durant Family Foundation (fka Kevin Durant Charity Foundation), helping underserved and low-income families and youth across the globe. He also sits on the Board of Directors at New Heights Youth, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to sports-based youth development and education in New York City.

Previously, Kleiman helped launch Roc Nation Sports, where he served as Vice President of the agency founded by Jay-Z. Kleiman started with Roc Nation in 2008 as a music manager representing Mark Ronson, Solange, Meek Mill, Wale, and many others.



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