Niagara University's Sport Management Association will host two events next week featuring executives from high-profile collegiate and professional athletic organizations.
Buffalo Bills Director of Analytics Michael Lyons will address attendees of a free event scheduled for 7 p.m. April 21 in Dunleavy Hall, Room 127. Lyons conducts data-driven research to improve every aspect of the Buffalo Bills franchise's brand. Specifically, he is responsible for developing strategies for football operations, business development and marketing while analyzing data to make the Bills as competitive and profitable as possible.
A graduate of East Aurora High School, MIT and the University of Rochester, Lyons worked at Xerox for 25 years before being chosen by Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon to institute the team's first-ever analytics department.
At 10 a.m. April 23, a symposium will provide students an opportunity to network with professionals employed by Niagara University, the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, HARBORCENTER, Boys and Girls Club, University at Buffalo and Time Warner Cable Arena (Charlotte, North Carolina). The event, taking place in the Gallagher Center's multipurpose room, will allow students to interact with these professionals during personalized roundtable discussions.
That same day, at 2 p.m., eight-time Emmy Award winner Ric LaCivita will offer a keynote address in St. Vincent's Hall, Room 407.
A Harvard alumnus, LaCivita began his career at ABC Sports. Since then, he has been involved in major sport media productions such as three Olympic Games, "Monday Night Football," Major League Baseball, PGA golf, NCAA basketball, and the "Wide World of Sports." He has been a special consultant to the owner of Nike, Phil Knight, and partnered with four television executives to create the Outdoor Life Network (later renamed Versus and then NBC Sports Network). LaCivita has been honored with eight regional Emmy Awards, including Best Live Production (five times) and Best Director (2010).
This event will coincide with a similar symposium at St. John's University, NU's sister institution. Attendees of events at both sites will be able to see and hear the other's keynote speaker.
The keynote speaker at St. John's is Dr. Keith Strudler, director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication. One of Strudler's most recent accomplishments was developing a partnership with ESPN Radio 1220 of the Hudson Valley to launch a weekly sports talk radio show. This is the first such partnership between an academic center and an ESPN affiliate.
The event Thursday afternoon costs $10 for SMA members and $15 for NU students and community members. Symposium registration will occur the day of the event in the Gallagher Center between 8:45-9:45 a.m., or in advance by visiting St. Vincent's Hall, Room 409.
Niagara University's Sport Management Association was formed in September and currently has 40 members. It allows students with a passion for the sport industry to diversify themselves in the field and network with industry professionals.
Questions may be directed to Dr. Jimmy Smith, assistant professor of sport management, at 716-286-8653 or [email protected].