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For the second year in a row, Pledge It was an official partner of the Michigan Sports Business Conference. The student-led event was held at the University of Michigan and the Ross School of Business on October 18th & 19th. The conference brought together top industry professionals and students looking to gain insight and entry to the ever-growing sports business world. This year, our partnership took on a new dimension with Pledge It presenting MSBC’s first ever charitable campaign— First Downs for First Step—which can be found at pledgeit.org/msbc.

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1. Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor is a idealistic setting, especially at this time of the year. The air is crisp and clean, the scholarly atmosphere inspiring, and the architecture is classic. Football and learning is in the air.

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2. Facilities

Located in the heart of Michigan’s campus, the Stephen M. Ross School of Business is a perfect home base for the conference. It is modern—yet retains the classic feel of the rest of campus. Its environmentally-conscious features, collaborative spaces and integrated technology provide the perfect backdrop for learning, sharing and networking.

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3. The MSBC Team

This is a conference entirely conceived and run by a team of undergraduate students at U of M, and I can say without question that year in and year out, it is one of the more well run conferences that I attend. Sessions and events are on time, well produced and thoughtfully presented. Communication leading up to and during the conference is exceptional. Kudos to Amanda Wilpon, Connor Mulliken and the entire MSBC team!

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4. Host

Former NFL linebacker and UM alum Dhani Jones provides the perfect blend of humor, insight and hospitality to the day. He has an authentic and genuine curiosity and interest, and makes all attendees feel like a member of the Michigan family.

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5. Speakers & Panelists

The conference is able to repeatedly attract a diverse group of some of the most relevant and compelling people in the sports business ecosystem. A definite highlight from this year was the afternoon keynote from NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.

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6. Moderators

For anyone who attends a lot of industry conferences, you know that a panelist moderator can make or break a session. Led by Abraham Madkour, Executive Editor of SportsBusiness Journal, SportsBusiness Daily/Global, the moderators for MSBC are not afraid to ask the important-and potentially controversial-questions that bring the conversations to life with open and honest debate.

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7. Access

Unlike other conferences with top industry professionals, the speakers and panelists are not sequestered throughout the day. There is a genuine atmosphere of collaboration and engagement that is accepted and respected by the attendees, partners and speakers alike.

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8. The BIG House

Partners are treated to a pre-conference dinner at the Jack Roth Stadium Club , followed by a chance to tour the locker room, see the facilities and step on the field at Michigan Stadium; the largest stadium in the United States, and second largest in the world.

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9. Zingerman's

This iconic deli has become an institution in Ann Arbor for good reason. Look no further than #1 on the menu. Who's Greenberg Anyway? might just be the best sandwich I've ever had.

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Thanks again to the entire MSBC team for a fantastic event. We can't wait to be back next year!