2014 Annual Partner Summit

The 2014 Boston Celtics ninth-annual Partner Summit was held on June 18 and 19 at the Hyatt Regency in Newport, R.I. This year marked the second Partner Summit in Newport, with a slightly different format than the first. As always, the Celtics were thrilled to be able to bring so many of their valued partners, NBA league representatives and industry experts together.

Day one began with the President’s Address from Boston Celtics team president Rich Gotham, followed by a Corporate Partnerships Update from Boston Celtics senior vice president of corporate partnerships and business development, Ted Dalton. Guests then heard from Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, NBA senior vice president of digital media, who spoke on NBA Digital Upfront. Many guests in attendance enjoyed hearing the league’s perspective on social media, which led into a digital-packed panel discussion.

“#TheDigitalExperience” panel, moderated by Jordan Solomon, vice president of NBA team marketing and business operations, was informative and motivating as guests were able to hear from some of the industry experts regarding digital sponsorship programs, social media and future technology. Panelists included chief marketing officer of Extreme Networks, Vala Afshar; vice president of mobile products at Ticketmaster, Mike Lane; director of sports sponsorships and strategy at American Express, Michele Carr; and vice president of digital strategy at Alex and Ani, Ryan Bonifacino.

Following the panel, Baldino professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Charles Czeisler, spoke to guests in hopes to give partners insight on the importance of sleep and heath as it applies to the Celtics.

The day continued with Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk and Boston Celtics director of community relations, Dave Hoffman. Dave and Kelly discussed social responsibility and reflected back on the community events from the 2013-14 season, where Kelly made a record-breaking 30 community appearances.

In addition to the impactful speakers and panelists, the Celtics wanted to collaborate with their partners in attendance with an on-site community relations activity. To achieve that objective, all attendees at the Summit packed 500 dopp kits or toiletry bags to be sent to the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. The Center’s director could not have been more enthusiastic in his thank you and admiration that the Celtics Family had been so generous. The Celtics hope to continue this section of the Summit in years to come.

To conclude day one, guests enjoyed a traditional New England Clambake.

Day two tipped off with a welcome message from Boston Celtics managing partner and chief executive officer, Wyc Grousbeck. Guests then were able to hear from the NBA’s vice president of team sponsorship development, Wendy Morris, who spoke on the topic of “Activation Upfront.” Wendy gave partners in attendance an inside look on activation programs throughout the league.

The panel discussion titled “Activation that Works” then began. It was led by Wendy and featured current Celtics Partners who spoke on the success of their activation programs throughout the years. The Activation Panel included Optum’s vice president of alliance management and strategic growth initiatives, Michael Carroll; SNHU vice president of university college marketing and student recruiting, Gregg Mazzola; senior vice president at retail first, Linda Modelevsky; and Sun Life Financial director of brand marketing and sponsorships, Sally Bray.

After a short break and an enthusiastic highlight video, the final panel titled “Green Runs Deep” began and was moderated by Celtics play-by-play announcer at Comcast SportsNet, Mike Gorman. The purpose of this panel, as in years past, was to give our partners an insider’s view on the basketball side of the business. Panelists included Celtics president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge; Celtics head coach Brad Stevens; Celtics managing partner and alternate governor, Steve Pagliuca; as well as Grousbeck.

Gotham provided the closing remarks to conclude the event and gifted each guest with a Silhouette Hardside Spinner, courtesy of Celtics valued partner Samsonite.

The Celtics are already looking forward to next year and celebrating their 10th-annual Partner Summit! Hope to see you there.