Keenan Harrell from the Baltimore Raves hosts the Sports Philanthropy Meet Up at SXSW on March 14, 2020

10 SXSW Sessions for the Big Game!

The Forrest Four-Cast: February 2, 2020

Sunday, February 2 brings the big battle between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers to the global stage that is the Super Bowl.

If this world of competitive athletics is your jam, then you will find plenty of panels and presentations at SXSW 2020 that focus on this topic. In honor of today’s Big Game, we’ve pulled together a list of ten superlative sessions to contemplate, some of these coming from the Sports track (March 13–16) and others scattered throughout the 9-day event:

Betting Big on the Future of Sports Wagering (March 16): Forget Super Bowl squares because in-venue sports wagering has now become a reality. Learn about the latest developments in this ecosystem from Brian Mirakian of Populous and Josh Walker of the Sports Innovation Lab.

Blazing Trails: Marketing in the Cannabis Space (March 20): This session focuses on how to drive organic growth and move past the limiting restrictions of advertising platforms to best market your cannabis brands. Speakers include former UT and NFL quarterback Matt Nordgren.

Creating Safe Spaces: Self-Empowerment is a Team Sport (March 16): What do we do to build a stronger, supportive community? None of us can rise to our full potential without safe spaces that foster true connection and belonging. Join this conversation about what creating safe space requires, from systemic changes to examinations of our own bias. Speakers include former NFL and CFL quarterback Don McPherson.

Empowering the Athlete in the Post-Sport Journey (March 16): This session will dive into the effects of transition and what can be done to help athletes prepare for life outside of sport. Panelists include Jacques Mcclendon, the Director of Player Engagement for the Los Angeles Rams.

Empowerment for All: Cannabis and Social Justice (March 18): Former NFL star (and Heisman Trophy winner) Ricky Williams leads a discussion about how to create empowerment for all in the cannabis industry through more equal access.

From the Field to the Screen: Casting Athletes (March 13): Social media has helped athletes build their own individual media brands. Learn how to create multi-dimensional content utilizing athletes, to touch on passion points that are appealing to Gen Z’s action-oriented mindset from a panel of experts including former NFL player Anthony “Spice” Adams.

Intersection of Sport and Music: Interscope and ESPN (March 18): For the past four years, ESPN and Interscope have formed a partnership that has pushed the envelope for music and sports fans alike. This panel will take a look under the hood at how such a partnership was built, what the challenges were, and, most importantly, explore how what lies at the intersection of sports and music is a world of possibilities.

Is the Real AI Advantage On or Off the Field? (March 15): This session panel will explore operational and commercial uses of AI and analytics, new use cases in football, and debate where the most value for analytics exists. Speakers include Catherine Carlson (Senior Vice President Of Revenue And Strategy, Philadelphia Eagles) and Moon Javaid (VP, Strategy & Analytics for the San Francisco 49ers).

Listen Together (March 19): Former Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions offensive lineman Jason Fox covers his entrepreneurial journey with EarBuds, an audio / hardware startup based in Austin.

Rethinking Masculinity: Let’s Start Questioning (March 14): In this panel, hear three unique perspectives on the topic of masculinity designed to have you question your assumptions and provide you with new perspectives on the traditional constructs of what it means to be a man. Speakers include Sami Grisafe, a retired two-time World MVP Quarterback for the Women’s U.S. National Tackle Football Team.

Sport Philanthropy + Social Good Meet Up (March 14): Network, learn and connect with other professionals that have a passion for philanthropy and sports. This Meet Up is hosted by Baltimore Ravens Community Relations Coordinator Keenan Harrell.

Find other super-interesting content for SXSW 2020 by browsing the online schedule. Use the search bar at the top right corner of the interface to zero in on the panels and presentations that most interest you. Buy your badge now to experience all this action live and in person from March 13–22.

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.



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Hugh Forrest

Hugh Forrest


Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.