Today, during the Executive Keynote at the 2019 Ticketmaster Sports Summit, Ticketmaster President Jared Smith recognized individuals and organizations with the inaugural Sports Summit Awards. This year’s winners have shown a commitment to reshaping the fan experience and the future of the sports industry through various efforts, including sustainability, advocacy, innovation and more.

Congratulations to each of the winners!


Sustainability Commitment Award

The Sacramento Kings and Golden 1 Center were awarded the Sustainability Commitment Award for their dedication to eco-friendly and sustainable practices. The Golden 1 Center sources ninety percent of its ingredients from a hundred-fifty mile radius of the arena to serve fans healthy fare at the event. Green waste is processed and filtered to be put back into the soil at local farms, while leftover fryer oil is converted to biodiesel by a local, family-run business.


Diversity Commitment Award

For their support and promotion of diversity in the workforce and leadership, the Genesis Open and TGR Foundation were presented with the Diversity Commitment Award. The TGR Foundation empowers students to define their own paths with educational programs, scholarships, mentorships, professional development workshops and more. Benefiting the TGR Foundation, the Genesis Open advances diversity in the game of gold by annually awarding a golfer representing a minority background the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption to play in the event.


Advocacy Commitment Award

The Advocacy Commitment Award was awarded to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for going above and beyond to protect fans in the marketplace throughout Nevada. Leading the fight, the UFC educated and championed fans and the live entertainment industry in the legislature, resulting in the signing of SB 131 – a landmark bill that improves the consumer experience and challenges deceptive marketing practices.

Albert Leffler Lifetime Achievement Award

Recognized for his lifetime contribution to sports, Dr. William A. Sutton, an academician and sports marketing leader, was awarded the Albert Leffler Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Sutton’s distinguished career includes notable academic appointments and extensive industry experience working with professional leagues, teams, organizations, brands, universities, agencies and facilities, including the NBA, NFL, Phoenix Suns, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia 76ers, Tampa Bay Lightning, San Francisco 49ers and more. In December 2019, Dr. Sutton will be joining Elevate Sports Ventures where he will serve as Dean of Elevate Sports Academy.


Innovator of the Year

The Minnesota Vikings are dedicated to using new technologies and solutions to optimize the fan experience. To educate fans before the opening of their new venue, US Bank Stadium, the Vikings launched an innovative awareness campaign to reach fans. The team has also created integrations with Nexus certified partners – to drive app adoption and enhance the fan experience. By doing so, they achieved ninety-seven percent mobile usage last season, resulting in database growth and hyper-personalized relationships with fans via their mobile app.


Phoenix Award

This year’s Phoenix Award recipients overcame adversity to achieve success in our industry. The St. Louis Blues were last place at mid-season only to make the playoffs and eventually win the 2019 Stanley Cup Championship after fifty-two years – bringing celebration to the city of St. Louis.


Congratulations once again to this year’s winners. Their dedication to changing the sports industry is unparalleled. Ticketmaster looks forward to our continued partnership in bringing the best, most enjoyable live events to fans.