On Tuesday, August 6, the South Asians in Sports organization presented a panel discussion entitled, “How Social Media is Impacting Sports Culture” at SeatGeek’s headquarters in SoHo, New York. The event offered attendees unique insights into the nexus of social media and sports through stories and advice from two accomplished professionals, Anmol Malhotra, Head of Sports Partnerships, Snap Inc.(the parent company of Snapchat) and Dev Sethi, Head of Sports, Instagram. The discussion was moderated by Jyoti Agarwal, a Lecturer at Columbia University and a Harvard M.B.A., who is an established strategy and marketing leader with more than fifteen years of experience leading teams to drive success. The event, which lasted from 6-8 p.m. was free and open to the public, drawing approximately sixty attendees from a range of backgrounds and walks of life, including athletes, students, career professionals, and fans.
Agarwal kicked off the event by asking the panelists about their career paths. An enlightening discussion ensued as Malhotra and Sethi narrated their journeys from backgrounds in technology, advertising, and finance to the sports’ social media universe. They explained that their diverse experiences had offered them transferable skill sets and perspectives, which have fostered success in their current roles in sports industry.
Malhotra oversees sports partnerships at Snap Inc., leading relationships with leagues, broadcasters, and rights holders including the NFL, NBA, MLB, UFC, FIFA, Fox, Turner Sports, and NBC. In this role, he also focuses on strategy for several content partnerships and sales initiatives with leagues, teams, and athletes to help them engage new audiences, experiment with innovative forms of distribution and achieve their business objectives. In addition, Malhotra helps manage international growth initiatives with sports partners across Asia, Europe, MENA, and Latin America. Anmol is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business and resides in New York City.
Sethi oversees strategic partnerships at Instagram, across the sports ecosystem, which includes athletes, leagues, teams, and media. Before joining Instagram, Sethi was Complex Networks’ first Chief of Staff reporting to CEO Rich Antoniello. There he was responsible for developing strategic external partnerships as well as aligning internal operations across content, business development, finance and production with the goal of maximizing output and efficiencies across Complex’s portfolio of millennial-focused brands. Dev is also a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a native of the D.C. Metro Area.
Both panelists explained that all social platforms are eventually looking to accomplish the same things within the sports industry – to consistently find unique ways to engage fans through their platforms. As a matter of coincidence, they both arrived at their current roles from non-sports positions and offered salient career advice. Malhotra explained, “There is no right or wrong career path in the sports industry. One should be flexible. I started in finance but always knew that I would want to work in sports.” And Sethi added, “Sometimes, it is also helpful to take a break from work to channelize your inner self and reassess what is best for you. Be persistent and patient in pursuit of opportunities and also find ways to make yourself unique.”
Audience members asked the panelists probing questions about each of their day to day responsibilities: “What does the social media space look like in the near future?” “What are some of the resources that they look at to keep up with the latest news within the sports industry?” Sethi and Malhotra listed the Sports Business Journal and Front Office Sports as excellent resources for staying in the loop. They also suggested that those interested in the field consult books written by people about the industry.
After the enriching discussion, the panelists took part in a networking session, interacting personally with the attendees. As gracious hosts, SeatGeek provided an inviting space and ample refreshments. This was a wonderful, enlightening event that offered participants new and helpful insights into the complex integration of social media and sports from two prominent leaders within the space. Through SAIS convening this gathering, those attending, from so many different backgrounds and career stages, were able to meet, share, and learn.