New York City Recap


On October 5th 2017,  South Asians in Sports hosted a panel discussion and networking night for the South Asian sports professional community in New York City. Our event brought together a panel of successful professionals working at the burgeoning intersection of sports and technology including: Deepen Parikh, Devi Mahadevia, Ammad Sheikh, Manny Anekal and sports journalist Adi Joseph (as moderator). They spoke to our New York area members about their paths to sports, the current challenges they face, future trends in technology and what it takes to ‘break-in’ to the business of sports. From listening to their success stories, it is clear that each panelist has overcome familial pressures, stereotypes and competition to have thriving careers in the business of sports.


Our event brought together a wide array of South Asian sports professionals working in a diverse set of industries from; the media, the NBA, academia, startups, sports academies, and students. It was great to see some familiar faces and a lot of new members since our first event in March, 2017.

Check out our event photo gallery below!

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Priya Narasimhan

New York Sports Leader, Priya Narasimhan

Priya Narasimhan will be a panelist at SAinSports upcoming New York Event.

Priya Narasimhan is a Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests lie in the fields of dependable distributed systems, fault-tolerance, embedded systems, mobile systems and sports technology. She serves as the academic lead of the Intel Science and Technology Center in Embedded Computing (ISTC-EC) that comprises Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, UIUC, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, UC Berkeley and Georgia Tech.

Priya Narasimhan is the CEO and Founder of YinzCam, Inc., a Carnegie Mellon spin-off company focused on mobile live streaming and scalable video technologies to provide the ultimate mobile fan experience to 40+ professional sports teams/venues. Priya’s entrepreneurship has earned her a 2012 International Bridge Award from Global Pittsburgh, and a 2011 ad:tech Innovation Award.

Her spare time is devoted to to watching professional (American) football and ice-hockey games. She is a rabid fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sports and Technology panel and networking night.

Date: Thursday, October 5th, 2017
Time: 6:30-9:00pm (Panel starts at 6:40pm)
Location: WeWork Grand Central (450 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10017)

The event is FREE! Please RSVPhere and help us get the word out by telling your friends. We can’t wait to see you there!

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My Sports Career Journey: The Boomerang Approach

Written by SAinSports member, Akash Bhat

I always wanted to be at the forefront of using digital technology and entrepreneurship to promote sports and entertainment. For me, as a computer science engineering graduate, understanding digital media and its technical applications, was the missing piece in the puzzle. Working in the sports and entertainment digital media industry requires envisioning the future, leveraging technology and practicing with the best in the business. That brought me to Columbia University and its Sports Management program. Here, I landed three highly coveted internships – one at Wasserman (a sports and entertainment agency in New York), one at New York City Football Club (the MLS franchise) and another at Columbia Athletics (Media and Communication department). I also worked as a freelancer at two companies – Leverage Agency (a sports marketing and sponsorship agency) and Inside Crowd (a PR and marketing startup based in Brooklyn), undertook a digital media project for Yahoo! Sports and AOL, volunteered at at-least a dozen sports conferences and events in the city, and coached the U-17 South Bronx United Boys’ soccer team. Now, a month after graduating from the program, I’ve joined a near-dream job at a sports digital-tech company called Grabyo in New York.

In my senior year in undergrad, I did a marketing/operations internship at Nasscom 10,000 Startups – a platform that provides mentoring, incubation and acceleration to young startups in India. I can claim to have learned two things here –  the relentless attitude and bootstrap skills of entrepreneurs. Simply watching this unfold before me helped me in the long run. I began noticing how different entrepreneurs reacted and approached situations and setbacks. It was a live case study of sorts. Beyond networking, I observed something unique to the entrepreneurs around me. They spoke openly about their plans – what they want to do, where they want to be and who they want as part of their team. I made a mental note of this practice. It would be handy someday I said to myself.

Having previously worked on my own startup, with startups and big corporate companies such as Facebook, I returned to pursue my ‘dream’ – a career in sports and entertainment (and therefore the Sports Management program at Columbia University). I really wanted to be at the intersection of sports, digital media and technology, and shape the industry in years to come. However, I didn’t know where to start.

In New York, you’re surrounded by people from all walks of business. Everyone will tell you that ‘networking is the key’ and share stories of how they ‘networked their way’ to a job. I strongly endorse that piece of advice; however, I’m not going to ask you to network, you’re going to do that anyway (at least I hope you will). I’d recommend another strategy which complements business networking. I call it the ‘boomerang approach’.

What is the boomerang approach?

It’s simply the practice of sharing your career plans with everyone you meet. Start incorporating ‘what you want’ into your personal pitch. You throw it out there in the universe and wait for it to come back to you. Now irrespective of your status you will either be looking for an internship or a job sooner or later. The competition out there is fierce, more so in niche fields (surprising, right?!). The Columbia (or any other) brand will help you stand out and jump 90% of the candidates, but that isn’t enough! You’ve now entered the top 10%. This is the true test of your competence and creativity.

We all try hard to strike a rapport with the people we meet. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This approach works (most times) irrespective of whether you forged a relationship or made an impression. For instance, during networking events, I told people who I was and what I wanted to do – “Hi I’m Akash Bhat, a former entrepreneur and a sports management graduate student at Columbia University… I’m currently exploring opportunities/interested in working for a sports-tech company in the digital space”. The emphasis on ‘sports-tech’ and ‘digital’, was the key to being memorable. It’s easier for someone to register and relate to you when you tell them about what you want to do. At most networking events students don’t know what they want to do, they come off seeming very abstract. I’ve often heard my fellow colleagues saying, “I want to work in the NBA or MLS (or PwC)”. As good as it sounds, it’s still very vague. The NBA or the MLS for instance are split across various sub-verticals such as fan development, player development, marketing, ticket sales etc. You’re not the first person who an employer meets and certainly not the last. Start by identifying your niche and make sure your share that with as many people as you can. It registers. Next time they come across an opening or know someone looking for a candidate, they will go – ‘Hey I know someone who wants to work in sports-tech/digital space’. That’s exactly how I landed an internship and then a full-time job! Today, I’m loving every minute of everything I do – soaking in the experience and expanding my network.

I want to get back to entrepreneurship and start my own business in the future and I tell that to everyone I meet. It’s bringing me one step closer to my dream. It’s as if the boomerang approach albeit practical also has a philosophical side to it.

I’m proud to be a member of South Asians in Sports, where I feel I can continue to network with like minded professionals, share my experiences and learn about the sports industry. I’m excited to attend the upcoming Sports & Technology panel discussion and networking event on Thursday October 5th, at WeWork Grand Central, right where our Grabyo office is. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Follow Akash on Twitter @Akashashky

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Akshay Khanna

New York Sports Leader, Akshay Khanna

Akshay Khanna will be a panelist at SAinSports upcoming New York Event.

Akshay K. Khanna joined the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils/Prudential Center in July 2015 as the Vice President of Strategy and head of the business strategy department, where he is responsible for driving the organization’s strategic direction and new business initiatives and investments. This includes responsibilities in aligning the ticket sales, corporate partnerships, marketing, fan engagement, and customer acquisition functions of the teams, as well as advancing the growth of the combined Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils organizations.

Over his past year and a half with the Sixers organization he has played a crucial role in initiating some of the sports industry and NBA team’s most innovative and groundbreaking business decisions. Under Khanna’s guidance the Sixers have become the first team in North American professional sports to acquire and merge two eSports teams; launched the most dynamic Innovation Lab managed by a professional sports team in the United States; developed a groundbreaking ticketing platform that has revolutionized the live event industry and ticketing ecosystem; and signed a landmark agreement to become the first professional team in “Big Four” North American sports with a jersey patch sponsor.

Khanna was recently selected to be a part of the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 class in 2017. In addition to his duties at the Sixers, Khanna was an Adjunct Professor of Sports Business for the Sports Administration graduate program at Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies. Additionally, he serves as an Industry Expert for Columbia University’s online Sports Business program. In May, 2015 he published a case, The Philadelphia 76ers: Innovation at the Forefront of a Sports Business Turnaround, for The Wharton School of Business Wharton Digital Press. He currently guest lectures at a class on Sports Business Methods for The Wharton School of Business MBA program.

Khanna will deliver an individual lecture on innovation in the sports industry at the revered Sloan Analytics Conference in March, 2017. He has previously been invited to speak on the connection between the NBA and eSports at the TEAMS Conference (2016) and has additionally spoken at the Landmark Media and Technology Summit (2016) on innovation and the sports business landscape. Khanna is a regular guest lecturer at the Wharton School of Business’ graduate and undergraduate programs, leading discussions on sports innovation and the use of analytics for ticket pricing, sponsorship, marketing and fan engagement. He was invited to speak at the Lauder Graduate Association Weekend in 2016, on the importance of sports brand recognition and growth.

Before joining the 76ers, Khanna served as an Associate at Sycamore Partners, a consumer retail-focused private equity firm in New York City with more than $3.5B under management. While at Sycamore Partners, Khanna was involved in evaluating and executing leveraged buyouts and assisting portfolio companies with strategic initiatives and add-on acquisitions. Prior to Sycamore Partners, Khanna was an Analyst at Audax Group, a middle-market private equity firm in Boston with more than $9B in assets across its equity, mezzanine debt, and senior debt businesses.

Khanna earned his A.B., graduating magna cum laude from Middlebury College. He graduated with honors with an MBA from The Wharton School and an MA in International Studies from The Lauder Institute at The University of Pennsylvania. Khanna serves on the National Executive Committee for Minds Matter, an education non-profit, and on The Wharton Club of Philadelphia Board. He currently resides in New York, NY.

Event Details:
Date: Thursday, October 5th, 2017
Time: 6:30-9:00pm (Panel starts at 6:40pm)
Location: WeWork Grand Central (450 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10017)

The event is FREE! Please RSVP here and help us get the word out by telling your friends. We can’t wait to see you there!

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Adi Joseph

New York Sports Journalist, Adi Joseph

Adi Joseph will be our moderator at SAinSports’ upcoming New York Event.

Adi Joseph is the deputy managing editor of CBS Sports, leading NBA and college basketball coverage. He’s covered sports for a decade, including NBA All-Star and playoff games, U.S. Open tennis, NASCAR races and more.

Follow Adi on Twitter for some entertaining tweets @AdiJoseph

South Asians in Sports will be hosting a FREE networking event in midtown Thursday September 21st! Meet with a powerhouse panel of professionals in Sports & Tech. The event is FREE for members so be sure to JOIN and RSVP

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Devi Mahadevia

New York Sports Leader, Devi Mahadevia

Devi Mahadevia will be a panelist at SAinSports’ upcoming New York Event.

Devi Mahadevia leads Global Strategic Partnerships for sports leagues and governing bodies at Facebook. In this role, she works with partners worldwide to help them reach new audiences, experiment with innovative forms of distribution and achieve their business objectives. This consultation covers initiatives across Facebook’s family of apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus.

Devi joined Facebook after a career in digital sports licensing and corporate development, with stops at the NFL, NHL and Comcast. She received an M.B.A. in Marketing and Strategy from Wharton School of Business and a B.S. from the University of Maryland College Park.

South Asians in Sports will be hosting a FREE networking event in midtown Thursday September 21st! Meet with a powerhouse panel of professionals in Sports & Tech. The event is FREE for members so be sure to JOIN and RSVP.

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Chicago 2017 Recap

On September 21st South Asians in Sports hosted a panel discussion and networking night for the South Asian sports professional community in Chicago, IL. Our panel of industry leaders: Pooja Van Dyke, Ram Padmanabhan, Rashid Ghazi, Sahadev Sharma, Vinay Mullick and moderator Payal Patel spoke about their paths to sports, current challenges and future trends in their companies and what it takes to ‘break-in’ to the business of sports. They also shared some amusing anecdotes about working in sports as a South Asian minority.


It was inspiring to see such accomplished professionals as well as athletes, recent grads and students come together to network in Chicago. We can’t wait to be back in Chicago for another event and to see the community grow even bigger!

Check out our event photo gallery below!

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Join us for our next event in New York City on October 5th. You can RSVP here.

Ammad Sheikh

New York Sports Leader, Ammad Sheikh

Ammad Sheikh will be a panelist at SAinSports’ upcoming New York Event.

Ammad Sheikh is the Director of Marketing at LeagueApps in New York City. LeagueApps make it easy for organizers to run local sports programs and easy for participants (and their families) to get the most out of their sports experiences. Through the LeagueApps network, sports organizations grow with marketing tools, generate new revenue streams, and connect with value and savings through marketplaces.

Prior to LeagueApps, Ammad helped build Capify from 6 employees to over 200 across 3 continents. Ammad is also the founder of South Asian Sports, a sports league, where they run softball, basketball, football, and bowling leagues. Not to mention, he organizes community events including fundraisers and charity tournaments all over NY and NJ.
 Since its inception in 2005, the South Asian Sports Network has attained over one thousand adult and youth members throughout Long Island and NYC. The South Asian Sports members routinely engage in sports leagues including basketball, softball, football and bowling.  Ammad spearheaded this effort to keep the youth active and as a form of passive networking. After recognizing that our communities youth hadn’t engaged in organized sports.  This organization branched out with fundraising endeavors through softball and bowling tournaments raising tens of thousands of dollars for the victims of Pakistan’s Earthquake as well as raising money for cancer research.
Ammad is also is one of the inaugural members of Ballin 4 Charity: an annual Basketball Tournament that brings together the leaders in startup technology, investing, and sports. Using his career experience as a marketing director, Ammad routinely consults for charitable events to further increase their membership base, attendance, and overall player experience.
Ammad’s volunteer work has been appreciated both publicly and privately and has been featured in Newsday and News12. Ammad has been recognized by Nassau County County Executive Edward Mangano and Deputy County Executive Rob Walker for his work in Nassau County for promoting sports to the South Asian youth.
Ammad is always hosting events with various sports teams. He has organized events for the youth to Nets game at the Barclays Center. Barclays Center granted a special waiver to allow Halal Food for the first time in the stadiums history for this event. Ammad has also organized numerous outings to Madison Square Garden where youth were able to go early and watch the Knicks practice and even go on the court to “high five” the players as they ran onto the court.
Recently, Ammad helped organize an event talking about bias incidents against the Muslim community in Long Island bringing county police and local politicians to discuss these incidents. Ammad further aims to build bridges with the overall community to create a better understanding each other.
In his free time you can find Ammad coaching CYO Basketball, running from one child’s baseball practice to another one’s basketball practice or playing in one of the various South Asian Sports leagues in Long Island.
Follow Ammad Sheikh on twitter @AmmadPSheikh

South Asians in Sports will be hosting a FREE networking event in midtown Thursday September 21st! Meet with a powerhouse panel of professionals in Sports & Tech. The event is FREE for members so be sure to JOIN and RSVP.

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Rashid Ghazi

Chicago Sports Leader, Rashid Ghazi

Rashid Ghazi will be a panelist at SAinSports event in Chicago on September 21st.

Rashid Ghazi is a business leader and entrepreneur with over 27 years of experience working in sponsorship marketing, media, advertising, content production and event creation. After spending the first 12 years of his career between the Leo Burnett Company, Intersport Television and Halo Sports & Entertainment, Rashid helped create Paragon Marketing Group where he has been a Partner for the past 15 years.  Paragon which has offices in Skokie and Chicago, has grown into one of the leading independent sponsorship engagement agencies in the country with over 100 employees and clients including: Gatorade, ESPN, Yokohama, PNC Bank, Johnson & Johnson, UC Health, PPG Paints, Bayer Healthcare and DICK’S Sporting Goods.  On behalf of its clients Paragon has placed over half-billion dollars into the sponsorship marketplace negotiating agreements and developing marketing platforms with a variety of NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB teams along with governing bodies such as the PGA TOUR, NCAA, USSA and USOC. In addition they have negotiated endorsement agreements with a number of athletes and celebrities including: Beyonce, Faith Hill, Drake, Cal Ripken Jr., Muhammad Ali, Joe Buck, Brett Favre, Barry Sanders and Lindsey Vonn.

On the content side, Rashid has created over 2,500 hours of sports television programming including live events, documentaries and episodic series for companies such as ESPN, Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN.  In 2002 Rashid identified a new content opportunity in sports entertainment – nationally televised live high school sports programming. He first produced a high school basketball game featuring LeBron James for broadcast on ESPN2 which delivered a record rating for the network. The success of that telecast launched the live nationally televised high school event genre for ESPN. The network has since televised over 500 games delivered by Paragon featuring future NBA and NFL first round draft picks such as: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, James Harden, Tim Tebow, Julio Jones, AJ Green and Jameis Winston.

In addition to his work with Paragon, Rashid founded his own production company, North Shore Films in 2009. North Shore’s first production was the award winning sports documentary FORDSON: Faith, Fasting, Football. The film was distributed by AMC Theaters nationwide and has since been televised in over 30 countries. In addition, FORDSON has garnered multiple industry and film festival awards including Best U.S. Documentary at the Traverse City Film Festival hosted by Michael Moore. The Film was also screened at the U.S. State Department and was honored by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Rashid grew up in Skokie, Illinois and attended high school at North Shore Country Day in Winnetka.  He is a 1989 graduate of the University of Redlands in Southern California where he double majored in Business and Sociology and served as Student Body President. He received his MBA in June of 1999 from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the North Shore Country Day School and IQRA Educational Foundation.

Rashid resides in Glenview with his wife, Ruhma, their daughter, and three sons.

South Asians in Sports will be hosting it’s first networking event in downtown Chicago, Thursday September 21st! Meet with Chicago’s Sports Leaders from several areas of the industry. The event is FREE for members so be sure to JOIN and RSVP.

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Deepen Parikh

New York Sports Leader, Deepen Parikh

Deepen Parikh will be a panelist at SAinSports’ upcoming New York Event.

Deepen is a Partner at Courtside Ventures, which is an early-stage VC fund, backed by Dan Gilbert (Cleveland Cavaliers) and WPP. They focus on investing in technology companies across the sports, media and gaming verticals. Prior, he was a Partner at Interplay Ventures, a NY based incubator and early-stage investor. He co-founded NYVC Sports with the mission of bridging the gap between sports leagues, teams, investors, entrepreneurs, and media companies.

Prior to joining Interplay, Deepen spent time working with a family office on the potential acquisition of a professional sports franchise. Deepen started his career as an Associate at UBS and earned his BA in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Read the latest news on Deepen Parikh and Courtside Ventures:

South Asians in Sports will be hosting a FREE networking event in midtown Thursday September 21st! Meet with a powerhouse panel of professionals in Sports & Tech. The event is FREE for members so be sure to JOIN and RSVP.

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