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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Manny Annekal

New York Sports Leader, Manny Anekal

Manny Annekal will be a panelist at SAinSports’ upcoming New York event. 

Manny Anekal is currently running several companies within the eSports ecosystem: The Next Level (The Business of eSports Media), Versus Sports (Consulting), VS Sports (eSports team) and Loot Ventures (eSports Investment Fund).

Manny has over a decade of experience working at the intersection of Gaming, Marketing and Brands. His first role was with the startup Massive Inc., which was acquired by Microsoft Xbox in 2006, followed by Executive roles at Electronic Arts, Zynga, Kiip and most recently with Major League Gaming.
He will also take you on in Clash Royale. Twitter: @mannyanekal
Check out some of the latest news on Esports featuring Manny Annekal:

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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Sports and Technology Night NYC

Sports & Technology: A Powerhouse Panel

We are excited to announce our next panel and networking event in New York City! Get to know the leading disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs at the burgeoning intersection of Sports and Technology on Thursday, October 5th, 2017 from 6:30-8:30pm at WeWork Grand Central in NYC. Over the next few weeks, we will be profiling each of our panelists so you can get to know them a bit better.

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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Pooja Van Dyke

Chicago Sports Leader, Pooja Van Dyke

Pooja Van Dyke will be a panelist at SAinSports event in Chicago on September 21st.

Pooja Van Dyke, Associate Director at ESPN CreativeWorks has been working at ESPN for 12 years. She started as a Production Assistant in Bristol, CT- ESPN Headquarters. 3 days into working there, Pooja was cutting NBA and College Football highlights to run in SportsCenter and ESPNEWS. She developed a knack for creative highlights and won creative awards and accolades from her production team and beyond in the early years. It was then, she knew that she wanted to stay within the creative realm of storytelling. She grew up in the ESPN system and worked as a Production Assistant eventually an Associate Producer and worked behind the scenes with many critically acclaimed shows such as: SportsCenter, College GameDay, College Football Live, NFL Live, NFL Countdown, Outside The Lines, World Cup, etc. She worked alongside some of the most famous sport journalists such as the beloved Stuart Scott, Scott Van Pelt, Dan Patrick, John Anderson, Kirk Herbstreit, Kenny Mayne, Chris Berman and beyond. As Pooja wrapped up her days in Live TV, she had an Emmy Nomination, an iron confidence and the backing of some of the biggest sports household names in the world.

Pooja had her eyes set on the big city. She shifted from Production to working in Brand Marketing and moved from ESPN HQ in Bristol to New York City. Pooja worked on several campaigns during her time with ESPN brand including This is SportsCenter, College GameDay Football, College Football on ESPN, MLB on ESPN, and World Cup. Here she picked up her second Emmy nomination working on This is SportsCenter ads featuring aerobics enthusiast Richard Simmons, ESPN MLB analyst Karl Ravech, MLB star Jose Reyes and NFL star Adrian Peterson. She traveled often to sporting events and traveling studio shows learning the ins and outs of brand representation and the importance of protecting the brand as it becomes relevant to advertisers.

With this insight and a hunger to learn more, Pooja joined a team called Co-Marketing. Within this small, but powerful team, ESPN partnered with advertisers to develop cobranded creative that helped sell advertiser objectives through an ESPN lens. Pooja and this 10 person team saw the importance of the work they were doing and quickly shifted goals to develop a stronger and bigger team. Pooja was a founding member of the team CreativeWorks at ESPN. Under this umbrella group, Pooja’s former brand team was merged with her new team to develop a stronger more efficient group- CreativeWorks. CreativeWorks was one of the first network internal creative agencies developed. Partnering with ESPN CreativeWorks allows advertisers to a full service idea center that delivers compelling creative solutions, inspiring our fans to connect with brands. Pooja has lead collaborations with multimillion dollar spenders and top-level marketers such as Apple, Beats by Dre, GM, Ford, Nissan, Home Depot, Gatorade and McDonalds. Pooja is instrumental in strategizing, creating and executing work presenting ad revenue for ESPN.

Pooja’s office is bathed in a deep shade of scarlet and gray to represent her Ohio State roots. Don’t let her College fandom fool you, Pooja is a Chicago girl who grew up rapping The SuperBowl Shuffle, watching Ryne Sandberg play and saw Michael Jordan play for $8 bucks. It’s no wonder that she ended up working in sports – she has been surrounded by some of the all-time greats.

Beyond sports, Pooja prides herself as being a mother to an awesome two year old and as a black belt in creative thinking. She lives and breathes music, recently turned in her Brooklyn membership card when she traveled back home to Chicago and may or may not have been the reason that The Cubs broke their curse and won The World Series upon her return.

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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Vinay Mullick

Chicago Sports Leader, Vinay Mullick

Vinay Mullick will be a panelist at SAinSports event in Chicago on September 21st. 

Vinay Mullick just completed his first year as the Midwest Regional Executive Director for UpMetrics. UpMetrics is a socially driven technology company that provides a data analytics platform used nationally by schools and community organizations.

Prior to his current role, Vinay, a Teach For America alumnus, worked on Chicago’s Southside for 12 years as a teacher, coach, activities director, and athletic director.  From 2007 to 2016, Vinay worked as the Director of Athletics and Activities for the Perspectives Charter Schools Network. Vinay served as the founding athletic director, and built the Perspectives Charter Schools Athletic Department from its infancy.  By 2016, Vinay had grown the department by five times, and at that time the department supported approximately 700 student-athletes and 85 coaches, and fielded 55 teams.  During his time at Perspectives, Vinay oversaw the meteoric rise of NBA star, Anthony Davis, from a local prep player to the #1 ranked high school basketball player nationally, to the prized recruit of University of Kentucky 2011 recruiting class.

As an athletic director,  Vinay sat on numerous state advisory committees, served as an elected Legislative Commission member to the Illinois High School State Association, and served on the executive board of the Illinois Athletic Directors Association.  In 2013, Vinay was named Division 1 Athletic Director of the Year by the Illinois Athletic Directors Association.  He is a regular presenter at local and national conferences on topics related to urban athletics and data-driven decision making.

Vinay has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Northern Illinois University, a Masters in Secondary Education from Dominican University, and Masters in School Counseling from Concordia University.  A native of Chicago’s western suburbs, Vinay resides in La Grange, IL with his wife Mia, and their three children.

You can follow Vinay on twitter @VinayMullick 
Read about Anthony Davis’ meteoric rise that started from Mullick’s Perspective Charter Schools.

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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Payal Patel

Chicago Sports Leader, Payal Patel

Payal Patel will be moderating the panel at SAinSports’ first Chicago Event.

Payal is an international award-winning communications professional with nearly a decade of experience. With a knack for writing and storytelling, Payal originally set out for a career in sports broadcasting upon graduating from Marquette University. Following a stint with Milwaukee’s ABC-TV affiliate, she returned to her hometown of Chicago to transition to a career in public relations.

Currently at Navy Pier, Payal manages internal and external communications and serves as the primary spokesperson for the top destination in the Midwest, which welcomes more than nine million guests each year. She played a pivotal role in developing and executing the PR strategy for Navy Pier’s centennial celebration, which includes a robust lineup of special events and programming and pier-wide redevelopment efforts to enhance the iconic landmark as it enters its next century.

As the Director of Public Relations for the NFL Players Association – Chicago Chapter, Payal oversaw all press inquiries, media outreach, event promotions, social media platforms and public relations campaigns on behalf of the organization, its charitable arm and the players involved. She was instrumental in creating and implementing the media strategy for the Chapter’s involvement in the NFL Draft in Chicago, the concussions lawsuit against the NFL, among other key events and initiatives led by the organization and its members.

Payal also managed corporate communications for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, coordinating press coverage around the Club’s corporate partnership agreements, business development announcements, marketing campaigns, community relations efforts and the Chicago Fire Foundation. She led the public relations campaigns for the 2014 FIFA World Cup viewing parties in Chicago and the Fire’s new primary and third kit launches.

Prior to that, Payal served as the Director of Public Relations for the Chicago Soul FC, a professional indoor soccer team. She oversaw all communications for the Soul organization, including media strategy, campaign development, crisis management, press announcements, game recaps and highlights, post-game interviews with players and coaches, special promotions, among other responsibilities for the then-startup organization.

In December 2016, Payal was recognized at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. for being named to the PR News Rising Stars 30 Under 30 list, which honors budding PR leaders worldwide. She is also a recipient of the MarCom Platinum Award, the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Golden Trumpet Award, and the Public Relations Society of America Chicago Skyline Award of Excellence for her collaborative work on the PR efforts around Navy Pier’s new Centennial Wheel.

​Presently, Payal sits on the local boards for Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and Women In Sports and Events (WISE), and is a member of the Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) and Chicago Leadership Alliance (CLA), an exclusive network of distinguished leaders in Chicago. As part of her philanthropic involvement, she volunteers regularly at Feed My Starving Children and Habitat For Humanity, while serving as an ambassador for Room to Read.

Payal resides in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago with her goldendoodle, Leo – named after her favorite soccer player, Lionel Messi. You can follow her on twitter @PayalPatelPR

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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Ram Padmanabhan

Chicago Sports Leader, Ram Padmanabhan

Ram Padmanabhan will be a panelist at SAinSports’ first Chicago Event.

Ram Padmanabhan joined the Chicago Bulls at the beginning of the 2013-14 season as the Vice President of Financial and General Counsel. He is responsible for the team’s compliance with legal, regulatory and NBA requirements and oversees the team’s financial and human resources functions.

Ram previously served as Vice President, Chief Counsel-Corporate and Company Secretary for Aon plc, where he was responsible for overseeing corporate transactional matters, and also advised Aon management and the Board of Directors on various corporate governance matters. Before joining Aon, Ram was a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, where he represented the Chicago Bulls and the United Center as well as professional sports teams and corporate sponsors of professional sports teams on a variety of promotional, media, sponsorship and general corporate matters.

Prior to joining Katten, Ram practiced with the Chicago offices of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Pattishall, McAuliffe and served as a law clerk to Judge William J. Bauer on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from McGill University in 1990, and his Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law in 1993.

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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Sahadev Sharma

Chicago Sports Leader, Sahadev Sharma

Sahadev Sharma will be a panelist at SAinSports first Chicago Event.

Sahadev Sharma is a Chicago native and lead Cubs writer for The Athletic – a subscription based “premium destination of insider scoop, player analysis, & expert opinion for fans that get it.”

Previously Sahadev was a national baseball writer for Baseball Prospectus. He also brings experience from ESPN Chicago. Sahadev grew up in the north suburbs of Chicago, graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is also a diehard Illinois basketball fan. He now resides in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago with his wife and two kids.

Check out this article that talks about The Athletic’s first challenges to ‘make it’ as a subscription based local news site in Chicago. You can follow Sahadev on twitter @SahadevSharma and check all his articles for The Athletic here.

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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Fall Upcoming Events


Get ready everyone, SAinSports will be hosting two upcoming networking events this fall! Mark your calendars for Thursday, September 21st, in downtown Chicago, IL and Thursday October 5th, New York, NY. In the coming weeks, we will spotlight each of our event panelists so you can get to know them and their work a bit better.

These events are free for members so be sure to join SAinSports and RSVP for an event here. We are so excited to see you there!

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Member Spotlight: Josh Varughese, New York Yankees

This week, SAinSports is shining the spotlight on a recent college grad who just started his career in the world of professional sports. Josh Varughese, graduated from Rutgers University last year with a B.S in Sports Management and is now an Account Executive for Inside Sales at the New York Yankees.

What made you choose to have a career in the sports industry?

From a young age I invested heavily in sports, drawing passion from the game of basketball, hoping to make a life out of it. In lieu of a professional sports career, sports helped me develop fundamental characteristics that are applicable not only in business, but also in life. Particularly, it introduced me to the value of camaraderie, work ethic, and the significance of being a goal-oriented individual. I was immediately attracted to the business side of the sports & entertainment world after taking a deeper look at what it offers.

Being South Asian, did you come across any barriers in choosing an undergraduate degree in sports management? For instance, at home with your parents?

Of course! As most South Asians parents would like of their children, my parents wanted me to go into finance, engineering, medicine, etc. It was difficult for my family to understand my vision in the sports business industry. I went against their will and decided to pursue my passion for sports. I took pride in learning as much about the industry at Rutgers University to put myself in the best situation in hopes of pivoting towards a role with any team.

What’s its like being right out of college working for a major baseball team?

Getting a call from the New York Yankees my junior year at Rutgers was one of the best moments of my life. I never thought the opportunity would present itself so early in my career.

What is the best part of your job?

Having the ability to work and learn from some of the top people in the business and network with influencers in the NYC area. I also get to be a part of the game, which allows me to see sports & athletes behind the scenes with a different lens.

What advice do you have for young aspiring students wanting to go in the same direction you did?

Be aware and learn as much as you can about what’s going on in the sports and business world. Learn about the corporate structure of different sports organizations to see what kind of positions are available that cater to your strengths and interests. Find out who has a job you’d like and reach out to them to set up a phone call or meeting.

Good luck Josh! We look forward to following your budding career.