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“Growing Your Business” Focus of Rebranded NSGA 2024 Leadership Conference 

Featured, NSGA News • March 26, 2024


Contact: Marty Maciaszek, NSGA Director of Communications
(847) 296-NSGA (6742), ext. 1260 

DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS (March 26, 2024) – The NSGA 2024 Leadership Conference has a new name but this year’s theme of “Growing Your Business” focuses on one of the core tenets of the National Sporting Goods Association’s mission. 

NSGA will look at “Growing Your Business” with discussions impacting the sporting goods industry on AI (Artificial Intelligence), analytics, technology, inclusion and NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) and motivational presentations from Basketball Hall of Fame member Ann Meyers Drysdale and baseball legend Steve Garvey during the annual event May 19-21 at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, Arizona. The theme also fits the rebranded NSGA 2024 Leadership Conference and the event’s continued growth since it started in 1965. 

“We’re excited about the opportunity to examine some different ways attendees of the NSGA 2024 Leadership Conference can grow their business,” said Matt Carlson, NSGA President & CEO. “This year’s speakers have a forward-thinking approach that will get attendees looking at how they can stay ahead of the game with their customers.  

“An expanded version of Speed Networking adds to the second-to-none networking opportunities for the entire industry and we will have another great finish with the induction ceremony of the four-member Class of 2024 Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame.” 

Meyers Drysdale will be one of Monday’s keynote speakers for “A Pioneer’s View on the Growth of Women’s Athletics.” Meyers Drysdale was a star basketball player at UCLA, part of the first US Women’s Olympic team and is the only female to sign a free agent contract with an NBA team. She has also received numerous awards for her contributions to the game as a player, broadcaster and executive. 

Crystal Washington will provide the Monday morning opening keynote “Nextgen Relationships For Sales: Technology & Tactics For Business Growth.” Washington is a technology specialist and futurist who works with organizations on how to leverage technology to increase profitability and productivity in ways that are easy to understand. 

A busy Tuesday will kick off with “The Business Case for an Inclusive Culture” by Ashley Thomas of McKinsey & Company. Thomas is an associate partner in McKinsey’s People and Organizational Performance Practice and was one of the authors of its report “Diversity Matters Even More,” which makes a strong business case that inclusion is a key component of business growth. 

“Maximizing Business Potential with AI and Analytics” is a panel discussion that will share how the latest technology can accelerate business growth. Steven Keith Platt, the Director of Analytics and Lecturer of Applied AI with Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business, will moderate the panel. This stellar panel features Carl Ceresoli, Chief Technology & Security Officer at Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Josh Meyer, Head of Professional Services at EasyPost, and Arianne Parisi, Global Chief Digital Officer for the JD Group. 

Tuesday’s Lunch and Learn features “Leveraging NIL for Business Expansion” with Bill Carter, founder of Student Athlete Insights, looking at Name, Image and Likeness growth opportunities for the sporting goods industry. He is a consultant and educator who gathers monthly data about NIL from a panel of 5,000 college athletes and 1,000 high school prospect athletes.  Carter teaches NIL at the University of Vermont’s Grossman School of Business and writes NIL Corner, a monthly column in Sports Business Journal

Garvey, who was one of baseball’s ironmen and most productive players during the 1970s and 1980s with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, will provide the closing keynote “The Drive to Get After it Every Day.” Garvey was a 10-time All-Star, four-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, 1974 National League MVP and 1981 World Series champion.  

The popularity of Monday afternoon’s Speed Networking has grown since its inception in 2017 and it has been expanded to give retailers and dealers additional scheduled meetings for their discussions with manufacturers and brands about products and other issues. 

The event concludes Tuesday evening with the induction of four industry icons into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame. This year’s induction ceremony will recognize the Class of 2024 of Glenn Barrett (OrthoLite), Cathy Pryor (Hibbett Sports), Karsten Solheim (PING Golf) and Mike Thompson (Rawlings).  

About NSGA 

The National Sporting Goods Association has served as the leading voice for the sporting goods industry since 1929. NSGA is devoted to providing a competitive edge to sporting goods retailers and team dealers through industry leading research, networking, advocacy and unmatched customer support. For more information about membership or NSGA’s products and services, please visit

About the NSGA Leadership Conference  

The NSGA Leadership Conference, formerly known as the Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit, started in 1965 and is the longest-running and most successful leadership event in the sporting goods industry. Top executives and decision-makers from sporting goods retailers, team dealers, manufacturers, sales agencies and industry supporting vendor companies gather for education, best-in-class networking, dynamic speakers and industry recognition at the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame induction. For more information or to register for this year’s event visit


AI Artificial Intelligence Diversity Ashley Thomas McKinsey & Company Stephen Keith Platt Carl Ceresoli Josh Meyer Arianne Parisi Analytics Bill Carter Networking Growing Your Buisness Ann Meyers Drysdale Steve Garvey Crystal Washington Inclusion Leadership Conference Glenn Barrett Karsten Solheim Mike Thompson OrthoLite PING Golf Matt Carlson Cathy Pryor Technology Hibbett Sports Rawlings Sports Retail NIL Sporting Goods Baseball NSGA