SES 2011: AEG’s Goldfine Sees Expanding World for Production Personnel

Michael Goldfine’s least favorite time of day is 2 a.m. The president of AEG Digital Media kicked off his closing keynote address at SVG’s Sports Entertainment Summit by describing that early-morning hour, when he often finds himself awake and addressing the nagging question “What is going on with my career, and where is the world of sports production headed?”

“Budgets are being slashed, jobs are being cut, and the Internet is invading the space that TV used to have,” he told the audience at LA LIVE on Jan. 18. “Are kids taking over the jobs that were once ours?”

Luckily for those who have cut their teeth in sports production, Goldfine assured the audience that the world may appear to be getting smaller but it is actually getting bigger, especially for those with a production skill set.

“If you’re in the sports world right now, you should 100% be working in the entertainment world,” he said, “and you should be in the broadband and mobile space also.”

From concerts and entertainment shows to sports, awards shows, and American Idol, Goldfine’s career has hop-scotched among sports, entertainment, TV, Web, and mobile. He assured the audience that there is a world outside of sports that is easy for sports professionals to break into.

“There’s a lot in common in the world of sports and entertainment production,” Goldfine explained. “For myself and the teams that I’ve assembled, production is basically production. We hire the same crews, use the same equipment. The talent and writers are a little different, but the show runners are the same.”

Technology is another common denominator. Whether checking out a red-carpet dress or reviewing a play in an NBA game, sports and entertainment overlap on specialty cameras, software, and ways to get multiple feeds and angles to viewers. The good news for sports professionals, Goldfine added, is that sponsors are cognizant that new broadcast elements must run flawlessly, especially with a brand name attached to them.

“They want seasoned professionals behind the camera,” he said, “people like you who have a track record and guarantee what you do will look good next to their product.”

As companies like Verizon and AT&T begin to allow customers to watch what they want wherever they want whenever they want to watch it, Goldfine predicted a call for more-specialized content and a corresponding call for professionals to produce that content as well.

“Background matters,” he said. “It’s not going to be the 21-year-old kid with a camera. These big brands want people with track records, and they ask for them. But you need to have more in your arsenal, like the ability to capture in any medium and the ability to distribute to any device. That’s what you are going to need to deliver in this new world.”

Goldfine closed out the full day of education and networking surrounding sports and entertainment by assuring the audience that, even in the new digital world, there are opportunities for production professionals.

“You are needed, and you are vital,” he said. “We need people like you.”