The Only Youth Sports Management Conference is Back

By Melissa Wickes
September 8, 2022
4 min

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been.” This Wayne Gretzky quote, often invoked by Steve Jobs, reminds us to always look to the future of youth sports, rather than the past. 

That’s exactly what NextUp: The Youth Sports Management Conference is about—the future of youth sports. 

NextUp is the only conference designed to provide youth sports leaders with professional development and networking opportunities. And it’s back in person for the first time since 2019!

You may remember last year when we hopped in a branded van and visited some of our partners in their hometowns—bringing the power of NextUp all across the Northeast. 

While we loved the unique opportunity to see your players on the field and try your local spot for food, we’re finally able to make an in-person conference work again and we’re so excited to get the industry’s top thought leaders, organizers, and coaches together in one place, on October 6-7 at Convene, One Liberty Plaza, in NYC. 

If you’d like to join with 50% off your registration, enter the code Blog50 at checkout. 

Past attendees have described the conference as “an absolute must for any leader in the youth sports industry.” Here’s what you can expect from the conference.

NextUp 2022 Speakers

This year’s featured speakers include impressive speakers in sports, such as:

  • Swin Cash, VP Operations & Team Development at New Orleans Pelicans, 2x US Olympian, 3x WNBA Champion
  • Paul Rabil, Co-Founder of Premier Lacrosse League
  • Noah Callahan-Bever, Founder & CEO of IDEA GENERATION
  • Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Track & Field Olympic Gold Medalist, Vice President Community & Impact and President of FundPlay at LeagueApps
  • Julie Foudy, ESPN Analyst, 3x US Olympian, 2x Women’s World Cup Champion
  • Lisa Meyers Strasman, President & COO of Next College Student Athlete

Workshops and Presentations

These incredible thought leaders in sports will be presenting keynotes or speaking on panels about on youth sports’ hottest topics, including:

  • The Changing Future of Youth Sports—A deep dive into where youth sports is going and what every youth sports leader needs to consider.
  • Purpose-Driven Growth—Studies overwhelmingly point to a growing trend that is driving consumer behavior—upwards of 80% of people make purchasing decisions based on the perceived purpose and value of a company, and are willing to champion those brands. It is no different in youth and local sports. In the face of a wave of industry consolidation, for-profits and non-profits that understand how to scale with purpose are the most likely to realize their impact and business goals. 
  • High Performance On and Off the Field—Performance for youth sports executives means way more than trophies and wins. It encompasses not just the physical, but the mental. As leaders, how can you bring your best self to your work. As stewards of your organizations, how can you create a high-performing organization that delivers on your goals. As developers of future leaders, how can you create experiences that unlock success not just in the present, but for a lifetime.

In addition to these main stage topics, we’ll be offering a variety of workshops where you can interact with other youth sports leaders and sharpen your business and leadership skills.

 Stay tuned for more on those workshops as we get closer! 

Here’s a sneak peek at what the conference will look like:

Networking Opportunities

A huge part of what people love about  NextUp is the opportunity it provides to connect leaders in youth sports to one another. This is a unique opportunity that you won’t get anywhere else to make connections with, learn from, and swap insights with other leading youth sports leaderes in the industry. We’ll have a number of formalized networking opportunities—like lunches and happy hours—as well as more organic opportunities to do so.

Exhibitor Hall

The exhibitor hall—fittingly named The Arena—will introduce you to leading technology companies that are supporting the youth sports industry so you can learn how they can help you grow your organization. 

Food and Refreshments

Throughout the conference, breakfast, lunch, snacks, and coffee/ refreshments will be provided. We’ll also host a happy hour on Thursday with hors d’oeuvres and alcoholic/ non-alcoholic drinks. 

If you’re interested in grabbing a meal or drinks after the conference, Lower Manhattan is filled with many iconic spots. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Fraunces Tavern in the Financial District—New York’s oldest and most historic bar and restaurant
  • Clinton Hall in the Financial District—voted Best Burger in NYC at the Food & Wine Festival at Burger Bash
  • Gran Morsi in Tribeca—Get the bolognese and thank us later
  • El Vez in Battery Park City—a beautiful spot for Mexican food
  • Il Brigante in the Seaport—Classic New York Italian food in the historic NYC Seaport
  • Jeremy’s Ale House in the Seaport—a Lower Manhattan staple dive bar with 32oz beers and comfort food
  • Van Leeuwen in the Seaport—a sweet treat (ice cream) to end off your night!

For more information about the schedule of NextUp, as well as accessibility and safety information (including COVID-19 information), visit our FAQ page.

Click here to save your spot for the most iconic youth sports conference in existence and enter Blog50 for 50% off registration!  (It’s case sensitive).