Proof of Excellence
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
The above quote is attributed to Aristotle. So, humans have been striving for excellence for over 2000 years. In a physical world, excellence can often be seen, quantified, measured or benchmarked. For example, the Mona Lisa is widely admired and considered excellent as a piece of art. The returns of a financial instrument over a period of time can be quantified, measured, and benchmarked to reach a conclusion on its excellence. However, as our lives move into the digital world, many aspects of it, may not be visible as a singular data point. An assessment on the excellence then is best recognized as a Proof of Excellence recorded with the right set of provenance on a blockchain and made publicly known.
A digital Proof of Excellence is exactly what The NFT Brewery and the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience (IIFX) partnered up to create for the luminaries who were honored at the “Fancentric” conference and expo May 24-26 at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, NV.
On Tuesday, May 24, IIFX hosted a Celebration Luncheon to induct three sports and entertainment industry leaders into the IIFX International Hall of Fame. The winners were selected for their lifetimes of distinguished meritorious service to the sports and entertainment industry and its fans. Criteria for induction into the International Hall of Fame include longevity to the industry, sustained performance and contributions, inspirational leadership, a FANCENTRIC focus, management, vision, and business ethics.
The NFT Brewery captured their lifetime of excellence with unique Proof of Excellence NFTs recorded on the Polygon blockchain. Read on below to know more about the contributions of each of these awardees. (Text and image courtesy, IIFX)
The 2022 International Hall of Fame inductees are:
LEN KOMOROSKI – Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Rock Entertainment Group. Len Komoroski’s career with the Cavaliers began in 2003 as President. Since then, Komoroski led his team to build an award-winning foundation, one well-positioned for continued growth and sustained success. Komoroski’s tenure included the acquisition of the Cleveland Monsters (AHL), the Cleveland Charge (NBA G League) and the Cavs Legion (NBA2K) franchises, with all three teams earning league-level awards for business operations. The Cavaliers were named a top five finalist for the prestigious Sports Business Journal (SBJ) “Sports Team of the Year” award three times. Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse was named a finalist in the “Sports Facility of the Year” category in SBJ’s industry awards for 2020, the year after completing the venue’s massive, $185 million transformation. Komoroski’s leadership helped create the public/private partnership that made The transformation possible. This commercialization of a new or renovated venue is one of the most successful in NBA history.
RUSS SIMONS – Chief Listening Officer & Managing Partner at Venue Solutions Group, LLC. For more than 35 years, Russ Simons has been involved in nearly every facet of the sports and entertainment facility industry including design, construction, and management. Most recently, he served as the full-time venue operations representative for the Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District (LASED), including SoFi Stadium. At Venue Solutions Group (VSG), Russ directs the firm’s safety, security, risk and crowd management operations. He works with operators at every level from college to every major professional league. Simons is a member of the International Association of Assembly Managers (IAVM) and has served on the Board of Directors and Life Safety Council. He is a founder and instructor of the IAVM’s Academy for Venue Safety and Security and is an instructor and former Chairman of the Board of Regents of IAVM’s Venue Management School at Oglebay. Simons currently serves as the chairman of the Department of Homeland Security Public Assembly Facility Sub-Sector for Commercial Facilities. Russ is a former volunteer firefighter, instructor at the Hartford County Fire Training Center, and an Emergency Medical Technician. Russ also serves as a IIFX Distinguished Fellow.
LEE ZEIDMAN – President of Crypto.com Arena, Microsoft Theater, and L.A. Live. As President of Crypto.com Arena (formerly the STAPLES Center), Microsoft Theater, and L.A. LIVE, the sports, residential and entertainment district, Zeidman oversees the venues event operations, production, including guest services, booking, box office, event security, event staffing, guest relations, facility presentation, marketing, communications, hospitality and food and beverage services. Along with his hard-working team of employees, Zeidman also supervises Crypto.com Arena’s overall day-to-day support for its tenants, sponsors, clients, and partners including the Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Los Angeles Sparks franchises, hosting seven NBA Finals, two Stanley Cup Finals and five WNBA Finals in which the home teams won seven NBA Championships, two Stanley Cup Championships and three WNBA Championships. Zeidman and his team have successfully hosted an unprecedented schedule of events since October 1999, including multiple summer X Games competitions, 19 of the last 21 GRAMMY Awards, and more than 400 sold out concerts. Zeidman also helped develop and open The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and iconic AEG venues such as the O2 in London and the Mercedes Benz Arena in Berlin.
In addition, IIFX and The NFT Brewery also honored winners of its four innovation awards: Technology Innovation Leader, Women Innovator Award, Venue Award, and Technology Award. The winners were selected for their innovative use of technology to enhance the fan experience throughout the sports and entertainment industry.
TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION LEADER: Awarded to a person whose work is impacting the sports & entertainment industry with positive change using technology.
DENNIS WILLIAMS – Senior Vice President and General Manager at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Fiserv Forum is the home arena of the 2021 NBA champs. It is also an icon of revitalization, serving as the catalyst for the Deer District’s renaissance, shaping the downtown Milwaukee area into today’s vibrant destination. Dennis Williams was mission-critical to the safe and healthy return of fans to the arena in February 2022. With the support of longtime partner Johnson Controls and its OpenBlue Healthy Buildings solutions suite, Williams met his goal of creating a smart fan experience that was thrilling and healthy, safe, and secure. Williams and Johnson Controls worked together to reach new heights with sustainability and building health, eventually earning the arena LEED Gold certification in 2022. William’s vision and expertise has created an environment where visitors feel safe coming to Fiserv Forum and the surrounding buildings in the Deer District. Thanks to William’s leadership and vision, Fiserv Forum is now better equipped to provide clean air through disinfection, improved ventilation and increased filtration.
WOMEN INNOVATOR AWARD: Awarded to a person who is advancing opportunities and paving the way to success for women in the sports & entertainment industry.
KATHY CARTER – Chief Executive Officer at LA28, the Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2028. Carter’s demonstrated ability to forge strong partnerships between major sports, sponsors, and government stakeholders makes her the right person to lead Los Angeles’s $7 billion Olympic venture. Her organizational and marketing prowess enables Carter to create a grand partnership among the city’s stakeholders and deliver a memory-making Olympic experience for athletes, fans, and sponsors. Her goal is to set the standard for sustainable mega-events everywhere and make that knowledge universally accessible and applicable anywhere in the world. Before joining LA28, Carter was a founding member of Major League Soccer (MLS), spending a total of 20 years at MLS and Soccer United Marketing, including eight years as president. Previously she held positions with AEG in Los Angeles and served as manager of partnership marketing for the organizing committee behind the 1994 FIFA World Cup™.
VENUE AWARD: Awarded to a venue that has deployed a cutting edge, innovative solution that increases and adds value to the fan experience.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM – Located in London, England, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, is a multipurpose stadium with several cutting-edge innovations with the fan in mind. It has the world’s first dividing, retractable football pitch, which has a synthetic turf field underneath for National Football League (NFL) London Games, concerts, and other events. The stadium has four large LED screens and 1,800 video screens to ensure fans keep up with the action anywhere in the stadium. It is home to the world’s first stadium microbrewery, producing 1 million pints of craft beer a year and can deliver up to 10,000 pints a minute to serve its fans. It is the first cashless stadium in the United Kingdom. It offers even the most “connected” fans stadium-wide connectivity with more Wi-Fi access points, Bluetooth beacons, and greater bandwidth than any stadium
TECHNOLOGY AWARD: Awarded for an innovative technology that sports& entertainment venues can deploy to create an enjoyable fan experience grounded in safety, security, health, and/or service.
MASHGIN – Mashgin is the world’s fastest self-checkout system powered by AI and computer vision. Sports & entertainment fans demand instant gratification. Mashgin’s Touch-less Checkout System eliminates consumer frustration while increasing revenue with checkout that is 4X faster than cashiers and traditional points-of-sale. Mashgin’s touch-less technology provides a frictionless, fully automated, cashless, and touch-less fan experience. Mashgin is deployed in more than 700 locations that span major convenience store chains, Fortune 500 companies, and more than 20 iconic sports stadiums. Mashgin’s visual checkout system can recognize produce and prepared food by sight. Its AI and camera capabilities, known as computer vision, recognize multiple items at once without the need for barcodes, RFID, or other label ID methods. Fans simply place goods and items on the Mashgin kiosk’s tray and complete the transaction using the digital payment of their choice. Its software can be easily updated to adapt to new products and labeling systems without expensive hardware updates.