Tag Archives: sports

Hermann Elger, EVP & GM, Travel, Entertainment, & Health Security, Sharecare

Events are starting back up…

Rick talks with Hermann Elger, EVP and GM at Sharecare this week.

Elger, talks about the long-term planning and tools stadiums and arenas need to be using to fully rebuild their businesses and fan trust.

With a light at the end of the tunnel, some leagues have started to welcome fans back into stadiums (re: MSG and Barclays) and others are in the preparation stages. However, it will take more than revamped cleaning procedures to truly win back the trust of fans and visitors.

Previously the Chief Operating Officer of Baccarat Hotels & Resorts, Hermann has been helping the hospitality, entertainment and sports industries get back on their feet with Sharecare’s VERIFIED®, a multi-pronged digital verification and accountability system in partnership with Forbes Travel Guide and supported by CAA Icon and OVG. Most recently, the State Farm Arena in Atlanta announced the integration of VERIFIED® into their recovery plans to establish confidence from fans in their safety efforts.


Why on-site COVID testing, mobile ordering, digital health passports and cleaning procedures won’t be enough to fully recover entertainment/sporting events

The value people are placing on health security, digital accountability and a verification standard for venues

How COVID’s permanently changed the way people think about events and how stadiums need to communicate with visitors

Hermann Elger is executive vice president and GM of travel, entertainment, and health security at Sharecare, the digital health company that helps people manage all their health in one place.

In this role, Elger is responsible for leveraging the company’s digital capabilities and health expertise to help employers and businesses across service industries ensure public health safety as part of overall consumer well-being. With channel partners such as Forbes Travel Guide, Elger oversees the delivery and global expansion of Sharecare’s Health Security VERIFIED™ solution, a platform and verification system designed to help hospitality organizations comply with proactive and reactive measures to minimize the risk and impact of acute public health events.

A well-respected, widely traveled, and assured leader in luxury hospitality, Elger brings a wealth of expertise and 25 years of global experience to Sharecare. Prior to joining the company, Elger served as managing director of Baccarat New York and chief operating officer of Baccarat Hotels and Resorts, leading the development of new properties and overseeing day-to-day operations and quality guest experiences for the flagship hotel. Previously, Elger also served as general manager for Baccarat Hotels and Resorts, overseeing operations and the guest experience at luxury properties such as The St. Regis New York and Montage Beverly Hills. He also spent 18 years with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, where supported the development of new hotels as an opening team leader for The Ritz-Carlton Aspen Highlands, Philadelphia, Dubai, and Kuala Lumpur.

Born and raised in Mexico City, Elger followed his father into the hotel industry and earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from the University of Denver. His talents are recognized with honors including “Best GM in US and Canada” in the Travvy Awards and “Most Innovative GM” by American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts, both awarded in 2016. Elger also was named one of the “40 Most Influential Leaders in Tourism in Mexico” by Lideres magazine.

Joshua Smith, Hamilton, Ohio City Manager on the Economic Impact of Sports

Rick is joined on “Tech of Sports” this week, by Joshua Smith, the City Manager of the great city of Hamilton, Ohio.

Hamilton, Ohio is located in the heart of the Rust Belt, a region in Northeastern and Midwestern United States that has been experiencing industrial decline since the 1980s. In its heyday, Hamilton became a manufacturing powerhouse due to early investments in hydroelectric power and logistics infrastructure. Hamilton was billed as “The greatest manufacturing city of its size in the world.” Companies in the city produced paper, safes, machine tools, farm equipment, cans for vegetables, automobile parts and printing presses. Also, like many great American industrial cities of the day, Hamilton contributed greatly to the war efforts during both World Wars. Hamilton factories manufactured war materials, such as ship engines and gun lathes.

However, by 1980s manufacturing had changed in the United States. A good deal of manufacturing was moved overseas to reduce labor expenses, resulting in the closure of factories across the country. Hamilton felt the impact of this globalization as factories closed and thousands of residents lost their jobs. This change in the economy also impacted other businesses in the community. Retail and restaurants were severely impacted by lost and reduced wages, as well. As a result, Hamilton’s once vibrant downtown and surrounding areas were hit particularly hard by the outsourcing of jobs, leaving many storefronts empty and buildings left to deteriorate.

After feeling like they were forgotten by the rest of America and watching the opioid epidemic plaque their communities, Rust Belt cities like Hamilton have taken their destiny into their own hands. Instead of waiting for broken promises by politicians of bringing manufacturing back to the Rust Belt, the Rust Belt is taking action themselves, creating new industries to revitalize their communities. From partnering with the state to secure tax incentives, to utility rate guarantees, to direct assistance through various funding sources, Hamilton has taken an all-hands-on-deck approach to revitalization. Hamilton has partnered with a variety of organizations to rehabilitate abandoned properties for rent, or put them into the hands of new ownership who put the buildings back into use. The urban core of Hamilton has welcomed over 90 new small businesses in the last ten years, and experienced over $250 million dollars in investment.

The city also has created Upper Floor Residential Rehabilitation Program to encourage activation of the upper floors in the Main Street Business District. The goal is to get people to work and live downtown, turning the once bleak downtown into a vibrant city center.

Hamilton also has emphasized the importance of a diverse business base, including advanced manufacturing, breweries, retail, and tourism. Hamilton now has a variety of industries that operate in the city. A diverse mix within a local economy helps to weather the storm when macroeconomics tip the scales. Instead of having one large industry, which created the deterioration of the Rust Belt, Hamilton now has a diverse slate of industry.


Hamilton is betting on a 42-acre abandoned paper mill that is in the process of being redeveloped into North America’s largest indoor sports complex. Expecting more than one million visitors each year, the $144 million complex brings new life to the former home of a legacy Hamilton industry. The project will include an on-site hotel, brewery, restaurant, and convention center. Before this construction started and it sat empty in the middle of the city, it was a sad reminder of the past and everything they lost, now it is symbol of the future.

Joshua talks about that and more, including being a Cyclone, lie RIck this week…


Keira McCarrell, D-1 Student Athlete, Olympics, Pottery and Watercolor Artist

Keira McCarrell is one busy girl. A redshirt senior at Auburn University, is staying occupied in 2021 with school, track and field and her love of creating works of art.

Rick talks to Keira about combining being in school, running track and selling her beautiful artwork, which this holiday season included Christmas cards.

“I was born in British Columbia, Canada, and compete on their national team when presented the opportunity. I was raised in Oregon and transferred from University of Oregon to now Auburn. As a multi athlete, I have always found myself trying new things and doing everything I can to keep myself busy.”

Her artist journey started in high school when she started being very passionate about pottery.

“As I lost my access to a studio I picked up watercolor. My mom suggested I started selling them online and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s what keeps my mind at ease when I’m constantly thinking about sports and school during the week!

See how Keira does it all and has a shot at the Olympics. Have a listen.

Keira’s links to check out:





Mike and Rob Barnes, Selkirk Sport, What is New in Pickleball

It’s pickleball this week with Mike and Rob from SelkirkSport.

As the popularity of Pickleball continues to surge during the COVID-19 era, Selkirk Sport has been recognized as the Pickleball Manufacturer of the year by Racquet Sports Industry (RSi) in conjunction with their inaugural Champions of Pickleball Awards. The family-owned Company based in Hayden, ID is at the forefront of driving growth of the sport, offering a full line-up of Made in-the USA Pickleball Paddles for all levels and an assortment of accessories.

As outdoor activities continue to adapt to adhere to CDC and local/national health guidelines, the sport of Pickleball serves as the perfect “social distancing” physical activity. Today, Pickleball boasts more than 3.46 million players across the U.S., according to the most recent data by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association and RSi recognized Selkirk Sport alongside individuals and organizations that continue to make a positive impact, while helping to accelerate the game’s growing popularity and success.

The RSI excerpt from the November/December issue: MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR – Selkirk Sport

Founded in 2014 by brothers Mike and Rob Barnes and their father, Jim Barnes, this family-owned company in Hayden, Idaho, is a leader in pickleball paddle design and technology, building high-performance pickle-ball equipment. Selkirk’s current product line includes paddles, balls, bags, apparel and accessories. Selkirk’s mantra—“We Are Pickleball”—applies as much to the creation of innovative equipment as to the effort to improve and promote the pickleball community as a whole. The brand partners with, among other groups, the Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships, but also with Third Shot Sports, an organization to help bring pickleball awareness and clinics to all ages. Selkirk recently introduced its Vanguard Paddle series, pushing the envelope in technology and its $200 price—which has not deterred consumers, as the paddles quickly sold out on the brand’s website.

“We are committed to supporting the growth of Pickleball at the recreation and professional level, and it’s humbling to be recognized by such a well-respected organization, as a Champion of Pickleball,” said Rob Barnes, Managing Partner, Selkirk Sport. “While 2020 has been a challenging year battling a pandemic, it’s refreshing to see so many individuals of all ages and backgrounds embrace Pickleball as an activity that can be enjoyed in a safe and responsible way.”

Selkirk Sport is one of the industry’s fastest growing companies, and their paddles are used by many of the game’s premier players, many who are national/regional champions. Team Selkirk Ambassadors include: Tyson McGuffin, 4-Time National Champion and one of the top ranked players in the world; Cammy MacGregor, Top ranked senior player and former top 75 women’s professional tennis player; Morgan Evans, Coach to the world’s elite Pickleball players; Enrique Ruiz: Hall of Famer & 6-Time National Champion; Kaitlyn Christian, 28-year old Professional Tennis Player – Top 50 in Doubles on WTA Tour; Joanne Russell, 1977 Wimbledon Doubles Champion; Lindsey & Riley Newman, Top five ranked players and college basketball officials and Sherri Steinhauer: former LPGA star, 3-Time Women’s British Open Champion & 4-Time United States Solheim Cup Winner, among many others.

Alain Cohen, CEO of NeuroTennis

Rick is joined by Alain Cohen, CEO of NeuroTennis to talk about their new tennis tech product.

Features and benefits of NeuroTennis include:

Two player or solo mode – NeuroTennis is most typically used in a two-player mode, meaning that the sensors in each device communicate with each other, across the court.

NeuroTennnis App – The feature-rich app allows you to select lessons and drills from an extensive library designed by world-class coaches, including Mats Wilander. Taking it to the next level, you or your coach can easily customize content to specifically address your goals. Available for iPhone and Android.

Game Modifying Technology – While other wearable tennis products just measure physical results, like speed and spin, NeuroTennis is about ingraining better habits and accessing your tennis skills consistently so you can raise your game while you practice. Training at higher levels leads to playing at higher levels.

NeuroTennis is available now at NeuroTennis.com and sells as a pair for $269. For more information on how to train your brain and raise your game, visit NeuroTennis.com.

Great talking with Alain and great information.

Claudia Di Gino, Novotel Miami Brickell Hotel, Miami Sports Travel

Rick is joined on “Tech of Sports” this week by the GM of the Novotel Miami Brickell Hotel, Claudia Di Gino.

Claudia is leading the charge as the Novotel Miami Brickell has reopened its doors—and heart—to guests and visitors with rooms starting at great rates. A Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice 2020 winner, the hotel is nestled in the heart of Miami’s bustling Brickell neighborhood, within walking distance of many of the city’s top dining and shopping attractions.

As Claudia tells Rick, the Novotel Miami Brickell’s location is perfect for not only business and leisure travelers, but also those in Miami for watching and playing sports. Venues for the Heat, Marlins and many of the other great sporting events in Miami are nearby.

But in this day, safety is priority and the Novotel leads the way.

“The hotel’s top priority remains the safety, care and wellbeing of our Novotel Miami Brickell family. Welcoming, safeguarding and taking care of others is at the very heart of what we do and who we are,” said Di Gino, Novotel Miami Brickell. “Today, this means keeping our guests and employees safe by preventing the spread of COVID-19 – partnering with top experts to implement new standards of safety and enhanced operational protocols and procedures which are among the most stringent in the hospitality industry.”

The new operational standards being implemented at Novotel Miami Brickell and at Accor properties across North & Central America were developed and vetted by a team of expert advisors to ensure maximum efficacy in preventing the spread of all viruses and pathogens, including COVID-19, with oversight by Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspections and certification; Dr. Amesh Adalja, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security & fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America; and Ruth Petran, Ph.D., CFS, Senior Corporate Scientist, Food Safety and Public Health, for Ecolab, global leaders in cleaning and hygiene, and trusted advisors to the CDC. At each touchpoint along the guest journey through Novotel Miami Brickell, extensive measures are being taken to protect guests and employees, including physical distancing; mandatory screening for all guests and employees, which may include a temperature check; face coverings mandated for all employees and guests in all indoor public spaces; 48 hour “resting period” for soft goods (i.e. pillows & duvets) between guest stays; increased frequency of cleaning & disinfecting, with a focus on high-touch points; and continued use of EPA registered disinfecting chemicals, proven effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. Hands-on training for all employees, a dedicated on-property rollout committee and a formal audit program, validated under the global ALLSAFE Cleanliness label, ensure initial and continued compliance.

“As we welcome our friends, family and community back to Novotel Miami Brickell, please be assured that we are looking ahead, through and past the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure that our valued guests and employees will always be looked after with the highest degree of safety, care and comfort.”

Safety, a great property and sports travel. In a great Miami neighborhood. Fun talking with Claudia.