Watch on Youtube

Ryan Knuppel:

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Ryan Knuppel here, no Knup Sports Show. Welcome to episode 146 of this show. We’re super excited to have each of you here. As you can tell, I’m in a little different environment than I normally am, but that’s okay. It’s still the same old show.

Ryan Knuppel:

I’m here to bring you information, entertainment, talking, anything we can in the sports betting/iGaming space. And today we have a really special guest with us. I’m super excited to talk to this gentleman, and just to understand a little bit about what makes him tick.

Ryan Knuppel:

And he’s in a space that I think a bunch of you are going to enjoy. So before we get to my guest for today, I want to set a few ground rules. Hey, if you’re watching this live, please ask questions, make comments. We see those live right here.

Ryan Knuppel:

We’re going to bring those up. We’re going to put them in front of the guest. We’re going to put the guest on the spot with some questions. So if you have those, please bring those to us and we will make sure those get addressed, all right?Without further ado, I’m going to bring on our special guest, Cristian Robalino of SBC. Cristian, are you with me?

Cristian Robalino:

Hi Ryan. Good, good, I’m with you.

Ryan Knuppel:

Hey, thanks for joining me, my friend. How you doing today?

Cristian Robalino:

Doing great, doing great. It’s a sunny day in Connecticut so, I can’t complain.

Ryan Knuppel:

There you go. It’s a little cold in Florida, which is kinda weird saying that. It’s a little chilly in Florida today, but it’s probably still a little warmer than up in Connecticut, I’m assuming.

Cristian Robalino:

Yeah. We were starting to feel it, especially in the morning. Morning walks and things like that. You feel the freeze, early freeze.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah. So Cristian, you’re new to SBC. How long have you been working with SBC? Give us that background first. It hasn’t been too long, right?

Cristian Robalino:

Yeah, yeah. I started with SBC in about May, May or June of this year. My background came from marketing, obviously. I lead the marketing for the Americas for SBC, but my background has always been marketing and trade shows, specifically. Conferences, exhibitions, events of that nature, festivals. So I bring that experience to the table for SBC.

Ryan Knuppel:

Really, really cool. So, what’s your background? I mean, you say you’re in marketing and all of that, but what brought you from where you were to where you are today? What’s in between there? What roles have you had? What things have always interested you?

Cristian Robalino:

I’ve always had an interest for marketing. As soon as I hit my first of Marketing 101 course back in college, I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to follow. Just being able to be creative, utilizing data and analytics, just to figure out the best way to message something or sell a product or service.

Cristian Robalino:

It just always stuck with me, and the psychology behind it as well was something that was really impactful for earlier in my career, right? So the decisions on what I was going to do for a living, right.

Cristian Robalino:

But as I started in my career, I worked on a smaller company called [tee time watch. 00:03:16]. We basically sold tee times online, and it was one of the very early stages of what booking tee times online was like.

Cristian Robalino:

So we were one of the first companies that did that, and unluckily our competitor got purchased by the Golf Channel, GolfNow, which just ended up booming and broke off for the company.

Cristian Robalino:

After that I decided to, part of what we did there was go to events, go to the PGA show and go to trade shows and get familiar the with the space, the individuals, the brands, the companies, and the people behind everything that was golf related. But I always enjoyed that aspect.

Cristian Robalino:

So when I moved on to my next job and career, I’d pursue that, conferences, events because I already was familiar with that, participating on them. And honestly, I started working with Reed Exhibitions about 2010 or so.

Ryan Knuppel:

Okay. Okay.

Cristian Robalino:

Reed Exhibitions is one of the largest trade show companies in the world. So, I kind of slowly worked my way through the rankings, working as a marketing associate, doing the nitty gritty, and then a marketing manager and marketing director. So, worked on a lot of different events from fashion brands and clothing, to the comic cons. New York Comic Con is one of the big ones that Reed ran and even touched upon global gaming expo.

Cristian Robalino:

So I was working for that events for a couple of years. And back then, it was the early stages of what we are seeing now, right in the industry and what’s happening. It was this whole online gaming and what’s going to happen in New Jersey. And it was way before any of it took off. So, it was interesting times and that, but that always stuck with me as well. And obviously now with SBC having that background, and also that interest, in this space, it’s just the world’s colliding to make it the perfect match for my interest and fulfilling this role.

Ryan Knuppel:

That’s really awesome and that brings you to where you are today, the VP of Marketing of Americas for SBC. Let’s get into SBC, and this company, I’ve had nothing but respect for, since I’ve really been in this industry and understood who they were. Went to a couple of their events, really had a great time. Really they just put on just a first class experience with everything that they do from the parties to the events, to the networking, everything about it. And so I’m sure you’re loving your time there. Let’s jump right in, I mean, you got a huge event coming up, a huge event coming up here in end of November, November 30th – December 2nd, right?

Cristian Robalino:

Yeah, exactly. Next week, our preregistration event will be Tuesday night. So we’ll actually kick off with a Player Protection Symposium that we’re partnering up with EPIC on Tuesday night. It’s an invite only event, a really small gathering of C-suite level individuals in the space, but then we’ll turn that event into our preregistration and networking party for that evening. And then people can start coming in, collecting their badges, the whole regs process that, in the mornings, can be a little bit busy and then we’ll head right into the event on Wednesday and Thursday, which be full days of, like you said, conference sessions, exhibition, floor, networking, meeting with individuals, which is really what we’re all about, right? We’re about helping businesses grow. We’re about connecting the dots, making those connections and facilitating business opportunities.

Cristian Robalino:

You know, that’s really what it boils down to. So, I think next week’s event is going to be just phenomenal, honestly, it’s based on our first event, which was Betting on Sports America, back in 2019. So we’ve added the eye gaming element to it and thus the name change, but honestly, the root of it all it’s sports betting, and that’s [crosstalk 00:07:19] where majority of the content is and what you’re going to be seeing. But online gaming is really something that we’re supporting a lot of and you’ll see throughout the event.

Ryan Knuppel:

And what I think you guys do such an amazing job with, from my experiences, is putting together that combination of learning with entertainment, with networking, right? You know, you can really get the best of all three worlds. If you’re there to learn about the industry, you have an unbelievable lineup of speakers. I mean, maybe touch on some of the speakers that are going to be there, your sessions, you have sessions all through the day on Wednesday and Thursday, different tracks that people can go to depending on what they want to learn. I think the learning piece, and a lot of people overlook this because they come to really just meet people and network. When I think you can really get a lot out of the learning if you’re there to learn. So speak a little bit about that piece of it.

Cristian Robalino:

Yeah, yeah. Well basically, we’re going to have a top notch, and talking to our conference team, it’s one of the best lineups we’ve assembled, not just in North America, because it’s one of the newer events, but across the world. We hold events in Barcelona, in Malta, in London. And we’re really proud of, of the speaker lineup. You know, some of the keynotes and players that are going to be speaking at the events will be Soo Kim, who’s the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Bally’s Corporation; Bill Miller, who’s the President & CEO of the AGA; Jan Jones Blackhurst, a board member of Caesar’s Entertainment. You’re going to see a lot of C-suite level individuals, a lot of CEOs, a lot of chief risk officers and operating officers. It’s really going to be an event that from the speaker line perspective, top notch, top level and the tops are what’s happening now. Not only what’s happening now, what’s happening in the future as well as all these different markets open up, not just in the US, but Canada, obviously that’s a topic that’s out there.

Ryan Knuppel:

And then so on top of all the learning that you can do at the sessions, if anybody hasn’t been to one of these events, I mean the show floor, I call it the show floor, right? Where there’s booths and tents and people. It’s always buzzing at your events. It’s always just such a good time and you can meet people and people are so open to having those discussions just right on the spot. And so I personally love that piece of it where I can just go and I can see people that are in the industry and go right up to them and talk to them and understand what they’re doing. And I really truly think you make a lot of business for those of us in business, you can make a lot of business just right there because you have tons of businesses that have paid to be sponsors and have booths and things like that at your event. So maybe speak a little bit to that piece of it as well.

Cristian Robalino:

Yeah. Yeah. We pride ourselves in giving that experience. Right? I think we do it, for me, better than most events, especially in this industry as well. You know, we provide an all inclusive experience, which means, everything from your tickets to the conference sessions, to having access to the show floor, but also breakfast, lunch included. Drinks, networking, drinks, and access to those networking parties that I mentioned earlier is really what separates us. We just provide, you don’t have to worry about anything. Everything is going to be included. You’re you just have to pay your ticket. And you’re pretty much set for the entire three days, we’re going to have, like I mentioned, we’re going to have that pre-reg event party on Tuesday night at The 40/40 Club. On Wednesday, we’re going to have an evening of the Ceremony of Hall of fame.

Cristian Robalino:

So we’re inducting five individuals into that, as well as the party. So it’ll be at MetLife Stadium at the Coaches Box. People are going to actually be able to throw a football, catch a touchdown. So we’re going to have access to the field. It’s going to be a fun event as well. So nice Instagramable moments as well that night. And then the last evening, we’re going to have our SBC Awards North America ceremony. So that’s going to recognize and award individuals and companies in our industry that have gone above and beyond. And that’s going to be in the Edison Ballroom and the same night that as our closing night party which is all about making those connections and in a relaxed environment, which, it’s all business in, in the mornings and in afternoons. And then you get into those things. There’s just a different type of relationship building.

Ryan Knuppel:

That’s awesome, that’s great. Hey, you’re getting some comments here. Rodney says “Agreed. This speaker lineup’s incredible for anyone in this space. Love it.” Rachel has a question for you. Rachel says, “Is this event for newbies to the industry? So meaning, is this just for your experienced professionals in this industry or what about somebody that’s just looking to break in or just learn about the industry?

Cristian Robalino:

Honestly, it’s for, I would say for both, for any type of individual that’s in this industry, in the sports betting or our eye gaming industry, right? We have all different types of content that’ll make it suitable for anyone to really attend. We even have, we’re launching this event called First Pitch, which is a competition of launch startup companies that are competing in front of a panel of judges for a prize package worth over $90,000 or so, pretty, pretty good investment. Two companies are actually investing 25 grand each into it. So it’s going [crosstalk 00:12:51] to be a fun experience. You know, people are going to learn what companies are out there, exciting companies at that. So there’s a little bit of everything for everyone, even investor types. And, we are pretty much the ecosystem for this event in this industry, right? You have suppliers, you have operators, [crosstalk 00:13:08] affiliates, you have the regulators and government officials, everyone that’s in the industry in one way or another tied in. It’s the entire, pretty much tackles entire ecosystem like I said.

Ryan Knuppel:

That’s really cool. I really appreciate the question, Rachel, thank you so much. Rodney has another question for you and this one’s a little off topic, so I’m going to put you on the spot here. It’s not off topic, but it’s something that I think you’ll enjoy. Christian, what’s the coolest event you’ve ever been a part of in your opinion? And you can’t use this upcoming one. We know it’s going to be the coolest one, but let’s say in your past, in your history, what’s the coolest event you’ve been a part of?

Cristian Robalino:

Yeah. I mean, this one’s going to be out there honestly. But I worked on this event called ComplexCon. I was part of the team that launched it back in…it’s got to be like five years now, but called ComplexCon. It was an event that was a cultural collusion of just everything fun and cool in the industry. It was fashion, you had food trucks, you had a festival, you had concerts, who was one of our, I think it was Kid Cudi was one of the first ones that performed.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah.

Cristian Robalino:

And we had a lot of different artists, but that was a really cool event. It took everything from like a New York Comic Con and just made it for the cool kids.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah, yeah that’s awesome.

Cristian Robalino:

Yeah.

Ryan Knuppel:

Well, when we ask that same question in two weeks, we know what the answer will be. It’ll be SBC Summit North America 2021 was, by far.

Cristian Robalino:

Exactly.

Ryan Knuppel:

It has potential to be up there, I think. Correct?

Cristian Robalino:

Yeah, oh yeah. Like I said, the experience is really what makes it that awesome.

Ryan Knuppel:

Awesome, awesome. Cool, Christian. Well, if people wanted to come to the event, maybe they already have their tickets. Maybe they don’t. I mean, I know of ways to get them those tickets, but let’s give them your 2 cents on how they can get these tickets for the SBC Summit North America.

Cristian Robalino:

Yeah. People can just go to SBCevents.com. It’ll not just give you information for this upcoming event in North America next week. It takes place in New Jersey, November 30th through the 2nd, but also our entire line up for next year as well. So like I said earlier, we’re going to have events in Barcelona, in Miami as well and a few others, obviously. So SBCevents.com is where you can learn more about all of our events and also get those tickets for North America.

Ryan Knuppel:

Well, I hope to see you there, Christian. I’ll definitely be there and guess what? December 2nd is my birthday. So, I’m thinking Wednesday night heading into midnight, that’ll be my birthday checkpoint. [crosstalk 00:15:55] So I’m going to be excited to be partying at the Meadowlands with you guys on Wednesday night.

Cristian Robalino:

Oh, I can’t wait. We’ll celebrate there. We’ll have a few drinks there.

Ryan Knuppel:

Awesome. Well, Christian, I really appreciate you being here. Everybody that attended and listened to this and asked questions, thank you so much. Really encourages you to think about heading to this conference, or other conferences, in the future that SBC puts on. We’ll continue to cover them here as well and go from there. Any last words for the audience, Christian, or anything else you want to say?

Cristian Robalino:

I’ll see you all there. I hope everyone can make it, everyone that’s watching this.

Ryan Knuppel:

Awesome. I appreciate you being here until…I guess a week and a half. We’ll see you then, stay safe.

Cristian Robalino:

Thanks, Ryan.

Ryan Knuppel:

All right. That was Cristian Robalino of SBC, VP of Marketing for the Americas. Super excited for this event coming up in November. Hopefully, you are too. I’ll be there so if you are going to be at this event, please make sure you message me, find me. I’d love to connect with you, say hello to you sometime Wednesday or Thursday morning. I definitely would love to say hello to you. So if you’re going to be there, make sure you message me and it’s going to be a great event. So it’s going to be first class in every way. So thank you again for tuning in, I’m Ryan Knuppel of Knup Sports Show. Until next time everybody, stay safe, we’ll talk you soon. Bye.

 

Relevant Cristian Robalino Links

More Knup Sports Links

Contact Ryan Knuppel