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Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts

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Show me the FUTURE: Renowned Sports Agent to Strengthen CARTA’s XR Curriculum

Leigh Steinberg may best be known to the public as the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film Jerry Maguire, but the newly appointed Board Member of FIU iSTAR also has a remarkable history of influencing the lives of more than just athletes.

Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Steinberg has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing, golf, etc., including the number one overall pick in the NFL draft for an unprecedented eight times as well as 62 total first-round picks. He has represented notable athletes such as Oscar De La Hoya, Lennox Lewis, and multiple Olympians and professional teams. With an unrivaled history of record-setting contracts, Steinberg has secured over $3 billion for his 300+ pro athlete clients and directed more than $750 million to various charities around the world.

Leigh Steinberg is also distinguished by his passion for giving to those less fortunate and his efforts to make our world a better place. He has received commendations from the U.S. Congress, California State Legislature, the Los Angeles City Council, the Orange County Board of Supervisors, President Reagan, President Bush and President Clinton. He created and funded Steinberg Leadership with the Anti-Defamation League, which trained 7,000 young professionals to fight against racism.

Most recently, Mr. Steinberg has turned his attention to education by joining the advisory board of iSTAR at FIU CARTA, which aims to ensure that our communication and journalism graduates are prepared to compete in the world of virtual and augmented reality. Steinberg brings his extensive professional expertise in Sports Management and Sports Communication, where XR is becoming increasingly important. His knowledge and contacts in the industry will help iSTAR offer the most relevant and up-to-date application of XR (Extended Reality, which includes virtual and augmented reality) to sports within the iSTAR curriculum.

As a public-private partnership, FIU iSTAR combines the talents of research and teaching faculty, the energy and ambition of students, and the knowledge and entrepreneurship of private industry professionals in an incubator-instruction-service model. FIU iSTAR provides consultation services, innovates and tests new technologies, and provides training and instruction in the creation of multimedia experiences (MME) in Extended Reality (XR), a related set of technologies that are changing the way we interact with the world and with each other: Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR).

We interviewed Mr. Steinberg as the newest member of the advisory board, and he provided further insight into his role in FIU and CARTA’s iSTAR program:

Why did you decide to join the board of iSTAR FIU?
FIU has visionary leadership with a clear view of how to expand the parameters in education. On-campus and online, they are a leader in creative ways to educate the next generation of skilled professionals. Travis Cloyd, Director of iSTAR, has been a pioneer in XR and brings a lifetime of experience in this new and growing field. I have always looked to be involved in the cutting edge of technology and believe strongly in this mission.

Where would you like to see iSTAR in 5 years? What will be its impact on students?
My hope is that as XR provides innovative ways to see and interact with content and experiences and that our graduates are leaders in every phase of its development. There may be jobs and opportunities for our students in expansive ways to utilize XR in companies that don’t even exist yet.

What is the importance of including XR technologies in the training of future communicators?
The new vista of experience that the expansion of XR technology offers is so thrilling that it has a chance to permeate every sector in business, sports, and entertainment. The implementation of a think-tank environment at FIU will make a dynamic impact on this field.

How is XR changing your field, sports business and communication?
The most important challenge for sports today is how to create a closer and more interactive fan experience. XR offers the opportunity for fans to live out their dreams of simulating a professional athlete’s true experience. Athletes already use a form of this technology to enhance their learning and preparation process for games. There are no limits to the future relationship between XR and sports at every level.

What do you wish you had known about your field when you were starting out?  What would you like young people in your field to know about the business?
Everything in sports revolves around the communication and relationships between two parties. The ability to hone listening skills and draw out another human being to understand their deepest anxieties and fears as well as their greatest hopes and dreams is essential in fulfilling an athlete. Putting yourself in the heart and mind of another human being and seeing the world as they see it allows one to navigate gracefully through life. Our field has prospered because of the marriage of sports and television, enhanced stadia, and XR will be a vital aspect, moving forward.

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