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New Voices Under 30: Matt Japko

Matt Japko

Senior Manager, Gaming and New Business Ventures, Major League Baseball

Matt Japko has turned his experience as an amateur sports handicapper and stock/cryptocurrency trader into a home run, resulting in the signing of BetMGM as MLB’s official gaming partner and the conception and launch of the league’s first NFTs with Candy Digital.

Mary DeCicco / MLB Photos

Age: 27
Born: Boston
Education: Wesleyan University, B.A., double major in mathematics and economics

More About You

Most important lesson of the past 18 months: As cliché as it sounds, never to take anything for granted. This last year taught me that simple things that have always been the standard, seeing friends and family, watching sports, are not guaranteed.

Go-to person when I need help: Alex, my older brother. He understands the way I think and the things that are important to me better than anyone else.

My inspiration: My grandfather, Beebs. He is the most selfless person I’ve ever met, and he taught me how to carry myself around others. I’ve always strived to emulate him.

In the Industry

Biggest surprise when I started my career: The amount of detail that goes into running a league. As a fan you take so many elements for granted, but everything that’s happening within the ballpark has a purpose and is deeply thought out.

Most exciting aspect of sports business: The convergence of new industries (e.g., sports betting or blockchain) with the sports industry. Sports and leagues are so established, it’s exciting to work on projects that are wholly new.

How my generation is changing sports: My generation doesn’t consume sports, specifically baseball, the way my parents’ generation does. Leagues recognize that and are constantly thinking of new ways to present the game to different audiences. My generation wants a customized experience, which I expect to be the future of sports.

Sports industry needs to do a better job of … : Working collaboratively rather than competitively.

In 10 years, I hope to be … : Excited about the work I’m doing, wherever I am.

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