Apr 2021 staff moves and sports business industry news in one spot — updated as they happen, so make sure you check back throughout the month.

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Apr 5, 2021

The National Women’s Soccer League Players Association (NWSLPA) announces Meghann Burke as its new full-time Executive Director for the NWSLPA (effective Apr 1, 2021). Brooke Elby, former NWSL player and NWSLPA President, will transition from the role of Executive Director into an Advisor role.

The San Jose Earthquakes and PayPal Holdings Inc. roll out their ten-year sponsorship agreement that includes naming rights for the team’s stadium located in San Jose, Calif., which will now be called PayPal Park. PayPal Park will be outfitted with PayPal’s digital payments technology, including the ability to pay touch-free with QR codes at point-of-sale (POS) systems around the stadium and feature benefits like fast lanes that provide fans paying with PayPal or Venmo a quicker checkout experience. Elevate Sports Ventures assisted the Earthquakes during partnership negotiations.


John Shea named CEO of Octagon Sports & Entertainment Network (OSEN), the collection of marketing, talent management, communications, influencer and creative firms that includes Octagon, R&CPMK, ITB, Futures, FRUKT and Milkmoney. Rick Dudley, OSEN’s Chair & CEO for the past 18 years, will remain as Chair. Phil de Picciotto, Founder & President of Octagon, will co-manage the agency with Shea, and continue in his role leading global operations of Octagon’s worldwide talent and property representation, event management, and financial wealth management businesses.

The Houston Astros and Gallagher announce a “multi-year strategic partnership,” with Gallagher becoming the team’s official insurance broker, benefits consultant and risk management services partner. The Astros Foundation Volunteer Corps presented by Gallagher will play a prominent role in the new partnership, offering a variety of volunteer opportunities at Minute Maid Park and in the greater Houston area. Additionally, Gallagher gains exclusive naming rights to The Gallagher Club, the all-new premium entertainment experience located on the ballpark’s suite level. The Gallagher Club is the first club space at the park to offer an exclusive membership where fans can pair existing seats with the membership, and enjoy amenities including first-class food and beverage options, dining area and 15 large screen HD TVs.



Apr 6, 2021

Columbus Crew SC name Columbus-based Vertiv a Founding Partner and the club’s Official Data Center Equipment Provider as the club prepares to move into its new home, New Crew Stadium, in Jul. Vertiv will equip the data center supporting the team’s administrative and in-game IT needs, as well as sponsor a customer experience center in the stadium showcase area featuring Vertiv racks, power, cooling and IT management systems enabling a high-tech, connected fan experience. Legends Global Partnerships assisted the Crew on the partnership.NWSL club Sky Blue FC unveils a complete club rebrand, emerging as NJ/NY Gotham FC.



Clear Health Pass Logo Lock-up
Apr 7, 2021

Clear and the NBA, announce a partnership to make Clear’s “Health Pass” technology available to NBA teams for COVID-19 health screenings in all their arenas. One-third of NBA teams are already  using Clear’s technology for employee or fan safety protocols in-arena, which can include a combination of health surveys and secure linking to COVID-19 lab results and vaccination records.

The Miami Heat tab cryptocurrency exchange the new “Official and Exclusive Cryptocurrency Exchange Partner of the Miami Heat.” This deal works in tandem with the Mar 26, 2021 announcement that, starting with the 2021-22 NBA season, American Airlines Arena will be renamed FTX Arena in a 19-year agreement with Miami-Dade County.



Apr 8, 2021

Golden State Warriors President & COO Rick Welts (pictured above in 2019) will step away from the team at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season. Welts has spent 46 seasons overall in the NBA, including the last 10 with Golden State. The Warriors announce Welts will remain associated with the organization as an Advisor and that they are expected to name a new President within the next week.

Lynch Chicago Red Stars

Vicky Lynch named Chief Business Officer for the Chicago Red Stars effective immediately. Most recently, Lynch was serving in a number of from consultancy roles, including with NISA.




Apr 13, 2021

Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Major League Soccer (MLS) announce a “multifaceted, multi-year partnership.” As part of the agreement, P&G will also sponsor the Mexican National Team’s U.S. Tour (Mex Tour), Leagues Cup, Campeones Cup and the MLS All-Star Game. P&G brands involved include Gillette, Old Spice, Crest, Oral B, Dawn, Charmin and Bounty.




Apr 16, 2021

The president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Tim Mead, announces his resignation, effective mid-May 2021.

Haslam Sports Group, owners of the Cleveland Browns and Columbus Crew SC, elevates Greg Rush to CFO and hires Michele Powell as VP, Event Development. Rush is in his 15th year with the Browns/HSG, while Powell joins the organization from Monumental Sports & Entertainment.



Apr 20, 2021

The Houston Astros acquisition of the Sugar Land Skeeters franchise is officially approved by the Sugar Land City Council. As part of the agreement, the Astros and the City of Sugar Land partnered on a lease extension, keeping the Skeeters at Constellation Field through at least the 2045 season. Sugar Land, which will become the Astros Triple-A affiliate with the 2021 season, joins the organization after spending the last nine years in the independent Atlantic League (2012-20). Bob and Marcie Zlotnik, who had owned the franchise since its inception in 2012, are now minority ownership partners with the Astros.



Emmert NCAA
Apr 27, 2021

At the quarterly meeting of the NCAA Board of Governors, the board votes unanimously to extend NCAA President Mark Emmert’s contract through Dec 31, 2025.




Apr 29, 2021

PointsBet adds Patrick Sandusky as SVP, Communications (effective May 3, 2021), a new role at the company. Most recently, Sandusky was SVP, Public Relations, at Madison Square Garden Company.





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Header photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images 
Updated: Apr 29, 2021