Keeping track of Dec 2019 staff moves and industry news for you all in one spot.

Heads up that we add new Moves as they happen, so make sure you check back throughout the month.


Aykan Azar Octagon
Sally Bolton AELTC
Brooke Elby Red Stars
Christine Franklin Octagon
Ben Hartman Octagon
Meredith Kinsman Octagon
Lou Kovacs Octagon
Richard Masters Premier League
Jeff Meeson Octagon
Joel Segal Lagardère Sports
John Shea Octagon

Sally Bolton OBE named first female Chief Executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), succeeding Richard Lewis CBE following The Championships 2020

Amy Cecil promoted to Manager, Partnership Fulfillment & Promotions, Daytona Tortugas, from Coordinator, Partnership Fulfillment (link)

Bella Crispino joins the Daytona Tortugas as Manager, Creative Services & Marketing, from the Social Media Graphic Design Intern, Detroit Tigers (link)

Brooke Elby, Chicago Red Stars player and the player president of the NWSLPA, will retire to become the NWSLPA’s co-executive director with Yael Averbuch, effective Jan 1, 2020

Howard Handler named President, 313 Presents, from President, h2 Advisors (link)

Kate Johnson to lead new sports media global partnerships unit at Google, from Head, Global Sponsorship Marketing, Visa

Richard Masters has interim tag removed to become permanent CEO of the English Premier League (link)

Josh McCann hired as Manager, Community Relations & Outside Events, Daytona Tortugas, from Promotions Assistant, Quad Cities River Bandits (link)

Pat O’Conner was re-elected President, Minor League Baseball, by the MiLB Board of Directors

Anderson Rathbun to Director, Corporate Partnerships, Daytona Tortugas, from Manager, Business Development (link)

Austin Scher to Assistant GM, Daytona Tortugas, from Director, Corporate Partnerships (link)

Joel Segal adds CEO, North America, role at Lagardère Sports, continues as President, Football (link)

John Shea to Global President, Marketing and Events, Octagon Worldwide, from President (link)

Also at Octagon, several additional moves and promotions at the senior level including:

  • Aykan Azar to Managing Director, APAC, Middle East & Africa
  • Ben Hartman to newly-created Chief Client Officer, International
  • Christine Franklin – promoted to EVP, Mastercard Global Account Leader
  • Lou Kovacs to President of Marketing, North America
  • Meredith Kinsman – promoted to EVP, Strategy
  • Jeff Meeson to Managing Director, Europe

Derek Van Nostran named first CMO at VSiN, from Head, OTT marketing at Sinclair Digital (link)

Thomas Vickers to Director, Stadium Operations & Events, Daytona Tortugas, from Manager, Stadium Operations (link)


Dec 2, 2019

Officials from the City of Pawtucket, R.I., and the State of R.I. join the United Soccer League to announce a $400 million Pawtucket waterfront development, dubbed “Tidewater Landing,” that will be anchored by a 7,500 seat soccer-specific stadium hosting an expansion USL Championship club (rendering above, in story above). The new Pawtucket club is to begin play with the 2022 season. Club rights have been acquired by Brett Johnson, currently Co-Chair, USLC Phoenix Rising FC and the leader of Fortuitous Partners, an investment firm specializing in sports-anchored mixed-use real estate projects.

Dec 3, 2019

After 28 seasons as the Fort Myers Miracle, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Minnesota Twins team rebrands as the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. Brandiose handled branding and design work.

Dec 4, 2019

Officials from the city of Anaheim and the Los Angeles Angels announce an Angels Stadium-related agreement that includes:

  • 2050 commitment: The Angels would commit to play in Anaheim for the next 30 years, with three additional five-year options.
  • $325 million purchase: Angels ownership would buy 153 acres of city land, including Angel Stadium for pay $325 million. At $2.1 million an acre, the sale would be at market value and at the high end of Anaheim’s appraisal, reflecting potential development and parking for baseball and events.
  • Development by Angels ownership: Part of the land could see apartments, condominiums, hotels and entertainment uses in the next 30 years, as part of Anaheim’s planning. As land is developed, Anaheim estimates at least $7 million in net yearly city revenue from hotel, property and sales taxes.
Dec 5, 2019

Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation, parent of the Calgary Flames, announces it has “signed all definitive agreements with the City of Calgary, CMLC and Calgary Stampede that will pave the way for a new Event Centre for the City of Calgary.” This is the next step for a CA$550 million (£343.7 million/€375.3 million/US$418.3 million) redevelopment of downtown Calgary unveiled Jul 22, 2019, that includes a new 19,000 seat arena to replace Scotiabank Saddledome, the Flames’ home since 1983. Work on the new arena, which will also be home to WHL Calgary Hitmen, NLL Calgary Roughnecks and Calgary Stampede, is slated to begin in 2021 with the Flames moving in by 2024 season.

The Connecticut Tigers, the New York-Penn League Class A Short Season Detroit Tigers affiliate, announces a rebrand as the Norwich Sea Unicorns, a name selected from over 700 fan-submitted names. The other four finalists during online voting Oct 7-18, 2019: Norwich Golden Roses, Norwich Mill Mules, Norwich Narwhals and Norwich Salty Dogs. Brandiose handled branding and design work.

Dec 6, 2019

The merger of BB&T and SunTrust financial services companies is completed under the Truist brand. Beginning in early 2020, and expected to take up to 24 months, the changeover to Truist impact dozens of sports teams and facilities from simple signage to stadium naming updates. See Truist’s FactBook profile for a detailed list of the two banks’ sponsorships.

Manchester United and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announce a partnership to bring original content to an estimated 700 million consumers through Alibaba’s Youku video-streaming platform. The new channel – which will feature academy, women’s and men’s preseason tour games, plus in-season matches on-demand, but no live matches due to existing EPL broadcast deals – additionally involves Man United establishing a flagship store on Alibaba’s online marketplace, The store will serve as the official online marketplace selling club merchandise to Chinese consumers.

Dec 9, 2019

Nationwide becomes “Official Insurance Partner of Minor League Baseball.” Deal includes exclusive national rights in the insurance category, sponsorship of MiLB‘s Hispanic fan engagement platform, Copa de la Diversión, and presenting partnership of several new fan-centric ownership platforms.

Jägermeister extends as “Official Shot of the NHL” in a new “multi-year” agreement. The partnership includes activation across various retail, in-venue and on-premise channels and allows Jägermeister to activate at the NHL Winter Classic, NHL Stadium Series and other marquee events as well as partner with NHL clubs. With the announcement, Jägermeister announces the addition of the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild, Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues to their roster of local NHL team sponsorships, which already includes the Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights.

Dec 10, 2019

Oklahoma City, Okla., voters overwhelmingly approve (72 percent to 28 percent of 44,439 votes) a continuation of a temporary one cent sales tax that will fund an estimated $978 million in local projects. Projects include upgrades to Chesapeake Energy Arena, home of the NBA Oklahoma City Thunder, as well as construction of four new youth centers and major enhancements to the city’s parks system. In addition, it funds a planned $37 million 10,000-seat multipurpose stadium whose tenants would include the USL OKC Energy FC. The timeline for the stadium, which will be built near downtown OKC, has not been finalized.

Dec 11, 2019

National Lacrosse League and B/R Live will expand NLL live game coverage across multiple platforms with the launch of the “NLL Game of the Week” on Sat, Dec 14. All 13 teams will be featured at least once over the 20 weeks, with games streaming for free across B/R Live domestically and Twitter and Facebook worldwide. The games for the final four weeks of the season in Apr 2020 will be announced at a later date to allow for optimal matchups.

Dec 13, 2019

The USL Charleston Battery (sold Oct 30, 2019, to HCFC, LLC) unveil new branding and new logo. The primary colors of black and yellow remain. Matthew Wolff handles the re-design.

Indoor Football League (IFL) awards Columbus, Ohio, a franchise to begin play in Mar 2021. The team will be owned by Columbus area car dealership group owner — and already owner of the 2020 IFL expansion Frisco, Texas, team — Steve Germain, along with his wife, Kim, and children Jessica, Austin and Zach. The TEAM, LLC, of Columbus has been hired to manage the team. Columbus had been the home of the Columbus Destroyers in the AFL, which ceased operations three weeks earlier.

Dec 16, 2019

Bruin Sports Capital acquires 80 percent stake in Two Circles from WPP.

Dec 17, 2019
David Tepper (center, fist raised) and Charlotte Supporters celebrate MLS expansion team  MLS

Major League Soccer formally awards the league’s 30th franchise to the City of Charlotte, N.C., and current Charlotte Panthers owner, David Tepper, through his Tepper Sports & Entertainment company. The expansion team is scheduled to being play with the 2021 season in Bank of America Stadium in uptown Charlotte.

OKC Energy FC announce a new two-year partnership with Adidas as the official apparel, accessory and footwear provider of Energy FC through the 2021 season. In a fancentric move, Season Seat Members will be sent four home kit options based on feedback the club previously gathered from supporters. Members will vote to help determine which look the team will wear in 2020.

Dec 23, 2019

The United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) announces Orlando, Fla.-based Orlando Rovers FC as a new member for the USPL’s 2020 Spring Season.

Dec 26, 2019

The United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) announces Kissimmee, Fla.-based Diaspora United Community Club (DUCC) as a new member for the USPL’s 2020 Spring Season.



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Updated: Dec 30, 2019