Dec 2020 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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Jamie Faulkner named President, Business Operations / Alternate NHL Governor, Chicago Blackhawks, from CEO & Co-Founder, E15. Also at the Blackhawks, interim President Danny Wirtz is elevated to CEO / Alternate NHL Governor and Stan Bowman becomes President, Hockey Operations & GM.
James (Jim) Phillips is selected as the Atlantic Coast Conference‘s next commissioner replacing the retiring John Swofford. Phillips is currently the Combe Family VP for Athletics & Recreation at Northwestern University. Turnkey Search facilitated the search process.
- Co-founder & President Jake Lenz (CIBC Bank) will step into an advisory role with the board of directors
- Nicholas Cottrell (Chicago Fire FC) becomes President
- Joshua Lindsey (Madison Square Garden Entertainment) joins as Director, Operations
- Joe Altenau (Prudential Center/New Jersey Devils) and Clay Allen (Houston Rockets) take advisory roles with the board
ShotTracker announces several executive moves:
- Bill Moses — formerly VP, Broadcast, Cable & Sports at IBM, is named CEO
- Co-founder & COO Davyeon Ross — adds President title
- Co-founder Bruce Ianni — previously CEO, leaves the company
- Tom Masterman — joins as VP, Sales, from Genius Sports Group
- Jason Tilton — becomes VP, Corporate Development, also from Genius Sports Group
- Chad Chatlos — started and ran the Sports & Entertainment Practice at Ventura Partners from 2016-20; becomes Managing Director, College & Coach Search
- Katy Young Staudt — named VP, College & Coach Search
- Dalton Beal — tabbed Asst Director, College & Coach Search
BRANDS, LEAGUES, PROPERTIES & TEAMS
Dec 1, 2020
The American Association of Professional Baseball (AAPB) unveils a new league brand that includes dropping “Independent” from their name and all new marks designed by Baseballism. In addition, AAPB and Baseballism announce a partnership for a new collection of league apparel for the 2021 season.
The Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) and Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation (PBSF) announce B.A.T. will absorb all operations of the PBSF to further assist active and former baseball scouts. In addition, B.A.T. will establish the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation Grant to scouts that are in need of financial, medical and psychological assistance.
Dec 3, 2020
Orlando Magic announce AdventHealth, a 31-year partner already holding naming rights to the team’s practice facility and a Champions of the Community partner, as the Magic’s first-ever practice jersey sponsor.
Due to multiple COVID-related issues impacting venues and team operations, National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) will suspend games for the 2021 season, making this the second consecutive year the league has done so. Per NPF statement, “Planning for a 2022 season will commence once the issues of safety for fans, players, and staff, have been resolved.”
Dec 7, 2020
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) board of governors approves an expansion team to begin play in Kansas City in 2021, with an ownership group led by wife and husband team, Angie and Chris Long. The move follows the winding down of operations by the Utah Royals FC. All player rights, draft picks and certain other assets formerly held by Royals FC will be transferred to the new team in Kansas City.
Dec 8, 2020
National Lacrosse League (NLL) extends its partnership with Wilson Sporting Goods, naming Wilson and their protective equipment and apparel brand, EvoShield, as official suppliers of performance-driven sports protective gear for the 2021 NLL season.
Dec 9, 2020
Major League Baseball (MLB) teams unveil their 2021 season player development affiliate team invitees (affiliates are italicized if parent club has an ownership stake in them; Mets & Yankees were captured previously in Nov Roster Moves):
- Arizona Diamondbacks — (link to team press release) one new affiliation; dropped Jackson Generals (Southern League), Kane County Cougars (Midwest League), Missoula PaddleHeads (Pioneer League)
- Atlanta Braves — (link) one new affiliation; dropped Danville Braves (Appalachian League), Florida Fire Frogs (Florida State League)
- Baltimore Orioles — (link) no new affiliations; dropped Frederick Keys (Carolina League)
- Boston Red Sox — (link) no new affiliations; dropped Lowell Spinners (New York-Penn League)
- Chicago White Sox — (link) no new affiliations; dropped two teams, Winston-Salem Dash (Carolina) and Great Falls Voyagers (Pioneer)
- Chicago Cubs — (link) no new affiliations; dropped Eugene Emeralds (Pioneer)
- Cincinnati Reds — (link) no new affiliations; dropped two clubs, Billings Mustangs (Pioneer) and Greeneville Reds (App)
- Cleveland Indians — (link) no new affiliations; dropped Mahoning Valley Scrappers (NYPL)
- Colorado Rockies — (link) two new affiliates; dropped four: Lancaster JetHawks (California League), Asheville Tourists (South Atlantic League), Boise Hawks (Northwest League), Grand Junction Rockies (Pioneer)
- Detroit Tigers — (link) no new affiliations; dropped Norwich Sea Unicorns (NYPL)
- Houston Astros — (link) two new affiliations; dropped Round Rock Express (PCL), Quad Cities River Bandits (Midwest) and Tri-City ValleyCats (NYPL)
- Kansas City Royals — (link) two new affiliations; dropped four clubs, Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina), Lexington Legends (SAL), Idaho Falls Chukars (Pioneer) and Burlington Royals (App)
- Los Angeles Angels — (link) one new affiliation; dropped Burlington Bees (Midwest) and Orem Owlz (Pioneer)
- Los Angeles Dodgers — (link) no new affiliations; dropped Ogden Raptors (Pioneer League)
- Miami Marlins — (link) two new affiliations; dropped Clinton Lumberkings (Midwest), Batavia Muckdogs (NYPL)
- Milwaukee Brewers — (link) one new affiliation; dropped two clubs, the San Antonio Missions (PCL) and Rocky Mountain Vibes (Pioneer)
- Minnesota Twins — (link) two new affiliations; dropped Rochester Red Wings (NYPL) and Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Southern)
- Oakland A’s — (link) one new affiliation; dropped Vermont Lake Monsters (NYPL)
- Philadelphia Phillies — (link) no new affiliations; dropped Williamsport Crosscutters (NYPL)
- Pittsburgh Pirates — (link) no new affiliations; dropped West Virginia Black Bears (NYPL) and Bristol Pirates (App)
- San Diego Padres — (link) one new affiliation; dropped Amarillo Sod Poodles (Texas League) and Tri-City Dust Devils (Northwest)
- San Francisco Giants — (no official release) one new affiliation; dropped two: Augusta GreenJackets and Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
- Seattle Mariners — (link) no new affiliations; dropped West Virginia Power (SAL)
- St. Louis Cardinals — (no official release) no new affiliations; dropped two: State College Spikes (NYPL) and Johnson City Cardinals (App)
- Tampa Bay Rays — (link) one new affiliation; dropped three clubs, the Charlotte Stone Crabs (FSL), Hudson Valley Renegades (NYPL) and Princeton Rays (App)
- Texas Rangers — (link) one new affiliation; dropped Nashville Sounds (PCL) and Spokane Indians (Northwest League)
- Toronto Blue Jays — (link) no new affiliations; dropped Lansing Lugnuts (Midwest) and Bluefield Blue Jays (App)
- Washington Nationals — (link) two new affiliations; dropped Fresno Grizzlies (PCL), Hagerstown Suns (SAL) and Auburn Doubledays (NYPL)
The 11 teams that were members of MiLB in 2020, now left without either an MLB affiliation or partner league for 2021 (listed under their 2020 league):
- California League (1) — Lancaster JetHawks
- Carolina League (1) — Frederick Keys
- Florida State League (2) — Charlotte Stone Crabs & Florida Fire Frogs
- Midwest League (3) — Burlington Bees, Kane County Cougars & Clinton LumberKings
- South Atlantic League (3) — Hagerstown Suns, Lexington Legends & West Virginia Power
- Southern League (1) — Jackson Generals
Dec 10, 2020
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 10, 2020
Motorola becomes the new jersey patch partner and the Official Smartphone of the Brooklyn Nets. In addition, Motorola will also sponsor the team’s practice jerseys as well as branding presence at Barclays Center. In the Brooklyn community, the two will bring STEM educational programs to underserved youth including the donation of Motorola smartphones to support virtual learning for homeless students. In addition, Motorola may market the alliance internationally as part of the NBA’s International Team Marketing Program. Motorola, already the patch sponsor for the Indiana Pacers, replaces the Nets’ original patch sponsor, Infor.
Intuit Inc and the National Football League (NFL) announce the renewal of their official partnership through 2022. As a part of the sponsorship, Intuit’s TurboTax Live continues as presenting sponsor of the NFL‘s AFC and NFC Championship Games through 2022. In 2019, Intuit and TurboTax Live became the first-ever presenting sponsor of the AFC and NFC Championship Games. Intuit also continues as the NFL’s official sponsor for financial and accounting software, and tax preparation services.
The Northwoods League‘s Green Bay Booyah announces Mark Skogen, the CEO of 33-store Skogen’s Festival Foods, has agreed to acquire the ballclub from Big Top Baseball with all current team personnel to stay on staff. Day-to-day operations will continue to be run by VP & GM, John Fanta.
Dec 14, 2020
Ownership of Cleveland’s MLB team issues a statement to fans that the team has officially “decided to begin the process of changing the name Indians.”
The Houston Texans‘ Lone Star Sports & Entertainment and ESPN Events announce Mercari, Inc. (Mercari US) as the new title sponsor of the Texas Bowl. Mercari’s advertising agency of record, Rain the Growth Agency, is managing the sponsorship. Impression Sports & Entertainment brokered the deal.
Dec 16, 2020
Premier Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse, the two largest professional outdoor lacrosse leagues, will combine for the 2021 season under the PLL umbrella. For 2021, the PLL add one MLL team, the Boston Cannons, rebranded as Cannons Lacrosse Club, as the league’s eighth team, as well as schedule will include games in multiple former MLL markets. In addition, the PLL will retain the rights to the MLL’s other five teams for future expansion considerations.
- Therabody will be the team’s founding tech wellness partner, with ACFC integrating the Theragun percussive therapy devices into the teams’ training and recovery programs, as well as leveraging Therabody University, the brand’s educational division; and
- The Angel City Impact Fund (ACIF) has been established on microlending platform Kiva.
As the first ACIF partner, Therabody will fund the first ACIF activation. The first campaign will fund local female-owned small businesses across Los Angeles.
Dec 22, 2020
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