Robert D. Manfred, Jr. was elected as the 10th Commissioner in the history of Major League Baseball on August 14, 2014 by a vote of the 30 Clubs. He officially became the sport’s leader on January 25, 2015. As Commissioner, Manfred has set goals for the industry that focus on the expansion of youth participation, international growth, improved pace of game, the infusion of technology, increased marketing of the game’s young stars and furtherance of the game’s diversity goals. The 2016 season produced a new five-year collective bargaining agreement, continuing an unprecedented era of labor peace through 2021, and a record year for industry revenues and overall business performance
Manfred became MLB’s Chief Operating Officer in 2013. Prior to that, he had served as Executive Vice President since 1998, directing all collective bargaining issues, including successful renewals of the Basic Agreement in 2002, 2006 and 2011 and dramatically improved competitive balance. Manfred is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School. He and his wife, Colleen, have four adult children
Chief Marketing Officer & Director of Brand
As Chief Marketing and Communication Officer of FC Barcelona Guillem Graell is responsible of leading the global growth of the Barça Brand across the strategic markets. Guillem is leading a team of more than 100 people across the global functions of Marketing, Communications, Digital Content, Brand Experience and Protocol and institutional relationships. FC Barcelona is heading towards the vision of becoming “the most admired and loved Sports brands” that represents a true revolution on the approach to fan reach and engagement.
Prior to joining FC Barcelona, Guillem was Chief Marketing Officer & Communication Director for the Codorniu Group (leading Spanish wine Group) and previously held numerous marketing and management positions at FMCG leading companies such Chupa Chups, Reckitt Benckisser and Procter & Gamble in several locations across Europe.
Chief Executive Officer
Kati Levoranta is Rovio’s Chief Executive Officer since January 2016. Previously she headed Rovio’s consumer products business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and also served as the company’s Chief Legal Officer. Creator of the world famous mobile game Angry Birds, the firm has recently embarked on sports partnership with a recently announced deal with EPL side, Everton FC. Prior to joining Rovio, she held several positions at Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks. A dedicated triathlete, Kati holds a law degree from the University of Turku, an MBA from the Helsinki School of Economics and an LL.M from Columbia Law School.
Executive Board Member - Internationalization and Strategy
Jörg Wacker has been Member of the FC Bayern Munich Executive Board, overseeing Internationalization and Strategy since July 1, 2013. Since November 2015, he has also been responsible for merchandising and licensing for FC Bayern Munich AG. Before joining the German record champions, Wacker spent seven years as head of Germany at bwin, Europe’s largest provider of online sports betting, as well as managing director of the consulting firm SportCASA GmbH. Previously, he worked as managing director of Sport1 GmbH and as a program director at Bild.de. He started his professional career as a sports journalist studying literature and sports at the University of Karlsruhe.
Wacker is also a member of the Advisory Board of FC Bayern Munich LLC (founded in April 2014 in New York) and Chairman of the Board at FC Bayern Munich (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., which was founded in September 2016. Since December 2016, Jörg Wacker has also been a member of the Supervisory Board of Bundesliga International GmbH.
James Dinan founded and runs hedge fund York Capital Management. He lost much of his savings in the 1987 stock market crash, but launched York in 1991 with some $4 million raised from colleagues from his onetime employer, investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. York now oversees about $17 billion in assets. In 2014 Dinan purchased a minority stake in the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, partnering with fellow financial investors Marc Lasry and Wes Edens. He sits on numerous boards, including the board of directors of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the board of trustees of the Museum of the City of New York, which he chairs.
Global Vice President Design
James Sommerville is a key leader in one of the world’s most valuable and innovative brands. His works over the last 3 years has been seen by billions of consumers, in over 200 countries. James joined The Coca-Cola Company in 2013 as VP of Global Design. In his short time, he has re-branded over 20 global brands across the system.
James recently led and launched the design of the ‘One Brand Strategy’ and “Taste the Feeling” global campaign for the Coca-Cola trademark. This global campaign was launched in 200 markets in a 24-hour period – the largest single campaign in the history of marketing.
Aurelio De Laurentiis has a background in the film industry and has produced and distributed more than 400 films worldwide. He has served as President of the International Federation of Film Producers Associations, President of the Italian Film Producers Association and is a shareholder of Italian Entertainment Group, and also Filmmaster Group, a company which will organise the opening and the closing ceremonies of 2016 Rio Olympic Games. During his time in the film industry, Aurelio began a new career as a sports entrepreneur. He won the auction to buy the historic Italian club Napoli directly from a bankruptcy sale and set the goal of getting the team back to success. At the time of the purchase, Napoli was playing in the Third Division (Serie C1). In just three years, they were back in Serie A and by 2011 reached the UEFA Champions League. During his ownership, Napoli has won the Coppa Italia (2012 and 2014) and is established among the world’s top 30 soccer clubs.
Chief Operating Officer
Meredith Kopit Levien was named executive vice president and chief operating officer of The New York Times Company in June 2017. Ms. Kopit Levien oversees the teams responsible for digital product, design, audience and brand, consumer revenue, advertising, live events and new product development.
She was most recently executive vice president and chief revenue officer, a position she held since April 2015. In that role, Ms. Kopit Levien was responsible for the generation of all advertising and subscription revenue from The Times’s products and services and for leadership of the advertising, marketing, video and live event teams. Ms. Kopit Levien joined The Times Company in August 2013 as head of advertising.
She previously served as chief revenue officer at Forbes Media, where she led the North American and European revenue operations for Forbes.com, the Forbes Magazine Group and Forbes Conferences since 2011.
Ms. Kopit Levien began her professional career in 1993 at the Advisory Board Company in Washington, DC., did a two year stint at digital ad agency and website development firm i33 Communications, and worked in various sales and marketing roles at Atlantic Media Company from 2001 to 2008.
Chief Executive Officer
Nigel Travis was named Chief Executive Officer of Dunkin’ Brands in January 2009 and appointed to the additional role of Chairman of the Board in May 2013. From 2005 through 2008, Travis served as President & CEO of Papa John’s, the pizza chain with annual system-wide sales of $2.1 billion and more than 3,300 restaurants throughout the U.S. and 29 international markets. Prior to Papa John’s, Travis was with Blockbuster, Inc. from 1994 to 2004, where he served in increasing roles of responsibility, including President & Chief Operating Officer. Before that, he was with Burger King, first as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and later as Managing Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
He has been an avid sports fan all his life with his true passion being his support of the East London Football team, Leyton Orient F.C., which along with a consortium he bought in June 2017. Travis now is Chairman of the Club. He has also coached in the UK and America for 48 years and currently coaches his two young children in Wellesley, MA. Travis received a bachelor’s degree in business administration for Middlesex University in England. He previously served as Lead Director on the Board of Directors for Office Depot, where he currently serves as a board member.
Owner & Chief Executive Officer
Kim Pegula is the Owner and CEO of Pegula Sports and Entertainment, which was created in 2014. PSE is a management company that streamlines key business areas across all Pegula family-owned sports and entertainment properties, including the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Rochester Americans, Buffalo Bandits, HarborCenter and Black River Entertainment.
Kim began her professional career with East Resources in 1991 and was involved with the company until its sale in 2010. After the sale of East Resources, Terry and Kim Pegula helped Penn State University begin an NCAA Division I Hockey program with an $88 million donation for the construction of Pegula Ice Arena, later increasong their donation to $102 million. On February 22, 2011, Terry and Kim purchased the Buffalo Sabres. The Pegulas intensified their commitment to Western New York hockey that summer by acquiring Kim’s childhood team, the Rochester Americans. The Pegulas continued their commitment when Terry and Kim purchased the 1.7 acre Webster Block across from First Niagara Center. Crews soon began construction on the more than $200 million HarborCenter, which features two NHL size rinks. On October 10, 2014, Terry and Kim realized a long-time dream as they became owners of the Buffalo Bills.
Marc Lasry is the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and a Co-Founder of Avenue Capital Group. Founded in 1995, Avenue is a global investment firm with over $13 billion of assets under management. Avenue maintains its headquarters in New York with offices in London, Luxembourg, Munich and throughout Asia.
Prior to founding Avenue, Mr. Lasry co-founded Amroc Investments, LLC and managed capital for Amroc Investments, L.P., the predecessor firm associated with Robert M. Bass Group, Inc. In addition, Mr. Lasry was Co-Director of the Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization Department at Cowen & Company, and previously served as Director of the Private Debt Department at Smith Vasiliou Management Company. Mr. Lasry also held a clerkship for the Honorable Edward Ryan, former Chief Bankruptcy Judge of the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Lasry received a B.A. in History from Clark University (1981) and a J.D. from New York Law School (1984).
Chief Executive Officer
Peter Moore joined Liverpool FC as Chief Executive Officer in June 2017, a role that brought the lifetime LFC supporter back to his hometown of Liverpool. Peter is responsible for all business, commercial and operational areas of the Club – reporting directly to the Club’s ownership, Fenway Sports Group.
Peter previously lead EA’s Competitive Gaming Division where he brought to life new global competitions for EA franchises including FIFA, Madden NFL and Battlefield. Prior to that Peter served as Chief Operating Officer of EA, providing strategic leadership for all global operations that enabled EA to bring products to market via retail and digital direct-to-consumer channels. He also held the position of President of EA SPORTS, overseeing the delivery of some of the top-selling sports videogames from franchises including FIFA, Madden NFL, NCAA Football and NHL. He also oversaw the growth of the FIFA Interactive World Cup, growing it into one of the world’s largest gaming tournaments.
Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer
In her role, Ms. Parekh is responsible for oversight of all legal matters, including transactions, compliance, disputes, risk-management, government relations, and insurance, as well as people development and training, and information technology. Since joining the Jaguars, Ms. Parekh has worked on team-owner Shahid Khan’s acquisition of Fulham Football Club, the $63 million public-private funded improvements to EverBank Field in 2014, and the $90 million project involving renovations to the US Assure Club in addition to construction and the 2017 opening of Daily’s Place.
Prior to joining the Jaguars, Ms. Parekh worked in the New York office of the law firm Proskauer, an international law firm known for its preeminent sports law group. During her time at Proskauer, she worked on public and private acquisitions and financings and securities offerings, including the acquisition of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Houston Astros and the Cleveland Browns.
Ms. Parekh was named in December 2012 and 2013 to Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Sports List, which honored the country’s top sports athletes and executives under the age of 30 who “represent the entrepreneurial, creative and intellectual best of their generation.” Ms. Parekh has also been named a Woman of Influence (2014) and Ultimate Attorney (2016) since coming to Jacksonville.
Chief Executive Officer
Steve Tew joined New Zealand Rugby (NZR) in 2001. Under his leadership, NZR has agreed two of the most iconic sports partnerships with AIG and Adidas as well as achieving great success on the pitch with World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015. Prior to joining New Zealand Rugby, Steve was Chief Executive Officer of the Canterbury Rugby Union and the Crusaders Franchise. He became Chief Executive Officer of NZR on 1 January 2008.
A former British Davis Cup player, Richard Lewis has been Chief Executive of The AELTC, organiser and host of The Championships, Wimbledon since 2012. During that time, he has presided over significant change, including the launch of the Wimbledon Master Plan and the No.1 Court Project, the growth of Wimbledon brand through a major marketing campaign and continued digital innovation, the insourcing of host broadcast, retail and catering, the launch of the Wimbledon Foundation, and much more as Wimbledon has developed into one of the world’s biggest annual sporting events. Prior to joining the AELTC, Richard was Executive Chairman of the Rugby Football League and Chairman of Sport England. He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s 2013 Birthday Honours for services to sports administration.
Vice President, Entertainment Marketing & Sponsorships
Curtis is an accomplished brand management and marketing professional with over 20 years of experience in lifestyle marketing for some of the world’s most respected brands. Curtis holds an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Northwestern University, and a bachelor of science in advertising from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Deborah leads the company’s strategic marketing alliances, engagement platforms and experiential events in the areas of sports, fashion, film, music and theater. Curtis is responsible for leading premiere partnerships with Live Nation Entertainment, AEG, The Bowery Presents, MADE Fashion Week, United States Tennis Association, United States Golf Association, and the National Basketball Association (NBA), as well as many NBA and sports teams, among others.
Professor of Marketing and Psychology
Gavan J. Fitzsimons is the Edward S. & Rose K. Donnell Professor of Marketing and Psychology at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. His research focuses on understanding the ways in which consumers may be influenced without their conscious knowledge or awareness by marketers and marketing researchers, often without any intent on the part of the marketer. His work has been published in numerous academic journals such as the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Management Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Psychological Science. His ideas have also been featured in many popular press outlets such as NPR, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, Oprah Magazine and Time Magazine, amongst many others.
Chief Executive Officer
Stephen Cannon took over as CEO of AMB group in February 2016, where we handles day-to-day leadership of the company’s for-profit businesses. This includes leading all business operations of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United FC of the MLS, and the Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company, developer of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium which opened in 2017. Before joining AMB, Steve served as President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) since 2012, where he was responsible for leading operations that generated record sales with annual revenues exceeding $20 billion. During his tenure, MBUSA achieved it’s first-ever number one ranking on the American Customer Satisfaction Index and has also been lauded as one of the best places to work by Fortune Magazine five years in a row.
Vice President, Marketing & Fan Engagement
Gabrielle Dow, possessor of 23 years of diverse experience across professional sports, entertainment and venues, is in her fourth year as the Packers’ vice president of marketing and fan engagement. Dow, who was named to the position on May 12, 2014, oversees the Packers’ retail operations, digital and broadcast, marketing, brand engagement, business research and analytics, and game presentation.
In her tenure with the Packers, Dow and her team have enhanced the gameday experience with a variety of new elements in Lambeau Field, including the use of pyrotechnics and a revamped music selection, along with “Get Loud Lambeau,” a fan-engagement campaign that encourages game attendees to support and energize the players and coaches. Dow also introduced a new fan-spirit initiative, “Green and Gold Friday,” enhancing the fan tradition of wearing Packers colors and gear to work, school and in the community.
Vice President of Digital Strategy and Innovation
Matthew has over a decade’s experience defining and delivering best-in-class technology solutions for globally known brands including Verizon, Mandarin Oriental, Westfield, the FDIC and more.
Prior to joining the Miami HEAT in 2016, Matthew was a Partner at Simplikate, a tech startup where he built and grew an award-winning mobile app development platform. Following Phunware’s acquisition of Simplikate in 2014, Matthew went on to lead Product Development for Phunware, an industry leader in mobile solutions for Fortune 500 companies including Fox, NBC and WWE.