Haub School of Business

Sports Marketing

Speaker Bios

Leonard Bonacci, Vice President of Event Operations and Event Services, Philadelphia Eagles

Leonard Bonacci has served as the Vice President of Event Operations and Event Services for the Philadelphia Eagles since 2003. In this role, Bonacci is responsible for overseeing and directing the game day and special event operations at Lincoln Financial Field, the NovaCare Complex and associated parking venues. Some of the events that Bonacci has overseen during his time in Philadelphia include all Eagles home games, sold-out concerts, international soccer matches, the Army/Navy game, and a variety of community, corporate, and private functions. Bonacci is regarded as a progressive and results-oriented facility management executive with proven success in the creation and diversification of event policy and procedure. He is recognized for the development of initiatives adopted by the NFL as Best Prac- tices in areas of training, fan safety and crowd management. He is a metrics and analytics-driven operator with ability to partner with ticketing, sponsorship and game entertainment for a seamless game-day atmosphere.

Prior to his current role with the Eagles, Bonacci served as Corporate Sales Account Executive (2001-03), Training Camp Super- visor (2000-01), Corporate Service Coordinator (2000-01) and Advertising and Promotions Coordinator (1998-00). As director of promotions and an on-air talent for WKRZ radio in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area (1993-98), he was responsible for creating and implementing promotions resulting in the station being rated number one with the Arbitron radio rating service.  Bonacci earned his MBA at Saint Joseph’s University and a B.S. degree in Marketing from Penn State University with a minor in business law.

David Buck, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Advertising Sales, Philadelphia Phillies 

David Buck, a lifelong Phillies fan with over 20 years of experience with the club, was promoted to senior vice president, marketing and advertising sales, in February of 2007.  In this role, David oversees the Phillies marketing department, encompassing advertising sales, events, fan development, broadcasting, video services, advertising, merchandising and promotions. 

Prior to his promotion, David was vice president of advertising sales for eight seasons.  He oversaw the transition from Veterans Stadium to Citizens Bank Park from a sponsorship perspective, and helped conceive and implement the strategy of bringing all advertising elements (television, radio, signage, print and promotions) under the control of the Phillies.  Additionally, David led the club’s team that secured the 25-year naming rights partnership with Citizens Bank.

Born in Abington, Pa., David attended Springfield High School and graduated from Lafayette College in 1986 with a BA in history.  He stays connected to Lafayette by hosting students each offseason in an externship program.  He also serves on the board of directors of the Please Touch Museum, a children’s museum located in Philadelphia.  David is also involved with Saint Joseph’s University as a member of their Sports Marketing Advisory Board.

David and his wife Nancy live in Broad Axe, Pa., with their three children, Andrew, Katie and Jake.

Faust E. Capobianco IV, Founder and Principal Consultant, North Quad Advisory, LLC

Faust E. Capobianco IV is the founder of and principal consultant for North Quad Advisory, LLC. Capobianco founded the firm as an expression of his passion for entrepreneurial and family-owned enterprises, especially those involved in the business of sports. Through North Quad, Capobianco seeks opportunities to work with owners and senior managers of client firms interested in gaining an acute understanding of their competitive advantages, how they are valued by the markets in which they operate, and what management and marketing strategies best leverage them.

Prior to founding North Quad, Mr. Capobianco graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor of arts degree in 1994. He began post-graduate employment with Majestic Athletic in 1994 as the company’s director of licensing. In this capacity, he managed licensing agreements with professional sports leagues and major universities. His role quickly grew to include key account sales responsibilities, including broader distribution of the company’s products in the United States and internationally.  In 1998, Capobianco was named Majestic’s Senior Vice President and was charged with the administration of all company operations in the areas of sales, product development, marketing, and licensing. Over this period the company grew substantially, entered new product categories, acquired additional license agreements, continued its international sales expansion, and established industry-leading Internet fulfillment programs.

In 2001, Capobianco became President of Majestic Athletic. In this position, he oversaw continued global growth for the firm. Notably, during his tenure, the company was awarded exclusive on-field uniform outfitting and marketing rights for all 30 Major League Baseball Clubs. These global rights included MLB Authentic Collection™ jerseys, outerwear, batting jerseys, T-shirts, shorts and fleece.

After the Majestic brand was acquired by VF Corporation in 2007, Capobianco was named Vice President / General Manager – Major League Baseball for VF’s Licensed Sports Group. In this role he was charged with oversight of all MLB related product, sales, marketing and licensing issues. Additionally, he played a key role in the integration of the Majestic organization into the VF Licensed Sports Group, until his departure from VF in March of 2010.

Over the course of his career, Capobianco has achieved notoriety within the U.S. sports licensing and marketing industries due to his effective management of the Majestic brand through an array of market conditions. In particular, this had been due to Majestic’s consistent growth, numerous marketing-leading service innovations, and consistent success in competing with much larger global brands. He has been the recipient of industry awards including being named to Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” list of influential young executives (2005, 2006), as well as Sporting Goods Business’ “Forty Under 40” list (2009).

In addition to his work in the sports licensing industry and current endeavor with North Quad, Capobianco frequently serves as a guest lecturer at the University level, focusing on the topics of sports marketing, licensing and strategic planning. Currently, he serves as an adjunct instructor in the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University.   He is also the Chairman of the Professional Advisory Board for the Sports Marketing Program.

Mark Cruz Senior Director, Comcast Sports Strategy , GMR Marketing

Mark Cruz has been with GMR Marketing, one of the nation’s foremost sports marketing agencies, since 2005 working in a variety of sports marketing areas.  Cruz is currently the Senior Account Director on Comcast, serving as a brand and consumer marketing strategist and helping to drive Comcast’s national sports marketing efforts.  In his role, he specializes in overall brand communication, product marketing, social media, sports sponsorship strategy, negotiation, creative, evaluation and measurement.  Prior to his current role, he has held management positions at GMR with Comcast’s Freedom Region team, with GMR’s flagship MillerCoors account, as well as positions with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlantic 10 Conference office, gaining experience with consumer packaged goods, media partnerships, sponsorship sales and activation.

Tim Curran, Associate Athletic Director for Marketing and Corporate Partnerships, Saint Joseph’s University

Tim Curran is in his 11th year as associate athletic director for marketing and corporate partnerships. Curran, a 1990 graduate of Saint Joseph's, received a master’s degree in business administration from SJU in 1991 while serving as a graduate assistant in the athletic ticket office.  He also worked as an account executive for the Philadelphia 76ers and then in 1995 became the associate marketing director at UCLA, a position he held until 1998. Curran joined the staff at the U.S. Naval Academy and served as assistant athletic director for marketing from 1998 to 2002. Prior to making his return to Hawk Hill in 2003, Curran was the associate general manager of Villanova Sports Properties for one year. 

Randy Eccker, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, S3i Digital

Randy Eccker has spent the past 25 years involved in sports technology and media, working with and culminating in the launch of four different and successful companies; Sports-Tech International, Avid Sports, XOS Digital and most recently S-3i Digital. S3i Digital is a data driven digital agency for sports. As the co-founder, Chairman and CEO, Eccker, along with partners John and Dan Libro have developed a solution for aggregating the disparate and fragmented databases in sports, creating intelligence from the profiles and sharing that intelligence back to sports properties, brands and media companies. The company launched in September, 2012 and already has significant traction in the industry working with several collegiate athletic department and sports oriented brands. Additionally, Eccker is active as a consultant to many of the NCAA Athletic Conferences, as well as some of the leading sports technology companies in the industry.

Prior to these initiatives, Eccker joined XOS Technologies, (later to be renamed XOS Digital) in 2000, when the company consisted of three employees and three clients. He was the driving force for their year over year growth, which thrust XOS into the spotlight as a dominant digital analytics and digital media company in the sports market. By 2007, XOS had earned an 80+% market share in the coaching analytics business for Football, Basketball and Hockey at the Professional and Division I college levels. In parallel, Eccker’s understanding of the value of consumer engagement at the collegiate level helped spur the acquisition of New Media Networks in 2002, a start-up with a comprehensive Internet platform technology, to complement to the analytics business.   This became the XOS Network division, which grew to 180 clients by 2007 when the “Network” business was sold to Jump TV (later acquired by NeuLion).  

After the sale of XOS’ Network business, Eccker, then CEO took advantage of the evolving rights environment in collegiate athletics and restructured the company. Through the acquisition of Collegiate Images, and some innovative technology development, XOS created a technology and rights based Internet Broadcast division.  This division developed new concepts and technologies for the market, such as the SEC Digital Network, the Pac-12 Digital Network, the Big East Digital Network, the XOS Syndicated Network, XOS-Xchange and the XOS Vault (a digital asset management platform designed for the sports market).

Prior to co-founding XOS, and in addition to the Senior Management consulting work Eccker did with Avid Sports, he also co-hosted a sports talk radio show, provided color commentary for numerous regional basketball broadcasts, and as the President of Eccker Enterprises, provided strategic and financial consulting for such companies as The National Information Consortium (Nasdaq: egov), D Square Communications, and Bird Dog Solutions, among others. Eccker has also been involved with the operational side of sports serving as the Director of Operations for the Omaha Racers in 1990-91 and as a collegiate basketball coach from 1978-1987, which included stops at Creighton, Northern Iowa, Colorado and Northern Illinois. 

Leo Ehrline, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative and Relationship Officer, Brooklyn Nets

Leo Ehrline joined the Brooklyn Nets in 1996 and is a key liaison between the Nets and the team's ownership group, as well as playing a major role in the organization's seamless relationship between business and basketball. In addition to being deeply involved in the Nets new home, Barclays Center, Ehrline remains active in all aspects of Nets sales and marketing, as well as community and customer relations.

Prior to joining the Nets, Ehrline spent 19 years at the Meadowlands Sports Complex. He had a steady ascent up the corporate ladder, working his way from the accounting office to the box office, and eventually managing all the marketing and sales efforts at the Meadowlands.

A native of Medford, N.J., Ehrline graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1977. Residing in Rutherford, New Jersey, Leo and his wife, Kathy, have two sons, Leo, 23, project coordinator for the 2014 Super Bowl organizing committee, and John, 20, a Junior at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia

Haynes Hendrickson, Senior Vice President and Head of Turnkey Sports' Market Intelligence Division

Haynes Hendrickson oversees the sales, service, and execution of Turnkey Intel’s Custom Market Research, Surveyor and Prospector platforms within the professional sports and entertainment industries.  He joined Turnkey Sports in September 2005.  Prior to joining Turnkey Sports, Haynes spend six years as Director, Direct Response Marketing for Kroenke Sports Enterprises, overseeing all of the database marketing and market research activities for KSE.  Haynes provided market, demographic, geographic and psychographic analysis for KSE’s sponsorship, marketing and ticket sales departments.  His first job in professional sports was with his hometown favorite Philadelphia Phillies for five years.  Haynes is a graduate of the University of Vermont.  He is an avid skier, golfer and runner with twelve marathons and one 70.3 mile half-Ironman currently under his belt.

Kenny Johnson, Coordinator, Fan Development and Cultural Outreach, Philadelphia Eagles

Kenny started with the Phillies while still in high school in 1999, serving as both an intern in the Fan Development Department and a game day employee for the Junior Phillies Fan Club.  While attending Villanova University the following years, he continued his office internship at the Phillies during each of his summers off until finishing school in 2004.

In 2006, Kenny joined the Fan Development Department as a full time Representative.  Along with his colleagues in his department, he is involved in the planning and implementation of many programs during the season that are geared towards evolving baseball fans.  These programs range from Phillies Coaches’ Clinics and the Phillies Baseball Academy for kids, to high school and collegiate showcase tournaments for teens and young adults, to Batting Challenges and mini-Fantasy Camps for corporate sponsors. 

Kenny now oversees most of the operations of the Junior Phillies and Phanatic MVP Fan Clubs and manages the staff of game day employees.  He may also be seen working in conjunction with the Phillies Events, Relations, and Sales Departments to plan and promote outreach and culturally themed events at the Ballpark, as well as keep the Phillies connected with Philadelphia’s diverse communities. 

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Kenny continues to reside in his native city.

Adekambi Laleye, Vice President of Sales and Development, Merchlar

Adekambi Laleye manages most of the agency's major accounts. He earned both his Bachelor and Master degrees in media and film studies, while playing division one basketball at University at Buffalo. He gained vast knowledge and experience working in Dubai as a multimedia and digital documentation specialist, where he assisted in the growth of a technology company before returning to North America. With a background in sports, business, and digital media, Adekambi has a clear vision in how to leverage Augmented Reality (AR) technology for the sports industry, and to connect fans with their favorite teams with an interactive and engaging strategy.

Chris Lencheski, President of Front Row Marketing Services and Front Row Analytics. 

Chris Lencheski heads up Front Row, a subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor with operating divisions in the specific practices of College Rights, Municipal Rights, Digital Film and TV Rights, Venue and Team Rights, and Social Media, is a collection of veteran sports, entertainment and media executives operating on four continents with offices in 35+ cities.

Front Row builds commercial rights programs for a collection of quality third party clients from pro teams, colleges, leagues, stadium authorities, entertainment companies, and municipalities that sell commercial rights based on directed research executed through Front Row’s proprietary in-house analytics group. The Firm’s executive experience base includes NCAA and every Major League in the United States as well as the largest global sporting events from the World Cup, America’s Cup, Olympics and the English Premiership League.

An innovative international business strategist and Brandweek award winning executive, Chris has built successful media and entertainment agencies from the ground-up, generated multimillion dollar revenue and portfolio growth, and been instrumental in forging highly lucrative relationships between corporations and some of the world’s most high-profile brands, organizations, and events. Mr. Lencheski has authored industry-setting standards and practice guides followed by major entities from network and cable television stations to Fortune 500 companies, industry gurus, and the Olympics. Combining the latest CRM techniques with experience as an entrepreneur, company spokesperson, and frequent contributor on multimedia outlets pertaining to the sports and entertainment disciplines, Mr. Lencheski has also been a winning NASCAR Team owner operating teams in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series for clients from Smith & Wesson, NOS Energy Drink, NVE Pharmaceuticals to Mike’s Hard Lemonade and drivers including Two-time NASCAR Camping World Series Truck Champions Ron Hornaday and Mike Bliss as well as, Kenny Wallace, Scott Riggs and Stanton Barrett amongst others.

Prior to joining Comcast-Spectacor, Mr. Lencheski was Founder, CEO and President of award winning sports marketing agency SKI & Company.  SKI & Company was proudly awarded the first-ever global agency of record designation by General Motors.  SKI counted GM, Coca-Cola and their brands FUZE and NOS Energy, Nielsen, Unisys, Smith & Wesson and many other Fortune 500 members as corporate clients serviced via offices in the USA, Europe and the Middle East.  Mr. Lencheski is past owner of the International Hockey League’s Quad City Mallards – the Mallards were the IHL affiliate of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers. The Mallards were the 2009 IHL Team of the Year.

Eric Lipsman, Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales and Partnerships, Trenton Thunder Baseball Club-New York Yankees Minor League Baseball

Eric is the last remaining member of the original Thunder Front Office. He joined the Thunder organization in December of 1993 as the team’s Director of Marketing and Merchandising.  In September of 2005, Eric was promoted to the Vice President of Marketing and in November of 2009, he was named Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales and Partnerships for the Thunder. 

Eric oversees all aspects of marketing for the Thunder including national, regional and local sponsorships, promotional night giveaways, and in-game promotions. He is also the editor of the Thunder Yearbook, which has won numerous awards at the Baseball Winter Meetings He is a member of the Saint Joseph’s University Sports Marketing Advisory Board, which instituted a Sports Marketing Major at the school in the fall of 2011. In addition Eric also lectures on Sports Marketing and the Business of Baseball at St. Joe’s.   Eric works closely with the Yankees on the Thunder’s Major League Rehabs, including Hideki Matsui, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Derek Jeter to name a few. He also works with former Thunder players on the Yankees, including Joba Chamberlain, Bret Gardner, Phil Hughes, David Robertson, Francisco Cervelli and Robinson Cano on their promotional items that are given out at ARM & HAMMER PARK, and their video greeting messages that are seen on the Thunder Video Board.

Sean McKinney, President, McKinney Apparel Group

Sean McKinney (SJU, Class of 1997) graduated with a degree in Business Management and was a pitcher and outfielder on the Hawk baseball team.  

Sean has spent the past 15 years in the sports industry, beginning his career with an emerging startup basketball brand named AND1. He rose from an entry-level sales position to eventually become Director of Sales in helping the brand reach $250 million in revenue and the Number Two position in basketball market share behind Nike.  He helped create and launch the AND1 Mix Tape Tour, a popular streetball property that became a weekly show on ESPN.

Sean then joined Mitchell & Ness, a 100-year-old company with a rich sports heritage in Philadelphia.  Over seven years, he would build Mitchell & Ness from a local company making Throwback jerseys into a global lifestyle brand now sold in retailers around the world.  Sean created unique partnerships with teams across NFL, NBA, MLB and NFL, opened offices and stores in Europe and Asia, signed licensing agreements with Hall of Fame players, and marketed the brand with key athletes, celebrities and entertainers.  He would eventually lead the company through its acquisition by the Adidas Group.

After leaving Mitchell & Ness in 2012, Sean formed the McKinney Apparel Group, a company that develops, owns and manages brands across the sports, music and fashion categories.  Most notably, Sean has acquired the licensing rights in North America for the iconic Starter brand and will be leading its resurgence starting this Fall 2013.

Mike Missanelli, Sports Commentator, 97.5FM/The Fanatic

Mike Missanelli is a well-known media personality who currently hosts the “Mike Missanelli Show” on 97.5 FM/The Fanatic, the number one rated sports talk show during evening drive.

Mike has had a long and varied career in the Philadelphia media. He graduated from Penn State University (where he was a varsity baseball player) with a degree in journalism and spent 15 years as a newspaper reporter, 10 with the Philadelphia Inquirer, before branching off into positions in radio and television.

Missanelli has spent nearly 20 years as a sports talk radio host in Philadelphia and New York and has been a magazine editor-in-chief and a nightly sports anchor on local television. Currently, Missanelli co-hosts the Phillies television post-game show on PHL-17 in Philadelphia and can be seen every Sunday evening as a sports commentator on NBC-10, the Philadelphia NBC affiliate station, as well as a commentator on the Great Sports Debate, seen on Comcast SportsNet and the host of a new television game show shown on PHL-17 called The Philly Pheud.

Missanelli also is a 1986 graduate of Widener Law School and a member of the PA Bar. He currently teaches a popular class on Sports and Entertainment Law at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.  Mike is also a published author. His book, “The Perfect Season,” the story of Penn State’s last national football championship at the 1987 Fiesta Bowl when the Nittany Lions upset the heavily-favored Miami Hurricanes in the most watched college football game in television history.

Lara Price, Vice President of Business Operations, Philadelphia 76ers

Lara Price, the 76ers Senior Vice President of Business Operations, enters her 12th season with the organization.

When she was elevated to vice president of marketing in August 1998, Price became one of only 18 female vice presidents in the NBA. After being named the team’s Senior Vice President in August 2001, Price was promoted to her current position in June 2003 and will continue to coordinate the day-to-day activities of the 76ers business operation closely with Sixers President and General Manager Billy King. In her expanded role, Price will also assist in overseeing the team’s marketing and communications department, which includes Communications, Community Relations and New Media, as well as game operations. She also manages the Sixers television, radio and print advertising plans.

The recipient of several awards for excellence in advertising and public relations, Price joined the 76ers in 1996 as director of marketing after serving as manager of team services for the NBA. She also served as director of team services for the Continental Basketball Association.

A native of Boulder, Colorado, Price is a graduate of Colorado State University, where she was also a member of the women’s basketball team. Price resides in suburban Philadelphia.

Ari Roitman, Senior Vice President, Business, Philadelphia Eagles

Ari Roitman joined the Philadelphia Eagles in December 2010 as the Senior Vice President of Business. In his role, Roitman oversees revenue generation for the Eagles across key business areas such as Corporate Partnerships and Premium Sales and directs the team’s strategies tied to the monetization of its media assets.  For the 2013 season, he will assume all team marketing initiatives including branding and fan engagement as well as research and analytics.

Prior to his time with the Eagles, Roitman spent nine years at Major League Baseball’s corporate officers in Manhattan starting as an Account Executive in 2001 and advancing to serve as Vice President of Corporate Sales and Marketing for his final two years with the league. A 1998 graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Psychology, Roitman worked for three years at SFX Sports Group before his tenure with Major League Baseball.

Dave Rowan, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Philadelphia Union. 

Prior to joining the union in 2010, Dave spent as the Director of Sports Sales for CBS Radio, where he was responsible for selling integrated sponsorship packages for all of Philadelphia’s major sports teams including the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and 76ers. 

Prior to joining CBS Radio, he served as the Vice President of Corporate Sales for the Eagles, overseeing all of the team’s corporate partnerships, promotions and naming rights negotiations and presentations. Rowan also played a major role in closing one of the largest stadium naming rights deals in League history with Lincoln Financial Group and the largest for a team practice facility with NovaCare. His department continued to thrive in Lincoln Financial Field’s first year of operation, establishing the Eagles as one of the top revenue producing teams in the NFL.  

Rowan spent three seasons as the Director of Corporate Sales for the Jacksonville Jaguars, developing the corporate sales plans for the team in its first year of existence, including naming rights and multiple seven figure Owner’s Circle marketing relationships. He was also in charge of the team’s in house broadcast department. 

A 1984 graduate of Penn State University, he began his career with the Phillies organization, first as the General Manager of the Clearwater Phillies and then later as an account executive in Corporate Sales for the Major League franchise. 

Rowan has also been the Director of Sales for the Spectacor Management Group, where he was responsible for all sales activities of the Flyers and Spectrum properties, as well as the 11 buildings in the Southeast region of the country, including the Louisiana Superdome and Jacksonville Gator Bowl.

Paul Slaats, Executive Chairman, Thuzi, LLC

Paul has over 25 years of experience as an operating executive and venture capital investor.  He is a co-Founder and Executive Chairman for Thuzi, a platform, software and technology services provider to brands and event managers seeking to leverage social media and mobile applications within their communications, engagement and ecommerce strategies.

Previously, Paul was Managing Director at Internet Capital Group (NASD:ICGE) having joined ICG as its third employee in 1996.  He led or participated in over 30 investment, acquisition and merger transactions with focus on online marketing, software as a service, and cloud computing infrastructure.  Paul’s prior software industry experience includes business development, product development and sales management positions with SAP, Marcam and IBM Corporation.

Paul has a BS in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Cindy Stutman, Vice President of Customer Solutions, Philadelphia Flyers 

Cindy Stutman recently completed her 10th season with the Flyers. She was promoted to the position of Vice President of Customer Solutions in November of 2007. In her role, she is responsible for the creation and execution of added-value benefits and programs for season ticket holders, as well as overseeing the activities and development of the customer service department and ticket office. Stutman joined the Flyers in 2003 as a customer service manager. Prior to joining the Flyers, she was a customer service manager with the Philadelphia 76ers for five seasons. 

Stutman graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Sport Management. She is single and resides in Philadelphia.

Patrick Sullivan, Vice President, Events, National Basketball Association

As Vice President of Events for the National Basketball Association, Patrick Sullivan manages many of the league’s annual domestic and international events programs, including overseeing strategic development, production, execution and sponsor fulfillment. He also manages domestic and regional staff, supervising content creation, event marketing and grassroots programs for the more than 250 league events held annually in over 30 countries worldwide.

In addition to managing international events, Sullivan oversees the NBA’s domestic event marketing programs, including NBA Nation and the league’s premier fan festival, NBA All-Star Jam Session. He also created, developed and implemented cost-saving initiatives for all events and designed an extensive bid, selection and corporate compliance process for event agencies. Sullivan also helps facilitate business development in emerging markets, such as India, the Middle East, and Latin America, by developing integrated marketing programs that incorporate all league assets, including events, media, hospitality, retail and promotional platforms.

Sullivan’s career trajectory at the NBA began as Director of Events in 2002. In that role, he was responsible for grassroots events and managing all mobile marketing, fan festivals, competitive tournaments and development programs, including NBA Jam Van and Rhythm ‘n Rims. He was promoted to Senior Director of Events in 2005, where he assisted in the development of the league’s international business, including sponsorship, exhibition game development, business operations and new league initiatives.

Prior to joining the NBA, Sullivan worked as a consultant at The Coca-Cola Company for the 2002 Winter Olympics, where he researched and designed a comprehensive operating plan for the Peaks Ice Arena, facilitating 24 Olympic competitions for more than 130,000 spectators. Prior to that, Sullivan served as an Account Director at Compass Italia in Bologna, Italy, responsible for the design, development and execution of sports marketing initiatives for Nike Italy.

He also worked as a Project Director for Universal Sports America in Paris, France, managing regional sponsorship sales for interactive basketball fan festivals, and as Senior Director of Events for Street Hoops SA in Geneva, Switzerland, where he managed multiple NBA sponsored pan-European basketball tours and was responsible for all creative material including sponsor presence, apparel and key visuals.

Sullivan graduated with a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University.  He currently resides in Maplewood, N.J., with his wife and children.

Katie Rose Teesdale, Coordinator of Interactive Media, Villanova University Athletics

Ms. Teesdale graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and earned an MBA, Marketing with concentration in Sports Management from the Fox School of Business at Temple University. She has held several marketing and advertising roles for clients such as Ford Motor Co., Porsche, and YUM! Brands, as well as having served in sports marketing functions at the Philadelphia Eagles. In January 2013, Katie Rose was hired by Villanova University's Athletics Department to head its new social media initiatives. 

Her responsibilities as Coordinator of Interactive Media include: managing all of the fan engagement and social media strategy and activation for the twenty-two varsity sports, as well as the digital marketing efforts. Ms. Teesdale is an active member of the National Association of Collegiate Women’s Athletic Administrators (NACWAA), a Sports Management Advisory Board Member at Widener University and sits on the Hall of Fame Committee for the Special Olympics of PA. 

Michael Thompson, Senior Vice President, Strategic Client Relationships, ARAMARK Sports and Entertainment

As Senior Vice President of Strategic Client Relationships for ARAMARK Sports and Entertainment, Michael Thompson is responsible for developing and maintaining ARAMARK’s relationships with clients and industry executives across North America.  In addition to cultivating new opportunities and growing the ARAMARK business portfolio, one of the main responsibilities of Thompson and his team is to develop proactive retention initiatives to maintain partnerships with our existing clients.

Thompson regularly interacts with the industry’s key decision makers and provides introductions to consultants, architects, and designers. He is often called upon to speak at conferences and seminars that tackle the industry’s most complex problems while positioning ARAMARK as the market leader in sports and entertainment.  Thompson’s operational and sales expertise plays an integral role in ARAMARK’s mission of connecting clients’ brands, customers and communities.  He works closely with the operational and marketing support teams to create innovative professional service solutions that enhance the guest experience.

Thompson has over 30 years of experience in the sports and entertainment hospitality industry, including diverse operational and sales positions with ARAMARK as well as Sportservice, a division of Delaware North Companies. 

A graduate of John Carroll University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Finance, Thompson also attended the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program and the Strategic Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.