SBD/Issue 202/Sports Industrialists

Bobcats Hire Michael Jordan Confidant As New President & COO

Johnson (r) Taps Whitfield
As Bobcats President & COO
Bobcats Sports & Entertainment named Jordan Brand Dir of Business & Legal Affairs FRED WHITFIELD President & COO. Whitfield, whose experience also includes stints at Nike and Falk Associate Management Enterprises, served as Wizards Dir of Player Personnel from ’00-03, where he was responsible for the team’s salary cap and contractual issues (Bobcats Sports & Entertainment). Whitfield “intends to focus on business issues — marketing the team, selling tickets and sponsorships — and leave the basketball side” to GM & coach BERNIE BICKERSTAFF. Bobcats Owner ROBERT JOHNSON said that Bobcats Managing Member of Basketball Operations MICHAEL JORDAN “suggested Whitfield as a possible candidate” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/17). The CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL’s Erik Spanberg reports Johnson “plans to assume the CEO job” vacated when former President & CEO ED TAPSCOTT resigned in May. The move “is about more than just a title,” as Johnson intends to “play a more active role” in the team’s operations (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/14 issue).

GOING TO MARKET: Whitfield said that it is “crucial the franchise broaden its marketing beyond the Charlotte city limits.” While the Bobcats have a deal with Time Warner, Johnson said of other area cable outlets, “We have to create a demand for our product in those markets so those systems say ‘I need to kick someone else off to put the Bobcats on.’” Whitfield “hopes to broaden the Bobcats’ appeal beyond the young, urban crowd currently attending games.” Whitfield: “We really need to draw the whole community (including) the NASCAR crowd. They bring 125,000 people where they [race]” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/18).

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