SBD/Issue 202/Sports Industrialists

NFL Integrating Marketing And Licensing Departments

By Terry Lefton, Editor-at-Large

NFL’s Baird Adds Licensing
Business To Job Responsibilities

The NFL is integrating its marketing and licensing departments, with marketing taking the upper hand. Senior VP/Marketing LISA BAIRD, who came to the NFL last August after marketing jobs with Procter & Gamble, GM and IBM, now assumes responsibilities for the league’s licensing business, which generates more than $3B annually in retail sales. Her title expands to Senior VP/Consumer Products & Marketing. Baird has no prior experience in licensed sports products sales. MARK HOLTZMAN, who had run NFL licensing as Senior VP/Consumer Products for the past five years and reported to NFL Exec VP & COO ROGER GOODELL, is now Senior VP/Channel Development, reporting to Baird. Holtzman continues to be responsible for the league’s apparel business. He will also run the NFL’s Extra Points payment card program, in an attempt to better integrate payment cards with NFL retail sales. VP/Apparel SUSAN ROTHMAN, NFL Direct Senior Dir BOB O’KEEFE, Senior Dir of On-Field Branding & Promotion DENNIS KAISER and Manager of Int’l BETSY ROACH will report to Holtzman. GENE GOLDBERG, a 25-year NFL veteran who had been overseeing the videogame category and reporting to Holtzman, moves to VP/New Business & Product Development, reporting to Baird. Also reporting to Baird are: VP & Exec Creative Dir MICHAEL CAPIRASO; Senior Dir of Hardlines LEO KANE, who now assumes responsibility for videogames; Dir of Growth Markets BETH COLLETON; Dir of Market Intelligence CARY MEYERS; Dir of Fan Programs & Marketing Strategy PETER O’REILLY; and Dir of Entertainment Marketing & Promotion TRACY PERLMAN.

AUDIBLES: The aim of the re-org is consolidating league marketing functions. Accordingly, the new structure sees NFL consumer products marketing and league marketing functions amalgamated for the first time. The new NFL marketing department will be responsible for market research, product development, creative services, marketing programs and channel development. While it is not unusual for sports properties’ licensing and marketing departments to report to the same executive — normally a properties president — combining marketing and licensing is a novel approach.

ROGER THAT? Some in the industry see the re-org as a certain sign that Goodell is getting the vacant commissioner’s job. “There’s no way these moves are made otherwise,” said a senior marketer at one the NFL’s largest licensees. “Roger’s deal is done and this is the first step of the new administration.” However, NFL Dir of Corporate Communications BRIAN MCCARTHY cautioned, “There’s not necessarily any reason to tie these moves to the commissioner’s job search.”

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