SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/People and Pop Culture
Spotlight: Peter DeVita, Juma Entertainment
Published October 10, 2011, Page 13
■ New title: Chief operating officer, Juma Entertainment
■ Previous title: Senior vice president of business affairs, IMG Worldwide
■ First job: Caddie at the local private golf course in Stony Brook, Long Island
■ Education: Bachelor of arts, economics, Cornell University (1990); New York University School of Law
■ Resides: New York City with wife, Regina, and son, Alexander
■ Grew up: Centereach, N.Y.
■ Executive most admired: Kevin Plank, president and chief executive officer, Under Armour
■ Brand most admired: Disney
■ Favorite vacation spot: Amalfi Coast of Italy
■ Last book read: “You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup,” by Peter Doggett
■ Last movie seen: “Midnight in Paris”
■ Favorite movie: “Forrest Gump”
■ Favorite musician/band: U2
■ What is the biggest challenge in your new position?
Helping Juma continue to grow and distinguish itself in a really competitive television marketplace.
■ What is the biggest risk you've taken in your career?
This one for sure. I have been here for 14 years and I am not much better at transition than my 5-year-old son. It’s an interesting time for me. IMG is a behemoth, it has a vast infrastructure and resources, and Juma is not quite at that level yet, but that is what gets me so excited about this opportunity. My role will be a lot more entrepreneurial than at IMG with the stakes, success and failures much higher.
■ What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
At IMG, I have worked on a variety of big deals over the years so it’s tough to single out one project. I really think it is just being able to stay ahead of the learning curve and being effective as a business affairs executive in so many different areas. … If I had to single out one, we recently concluded a deal for IndyCar last month and I was part of the IMG team that negotiated the Indianapolis 500’s new six-year contract with ABC and ESPN. It was a very challenging negotiation with complex issues, and it was fast tracked. We did the whole deal in two weeks.
■ What is your biggest professional disappointment in your career?
I was never able to work extensively with Mark McCormack before he passed away. He was a real visionary and was passionate about his clients and the company. I would have loved to have had more exposure to him, especially in his prime.
■ What career advice do you have for people wanting into this industry?
Take 1/100th of the time you spend being a sports fan and spend it learning the sports business. Educate yourself about the industry. Everyone wants to be in the sports and entertainment business, but very few people have a clue what that means. Candidates need to distinguish themselves from the masses and be absolutely relentless in networking.
■ What is one story you are continuing to watch in sports today?
I am an avid tennis and golf fan, so I am interested to see how the American tennis and golf communities respond and can cultivate future talent and restore the U.S. in a prominent position in those sports. I miss having a dominant American at the top.
■ What is one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
I think the industry is just too difficult to break into for the young people.