SBJ/June 3-9, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Knapple takes Van Wagner helm

A shake-up at Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment has resulted in the departure of Cliff Kaplan and the promotion of Jeff Knapple to president and CEO of the New York-based rotational sign, sales representation, venue services and corporate consulting company.

In a written statement last week, Van Wagner said Kaplan was “leaving as a result of differences in strategic direction.” Kaplan, a former NBA senior vice president, joined Van Wagner in 2005, when his Premiere Sports and Entertainment was acquired by Van Wagner. He was named president of Van Wagner Sports in 2007.

“I am enormously proud to have helped develop and lead the growth and evolution of the sports business group and work with a tremendous, spirited group of colleagues,” Kaplan said via email. “The rapid growth and evolution of the Property Representation and Corporate Consulting businesses as well as the more recent expansion through the birth of the Team & Venue Services division and Van Wagner’s recent foray into digital media (via CineSport) have resulted in Van Wagner Sports becoming a truly diversified sports marketing company.”

Knapple, a 25-year industry veteran, has been at Van Wagner since February 2012, heading the team and venue services group. Knapple will relocate from Los Angeles to New York City for the new job. Chris Allphin will now head team and venue services.

“This is a profitable company with terrific fundamentals and capabilities and still lots of room for growth, including consulting and the digital world,” Knapple said.

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