SBJ/July 15-21, 2013/Facilities

Legends eyes global, naming rights with hire

Legends officials expect Shervin Mirhashemi to take the lead on expanding the company’s international business and to strengthen its position in the naming-rights space.

Last week, Legends announced Mirhashemi would become the firm’s president and chief operating officer, a new position reporting directly to Dave Checketts, Legends’ chairman and CEO. Mirhashemi will join Legends in the near future, officials said.

As president, Mirhashemi will oversee all departments within Legends, covering food and merchandise, sales and marketing, facility research and development and attractions.

“It takes a unique opportunity to leave AEG,” Mirhashemi said. “Two things drove me: ownership’s commitment to this company, and the people, especially the management team, that has the same competitive fire and passion that I do.”

In addition to overseeing all Legends divisions, Mirhashemi will be counted on to carve a bigger piece of the pie overseas and build on the firm’s deals to sell naming rights for DePaul’s proposed arena in Chicago and minor league facilities in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Sioux Falls, S.D.

“One of my priorities early on was to find somebody to jump in this role,” Checketts said. “The world is a big place and our business is growing rapidly, especially in Europe. Shervin is qualified because he has spent a lot of time over there. He will do a lot on the West Coast as well.”

Mirhashemi will open a new West Coast office for Legends in Los Angeles, where he spent 12 years with AEG. He first started with AEG as part of its legal team and has spent the last six years as president of AEG Global Partnerships.

At AEG, Mirhashemi was principally involved in brokering the $700 million naming-rights deal for Farmers Field, AEG’s proposed NFL stadium in Los Angeles. He also sold the StubHub Center naming-rights deal for the Carson, Calif., complex that’s home to MLS, track and field and other sports.

Mirhashemi, along with Todd Goldstein, CEO of AEG Global Partnerships, formed a sales structure with a core of founding partners such as O2, Barclays, Nissan, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Panasonic and Anheuser-Busch with deals at AEG-managed facilities worldwide.

“It was a key component of our growth, and that is going to be one of the things we will do at Legends,” Mirhashemi said.

Mirhashemi’s strong communication and leadership skills will serve Legends well, said Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and Mirhashemi’s former boss at AEG.

“Shervin and Todd forged a global partnerships division that redefined the industry,” Leiweke said. “Shervin is a trendsetter and one of the smartest guys I know.”

The relationship between Legends and Mirhashemi began about two years ago when Legends Sales and Marketing President Chad Estis consulted with AEG on premium-seat sales for Farmers Field.

Checketts first met Mirhashemi through Estis six to eight months ago. About two months ago, Checketts “turned up the heat” to see whether Mirhashemi had interest in taking a lead role at Legends.

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