SBJ/Nov. 11-17, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Red Bull’s Mater exits sports

Chris Mater, longtime Red Bull USA head of sports marketing, has taken a new role with the company as general manager of its Northern California business unit.

Mater will oversee business, sales, marketing, distribution and legal from Central California to Oregon. He is working out of Red Bull’s Bay Area offices.

Sean Eggert has taken Mater’s position as head of sports marketing at Red Bull.

“I love working in sports marketing but from a personal and a professional perspective, I want to run the business and it was a requirement to learn sales and distribution,” said Mater, a former SportsBusiness Journal/Daily Forty Under 40 winner. “Fortunately for me, they did a restructure and created these regional general manager roles that allowed me to go from having less responsibility but overseeing a broader area to having much more responsibility in a smaller area.”

Mater, who is Australian, joined Red Bull in 1999 and was part of the company’s launch in Australia. He relocated to the U.S. in 2004 and took over as head of sports marketing in North America in 2007. During his six years in that role, Red Bull signed a host of new athletes and launched several new events. On the athlete marketing front, Red Bull signed surfers Mick Fanning and Carissa Moore, and the brand also moved into mainstream sports with NBA players Blake Griffin and Rajon Rondo.

Perhaps its biggest signing was of snowboarder Shaun White. With White, Mater’s marketing team oversaw a “Project X” effort that involved building the snowboarder a back-country halfpipe to train at before the Vancouver Games.

The company also launched a new, made-for-TV sports event on ESPN called “Red Bull New Year No Limits.” The special featured stunts like freestyle motocross rider Robbie Maddison jumping the length of a football field and Travis Pastrana trying to land a rally car on a barge off the shore of Long Beach, Calif. It regularly earned more than a 1.8 rating, with its best rating being a 4.2 on ESPN in 2007.

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