SBJ/March 10-16, 2014/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40: Araceli Villegas

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tom hogan

Araceli
Villegas

Company: Golden Boy Promotions
Title: VP, television
Age: 37
Where born: Los Angeles
Education: Loyola Marymount University (B.S., business administration), University of Notre Dame (MBA)
Career background: Fox Sports International (1998-2002), NASCAR (2003-10), Golden Boy (2011-present)
Family: Husband, Miguel; children Miguel Jr. (6) and Alejandro (4)

Favorite apps: Yelp, GrubHub, Amazon.
Favorite way to unwind: A glass of wine and spa treatments.
Guilty pleasure: Bloody Marys and watching Notre Dame football.
Worst habit: Too detail-oriented.
Group supported: Loyola Marymount Latino Alumni Association.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Sheryl Sandberg.
I have a fear of … : Heights.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
2014 will be a good year if … : Golden Boy breaks another PPV revenue record.

Before traveling from Los Angeles to New York for an event that included a luncheon honoring Oscar De La Hoya a few years ago, Araceli Villegas picked up a copy of the famed boxer’s autobiography to read on the flight.

“I knew I was probably going to meet him and I wanted to be prepared,” said Villegas, who was director of international broadcasting for NASCAR at the time.

When De La Hoya heard that Villegas not only worked in sports television, but that she also worked with a major property out of an office in Los Angeles, he pointed her in the direction of Richard Schaefer and Bruce Binkow, the two ranking executives at his Los Angeles-based boxing promotions company, Golden Boy. After years of handling international television as a mostly a la carte business, signing distribution deals fight by fight and country by country, Schaefer and Binkow wanted to create a division that would parcel fights together, making for a more consistent flow.

Villegas had been with NASCAR for seven years, and she’d turned down a higher-paying opportunity in banking in order to join the sanctioning body’s new international TV division when she came out of business school at Notre Dame. Taking NASCAR onto the air in Mexico, where her family is from, was a thrill. But her job at NASCAR had become less about building and more about maintaining. The chance to

SBJ Podcast:
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.

launch something again appealed to her. She made the move.

“It was an opportunity to build a division like I had done at NASCAR, from the ground up,” Villegas said. “The expectation was, with all my contacts in the sports industry, that would carry over. In reality, boxing is a very fragmented industry, with a lot of stakeholders who have given boxing a bad name and reputation. So there was a lot of hesitancy. We’ve been able to overcome most of that, because we deliver what we say we will deliver.”

Today, Golden Boy has output deals with networks across the world, including in France, Russia, Indonesia and Ukraine, with a consistent, fully produced world feed emanating from most of its events. With an international infrastructure in place, Villegas recently added domestic TV to her responsibilities, as well.

— Bill King

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