SBJ/Aug. 11-17, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

New executive, and new focus, coming to NFL events position

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The NFL this month plans to fill its vacant events position, a job that has been open since Frank Supovitz announced in April that he was leaving the league.

But the position Supovitz left and the one a new executive will fill may not be quite the same. That is because the NFL, according to numerous sources, wants the role to become more operational and less strategic, a main part of the reason Supovitz left.

Supovitz

The job manages Super Bowls and numerous other league events, from the Pro Bowl to owners meetings to the league’s season-opening kickoff celebrations, such as the one set for next month in Seattle.

Supovitz declined to comment on his reasons for his leaving the NFL, but the sources said Supovitz grew frustrated that many of his ideas were greeted by silence because the league only wanted him to execute their concepts. The NFL also declined to comment, but a source at the league denied any friction between the NFL and Supovitz and said the role was not changing. 

Nevertheless, the posting for the opening on NFL.com largely lists operational duties: “This individual will display solid budgeting abilities, and should have substantial experience in operations, logistics, communications and managing large staffs,” the job posting states.

Rob Tuchman, president of sports experiential agency Goviva, said the job description “sounds like they are looking for a guy to execute events. This job is typically operations-driven. You had a couple really solid guys who were more creative.”

Supovitz had been with the NFL since 2004. His predecessor, Jim Steeg, had a big hand on the creative side during his 26-year-long tenure with the league.

The events position reports to Eric Grubman, one of a handful of NFL executive vice presidents, the highest-ranking title at the league below commissioner. Supovitz’s title was senior vice president of events, so the designation of the new executive will be worth noting. The job description lists the position as “head of events.”

Supovitz, who is launching his own firm, also reported to Grubman.

It is not believed the NFL is using an executive search firm to assist in the hiring.

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