SBJ/April 10-16, 2017/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40: Ashwin Puri


uc berkeley
In five years, Ashwin Puri has filled the University of California, Berkeley’s sports marketing coffers to among the highest levels in college athletics.

Puri, Cal’s senior associate athletic director and chief revenue officer, was principally involved in the Pac-12 school’s monster deals with Under Armour and Learfield, and he assisted in the naming-rights agreement for Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium.

Over the past two years alone, Puri was responsible for bringing in more than $200 million in new revenue tied to apparel, multimedia rights and licensing.

The Under Armour deal, valued at $86.5 million, is among the first of its kind in college sports. It expands apparel rights beyond athletics to include the alumni association and recreational and intramural sports. It also provides an additional benefit for the Baltimore-based apparel maker.

“In the deal now is language about [Under Armour] recruiting students,” Puri said. “We have the best students in the world. Under Armour is an engineering company, a creative company and a business company. We have all those wonderful things associated with the university, so they viewed it was a way to cultivate talent.”

HASHTAG YOUR LIFE
#giddyup
The Learfield deal, valued at more than $100 million, ended a relationship Cal had with IMG College for more than 20 years, according to Puri. Learfield’s proposal did the best at understanding the school’s budgetary needs and its desire to better promote its brand.

Separately, the school has a new deal with Learfield Licensing Partners, netting the university more than $1 million over its old deal in the first year of the agreement. Puri managed those negotiations as well.

Puri came to Cal after working two stints with the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division. He also spent about 18 months as director of sales with the New York Jets in charge of their PSL program during the development of MetLife Stadium.

“I love both the college and pro sports industries,” he said. “A lot of the principles are the same. Bottom line, it’s about relationships, whether you’re raising money through philanthropy or asking for corporate dollars. If you have the requisite people skills, I think you can do any of this stuff.”

— Don Muret

ashwin puri

university of california, berkeley |
senior associate athletic director, chief revenue officer
Age: 38
Where born: Flemington, N.J.
Education: UMass, Amherst (B.S., sports management)
Family: Wife, Nikole; child, Xavier Kumar, 2

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at age 20? Patience is truly a virtue.
Profession other than your own you’d most like to attempt: Airline pilot. I love flying and have always had a fascination with airplanes, types, sizes, layouts, etc.
Guilty pleasure: I love sugar-free Red Bull.

I am one of the best I know at … : Telling an awful story.
2017 will be a good year if … : Cal returns to the top 10 of the Learfield Directors’ Cup.
The sports industry needs to do a better job of … : Mentoring the next group of aspiring sports executives.
Most thrilling/adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Jumped out of a plane with one of my best friends.
You’d be surprised to know that I … : Cry every time I watch the movie “P.S. I Love You.”



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