The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club named Steve Koonin its Chief Executive Officer in April 2014. Koonin oversees all business, financial and strategic operations of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, and represents the owners as the head of the organization.
The Hawks added more than 15 new corporate sponsors under Koonin’s leadership during the 2016-17 season, including long-term deals with Emory, UPS and Verizon. Koonin was instrumental in three franchise-altering negotiations in 2016: construction of the team’s practice and training facility at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex; the $192.5 million transformation of Philips Arena; and, the Hawks’ acquisition of rights to own and operate an NBA Development League franchise that will begin play in College Park, Ga., in 2019-20.
With oversight from Koonin in 2015, the club landed on Google’s year-end list of the 10 most-searched sports teams and Sports Illustrated’s “Social 100” list – one of only three clubs to make the list, and ranked as the No. 1 NBA team to follow on Twitter. The Hawks led the NBA in year-over-year attendance increase and set single-season franchise records for retail sales, sellouts and season ticket memberships – including a record 500% uptick in annual season ticket sales – and experienced a 250+% rise in television viewership among people 18-34 years of age.
Koonin, a longtime entertainment and marketing veteran, joined the Hawks after spending the previous 14 years with Turner Entertainment Networks, most recently serving as the division’s president. Prior to his stint at Turner, Koonin helmed the marketing and worldwide advertising operations at The Coca-Cola Company, where he spent over a decade.
A lifelong resident of Atlanta, Koonin serves on the boards of Emory Healthcare, the Georgia Aquarium, the Fox Theatre, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Woodruff Arts Center. He is also on the board of GameStop, the world’s largest video game and entertainment software retailer. Among his many accomplishments, Koonin has been named one of The 100 Most Influential Atlantans by Atlanta Business Chronicle, one of Atlanta Magazine’s Most Powerful People Shaping Atlanta, one of Entertainment Weekly’s Smartest People in Television, and was selected for The Power List by TV Guide.
He studied marketing at the University of Georgia, where he and his wife, Eydie, have established the Koonin Scholars Fund at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The fund provides scholarships for Grady students preparing for careers in the creative industries and media.