Longtime Mets Exec Dave Howard Named MSG Sports President
MSG Sports named Mets Exec VP/Business Operations DAVE HOWARD President, effective April 9. Howard will be responsible for running the business operations of the Knicks, NHL Rangers, WNBA Liberty and AHL Hartford Whale, as well as the management of the company's Sports Properties unit. He joins MSG Sports after more than two decades with the Mets. In the wake of Howard's departure from the ballclub, Mets Senior VPs DAVID NEWMAN and PAUL ASENCIO and VP/Ticket Sales & Service LEIGH CASTERGINE will join Senior VP/Venue Services & Operations MIKE LANDEEN in reporting directly to COO JEFF WILPON (THE DAILY). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir noted the position of MSG Sports president "has been vacant since last September when SCOTT O'NEIL left after four years on the job." Howard's departure comes as Madison Square Garden "approaches the completion" of a nearly $1B renovation. While with the Mets, Howard became the team's "most-available executive on subjects like season tickets, attendance declines, dynamic ticket pricing, promotional events like the return of Banner Day and the decision to bring in the left field fence" (NYTIMES.com, 3/25). Also in N.Y., Marc Berman wrote O'Neil resigned last summer after he and MSG Exec Chair JAMES DOLAN "had grown weary of each other." Sources said that former Knicks President of Basketball Operations DONNIE WALSH "thought O'Neil became too intrusive in the basketball operations when the genesis of the job is marketing and business with the Knicks and Rangers and the arena's other sports properties." The role of MSG Sports president "used to be more involved in the basketball end when STEVE MILLS and DAVE CHECKETTS held it previously." Now, season ticket and suite sales, marketing and game presentation and community relations are "its focal point" (NYPOST.com, 3/25).