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Volume 21 No. 1
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Vidalin leaving 49ers to take Heat’s CRO post

Veteran NFL marketing executive John Vidalin is leaving the San Francisco 49ers to become chief revenue officer for the Miami Heat.

Vidalin, who has worked as chief sales officer for the 49ers since 2010, begins his new job with the Heat on Aug. 19. His last day with the 49ers is Friday.

The chief revenue officer job is a new position for the Heat. Vidalin, 47, will be responsible for all revenue growth initiatives for the team, including tickets, corporate sponsorships and premium seating. He will manage a staff of between 35 and 40 sales executives, and will report to Eric Woolworth, Heat president of business operations.

Vidalin was responsible for the 49ers’ business development and played a key role in selling sponsorships for the team’s new stadium set to open in 2014, including the 20-year, $220 million naming-rights deal with Levi Strauss. He also was responsible for the team’s broadcasting deals.

“No one has sold more corporate deals in the last three or four years than John and his team in San Francisco, including the Levi’s deal and the stadium project,” Woolworth said. “We scoured the country and feel we got the best of the best.”

Prior to the 49ers, Vidalin worked for the Houston Texans for six years as vice president of sales and marketing, and he previously worked as vice president of marketing for the Washington Capitals Now, he joins a new league with the NBA’s Heat.

“In general, what I do translates on the business side to any front office, but there are nuances between the league,” Vidalin said. “The NBA does very well with collaboration with other teams.”

Vidalin said that leaving the 49ers during construction of the team’s new stadium is difficult, but the job at the Heat was too attractive to pass up.

“The Heat is a great brand and a great franchise,” he said. “I will focus on protecting the base of business and look where the opportunities are in terms of growth of major partnerships. The Heat is an international brand and there are so many ways to get creative.”

The Heat is the latest NBA team to create the chief revenue officer front-office position. The Philadelphia 76ers last month hired Chris Heck as their chief revenue officer, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks have all added the chief revenue officer position to their front-office staffs in the past year.