The Philadelphia 76ers have quadrupled the size of their sales staff and made several veteran hires for their executive ranks, as new chief executive Scott O’Neil starts to put his stamp on the franchise.
O’Neil was hired July 8. He has spent the time since revamping the Sixers’ organizational chart.
The moves come as Tom Ward, senior vice president of corporate partnerships and broadcasting, is leaving the organization. A longtime senior-level industry executive, Ward was hired in July 2012 by former Sixers CEO Adam Aaron. He declined to comment on his departure.
Also hired in the past month are Owen Morin, senior director of corporate partnerships, formerly of Excel Sports Management; Jake Reynolds, senior director of ticket sales, formerly of Monumental Sports & Entertainment; Brian Norman, ticket sales manager, formerly of the Charlotte Bobcats; and Katie Grossman, director of partnership marketing, previously with IMG College.
All are new jobs, as is Heck’s position as chief revenue officer, and each of the new executives reports to Heck.
The Sixers are working to build their ticket sales and sponsorship business up from the lower ranks of the NBA. Philadelphia has a full-season-ticket base of about 5,000 despite playing in one of the NBA’s largest markets.
“The biggest change is ramping up sales staff,” O’Neil said. “We are coming off a disappointing season [34-48 on the court; 16,717 fans a game, below the leaguewide average] and have a lot of inventory to sell. We have a low season-ticket base, and instead of cowering in a corner, we are quadrupling down with full-time ticket sellers.”
The additions come as team owner Josh Harris has added to his portfolio. Last month, a Harris-led group bought the New Jersey Devils and the team’s rights to the Prudential Center.
Heck said the teams’ sales efforts will be kept separate.
“Our focus is dedicated to the Sixers,” he said. “We don’t cross over to the Devils or to the Prudential Center.”