Forty Under 40: Ethan Casson
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Title: Chief revenue officer
Where born: Milford, Conn.
Education: Colby-Sawyer College (B.S., sport management)
Career background: ESPN (1997-99); Minnesota Timberwolves (1999-2010), in several positions: director, corporate sales, VP, corporate sales, and SVP, corporate sales, corporate services and game presentation; San Francisco 49ers (2010-present), starting as VP, corporate sales, promoted to chief sales officer in 2013, and named to current position in January 2014
Family: Wife, Lisa
Favorite apps: Uber, Spotify, NFL Mobile.
Favorite way to unwind: Weekend trip to wine country with my wife.
Guilty pleasure: Lounging on the couch and going through hours’ worth of DVR programming.
Cause supported: The Make-A-Wish Foundation. (I currently serve on the board of directors for Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area.)
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Sold most of my belongings and moved to Minneapolis for an entry-level position with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Fresh out of college, Ethan Casson was on his way up the pecking order at ESPN in a new area for the broadcaster at the time called sponsorship development. It was a dream job for the sports fan from Connecticut. What could be better than working for the Worldwide Leader in his home state?
How about the Minnesota Timberwolves, for $24,000 a year?
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.
“I convinced them at my own expense to fly out for an interview for a job they said was near to being filled,” he said of his career shift in 1999. “I flew out and got the job by the end of that evening. I went back to Connecticut, I sold everything I owned; sold my car.”
The Minnesota job was a lower-level sales position, but Casson ran with it. He spent 11 years with the team and was promoted several times, ascending to a senior vice president position.
In 2010, he made the jump to the San Francisco 49ers as a chief partnership officer. In that role, he had a hand in the sale of sponsorships to the team’s new stadium that’s opening this year. The biggest is Levi’s, the naming-rights partner, but there are 10 other founding partners as well.
Casson’s career ascension continued earlier this year, with his promotion to chief revenue officer for the 49ers. It’s a role that means sponsorship sales are no longer his only focus. Now, ticketing, events and the fan experience all fall under his purview.