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Volume 20 No. 46
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Learfield appoints regional sales chiefs

Learfield Sports has appointed regional sales chiefs in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Atlanta to bolster its national sales efforts.

The four new regional vice presidents will report to Roy Seinfeld, Learfield’s executive vice president of national sales. The four hires will have both sales and oversight responsibilities.

In New York, Bill Hirsh will oversee the Northeast region. Hirsh joins Learfield from World Wrestling Entertainment, where he was vice president of integrated sales. Hirsh previously worked in sales at Madison Square Garden and with the New Jersey Devils.

The Central region will be led by Al Connor out of a new Chicago office. He comes from Screenvision, where he sold advertising for screens in more than 2,000 theaters. He also has experience at CBS and WGN.

Chris Sanders, formerly with Helios Partners, will oversee a new Atlanta office in the Southeast region. He spent seven years at the agency working largely on marketing programs in the Olympics. Sanders also has experience in collegiate sales and marketing from his days at Host Communications. A member of SportsBusiness Journal/Daily’s 2011 Forty Under 40 class, Sanders has worked with the Indiana Pacers and with USA Gymnastics, as well.

In Los Angeles, Ceo Wimmer will head up the West region. He was with CayRay Group media and marketing agency and previously worked at Fox Cable Sports and MASN,

Each region is expected to have at least one other sales executive who will report to these regional vice presidents. With 22 people now working on national sales, that division of Learfield has doubled in staff in the year that Seinfeld has overseen it.

During that time, Learfield also was acquired by Providence Equity Partners, which Seinfeld said has helped provide additional resources.

“They’ve given us the push to take this to the next level,” Seinfeld said.

The regional vice presidents will be responsible for building national advertising and sponsorship packages for Learfield’s 92 college multimedia rights clients.

Among Learfield’s existing national advertisers are State Farm and Case International Harvester. State Farm has deals with 36 Learfield schools to put its marks on the side of the basketball goals. Case IH worked with Learfield to create a red zone theme whenever the home football team moves inside the 20-yard line, with radio, digital and video board extensions across 20 schools, many in the Midwest, where Case IH’s red farming equipment is well-known.

“A national deal isn’t so much the number of schools as it is a thread that connects them, being able to take a concept across several schools and finding something that works for the client,” Seinfeld said.

Learfield also is working to integrate the rights to schools acquired from the company’s Nelligan Sports purchase. Learfield bought Nelligan for an undisclosed amount in February.

Learfield CEO Greg Brown and his senior staff have been working to merge those two companies. Some Nelligan advertisers with rights at multiple schools, such as Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and State Farm, are being folded into Learfield’s national accounts, Seinfeld said.

Steve Gowan, a Learfield senior vice president, is overseeing integration and staffing. He reports to Andy Rawlings, executive vice president and chief revenue officer.

Two other high-ranking Learfield executives, COO Marc Jenkins and executive vice president Roger Gardner, are in the process of visiting the 41 schools that Learfield added from Nelligan.

“We just want to make sure we’re all speaking the same language and that we’ve got the same approach with our clients,” Brown said.