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Volume 22 No. 35
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Forty Under 40: Brian Kantarian

Photo: albert cheung / frame studios

Winners of this award, or any executives in the sports business, often tell stories of growing up not knowing there was a career in sports and often lucking into the space. That’s not Brian Kantarian’s path.

Executive Director, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Age: 35

Born: Greenwich, Conn.

Education: Georgetown University, B.S. in business administration, finance; New York University, MBA, finance 

Family: Wife, Kathryn; children, Kaylee (3) and Cole (8 months)

What gets you fired up? My kids running to the door and giving me a big hug when I come home from work.

You wish you knew 10 years ago: Who you know is just as important as what you know.

Profession you’d most like to attempt: Owner/manager of a surf shop and beach bar.

Guilty pleasure: Casamigos on the rocks with a lime.

Could not go a day without: Coffee.

Cause supported: Cristo Rey NY High School located in East Harlem, which offers students from low-income families a quality education and real-life work experience.

Person in the industry you’d most like to meet: Phil Knight.

Ideal day off: Start off with a BEC from our local deli, workout in the morning to counteract the BEC, outdoor activities with my two kids, family BBQ in the evening. 

Kantarian’s father, Arlen, was for over three decades a major marketing and entertainment executive with the NFL, Radio City Music Hall and the U.S. Tennis Association. In fact, when Arlen Kantarian organized the Michael Jackson and Diana Ross Super Bowl halftime shows, his son got into the acts. 

“The Jackson one, ‘Heal the World,’ brought kids from around the world on stage,” Kantarian said, describing his part. “Ross, just one of her song segments had a number of kids on stage holding hands.”

Having lived around sports, Kantarian said he knew he wanted to make a career in the industry and joined Velocity Sports out of Georgetown. But he quickly learned the creative thinking required in marketing was not his forte. His brain is wired, he said, more analytically and is numbers based.

So, he earned an MBA from NYU and joined JPMorgan Chase, which has a well-regarded sports finance practice.

Kantarian quickly latched on and worked with JPM’s private bank clients that have interests in sports. In any given year, he executes four to five loan deals, and there are roughly 30 debt deals on the books that need servicing.

The bank is cautious about naming clients, but it’s no secret the big one is Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke and his Inglewood stadium project. The bank lent over $2 billion for that.

Growing up around the sports industry Kantarian learned to appreciate the passion of the business, including that of owners, he said.

“Now in my seat,” he said, “I see that firsthand.”