Learfield Sports Boosts National Sales Division
Collegiate marketer Learfield Sports continues its commitment to strategically bolster its national sales division in key offices across the country as the company now represents the multimedia rights and sponsorship initiatives for nearly 100 properties.
Bill Hirsh, Al Connor, Chris Sanders, and Ceo Wimmer – seasoned sales and sports marketing executives with a combined 85 years of experience – recently were appointed to the vice president, national sales position in Learfield’s New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles offices, respectively, to support the company’s growth and creation of innovative, national collegiate platform opportunities for brands.
Hirsh, who will office in New York to oversee national sales for Learfield’s Northeast Region, joins the company from World Wrestling Entertainment, where he was vice president, integrated sales. Before that, he was vice president, corporate partnerships for the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center. Hirsh also previously held senior-level corporate partnership roles with Madison Square Garden, Women’s World Cup Soccer and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
Connor, who will office in Chicago to oversee national sales for Learfield’s Central Region, boasts two decades of national, senior-level sports, entertainment and broadcast sales expertise in the Chicago market. He most recently served as vice president, national sales for Screenvision. Additionally, he was vice president, director of sales for CBS Television and has significant sales and management experience in the television marketplace including Chicago’s WGN selling Chicago Cubs, White Sox, and Bulls properties, and at San Francisco’s KRON-TV.
Sanders, who will office in Learfield’s new Atlanta office to oversee national sales for the Southeast Region, was formerly with Helios Partners, LLC in Atlanta, where he served as chief operating officer for the international sports marketing consultancy. Having spent seven years with Helios, Sanders was integral to its global expansion that focused largely in the Olympic movement.
On the collegiate front, Sanders spent four years with Host Communications, Inc. (now IMG College) in positions such as vice president, collegiate group, and general manager for the company’s Notre Dame and Horizon League entities. Sanders, a 2011 “Forty Under 40” SportsBusiness Journal recipient, also gained sports, sales and sponsorship experience early in his career through opportunities with USA Gymnastics, the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and Miami University (Ohio).
In addition to Atlanta, Learfield invests in creating a presence in Los Angeles, Calif., where Wimmer will oversee national sales for the company’s West Region. Prior to Learfield Sports, he was president of CayRay Group, a sports, entertainment, media and marketing agency based in the Northeast. Wimmer also has prior sales experience at the vice president level for FOX Cable Sports, Mid-Atlantic Sports Networks (MASN) and SportsChannel.
“As the company has expanded its reach and operations to nearly 100 collegiate properties, we’ve set out looking for top-notch, proven professionals in our field, and we got them,” said Learfield Sports’ Executive Vice President Roy Seinfeld. “We’ve been poised to grow our national sales focus at the right time, with the right people, and that time is now. We are excited about bringing more national brands to collegiate athletics and leveraging the many digital, on-site activation and traditional assets we have in which they can connect to one of the most passionate fan bases in all of sports. Given their experiences, Bill, Al, Chris and Ceo can help us create these exceptional opportunities.”