This week in the sports media and marketing ecosystem, Overtime hires its first Head of Esports, NCAA adds new Managing Director of Communications, and the Washington Wizards bring on Zac Ikuma as Japanese Digital Correspondent.
For job openings and more on who’s moving where, check out the Hashtag Sports Weekly roundup.
The Washington Wizards announced the addition of Zac Ikuma as the team’s Japanese Digital Correspondent. The role, a first of its kind, will spearhead the team’s effort to increase its global presence, specifically in Japan. Ikuma, who is bilingual in English and Japanese, joins the organization with 14 years as a TV reporter. Ikuma will host the Wizards’ Global Podcast in Japanese, in addition to a player video content series called Wizards Player’s Diaries. The podcast, player video series, and website will all launch this week in conjunction with the start of Wizards Training Camp.
The NCAA has brought in an experienced college sports communication professional to run its branding and strategy efforts. Gina Lehe, Senior Director of External Relations for the College Football Playoff, will join the NCAA next month as the Managing Director of Communications—Strategy and Branding. Lehe will report to Bob Williams, Senior Vice President of Communication, and will oversee efforts to continually frame the mission of college sports in the context of higher education and support the core purpose, values, and goals of the organization.
In the ongoing effort to expand its direct-to-consumer business, Walt Disney Co. has hired Brad Wilson as Executive Vice President of Performance Marketing for Disney + and ESPN +. Wilson, who was most recently Chief Marketing Officer at Lending Tree, will report to Michael Paul, president of Disney’s streaming services, part of the company’s Direct to Consumer and International Group.
USA Hockey hired a new Director of Communications, Arron Westendorf, to head up communications for their Youth and Junior programs, as well as the U.S. National Junior Team. Westendorf was previously with the United States Hockey League (USHL) where he oversaw communications strategy for the league and its member clubs. The USHL experienced significant media growth under Westendorf, including the creation of the “Who’s Next?” campaign, as well as the creation of a media guide and record book dating back to the league’s inaugural season.
Sports network Overtime announced that it hired Chris Toussaint, the former manager of NBA 2K team Magic Gaming, as its new Head of Esports. Overtime owns Team Overtime, a top-ranked professional Fortnite team that includes some of the world’s top players and streamers.
Toussaint, who is just 20 years old, has served for the past two years as the team manager for Magic Gaming, handling all aspects of the team’s player development, scouting, recruiting, and training. Prior to joining Magic Gaming, he held managing positions with Misfits Gaming and Tempo Storm and served as the general manager and co-owner of team Red Reserve.
The Philadelphia 76ers announced several organizational moves this past week, including Dave Sholler’s promotion to Senior Vice President of Communications, and Team Spokesperson. Prior to joining the Sixers in 2016, Sholler spent seven years at the UFC, the last two of which were as the Vice President of Public Relations and Athlete Marketing.
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