This week in the sports media and marketing ecosystem, Grant Thomas heads west to the LA Rams, Ann Rodriguez joins the 2028 LA Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and Jac Collinsworth has moved to NBC.
For job openings and more on who’s moving where, check out the Hashtag Sports Weekly roundup.
Josh Lavallee has joined the Pittsburgh Pirates of the MLB as a content producer. Lavallee brings an abundance of sports social media and photography experience to the Pirates. Lavallee is a particularly skilled photographer and videographer working across all four major US sports in the past, specifically serving as a live content creator for the NFL.
The Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games has hired Ann Rodriguez as the organization’s Chief Strategy Officer. Rodriguez joins the Committee from the WNBA where she served as SVP and COO. As a 20-year sports industry veteran, Rodriguez will leverage her vast knowledge of the landscape to provide insight in building out robust programs and strategies for the Committee.
Aron Phillips has agreed to become the COO of both SLAM, a popular culturally driven basketball magazine and RTG Features. Phillips joins SLAM & RTG Features from UNINTERRUPTED, where he served in multiple roles most recently as Sr. Director of Development. Prior to that, Phillips worked for Springhill Entertainment and Complex Media.
SVP and Editor-in-Chief of ESPN’s Undefeated, Kevin Merida has been shifted to report directly to ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro. Merida has served in his role for the Undefeated for over 4 years, seeing the culturally driven sports publication blossom immensely. The move signals the success of the website. Prior to joining ESPN in 2015, Merida worked in a number of editorial roles for The Washington Post.
Jac Collinsworth, former ESPN and ACC Network football host and on-air personality has re-joined NBC. Collinsworth has transitioned back to NBC, following his father and well-known Sunday Night Football analyst Chris Collinsworth. This will be Collinsworth’s second stint with NBC, where he previously served on the sideline production team for Notre Dame Football games on NBC and worked as a social media correspondent at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
FanAI has hired Adam Holt and Jeff Katz to help grow the brand outside of their traditional esports expertise and into the traditional sports market. Holt joins FanAI from Hookit, and will be serving as the SVP of Sales. Jeff Katz, former VP of strategy and strategic sport sponsorships, sports of GumGum will join FanAI as the company’s Chief Product & Strategy Officer.
Teddy Hughes has accepted a position with USA Football as a graphic designer upon graduation from Walsh University. Hughes brings 3 plus years of creative experience. He most recently worked for Walsh University as the creative director for the University’s football program. Prior to that Hughes served as an athletics graphic designer for Walsh University.
Grant Thomas has accepted a role on the LA Rams design team upon graduation from Penn State University in May. Thomas brings with him an abundance of sports design experience across a number of different sectors. Thomas previously worked for Bleacher Report and interned with world-renowned brands such as the Washington Redskins and Charlotte Hornets. Perhaps most notably, Thomas worked as the lead graphic designer for VaynerSports.
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