COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew today announced the hiring of veteran sports industry executive Andy Loughnane as the club’s President of Business Operations (pronounced “LOCK-nane”). Loughnane’s appointment headlines a number of Crew Front Office moves as the organization continues its evolution under Precourt Sports Ventures. An original staff member during the Columbus Blue Jackets’ inaugural campaign and an executive at Columbus-based Glimcher Realty Trust (NYSE: GRT), Loughnane returns to Central Ohio to lead the Crew in a move unveiled prior to tonight’s highly anticipated Major League Soccer match at Crew Stadium as the Black & Gold take on the LA Galaxy (7:30 p.m. ET / Time Warner Cable SportsChannel).
While with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Loughnane sold sponsorship and media assets during the launch of the franchise before being recruited by Glimcher Realty Trust to remain in Ohio for nearly four years and work on the company’s in-mall sponsorship platform. Loughnane’s sports and entertainment background encompasses leadership roles with three major league sports franchises in corporate partnership sales and management positions prior to joining the Crew. In addition to his experience with the Blue Jackets and Detroit Pistons – where he oversaw all sponsorship and media sales initiatives for the NBA club, The Palace of Auburn Hills, DTE Energy Music Theatre and Meadow Brook Music Festival – Loughnane also worked for the Detroit Red Wings during the franchise’s back-to-back Stanley Cup runs in 1996-1997 and 1997-1998. He and his wife, Jennifer, are set to relocate to Columbus as quickly as possible.
“We are excited to welcome Andy Loughnane to the Columbus Crew as the next executive leader of our business operations,” said Crew Chairman and Investor-Operator Anthony Precourt. “In Andy we gain a smart, entrepreneurial and driven executive whose commercial experience will be a wonderful complement to Gregg Berhalter, our expert within our competition and technical areas. Andy’s hire further streamlines our overall club operations, as strong business supports strong soccer, and we believe we’ve added another critical piece to the growth and evolution of our club culture. We conducted a thoughtful and thorough national search that led us to selecting Andy from a field of over 50 qualified candidates, and we expect him to be an invaluable asset to our future success.”
Loughnane’s business background led him to found Adfluential.com in 2008, which partnered with USA TODAY to distribute targeted advertising and travel content to millions of hotel guests worldwide, leading to a transition of core assets of the organization to Gannett, the parent company of USA TODAY. The Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) graduate also worked for Arlington, Virginia-based Corporate Executive Board (NYSE: CEB), leading North American sales for CEB's research and advisory platform supporting c-level marketing and human resources executives within midcap firms.
It was the position with CEB that led him to his most recent role as Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for Palace Sports & Entertainment, where he led sales and services functions for the Detroit Pistons, The Palace of Auburn Hills, DTE Energy Music Theatre and Meadow Brook Music Festival, overseeing all sponsorship and media sales initiatives.
“Andy has a strong pedigree in the sports business monetizing major league teams, plus he has gained valuable exposure to the concert business at Palace Sports & Entertainment,” said Dave Greeley, President of Precourt Sports Ventures. “He has a unique entrepreneurial sense, which we need at the Crew to elevate our brand in the community. Andy has a clear passion for both the sports business and Columbus, which will give us a necessary boost at the Crew to generate resources to win games. He will be a strong fit within Precourt Sports Ventures and our Front Office team leading our staff on a day-to-day basis.”
“It is an honor to work with the Crew and rekindle many wonderful relationships here in Columbus,” said new Crew President of Business Operations Andy Loughnane. “Both Anthony Precourt and Dave Greeley have spelled out clear expectations on building a first-class soccer club both on and off the pitch. Building a successful commercial enterprise is essential to winning championships, so I cannot wait to get started.”
In addition to Loughnane’s appointment, the Crew announced several additional moves within its senior executive team.
Mike Malo moves into an expanded, critical new role of Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, working directly with Loughnane to improve all functional areas of the organization – marketing, corporate partnerships, community relations, Crew Juniors, merchandising and the fan experience.
Clark Beacom becomes Vice President of Ticket Sales, Services and Operations and will report directly to Loughnane.
Other senior leaders will also report directly to Loughnane: Andrew Arthurs (Senior Vice President, Soccer Business Development/Executive Director of Crew Juniors); Chris Previte (Vice President of Corporate Partnerships); and Lori McKirnan (Vice President of Finance and Business Planning).
A three-person operating committee will oversee all Crew Stadium operations, reporting to Loughnane, including: Dan Lolli (Director of Stadium Operations); Jordan Enke (Director of Facilities) and Weston Appelfeller (Director of Stadium Grounds).