Fox Sports Networks has named Steve Liverani, who had been heading its regional sports network in Ohio, to become the senior vice president and general manager of its two services in Florida.
Liverani succeeds Cathy Weeden, who was named general manager of Gator Sports Marketing, which represents media and marketing properties tied to the University of Florida athletic program.
Currently the senior vice president and general manager of Fox Sports Ohio, Liverani will continue to serve in that capacity until a replacement is found. In his new post, he will have oversight for all aspects of both Sun Sports’ and Fox Sports Florida’s businesses, including production, programming, advertising sales, marketing, affiliate relations and team relations.
The two statewide sports networks have rights contracts with the Florida Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, University of Florida, Florida State University and the ACC and SEC conferences, along with a strong lineup of local/regional programs, series and events.
Under Liverani’s leadership, Fox Sports Ohio expanded its local and regional programming beyond its extensive coverage of professional teams. He was instrumental in securing long-term rights agreements with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cincinnati Reds, along with Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati.
“At Fox Sports Ohio, Steve has demonstrated the ability to lead and create new opportunities for the network,” said Jeff Krolik, executive vice president of Fox Sports Networks Jeff Krolik, in a statement “He brings vast knowledge and experience in regional sports television to his new leadership position with Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida. We expect that Steve will continue to build on the networks’ outstanding track records of serving their viewers and creating value for their team partners, distributors and advertisers.”
The sports programmer and IMG appointed Weeden general manager of Gator Sports Marketing, a division of IMG College that helps manage the marketing and media rights for University of Florida athletics on behalf of Sun Sports. Weeden will continue to lead the Florida-based regional sports networks until a transition early next year.
In her new job, Weeden will be responsible for all aspects of the property sales rights, which includes television, radio, Internet, and corporate partnerships. Earlier this year, Sun Sports entered into an exclusive multimedia and sponsorship rights agreement with the institution’s University Athletic Association, marking the first time all Gator sports rights have been aggregated with one multimedia partner.
Weeden joins IMG College after 16 years of RSN management experience. She joined Sun Sports originally in 1990 and held positions overseeing affiliate sales and marketing, as well as a role as assistant GM from 1996-99. She returned to Sun Sports in 2002 as vice president-general manager after serving in that capacity at Fox Sports Arizona for two years. Following News Corp.’s 2005 acquisition of Fox Sports Florida, Weeden led both RSNs. In May 2007, Weeden, who was named a “Wonder Woman” by Multichannel News in 2006, was promoted to senior vice president-general manager.
“Cathy has been a valuable contributor to the Fox family, and we’re excited that she has accepted this position to lead our partnership with the Gators,” said Krolik. “Cathy has the perfect mix of experience, business acumen, and passion for college sports that makes her well suited for this role.”