Pac -12 Enterprises has signed employee No. 1 and there will be many more to come.
The Pac-12 Conference has hired veteran sports marketing and media executive Gary Stevenson as president of Pac 12 Enterprises, comprising Pac-12 Networks, the Pac-12 Digital Netowrk and Pac-12 Properties.
As such, Stevenson will head the seven sports networks the newly expanded Pac-12 Conference established last month.
He will "oversee a diversified and integrated media company, including the Pac-12 Networks, the Pac-12 Digital Network, and Pac-12 Properties, which will handle all sponsorship, licensing and event management, including the new Pac-12 football championship game and Pac-12 basketball tournaments, for the conference," according to a press release. "He will also be responsible for creating a new integrated sales team across all of the new conference-owned media and event platforms, and for creating and executing a strategy to extend Pac-12 programming to international audiences, especially in the Pacific Rim, where the conference already enjoys wide recognition for the quality of its athletic competition and for the prestige of its member universities' academic and research programs."
"Gary is one of the true visionaries of the sports and entertainment world," said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in announcing the hire, "and I am thrilled he has agreed to join us. He will lead Pac-12 Enterprises at an exciting time in our conference's history, just as we are poised to serve millions of our fans via our innovative new media platforms."
Stevenson joins the Pac-12 from OnSports, a consulting firm he founded in 1997 and sold 10 years later to the Wasserman Media Group. Since then, Stevenson has been serving as a principle at Wasserman, whose client roster includes American Express, Nationwide, Travelers, NASCAR, the PGA Tour, the Big Ten and the then-Pac-10.
Through his 30-year career, Stevenson has served as a high-ranking executive at NBA Properties, the PGA Tour and Golf Channel, which he helped launch in 1995 and served as COO.
One of Stevenson's immediate challenges will be to add further distribution for the national network and the six regional sports mapping the conference's footprint that Scott and the Pac-12 announced in New York on July 27. Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox and Bright House Networks have committed to support those networks as charter affiliates. The services are scheduled to kick off before the 2012-13 academic year.
Chris Bevilacqua, the lead media advisor to the Pac-12 and an executive who will work closely with the Pac-12 Net Networks' affiliate team, said Scott wanted someone who had an "entrepreneurial vision," like Stevenson, to head the new company.
Over the next 30 to 60 days, Stevenson is expected to announce key leadership hires, including someone to head distribution efforts, as well as programming and production executives.
Bevilacqua said the group is establishing a full-fledged media company, with the "customary number" of staffers. He also said personnel will join on the digital and property sides. He declined to say how many employees will be retained overall, noting that some will have responsibilities that bridge the three companies.