Activision Blizzard hires MLB’s Tony Petitti as president of sports and entertainment, plus more – SportsPro Media

Activision Blizzard hires MLB’s Tony Petitti as president of sports and entertainment, plus more

Gaming giant Activision Blizzard has named senior Major League Baseball (MLB) executive Tony Petitti as its new president of sports and entertainment.

Starting his new job on 17th August, Petitti will be responsible for esports, consumer products and film and television at the company. He will also oversee Activision Blizzard’s esports properties, including the Call of Duty League and Overwatch League.

Petitti most recently served as MLB’s deputy commissioner of business and media, and chief operating officer. Before that, he was president and chief executive of MLB Network, arriving from CBS Sports in 2008.

“Bobby Kotick [Activision Blizzard chief executive] has been translating his vision into opportunity at Activision Blizzard for 30 years. I couldn’t be more excited to use my own 30 years of sports and entertainment experience to help Activision Blizzard realise its ambitions,” said Petitti.

“It’s clear to me the company has an incredible opportunity to connect players and fans in new and innovative ways, and I’m excited to be joining the company at such an important moment in its history.”

Petitti’s replacement at MLB is yet to be announced.

Meanwhile, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has appointed Victor Williams as chief executive of NBA Africa, effective 17th August. Williams, an investment banking executive with experience growing businesses across the US and Africa, will be based in the league’s Johannesburg office and report to NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum. For the last five years, Williams was the executive head of corporate and investment banking (CIB), Africa regions, for Standard Bank Group.

Elsewhere, DAZN Group has announced Shaun Conning as its new chief people officer and promoted Ben Barlow as chief legal officer and general counsel. The appointments comes as the media company prepares to launch its sports streaming service globally and renew its focus on existing markets.

Sports marketing industry veterans Chris Pearlman and Rem de Rohan have announced the formation and launch of Aggregate Sports. The new company will work on behalf of a variety of properties, leagues, teams and federations to help them maximise their revenue while creating unique experiences for their fans. Pearlman will serve as chief executive and de Rohan will be chief revenue officer.

Allied Sports has announced three additions to its new talent marketing practice. Brian Nelson and Ralph Vuono will lead talent and influencer marketing, respectively, as senior vice presidents. Tara Kolarsick will join as a senior account executive, supporting the agency’s brand marketing vertical. 

Additional appointments

Dennis Trautwein

Managing director, Germany and France, Octagon

Previously: Agency director, Octagon

Julie Harrington

Chief executive, British Horseracing Authority (BHA)

Previously: Chief executive, British Cycling

Olli Rehn

Chairman, Covid-19 Relief Plan steering committee, Fifa

Previously: Governor of the Bank of Finland

Ben Hughes

General manager – UK, Ireland & Benelux, Puma

Previously: Head of sales – UK, Ireland & Benelux, Puma

Nick Speakman

Global head of social media, Manchester United

Previously: Founder and head, Sporf

Ivo Hrstic

Head of broadcast content, DFL Digital Sports

Previously: Geschäftsführer – chief digital officer, KG Media Factory

Nicholas Wrigley

Chairman, Aintree Racecourse

Notes: Wrigley is currently chairman of investment bank N M Rothschild & Sons. He replaces the late Rose Paterson.

Lauren Richardson

Director, public relations and marketing for basketball and football, Independent Sports & Entertainment (ISE)

Previously: Vice president, EAG Sports Management

Pascal Lafitte

Head of team partnerships, commercial and marketing, Castore

Previously: Head of partnerships, Olympique de Marseille


Maryann Turcke

Chief operating officer, National Football League (NFL)

Notes: Turcke, the NFL’s highest-ranking woman, told the Wall Street Journal that she felt now was the right time for her to transition to a part-time role advisory role with the league. Turcke will not be replaced in her role, according to an internal memo. Instead, chief marketing officer Tim Ellis and executive vice president Peter O’Reilly will assume greater responsibility and report directly to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Peter Nelson

President, HBO Sports

Notes: Nelson’s departure comes with WarnerMedia brand putting less emphasis on HBO Sports in recent years. HBO no longer offers live sports, having dropped boxing from its portfolio nearly two years ago.

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