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Industry News

Atlanta Hawks hire former Falcons exec to aid Philips Arena renovation

NBA basketball team the Atlanta Hawks has appointed Michael Drake as its senior vice-president of corporate partnerships and premium sales in a move designed to maximise the commercial potential of Philips Arena, which is currently undergoing major renovation work.

Drake joins the Hawks from AMB Sports & Entertainment, where he served as senior vice-president and chief revenue officer of business operations, overseeing ticket operations, service initiatives and marketing and analytic strategies for ticket sales for NFL American football team the Atlanta Falcons, Major League Soccer team Atlanta United and the recently-opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Drake led an 80-person sales group that helped the Falcons and Atlanta United meet or exceed company sales goals when opening Mercedes-Benz Stadium. He previously served as vice-president of Legends Global Sales, playing a key role in new stadium projects for NFL teams the San Francisco 49ers (Levi’s Stadium) and Dallas Cowboys (AT&T Stadium).

In his new role, Drake will drive corporate partnership and new premium space revenue for the Hawks at Philips Arena. He will also play a lead role in the executive team responsible for partnership and innovative activation efforts for the Hawks-related downtown real-estate project taking place around the arena.

In the summer, the Hawks revealed details of Philips Arena’s extensive renovation project, which will be led by US architecture firm HOK. It is said to be the second-largest arena reconstruction in NBA history after the renovation of Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks.

Drake said: “This is an amazing time to join the Hawks organisation. I’ve been fortunate enough to help launch three incredible stadiums and although there were a number of opportunities across the country, I quickly saw nothing compared to this year-round sports and live entertainment approach happening in downtown Atlanta with this new arena.

“The Hawks have a tremendous ownership group and I look forward to not only broadening the first-of-its-kind fan experience initiatives inside the arena, but engaging the community to further support the Hawks’ integration with downtown Atlanta.”

Image: Jack Piranha and Jymlii Manzo