People on the Move: World Rugby, Oak View Group and more

All the latest appointments in the stadium ecosystem…

World Rugby has announced the appointment of Richard Heaselgrave (pictured left) as chief revenue and fan engagement officer.

Heaselgrave will have overarching responsibility for all of World Rugby’s commercial, broadcast, marketing and digital activities to deliver an integrated revenue and fan growth strategy, including focusing on new opportunities in the digital space.

Heaselgrave, a former professional rugby player with English club Rotherham, previously served as chief revenue and experience officer for Tennis Australia, trebling the Australian Open’s business in five years by converting new revenue opportunities. Prior to that, he successfully grew revenue for the English Football League as chief commercial officer and was responsible for growth of the NBA’s commercial activities in Europe as vice-president of business development. Heaselgrave has most recently been advising rights holders, brands and agencies as founder and chief executive of Fourth Consulting.

World Rugby chief executive, Alan Gilpin, said: “In a rapidly evolving and highly competitive sports industry, it’s vital we look at our businesses differently and find new ways to continue to break new markets, attract new fans and grow revenues for reinvestment in the sport’s future growth.

“This new role, as part of a wider advancement of our organisational structures, reflects that need and perfectly positions World Rugby not only to exploit new revenue streams for the benefit of the game at all levels, but to make good our mission to make rugby more attractive and accessible for more people.”

Oak View Group (OVG) has brought in Chris Granger as chief executive of its OVG Facilities division.

Granger, formerly the president of the Ilitch Holdings group that owns Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, will oversee OVG Facilities, OVG Media & Conferences, and the OVG Arena Alliance, a collection of 32 major venues in North America that provides a platform for booking, content, and sponsorship sales opportunities. OVG said Granger will focus on sustainability, public safety, and sanitisation solutions across all venues.

Granger will be based in Detroit and report directly to Tim Leiweke, chief executive of OVG.

“I am excited and humbled to join Tim Leiweke, Irving Azoff, and the incredibly talented team at Oak View Group. Venues, arenas, and stadiums increasingly play an irreplaceable role in society. They bring diverse people together to cheer, to sing, to vote, to protest, and to celebrate,” said Granger. Read the full story here.

OVG has also announced that Steve Fraser (right) has been appointed president of Coachella Valley Arena and its to-be-named American Hockey League (AHL) expansion team. Based in Palm Desert, Fraser will report to the Coachella Valley Arena board and assume his new role effective immediately.

Fraser will be charged with building and executing a comprehensive business plan focused on maximising revenue and value to the partners.

Fraser, formerly vice president, business operations for the Ontario Reign – the AHL affiliate of the NHL LA Kings – will oversee the day-to-day execution of season ticket campaigns, group sales, premium sales, and the development program that maximises activation of the training centre as well as other arena business ventures.

“We are very pleased to welcome Steve to OVG and the Coachella Valley Arena team,” said Tim Leiweke, OVG’s chief executive. “During his time with the Ontario Reign, Steve was instrumental in helping grow their organisation and we know he’ll bring the same drive and passion to our franchise in the desert.”

FIFA has appointed Carlos Cordeiro as senior advisor to FIFA for global strategy and governance.

Cordeiro, US Soccer president between 2018 and 2020, will advise FIFA on new strategic initiatives to grow the game at all levels. In 2018, Cordeiro played a leading role as co-chair of the successful 2026 bid for the FIFA World Cup 2026, which will take place in Canada, Mexico and the US.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “Carlos is the right person to advise us as we modernise our regulatory framework and grow the sport in ways that advance football for men, women and youth across the globe.”

CTS Eventim has announced that Eventim UK chairman Nick Blackburn will step down from his post at the end of this month.

Blackburn, who joined the group in 2011, said the departure has been planned for some time and he will now spend more time on an educational charity of which he is a trustee as well as pursuing consultancy work.

Blackburn said: “I have enjoyed my time at Eventim which turned out to be longer than I originally expected. I informed Klaus-Peter Schulenberg of my intentions last March as by then I had introduced John Gibson and Martin Fitzgerald to the company, both now Managing Directors at EVENTIM UK, thus keeping my promise that I would not leave until there was a strong management structure in place which could take the company forward.”

Fabiana Kulick (centre) has joined Live Nation’s Concerts team as its new head of Latin marketing.

In her new role, Kulick will be responsible for developing dynamic strategies for each of the group’s Latin artist partners, including national marketing efforts across mainstream and Latin media, with a focus on traditional and non-traditional marketing as well as media partnerships. She most recently worked as senior label manager and director of international repertoire at Warner Music Latina.

“As we continue to see the incredible rise of Latin music and touring to the forefront of mainstream culture, it is more important than ever that our Latin team continues to grow with and reflect the music and artists we are putting out on the road,” said Omar Al-joulani, head of talent & touring for Live Nation Concerts.

“Fabi brings nearly two decades of knowledge and experience working in the Latin space and we couldn’t ask for a stronger leader to head up our marketing efforts as we continue to ramp up the return of live music.”

Do you have news of an appointment that we should know about? Get in touch by emailing news.editor@thestadiumbusiness.com and we’ll include it in our next round-up.