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Appointments

People on the move: Acrisure Arena, AXS and more

Images: AEG/OVG/KOJO

Oak View Group has appointed John Page as senior vice-president of Acrisure Arena, the Coachella Valley Firebirds and OVG360 Facilities.

The 11,000-capacity Acrisure Arena opened in December and serves as the home of the Firebirds, which play in the American Hockey League and are owned and operated by the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.

Page (pictured centre) will oversee management of the arena, the Firebirds and OVG360 Facilities and will report to Firebirds president Tod Leiweke, OVG’s president of business development Francesca Bodie, and OVG360 president Chris Granger.

Page most recently served as president of Spectra, which was acquired by OVG in November 2021. He previously worked as president/senior vice-president of booking at Comcast-Spectacor/Spectra, where he oversaw a $300m (£249m/€279m) renovation of Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Australian sports and entertainment marketing company KOJO has expanded into the Tasmanian market with the appointment of former Australian cricketer Aiden Blizzard as business director.

KOJO has also secured Cricket Tasmania, Blundstone Arena and the Hobart Hurricanes as launch partners in the state. Blizzard (pictured right) will be responsible for driving creative and business outcomes for clients across Tasmania and Victoria, developing new talent pathways and contributing to agency growth.

Over the past few months, KOJO has delivered sports presentation and in-house venue production and technical services at Blundstone Arena for all Hurricanes BBL and WBBL games, as well as Cricket Tasmania’s senior men’s and women’s matches.

AEG-owned ticketing platform AXS has appointed Andrew Travis as chief executive of AXS Australia and New Zealand as part of its expansion into the two countries.

Travis (pictured left) most recently served as chief operating officer of the Melbourne & Olympic Parks (M&OP) precinct and also worked as chief executive of AFL team the Gold Coast Suns. At M&OP, he was responsible for the development and operation of the precinct, which serves as the home of the Australian Open.

In his new role, Travis will be tasked with introducing AXS and its technology to local venues, promoters, artists and fans.

Gill Whitehead has been named independent chair of the board of directors for the 2025 women’s Rugby World Cup, which will be held in England.

The tournament will be the first Rugby World Cup to be delivered under World Rugby’s new hosting model as a joint venture between the global governing body and the RFU. Whitehead has leadership and executive board experience in the media and technology sectors with the likes of Google, the BBC and Channel 4, and non-executive experience with the British Olympic Association.

As independent chair, Whitehead will preside over a board structure comprising World Rugby, RFU and UK government-nominated representatives and a skills-based independent director.

The French Rugby Federation (FFR) has appointed Alexandre Martinez as its interim president following the resignation of Bernard Laporte amid an ongoing corruption case.

Martinez is a former executive at telecommunications company Orange and became treasurer of the FFR when Laporte assumed the presidency in 2016.

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has appointed Nick Garcia as its new chief operating officer.

Garcia joins the A-Leagues having previously worked as chief executive of Ospreys Rugby. Prior to that, he served as group chief executive of Al Jazira Football Club in the United Arab Emirates and has also held roles as director of partnerships at City Football Group, head of partnership marketing at Manchester City, and managing director of Chime Sports Marketing in the Middle East.

In his new role, Garcia will oversee strategic and tactical business operations and will serve as the day-to-day custodian of the A-Leagues. APL commissioner Greg O’Rourke will step down from his position at the conclusion of the 2022-23 A-League season in June.

Tim Savona has been appointed general manager of Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The ASM Global-operated arena serves as the home of the University of Nebraska’s basketball teams and has a capacity of 15,500. Savona will join the arena from the Tyson Events Center and Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa, officially starting his new role on February 13.

Savona’s appointment comes after Pinnacle Bank Arena’s former general manager, Tom Lorenz, passed away in October at the age of 65.

LaLiga, the organising body of the top two divisions of Spanish club football, has appointed Keegan Pierce as its managing director for the UK and Ireland.

The move marks LaLiga’s latest step to bolster its presence in the territory, where it opened its 11th international office in 2020. Pierce has overseen LaLiga’s strategy in the UK and Ireland since the London office opened.

English League Two football club Swindon Town has appointed former player Michael Doughty as its new chief sustainability officer.

Doughty will support and advise the club on its ambitions to become an environmentally sustainable club. The 30-year-old had three spells as a Swindon player between 2016 and 2020.

The move comes ahead of Swindon’s planned purchase of the County Ground and will ensure the environment is at the forefront of the club’s decision making.

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.