People on the move: Tottenham, Fanatics and more

Featured image credit: Fanatics/ Arena

Todd Kline has resigned as chief commercial officer of Tottenham Hotspur and is reportedly set to join rival Premier League club Chelsea.

In a brief statement published today (Monday), Tottenham confirmed that Kline has resigned and has been placed on a period of garden leave with immediate effect. He joined Tottenham in February 2021 as the club searched for a naming-rights sponsor for its stadium, which opened in 2019, but he leaves with no deal having been struck.

Kline worked as chief commercial officer for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins from February 2016 to August 2018 before a brief stint with the Washington Commanders, and he joined Tottenham from the WME agency. While at the Dolphins, he helped broker the team’s stadium naming-rights deal with Hard Rock Cafe.

According to the Daily Mail, Kline will be joining Chelsea following his period of garden leave. He would join Chelsea as the club considers whether to carry out a major redevelopment of Stamford Bridge or build a new stadium from scratch.

Fanatics Commerce, a division of global digital sports platform Fanatics, has appointed Stephen Dowling to the newly created role of president of international.

Dowling (pictured left) will be responsible for continuing the growth of the Fanatics Commerce business outside of North America and will report to the division’s chief executive, Andrew Low Ah Kee.

He will be based in the company’s Manchester office and joins from Adidas, where he spent six years leading and growing its direct-to-consumer digital business. Dowling previously spent 10 years at Unilever, where he set up and led its direct-to-consumer ecommerce offering.

Fanatics Commerce has also announced the appointments of Valerie Love as chief people officer and Justin Tsai as chief product officer. Love joins from The Coca-Cola Company, while Tsai joins from Silver Lake.

Chris Wright is stepping down as general manager of Allegiant Stadium, while assistant general manager Greg Desharnais is also leaving his role at the Las Vegas venue.

The two confirmed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that they would be leaving Allegiant Stadium on February 15, four days after the venue hosts the Super Bowl. Neither Wright nor Desharnais revealed their next moves. Arena has appointed Ron Little as its new vice-president of security.

Little (pictured right) will primarily focus on leading all event and non-event security and risk management services for the arena, which serves as the home of the NBA’s LA Lakers and LA Clippers, the NHL’s LA Kings, and the WNBA’s LA Sparks. He will work with the teams to assist with the arena’s security planning and implementation of safety protocols.

Little previously worked for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, where he served as director of security for the team’s Lumen Field stadium. He has also spent time at Oakland’s Oracle Arena and the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.

Jess Smith has been named president of a new WNBA team that will be operated by the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

Smith will oversee all WNBA business operations and will report directly to Warriors president and chief operating officer Brandon Schneider. She will begin her tenure on February 14.

Smith joins the Warriors from NWSL team Angel City FC, where she served as head of revenue since the franchise’s inception in 2020. She previously worked as vice-president of sponsorship for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes, and also spent time with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets and Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics.

The Warriors were awarded a WNBA franchise in October. The team, whose brand identity will be revealed at a later date, will play at Chase Center and will debut during the 2025 WNBA season.

ME Engineers has named Jeff Sawarynski as co-chief executive with responsibility for overseeing its Americas division.

Sawarynski has helped build the firm’s portfolio of projects, which includes Climate Pledge Arena, home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. He has nearly three decades of experience at ME Engineers.

ME Engineers has also appointed Paul Hillier as co-chief executive for its Europe and Middle East divisions. Hillier has been with the firm for over 24 years and his projects include the retractable roof at Wimbledon’s No.1 Court, Tottenham Hotspur’s training centre, and Qatar’s Al Bayt Stadium.

Brian Kannady will also take on a new role as ME Engineers’ chief operating officer and will manage the day-to-day business operations and project oversight for the company.

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