September 15, 2020 – Turnkey Search, a subsidiary of Turnkey Sports & Entertainment, has recruited Jason Bitsoff as the new chief commercial officer of Chip Ganassi Racing. The position, which is newly created, is a high visibility role responsible for leading a dynamic sales department for the racing organization.
“The pandemic slowed many sports teams, triggering furloughs and layoffs,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “Turnkey felt it was an opportune time to be in the talent marketplace, looking for top talent, looking for opportunities. They read it perfectly.”
According to Mr. Ganassi, Turnkey ran an efficient process. “They brought us great options, and landed us the business leader we needed and wanted,” Mr. Ganassi said. “It’s not just Turnkey’s database and knowledge of the market, but their very tight process and discipline in delivering exactly what we asked for. Turnkey knows the business cold.”
“Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the top teams in racing. They win not only with speed, but with guts,” said Len Perna, Turnkey chairman and founder. “When COVID shut down all of sports, Chip Ganassi showed why he wins – he didn’t play it safe, he didn’t slow down, he showed guts, sped ahead, and was rewarded by landing a top sports business exec like Jason,” said Mr. Perna. “We love clients like Chip Ganassi!”
Mr. Bitsoff, who will be based in Pittsburgh, worked at Feld Entertainment for 13 years, most recently serving as senior vice president of global partnerships. In this role, he helped land a host of sponsorships for Monster Energy Supercross, among other properties. He also has prior stops at the Rockets, Predators and serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in its master’s in sports industry management program.
Making a Move During a Pandemic
“When Turnkey first called, I was unsure about making a move in a pandemic,” said Mr. Bitsoff. “But Chip is an industry icon and I loved his entrepreneurial spirit and his willingness to speed ahead in uncertain times. Who wouldn’t want to work in a fast-paced, fearless company like that? I’m thrilled to be working with Chip Ganassi and this team!”
In his new role, Mr. Bitsoff will serve as a leader of the sales and new business development department to provide strategic vision for the organization’s sales operation, ensuring revenue growth aligned with company objectives and values. He will be expected to identify, pursue and close new business for race team sponsorship. Mr. Bitsoff will also establish and implement sales and new business development strategies, including use of social media and other platforms, to develop leads and close sales with large partners, often Fortune 500 corporations.
Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 30 years and is considered one of the most successful and innovative owners in the sport. Today his teams include three cars in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and two cars in the NASCAR Cup Series. Overall, his teams have 19 championships and more than 220 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400, eight Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Mr. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis, IN, and Concord, NC, with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, PA.
Serving Sports, Entertainment and Media Enterprises
Founded in 1996, Turnkey Search is a specialized talent recruitment/executive search firm focused on recruiting C-level, senior-level and mid-management-level talent for sports, entertainment and media enterprises. Over the past 20-plus years, Turnkey Search has filled more than 1,000 positions across these three sectors. The search firm helps teams, leagues, stadiums, arenas, theaters, college athletic departments, events, sponsors, agencies, media companies, private equity firms and other clients identify, recruit and hire top management talent.
Turnkey’s clients include the University of Alabama, the Atlanta Hawks, CitiGroup, the University of Denver, Louisiana State University, the University of Michigan, the Milwaukee Brewers, the University of Mississippi, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the University of Nebraska, the Oakland Raiders, Richard Childress Racing, RocNation, Rutgers University, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Temple University, Ticketmaster, Townsquare Media, the United Center, VStar Entertainment Group and the Washington Nationals.
Mr. Perna manages all aspects of Turnkey Search. A top executive in the sports industry since 1985, he began his sports career as a business attorney for Cap Cities ABC/ESPN and also served as a top executive for the Detroit Red Wings/Tigers and the Dallas Stars/Texas Rangers.
Conducting Searches During COVID-19
Turnkey Search recently assisted the Detroit Pistons in the recruitment of former Roc Nation executive Mike Zavodsky as its new chief business officer. The role is a new position for the professional basketball organization.
USOPC Taps Turnkey Search for Multiple Searches
Turnkey Search has been enlisted to help the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) in Colorado Springs, CO to lead its search for both a new vice president of communications and vice president of finance. “My mindset these days is to be thankful. Be grateful,” said Len Perna, Turnkey’s president, founder and CEO. “There are so many people hurting all over the world. And here at Turnkey Search we get to work with our Olympic team and support our nation’s great athletes. We couldn’t be more thankful for this honor.”
Turnkey Search also recently teamed with Ventura Partners to lead the commissioner search for the Atlantic Coast Conference. John Swofford recently announced his intention to retire after serving 24 years in the position. “All of the conferences are doing their very best,” said Mr. Perna. “It’s a no-win situation. One size does NOT fit all. College presidents and athletics directors care deeply about student-athletes. Everyone is doing their best during these unprecedented times.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media