November 9, 2016 – As executive recruiters deepen their relationships in the sports and entertainment field, they’re finding clients receptive to helping them identify all sorts of talent. To that end, sports recruiter Turnkey Search has just launched an executive coaching division. Tony Ponturo, a pioneer of modern sports marketing and president and CEO of Busch Media Group, has joined Turnkey to lead the new practice.
In his role, Mr. Ponturo will lead the firm’s new executive coaching practice for brand, agency, property and media executives and owners offering training in leadership, managing creative / content-driven businesses, developing strong, effective cultural values across an organization, and personal brand management.
“At every management level, from intern to CEO, you need to keep self-evaluating, self-correcting and evolving,” said Mr. Ponturo. “Most executives, including even owners, have no one around them to deliver the objective brutal honesty you can only get from working with an executive coach.”
A Real Opportunity
“Tony had many successes at AB but is most well-known for the highly respectful way he conducted business and the culture of inclusion he built at AB,” said Val Ackerman, commissioner of the Big East Conference. “Tony’s support was instrumental in helping launch the WNBA in 1996, and his coaching services will be an invaluable asset to the sports industry, especially to female executives.”
“Executive coaching is a real opportunity for this industry and I can’t think of anyone more qualified than Tony Ponturo,” said Mark Wright, VP sponsorships & media at AT&T. “Tony managed and led 150 people and $700 million annually for decades at AB. He worked directly with every commissioner, and virtually all the teams, broadcasters and international sports organizations. Tony uniquely knows management, mentorship and partnerships within the rubric of our highly specialized sports and entertainment business.”
“Adding Tony Ponturo‘s expertise to Turnkey’s sponsorship data analytics is a progressive move,” said Peter Murray, VP global brand & sports marketing at Under Armour. “Brands need to use dedicated and independent strategy and measurement to make sure their investments drive sales and market share. Tony Ponturo makes Turnkey an even more compelling option.”
Mr. Ponturo is the visionary behind The Busch Media Group. Foreseeing that sports and entertainment assets, including content and IP, were unlike other marketing assets, he leveraged specialized expertise and aggregated buying and deep industry relationships to optimize AB’s sports & entertainment investments. He built an in-house, full service marketing and buying “agency” capable of optimizing assets and delivering unprecedented business performance. Under his direction, Busch Media Group drove global marketshare to record heights, from 30 percent to 50 percent share.
Mr. Ponturo has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Champions Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sports Business Journal and the Lifetime Innovator Award from PromaxBDA Sports & Marketing. In 2010, he was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. For 16 straight years (1992-2008) he was ranked ‘Top 20 Most Influential People in Sports’ by the Sporting News and the Sports Business Journal.
Established in 1996, Turnkey Search has conducted more than 1,000 executive recruiting placements across the entire landscape of the sports & entertainment industry. It recently completed executive searches for president of the new NHL expansion team in Las Vegas, CFO of the Atlanta Hawks, CRO of the Anaheim Ducks, CMO of the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders, and it placed athletics directors at Michigan, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Bowling Green and other Division I institutions.
An Expansive Field
The sports & entertainment field is one of the most active and expanding sectors for executive search businesses. Many C-suite focused recruiting firms are now active in it and some specialize only in the sports field itself, but all are dedicated to providing sports-related executive search and leadership advisory services.
They include in addition to Turnkey Search: Nolan Partners, CarrSports Consulting, Korn Ferry, Harvard Group International, Prodigy Sports, Marquee Search, DHR International, Hartmann Mason, College Sports Solutions, Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles, Ascension Sports Partners, Russell Reynolds Associates, Diversified Search, Odgers Berndtson, Eastman & Beaudine, Alden Associates, Parker Executive Search, Sports Recruitment International (SRi), Neinas Sports Services, and Collegiate Sports Associates.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media