By ALAN SNEL
With the start of the team’s inaugural season just a few months away, the Vegas Golden Knights have named a new chief marketing officer, Brian Killingsworth, to replace the former CMO who left June 30.
Killingsworth replaced Nehme Abouzeid, who told LVSportsBiz.com in an email that he left to start a new consulting business.
Killingsworth, a Tampa native with a Flagler College communications degree in 2000 and a University of South Florida MBA in 2002, started on the job Monday.
“It’s a marketer’s dream to launch a franchise brand from scratch,” Killingsworth said Wednesday. “You get one chance to launch a franchise.”
Killingsworth said he looks to market the Golden Knights as a Rocky Mountains brand with appeal to hockey fans in Utah, Idaho and Montana. He said he wants regional hockey fans watching the Golden Knights in the team’s TV market to also attend games at T-Mobile Arena.
He also seeks to tap the 42 million annual Las Vegas visitors. And he didn’t think fans from opposing teams in T-Mobile Arena will pose a problem when 90 percent of the 14,000 equivalent season ticket deposits are from the Las Vegas market.
Killingsworth comes from the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he served as chief marketing officer for two years and led a staff of 40 employees. He managed the Buccaneers brand, including marketing, advertising, content, digital, broadcasting, analytics, research, youth programs, community relations and events and entertainment.
Before serving as the Buccaneers’ CMO, Killingsworth worked as vice president of marketing and brand strategy for the NFL Rams for three seasons.
And before the Rams, Killingsworth spent 10 years with Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays as the senior director of marketing and promotions.
In a prepared statement, Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz said, “Brian possesses an impressive marketing background highlighted by successful tenures in both the National Football League and Major League Baseball. His creativity, strategic thinking and overall vision will help drive our business forward and take our marketing efforts to new heights.”
In an email to LVSportsBiz.com, former team CMO Abouzeid said he “thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time as CMO of the Vegas Golden Knights.”
Before joining the Golden Knights, Abouzeid had worked as a marketing executive for Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Las Vegas.
“As a marketing executive and longtime Vegas local who believes in the wide-ranging positive impact that a thriving pro sports industry will have on our great city, it was certainly a dream job. I am proud of everything we achieved,” Abouzeid wrote to LVSportsBiz.com
“With my diverse experience across billion-dollar resorts, sports teams, and media enterprises–combined with Las Vegas’ penchant to constantly reinvent itself and innovate–I felt now was the right time to start my own firm, LaunchVegas (launchlv.com), to help brands launch and scale their businesses here and in other tourism-driven markets,” Abouzeid said.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com