By ALAN SNEL
When Golden Knights Chief Sales Officer Jim Frevola heard the hockey team’s chief marketing officer was leaving the first-year franchise in early July, Frevola fired off a text to his old business mate back at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Frevola told pal Brian Killingsworth — at the time, the NFL Bucs chief marketing officer — that the Golden Knights had an opening for their CMO position after Nehme Abouzeid resigned and started his own consulting firm.
Later that day, Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz was on the phone with Killingsworth and it turned out that Killingsworth was the man for the job.
Frevola, 48, and Killingsworth, 40 — the former chief sales and chief marketing tandem at the Buccaneers — were reunited in Las Vegas in July and now serve as the team’s most pivotal business executives under Bubolz, the team president.
Frevola and Killingsworth worked together in Tampa for the NFL team in 2015 and 2016, and that history of working together as a well-oiled business duo was crucial in Las Vegas because the Golden Knights had a mere three months to launch their inaugural season in October after Killingsworth came on board in July.
It’s Killingsworth’s job to come up with and execute fun and creative marketing and promotion ideas, while Frevola is charged with taking those concepts and selling them to companies and sponsors for six- and seven-figure deals.
“It helps to look across the table and say one sentence to Brian . . . ,” Frevola said.
“And I’d finish it,” Killingsworth said, without missing a beat.
Frevola, a 1992 University of Miami graduate, has history in Las Vegas. He worked for UFC as vice president of marketing partnerships from 2011-14, and enjoyed living in Las Vegas. When Bubolz offered him the chief sales job with the Golden Knights, he jumped on it.
Meanwhile, Killingsworth, a Tampa native with a Flagler College communications degree in 2000 and a University of South Florida MBA in 2002, worked in senior marketing positions at the Tampa Bay Rays, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Bucs.
They both live in Summerlin and their wives are friends, too.
A good example of the Killingsworth-Frevola duo’s work in Tampa with the Bucs was when Killingsworth and Frevola worked together on a virtual reality headset for potential corporate partners to see their logos superimposed in an upscale 240-seat club room where seats were selling for $7,500 each.
In Las Vegas, Killingsworth and Frevola — along with Bubolz — teamed up in a funny video that involved Bubolz asking the duo to suggest celebrities to sound the team’s new powerful goal horn that cost in the upper five figures.
Not only is Frevola adept at selling six-figure sponsorship deals, he apparently has a future in comedy, too, because he played the role of “Phil” in a humorous skit as part of the “Mean Tweets” video on Chance, the team’s new mascot.
Frevola’s comic delivery was impeccable, Killingsworth observed.
The funny thing, though, is that Frevola and Killingsworth feel so comfortable working with each other that each one doesn’t mind razzing the other.
“We have mutual respect for each other. If Brian comes with a terrible idea, I can tell him,” Frevola said.
“And he does the same, I can tell him, too,” Killingsworth quipped.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com