People and Pop Culture

Ilitch Sports + Entertainment hires former Trail Blazers CEO McGowan

By Mark J. Burns

Ilitch Holdings has named CHRIS MCGOWAN as President & CEO of Ilitch Sports + Entertainment, a newly-launched brand for the business division which includes the Red Wings, Tigers and The District Detroit, among other properties. McGowan had served as Trail Blazers President & CEO since '12 and the CEO of Vulcan Sports & Entertainment since '18. He will report to CHRIS ILITCH. He also spent 16 years at AEG from '96-'12. McGowan said the Ilitch family’s “commitment to the city” and their extensive involvement in “using these teams to be a platform to make the community better” were among the attractions which led him to the role. McGowan said, "This is obviously an amazing sports town with passionate fans, and these are iconic teams. You have the Red Wings and Tigers -- it doesn’t get any better than that.” He added that there will be an emphasis on continuing to enhance the fan experience at not only Red Wings and Tigers games but throughout the downtown district. He referred to his position as “one of the top jobs in sports.”

LET'S GET IT STARTED: McGowan replaces CHRIS GRANGER, former Ilitch Holdings Group President for Sports & Entertainment, after he joined Oak View Group Facilities in September as CEO. McGowan will start on Jan. 3 and commute between Portland and Detroit before relocating later this spring or early summer. TurnkeyZRG executed the search for McGowan. The Trail Blazers announced on Nov. 12 that McGowan was stepping down from his role, effective Nov. 26. The organization tapped Chief Commercial Officer DEWAYNE HANKINS as its new President of Business Operations. The club is still seeking a Senior VP/Strategic Initiatives.

Senior VP/The District Detroit Operations Keith Bradford
Senior VP/Finance Russ Borrows
Senior VP/Legal Affairs Rob Carr
Senior VP/Corporate Partnerships Chris Coffman
CMO & Senior VP Emily Neenan
Red Wings VP/Ticket Sales & Service Spencer Ambrosius
VP/Human Resources Michele Bartos
VP/Premium Sales and Private Events Michael Lienert
Tigers VP/Ticket Sales & Service Joe Schiavi
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