People and Pop Culture

ANC Founder Jerry Cifarelli retires after helping revolutionize signage

By Bret McCormick

JERRY CIFARELLI retired on Dec. 31 from the company he founded, ANC. Cifarelli spent nearly 25 years growing the New York-based company from one initially focused on advertising signage into a display technology solutions provider. Cifarelli and his partners sold a controlling stake in ANC to Learfield in '15, before completing the sale two years later. GEORGE LINARDOS took over as ANC CEO in '17 and remains in that position moving forward. “What was your five-year business plan? Are you kidding me? We were just trying to make payroll every month,” Cifarelli told SBJ last week about his company’s beginnings in the late '90s. Cifarelli leaves a legacy in the industry as a pioneer of in-venue advertising. As President & CEO at Dorna USA in the early '90s, Cifarelli helped establish home plate advertising in MLB before shepherding the company’s sale to Van Wagner. He left Van Wagner to found ANC in '97 with the financial backing of then-Celtics co-Owner ALAN N. COHEN (now deceased), whose initials lent the new company its name. Innovation continued, as ANC developed the first ribbon boards before moving into LED and centerhung scoreboards.

CHANGING THE GAME: “Look at new arenas, new stadiums now, there is hardly any fixed signage,” said Prodigy Search Founder & CEO SCOTT CARMICHAEL, who worked with, and for, Cifarelli in the first decade of the 2000s. “Back to his Dorna days, arenas and stadiums primarily had fixed signage, the technology hadn’t evolved to where it is today. In the mid to late-90s when it began to evolve, Jerry and ANC were at the forefront of that.” Today, ANC has technology implementations in 150 sports venues throughout the U.S. and Canada and employs 170 people full-time. The 66-year-old Cifarelli plans to stay engaged with longtime customers, and potentially with ANC, though not in a direct role. “You’re most proud that these people that work for ANC live a pretty good life for themselves,” said Cifarelli. “And really proud of the relationships we built with customers. People we’ve worked with for 20, 30 years in the industry, have been tremendously loyal to ANC.”

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