Athletes Need Coaches, But So Do Front Office Execs

Haddonfield, NJ – Turnkey Sports & Entertainment (Turnkey) announced today that Tony Ponturo has joined the firm in a dual role assisting both its executive recruiting company, Turnkey Search, and its full service research agency, Turnkey Intelligence.  Ponturo, a pioneer of modern sports marketing, previously spent 26 years at Anheuser-Busch (AB) as its top marketing executive and President & CEO of Busch Media Group.

Ponturo will lead Turnkey Search’s new executive coaching practice for brand, agency, property & 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 Tony 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,” said Ponturo.

“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,” said Ackerman.

“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. Tony 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,” said Wright.

For Turnkey Intelligence, Ponturo will counsel sponsorship measurement clients as EVP Strategy.

“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.  Ponturo makes Turnkey an even more compelling option,” said Murray.

Ponturo is the visionary behind The Busch Media Group. Foreseeing that sports and entertainment assets, including content and IP, were unlike other marketing assets, Ponturo leveraged specialized expertise, 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 Tony Ponturo’s direction, Busch Media Group drove global market share to record heights, from 30% to 50% share.

Ponturo is 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 Ponturo was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.  For 16 straight years (1992-2008) Ponturo was ranked Top-20 Most Influential People in Sports by the Sporting News and the Sports Business Journal.

Ponturo will continue as the Director of Industry Relations for the NYU Tisch Sports Institute for Sports Management, Media and Business where he serves as an Adjunct Professor.

About Turnkey Sports and Entertainment:
Since 1996, Turnkey has been a recognized, respected and trusted partner to the top brands in sports and entertainment focusing in two areas of expertise: full service market research and executive recruiting.

Turnkey Intelligence (TI) is a full service market research group specializing in sponsorship measurement, valuation and effectiveness as well as consumer feedback analysis. TI is home to the Audience Portal, a suite of DIY analytical tools used by the majority of sports and entertainment properties to obtain critical audience insights to grow their businesses.

Turnkey Search (TS) has been an industry leader since 1996, with a legacy of more than 1,000 successful executive recruiting placements across the entire landscape of the sports & entertainment industry.  Turnkey has 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 placed Athletics Directors at Michigan, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Bowling Green and other Division I institutions.

For Press Inquiries, Contact:
Patrick Kuhlen
Vice President, Creative & Strategic Services
Turnkey Sports & Entertainment