New Elevate Sports Ventures President Chip Bowers has held key positions with the Miami Marlins, Golden State Warriors and Orlando Magic.
Experienced NBA, MLB team exec becomes firm’s first president
Elevate Sports Ventures has hired veteran sports executive Chip Bowers as president, a newly created position for a fast-rising firm that sells sponsorships and premium seats for teams and leagues.
Bowers carries 25 years of experience across multiple MLB and NBA teams. He takes the helm of an agency whose sales staff has grown to more than 70 people with 30 clients across seven leagues. The firm’s reach extends across 14 states and three countries.
Bowers, a North Carolina native, will work out of Charlotte, a move he expects to make in early 2021.
In addition, Elevate promoted two employees that have been with the agency since it started.
Flavil Hampsten, now chief operating officer, will oversee the agency’s core business departments, extending to mergers and acquisitions, finance, and human resources. Shawn Doss will lead Elevate’s sales, marketing and public relations groups.
Bowers was most recently employed with MLB’s Miami Marlins as president of business operations. After 14 months in South Florida, he left the team in May 2019 and has been a guest lecturer at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., where his family lives.
Bowers previously held key positions with three NBA teams: the Golden State Warriors, the Orlando Magic and the old Seattle SuperSonics.
In San Francisco, Bowers was the Warriors’ chief marketing officer. He was principally involved in the team selling naming rights and founding partners for Chase Center, the team’s $1.6 billion arena; the Thrive City district partnership with Kaiser Permanente; and Rakuten’s jersey patch deal.
Bowers helped sell naming rights for Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., and renewed deals for Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., the old Amway Arena in Orlando and KeyArena, which is being transformed into Climate Pledge Arena, future home of the NHL expansion Seattle Kraken.
Elevate Sports Ventures was formed in 2018. Its investors are the San Francisco 49ers, Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, Ticketmaster, Live Nation and Oak View Group. (OVG also owns VenuesNow.)
Al Guido, Elevate’s chairman and CEO, reached out to Bowers for the job. They know each other from the Bay Area, where Guido also serves as president of the San Francisco 49ers.
“Chip is an executive I’ve admired from afar, although pretty close when he was with the Warriors,” Guido said. “We’re talking about a 25-year, award-winning executive with tremendous teams and someone who did some of the biggest deals in sports with the Warriors.”
At Elevate, Bowers will assist with projects tied to MLS expansion teams in Miami and Sacramento; the sale of field naming rights for Dodger Stadium; and strategic planning for Purdue University athletics.
Elevate is also the premium hospitality arm of OVG. The agency fills that role for Climate Pledge Arena; UBS Arena, future home of the New York Islanders; and international projects in Manchester and Milan.
The move to hire Bowers comes during the pandemic, which has teams and leagues forging ahead despite not knowing when their buildings will reopen to fans for games, concerts and other events.
“I’m anxious to speak directly with the owners and C-level leaders at each of those organizations to assure them that as we come out of COVID, that we touch on all the right areas,” Bowers said. “Where people went into their business going into the pandemic is a lot different than what they have experienced since that time.”
“All of our clients agree that what we don’t want to do is move slowly out of this period,” he said. “We want to hit the ground running. The better prepared we can be, the better served all parties will be as we look forward.”