LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Learfield Sports named Gary Friedman, former Illinois State University director of athletics and University of Louisville senior athletic administrator, general manager for its KFC Yum! Center Properties, the entity also known as Louisville Arena Sports & Entertainment Properties (LASEP).
Learfield Sports chose 25-year industry veteran Friedman to lead its local operation overseeing the arena’s advertising and sponsorship sales initiatives for his deep roots in collegiate administration, extensive sales and marketing experience and knowledge of the Louisville marketplace.
Friedman returns to Louisville from Illinois State, where he led the Redbirds to a school record best of placing 82nd overall in the 2012-13 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup. The athletics department revenues also grew substantially under Friedman’s leadership – more than $800,000 in 2012-13 – through increased sponsorships, ticket sales, fundraising and guarantees. Additionally, more than $27 million in facility projects were initiated.
Prior to ISU, Friedman served 10 years with the University of Louisville as associate athletic director (2001-09) and senior associate athletic director (2009-11) in which he was involved in many lead efforts for the new KFC Yum! Center prior to its opening in 2010 including fundraising, construction and design, and transitioning season-ticket holders. During his time as a U of L Athletics’ senior staff member, Friedman oversaw strategic initiatives and major decisions for the Cardinals involving multimedia rights, marketing, fundraising and corporate sponsorships.
Additionally, Friedman was the associate athletic director of external operations for Central Michigan University (1996-2001). Before CMU, he also served five years in athletic administration with East Tennessee State University, as director of athletics marketing and promotions (1991-92) and as assistant athletic director of external operations (1992-96). Friedman also served two years as assistant to the associate athletic director for his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, from 1988-91.
Friedman has been a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), a member of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) and past president of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA).
“Gary’s knowledge of the Louisville market and successful sales and marketing track record made him the perfect choice to lead our newly named KFC Yum! Center Properties. His tremendous experience and creativity will be invaluable as we continue to serve the KFC Yum! Center,” said Steve Gowan, senior vice president for Learfield Sports, which manages the multimedia rights for more than 50 collegiate institutions and associations.
KFC Yum! Center General Manager Dennis Petrullo commented, “We’re very fortunate that Gary will be joining KFC Yum! Center Properties. His senior level industry experience, previous involvement with the Louisville community and professionalism will provide superior guidance for their team and greatly benefit the arena.”
“My family and I are thrilled to be back in Louisville,” said Friedman. “I’m excited to lead the sponsorship and sales efforts for the KFC Yum! Center, a truly world-class arena. I look forward to working closely with Dennis and his team at AEG, along with Tom Jurich and his staff at Louisvlle whom I am naturally very close with.”
Learfield Sports also titles the prestigious Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup with award co-founders NACDA and USA Today. The company’s multimedia rights encompass numerous content distribution platforms to deliver the passion of college athletics across radio, television and digital networks to fans globally. Its exclusive sports programming reaches more than 50 million television households nationally and delivers nearly 17,000 hours of radio programming on more than 1,100 radio stations. For more about Learfield’s comprehensive collegiate portfolio, 40-year history and involvement with collegiate ticketing and concessions, visit www.learfieldsports.com.