CHAMPAIGN, Illinois. – Learfield Sports recently appointed Randy Younker general manager for FIGHTING ILLINI Sports Properties, its locally based team which oversees the exclusive multimedia rights for University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA).
Younker boasts more than 22 years of professional sales and sports sponsorship experience. He most recently served as general manager for Learfield’s Saluki Sports Properties team at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. His additional collegiate and professional sports experience includes serving as manager of corporate development for Learfield’s Penn State Sports Properties; as senior account executive for Gator IMG Sports Marketing at the University of Florida; as corporate Partnership Development Manager for the NBA’s Orlando Magic; and as vice president of sales for Youth Sports Marketing (Florida High School Athletic Association). Younker earned his undergraduate degree from Illinois State University and his master’s in sports marketing from the University of Georgia.
At FIGHTING ILLINI Sports Properties, Younker will lead all aspects of the multimedia rights sales relationship between DIA and Learfield Sports including venue signage; event sponsorships and promotion; corporate hospitality; television; digital engagement via www.FIGHTINGILLINI.com; and radio game broadcasts and coaches’ shows on FIGHTING ILLINI Sports Network. He will collaborate daily not only with the DIA leadership but with other FIGHTING ILLINI Sports Properties’ team members.
“Randy is a proven leader with outstanding experience in this field. We believe he’s the right choice to lead this team as we continue boosting the FIGHTING ILLINI brand within the state and beyond,” said Learfield Sports’ Senior Vice President Chris Sanders.
“Randy’s experience in working here in the State of Illinois and with Power 5 schools at Florida and Penn State make him a welcome addition to our partnership with Learfield Sports” says Senior Associate Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for External Operations Mike Waddell. “We have had three consecutive years of +25% growth with FIGHTING ILLINI Sports Properties and we are aggressively looking to expand our development of current and new areas. Randy, along with our DIA External Team, will work diligently to make this partnership continue to flourish in the years to come.”
The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors 21 varsity teams and is a charter member of both the nation’s premier league, the Big Ten Conference, and the National Collegiate Athletics Association. Since its inception as an athletics department in 1890, the Fighting Illini have won 20 NCAA Championships, five football national championships and 247 Big Ten Titles. Fighting Illini athletes have won 27 Olympic medals while competing for 14 countries in 24 Olympics. Notable University of Illinois athletics alumni include Pro Football Hall of Famers Harold “Red” Grange, Dick Butkus, and George Halas; National Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry Colangelo and College Basketball Hall of Famer Lou Henson.
In addition to Illinois, Learfield Sports manages the multimedia rights for nearly 120 collegiate properties, and its rich history includes four decades of developing trusted, long-term relationships with some of the most revered institutions and associations in the world of college sports. The company has prominence in all of the major conferences and titles the prestigious Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup with award co-founders NACDA and USA Today. Learfield represents collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas for their respective multimedia rights and sponsorship initiatives, and offers these partners with professional concessions and ticket sales, licensing and trademark consulting, digital platform expertise and venue signage and technology systems through its owned companies. To learn more about Learfield’s history, businesses and job opportunities, visit www.learfieldsports.com.