BERKELEY, Calif. – Learfield ushers in the new year having completed the establishment of its local Cal Bears Sports Properties team, which is solely dedicated to representing university partner Cal Athletics.
Joining Executive Director Joe Mulford is Cal Bears Sports Properties’ Director-Sales Dan Lentz; Senior Manager-Business Development Matthew Gallagher; Manager-Business Development Grayson Farrar; Manager-Business Development Vanessa Farinelli; Manager-Partnership Services Katie Fontes; and Coordinator-Partnership Services Rachel Bootsma, former Cal swimmer and an Olympic gold medalist.
Since Learfield was named Cal Athletics’ new multimedia rights partner in October 2016, Mulford has been leading all aspects of the relationship teaming with athletic administrators on the Bears’ traditional rights and sponsorship elements. Cal Bears Sports Properties also will be collaborating with campus leadership in the development of strategic corporate alliances that benefit the university as a whole.
Lentz, who will lead sales efforts for the team, comes to Berkeley from Phoenix, where he was director of sales, marketing partnerships for the Phoenix Suns Legacy Partners – the partnership sales team for NBA’s Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and Legends Entertainment District Properties. Before that, he was a corporate sales account executive for the MLB’s Colorado Rockies in Denver. His previous sports sales experience was with the Atlanta Motor Speedway and MLB’s Atlanta Braves.
Gallagher has been leading the Cal rights team for the last two years, and before that, was the sponsorships senior account manager for San Francisco’s KNBR-AM. Prior to that, he was manager of corporate sponsorships for MLB’s Oakland A’s and held a similar role with the Sacramento River Cats, Triple-A affiliate of the MLB’s San Francisco Giants.
Farrar comes to Cal from San Jose, where he spent a year and a half as sales manager, corporate partnerships for the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. Prior to that, he served two years with Charlotte IMG Sports Marketing contributing significant sales for the 49ers (N.C.) collegiate sponsorship inventory. His prior sports experience includes serving as director for the Fazio Golf Tour and as a charitable outreach intern for the PGA TOUR.
Farinelli joins the Cal Bears team from Learfield’s Rhody Sports Properties team at University of Rhode Island, where she was manager-business development for nearly three years. She earned her master’s degree in sports leadership from Marquette University, where she also spent two years as graduate assistant of marketing and ticket sales. Before that, she spent two years as marketing assistant and ticket sales team member for University of Rhode Island Athletics.
Fontes also was with Cal’s previous rightsholder, serving as the partner services coordinator, and now she will lead service strategy for the team. Prior to that, she served as partner services and activation intern for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and served with PrimeSport as a seasonal hospitality coordinator for the 2015 Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIX in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Bootsma, accomplished NCAA swimmer for Cal from 2012-2016, also contributed significantly to the sport in World and Olympic competition. While at Cal, Bootsma was recognized for Athlete Academic Achievement the last six semesters and was named to Second-Team Academic All-American in 2016.
“We are thrilled that our partnership has started with such strong hires with diverse experiences and backgrounds,” said Mike Williams, Director of Athletics at Cal. “It is especially exciting that several familiar faces will continue to represent our corporate business development efforts. We are excited to continue to build our department and enhance our brand together.”
ABOUT CAL ATHLETICS
The University of California is represented by more than 850 student-athletes in 30 sports. Striving for excellence in the classroom and the arenas of competition, Cal teams have earned 95 national championships in 15 different sports, with nearly 300 individual and relay national championships won by student-athletes. Golden Bears have also collected 207 medals at the Olympic Games, including 21 this past summer in Rio.
An industry leader for more than four decades, Learfield has a deep presence in the college athletics landscape nationwide. In addition to Cal, it manages the multimedia and sponsorship rights for more than 120 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas, and supports athletic departments at all competitive levels as title sponsor of the prestigious Learfield Directors’ Cup. Learfield also provides its collegiate partners access to professional concessions and ticket sales; branding, licensing and trademark consulting; digital and social platform expertise; campus-wide business and sponsorship development; and venue and technology systems through its affiliated companies.