Former NASCAR, MLB, NFL Sales, Sponsorship Executive to the Norse
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Collegiate marketer Learfield today introduced Tony Kountz as general manager for its NKU Norse Sports Properties team, which is dedicated to Northern Kentucky Athletics and BB&T Arena. Learfield is the long-term multimedia rights partner for the Norse.
Kountz, a Cincinnati, Ohio native, brings nearly 25 years of strategic sales, marketing and sponsorship experience to Learfield’s NKU Norse Sports Properties. Most recently, the veteran sports executive was senior director of business development for SMI’s Kentucky Speedway crafting custom NASCAR corporate partnerships for Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, he spent two years working with MLB’s Cincinnati Reds as manager, corporate sales and marketing and served six years with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, five of which as senior corporate sales manager. For 13 years, he also oversaw Kountz Consulting as president and chief sales officer for the firm dedicated to sales strategies for organizations across numerous industries. Kountz also previously served nearly four years as director of national sales for leading sports publisher, Athlon Sports Communications.
A University of Cincinnati graduate, Kountz will serve as primary Learfield liaison with NKU Director of Athletics Ken Bothof and his administration as NKU Sports Properties manages all aspects of the Norse-Learfield rights agreement, which includes signage, digital, television and radio play-by-play and coaches’ shows, as well as the corporate partner platform.
“We’re excited to have Tony leading our Learfield relationship,” said Bothof. “With his deep connections to the area and prior experience in the professional sports space in our own market, we’re grateful to have him on board and welcome him to Northern Kentucky.”
“Tony brings exceptional experience to NKU Norse Sports Properties and we’re happy to have him starting today. He’s got great knowledge of the Kentucky-Ohio landscape, and without a doubt, outstanding credentials that will be an asset,” said Learfield Vice President Tim Utrup.
An industry leader for more than four decades, Learfield has a deep presence in the college athletics landscape nationwide managing more than 120 collegiate relationships across the country. It also 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.
Northern Kentucky University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors 17 Division I sports programs as a member of the Horizon League, one of the nation’s premier mid-major conferences. NKU won league titles this year in women’s soccer and men’s basketball, becoming just the seventh men’s basketball program of all-time and only the second since 1970 to reach the NCAA Division I Tournament in its first year eligible. Located just minutes away from downtown Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University is situated in Highland Heights, Kentucky, and has experienced major growth over the last 15 years, which includes construction of the state-of-the-art BB&T Arena, Griffin Hall, James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union and the soon-to-be-completed Health Innovation Center to serve more than 14,000 students and 2,000 faculty.