New division integrates multimedia rights, sales, and other revenue-generating businesses to elevate sponsor platforms and drive innovation
PLANO, Texas – September 20, 2023 – Learfield, the most influential and diversified company powering college sports, today announced it has named longtime sports and live events executive Kim Damron, to lead a newly created Sports Properties division. Damron, who currently serves as president of Learfield’s Paciolan ticketing solutions business, will become president of Sports Properties in a vastly expanded role.
At a time of seismic transformation across college sports, Learfield’s Sports Properties Division will foster greater integration across business units to drive innovation in the areas of NIL (Name, Image, Likeness), digital media and content, and data–driven digital strategies to create new revenue solutions and greater fan engagement for its partner universities. Within the new division, Damron will oversee Learfield’s industry-leading multimedia rights business, encompassing both national and local sales, as well as other key athletic services, including the company’s Amplify ticket sales, Amplify seat sales, broadcast operations, and naming rights.
Damron continues her role on Learfield’s leadership team, reporting directly to Cole Gahagan, Learfield’s Chief Executive Officer.
“As we look to the future of our industry, Kim will help us think creatively and boldly about the opportunities we should deliver to our university and brand partners,” said Gahagan. “Kim has a track record of building win-win partnerships with schools, and her leadership, business acumen and expertise in digital-first solutions position her to guide our efforts to college sports to the next-level. Her proven ability to create and adapt to evolving fan experiences makes her the perfect leader for this role.”
Damron joined Paciolan, a division of Learfield and a leading platform for ticketing, fundraising, and marketing, in 2005, where she played a pivotal role in managing the company’s strategic vision and growth as Chief Operating Officer and eventually serving as president for more than six years. Under her leadership, Paciolan grew to 300+ employees serving 166 college athletic programs and hundreds of arenas, professional sports, and performing arts venues. During her tenure, the Paciolan client community grew 45%, adding over 100 new organizations and developed an industry-transforming partnership with SeatGeek. In 2022, Damron was named President of Digital and Technology at Learfield, overseeing multiple business units focused on ticketing, fan experience and digital marketing.
Her extensive industry relationships and visionary leadership position Damron to drive the evolution in collegiate sports towards offering digital solutions that provide 24/7 connections to fans through content and brand engagement. Additionally, her dedication to developing people and fostering diversity and inclusion in the industry will help cement Learfield’s commitment to building representation in the college sports marketplace.
“I am thrilled to step into this role leading our exceptional Learfield team as we grow and innovate in the college sports industry,” said Kim Damron. “We will continue to build on the great track record of excellence that our multimedia rights and sales teams have established and seize new innovative opportunities to connect brands to passionate fans and shape the future of college athletics.”
With Damron’s move in the Learfield enterprise, Deana Barnes has been named president of Paciolan, a promotion from her current role as Chief Operating Officer. A 20-year veteran of Paciolan, Barnes has been instrumental in driving growth and spearheading numerous successful initiatives. Her leadership of key client-facing teams and strategic partnerships have helped drive success for Paciolan. Barnes was recently named a Sports Business Journal 2023 Game Changer.
Learfield is a diversified and influential media and technology company powering college athletics. Through its digital and physical platforms, Learfield owns and leverages a deep data set and relationships in the industry to drive revenue, growth, brand awareness, and fan engagement for brands, sports, and entertainment properties. With ties to over 1,200 collegiate institutions and over 15,000 local and national brand partners, Learfield’s presence in college sports and live events delivers influence and maximizes reach to target audiences. With solutions for a 365-day, 24/7 fan experience, Learfield enables schools and brands to connect with fans through licensed merchandise, game ticketing, donor identification for athletic programs, exclusive custom content, innovative marketing initiatives, NIL solutions, and advanced digital platforms. Since 2008, it has served as title sponsor for the acclaimed Learfield Directors’ Cup, supporting athletic departments across all divisions.