Deana Barnes, president of Learfield’s Paciolan, has been named an Sports Business Journal Game Changer for 2023.
As seen on SBJ.com:
Deana Barnes earned a Division I scholarship to play basketball at the University of San Francisco, but despite that sporting background, she admits, “I never had a career goal to get into sports.” She earned a degree in accounting and worked as a financial analyst.
Even when Barnes first joined Paciolan in 2003, her role was an internal business one. But in 2007, under the mentorship of then-President and CEO Kim Damron (Game Changers Class of 2019), she transitioned into a client-facing role. “Once I got there,” Barnes said, “my trajectory started for real.”
Over the next 15 years, Barnes received several promotions at Paciolan, the ticketing and fan engagement firm that Learfield acquired in 2017. Recently, she’s been working closely with her CTO on digital ticketing projects, including a new all-in-one-pass that will simplify ticket account management, as well as collaborating with SeatGeek as the company’s new secondary market partner.
“I am a true and true ticket nerd,” Barnes said with a laugh. “Staying ahead of the trends, not just with the trends, is something that we’ll strive for.”
Barnes also has helped roughly 150 clients embrace a mobile-first strategy with fans and implement a system of SMS notifications to update fans during games and events. She said she’s learned “to lead with authenticity” and is part of Learfield’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. Currently, 71% of Paciolan’s employees are female and/or minorities.
“We have very much been intentional about that and have grown a great space there,” she said, adding that they’ve worked to “shift the narrative within Learfield itself. So those little things are showing me that there is progress being made.”
— Joe Lemire