- President and Managing Director, MLS Business Ventures
An innovator in sports marketing and media strategies for more than 30 years, Gary R. Stevenson was named president and managing director of MLS Business Ventures on June 19, 2013. Stevenson oversees all commercial and revenue areas for MLS and Soccer United Marketing, including media/broadcasting, marketing, content and digital.
Stevenson has served as an executive with some of the most respected organizations in the sports industry, including the NBA, the PGA TOUR, the Golf Channel, Pac-12, ProServ and Advantage International.
Prior to coming to MLS, Stevenson was president of Pac-12 Enterprises, where he managed a diversified and integrated media company, including the Pac-12 Networks, the Pac-12 Digital Network, and Pac-12 Properties. During his tenure with the Pac-12, he was instrumental in successfully launching the Pac-12’s national, regional and digital networks. After just one year in existence, the Pac-12 networks were named as a finalist for the Sports Business Journal’s “Best in Sports Television” award in 2013.
Before joining the Pac-12, Stevenson was Chairman and CEO of OnSport, a highly successful consulting company he founded in 1997 and sold 10 years later to Wasserman Media Group, which he then joined as a Principal. OnSport’s clients included American Express, Nationwide, Travelers, NASCAR, the PGA TOUR, NBA, the Big Ten and many others. It was a major force in the sports world as the principal architect of the Wachovia Championship, the U.S. Tennis Association’s U.S. Open Series, and NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. OnSport was a finalist for the Sports Business Journal’s Sports Marketing Agency of the Year every year since the award’s inception.
Prior to founding OnSport, Stevenson headed the NBA Properties’ Marketing and Media Group, where he was responsible for the corporate marketing and television revenues for the NBA and USA Basketball. In this capacity, Stevenson also was a chief architect of the business plan and launch of the Women’s National Basketball Association in 1996.
Stevenson’s career in sports marketing began in 1981 when he joined the pioneering sports management firm ProServ. He later moved to Advantage International where he served as vice president of marketing from 1983-87, managing the business strategies of many prominent athletes.
From 1987 to 1994, Stevenson propelled growth and innovation at the PGA TOUR as executive vice president of business affairs, where he was responsible for all television and marketing initiatives, including the creation of the TOUR Championship, the Presidents Cup, and the highly successful title sponsorship model.
In 1995, Stevenson was the chief operating officer during the launch of The Golf Channel, the nation’s first national niche-programming sports channel. In advance of the launch, he forged partnership agreements with the PGA TOUR, PGA of America, United States Golf Association, European PGA TOUR and LPGA.
Civic engagement and community service are an important part of Stevenson’s life, and he has endowed a permanent scholarship in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio to honor his parents’ service to their community. His own civic involvements have included serving on the board of directors for the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and serving on numerous advisory boards at Duke University.
A member of the USGA Executive Committee, Stevenson serves on the Commercial, Communications, Compensation, Course/Club Membership, Members, Museum and Library committees, and also serves on the President’s Council for the 2014 Men’s and Women’s United States Opens at Pinehurst.
A longtime soccer fan, two of Stevenson’s sons played in the Capital Area Soccer League in Raleigh, and his son Kevin was a co-captain of the 2007 Duke University soccer team.
Stevenson, who holds a B.A. from Duke University and an M.B.A. from The George Washington University, taught “The Business of Sport” at Duke University from 2000-2007 and was inducted into The George Washington University School of Business Sports Hall of Fame in April 2013.