SECAUCUS, N.J. - Anschutz Entertainment Group announced today that current President and General Manager of the MetroStars Nick Sakiewicz will be promoted to President, AEG Soccer New York/ New Jersey.
With the promotion, Sakiewicz will now oversee all aspects of the Harrison Stadium project, including- but not limited to- construction, sales of assets, sponsorships, and commercial rights. He will also manage the MetroStars Training Center, AEG's Nokia Theatre and all other AEG developments in New York.
"I am looking forward to this new opportunity," said Sakiewicz. "It not only puts me in a position to help the Metros achieve greater success, but also to help AEG affirm itself in the New York marketplace- as it has in Los Angeles- as a leader in sports, entertainment and facilities development."
"It has become apparent to us that in order to maximize the soccer opportunities in the New York/New Jersey market we need to create the same commitment and passion for the MetroStars as we have in Los Angeles," said AEG's President and CEO, Tim Leiweke. "It was our decision to utilize the strengths and resources of two of the best leaders in AEG Soccer. Nick has been instrumental in the deal that will create a new world-class football stadium for New York/New Jersey, and this project will require his full-time attention going forward. From naming rights and founding partners to suite sales and booking content, it is the highest priority of our company to make this project a success. In addition to the stadium project, Nick will handle our business relations with the state of New Jersey, the city of Harrison and Hudson County."
2005 was Sakiewicz' tenth year in Major League Soccer and sixth with the MetroStars. After assuming his duties with the Metros on January 13, 2000, Sakiewicz helped steer a club that had finished only 7-25 in 1999 to a mark of 17-12-3 in 2000, winning the MLS Eastern Division title and coming within one goal of playing for the MLS Cup. Sakiewicz then followed the 2000 season with a playoff appearance in 2001, marking the first time in club history that the "Red and Black" reached the post-season in consecutive years.
After a difficult season on the field in 2002, the Passaic, New Jersey native hired Bob Bradley, the most successful coach in MLS history, from the Chicago Fire. This move, combined with the best MLS SuperDraft in MetroStars history in 2003, helped the MetroStars reach the playoffs in 2003 and 2004, giving the Metros playoff appearances in four out of the five year's under Sakiewicz's reign.
To supplement the on-field success, in 2003 Sakiewicz was instrumental in the re-signing of Tim Howard to a long term MLS contract, and his eventual record-setting transfer to Manchester United and signing Honduran star Amado Guevara, who was named MLS' Most Valuable Player in 2004.
This year, he added to his impressive player personnel credentials by signing World Cup Champion and international star Youri Djorkaeff, as well as acquiring the fifth all-time leading goal scorer in league history, Ante Razov.
Under Sakiewicz' leadership, the club has more than quintupled its corporate sponsorship revenue since 2000, and has consistently grown in attendance every year.
"When I came to the MetroStars in 2000 the team and business operations were not where they should be for this market," said Sakiewicz. "It has been a five year run that has seen many successes such as a winning record, record sales growth in sponsorship and tickets. Our television and radio broadcasts set the standard for other MLS markets and we have had many individual successes on the field. We have also established the finest youth academy teams and youth development programs of any team in MLS and boast promising young players in the first team, reserve team, U-19, U-16, and U-14 programs."
A two-time MLS Executive of the Year, Sakiewicz garnered his first award in 1999 as President and General Manager of the Tampa Bay Mutiny. In his three-plus seasons in Tampa Bay, he led the Mutiny on a steady path of growth in both season ticket and sponsorship sales, and helped the Mutiny secure a new multi-year lease with Raymond James Stadium. That lease ensured continued growth for the Mutiny and enabled the club to play in one of the premier outdoor stadiums in the United States.
In what is traditionally a very tough market, Sakiewicz made Mutiny home games a destination point by combining a winning product on the field with major post-game events and concerts. Featuring acts such as the Village People, 10,000 Maniacs, the Neville Brothers and the Goo Goo Dolls, Sakiewicz grew the Mutiny brand three consecutive seasons while providing area residents with one of the best values anywhere for both sports and entertainment.
It is a unique background of success in both sports and business that have prepared Sakiewicz for his new role as President, AEG Soccer New York/New Jersey.
In four years as a goalkeeper at the University of New Haven, Sakiewicz earned All-New England honors in 1980-82 and NCAA Division II All-American honors in 1981 and '82. Sakiewicz still holds every major goalkeeping record at the school, where he was recruited and coached by Dr. Joe Machnik, current Vice President of Game Operations for MLS.
After graduating from the University of New Haven, Sakiewicz played with F.C. Nantes in the French First Division in 1982. He then played for Dr. Machnik with the New York Arrows of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) during the 1983 season and then with F.C. Belenenses of the Portuguese First Division the following year.
He later played for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the APSL during the 1989 season. Sakiewicz served as an assistant coach and goalkeeper coach at the College of Boca Raton (now Lynn University) from 1985 until 1990, winning an NAIA National Championship in 1987. He served as a goalkeeper coach for the Southeast Region in the Olympic Development Program from 1985-89, and also served the Florida Youth Soccer Association (FYSA) as a goalkeeper coach from 1985-89.
While actively coaching and playing, Sakiewicz also began to pursue his professional career in business in 1985 as a sales manager for TIF Instruments in Miami. He developed and initiated a national sales campaign, which resulted in rapid sales and national distribution of the company's products to the automotive industry.
In 1990, Sakiewicz became Divisional Manager for Agency Services, Inc., in Atlanta. He then moved to Tampa and was promoted to Director of Sales for the Southern Region. During his stint in Tampa, Sakiewicz became the first manager to achieve over $100 million in sales in a single division.
In 1992, Sakiewicz was promoted to Vice President, Sales & Marketing and moved to Agency Services' national headquarters in Baltimore. Sakiewicz supervised a national sales and marketing organization responsible for $350 million in annual sales. While building strong customer relationships, Sakiewicz grew revenues and expanded Agency Services' distribution of insurance and financial products coast-to-coast.
In 1995, Sakiewicz was recruited by credit card giant Providian Bancorp in San Francisco as a Director, and later a Vice President, where he was in charge of building a unit to support the company's first initiative into co-branded and affinity credit cards. Later that year, he began his involvement with Major League Soccer as it's first Vice President, Corporate Sales. During the developmental period of MLS and its inaugural 1996 season, Sakiewicz helped develop long-term corporate sponsorships with many of the original companies that sponsored the League during the start-up of Major League Soccer.