Major League Soccer announced today its year-end award winners, honoring teams and individuals for their contributions off the playing field. D.C. United earned seven honors, including Community Relations Executive of the Year (Catherine Marquette), Marketing Executive of the Year (Jamie O'Connor), Most Improved Sales Team of the Year and Team Public Relations Award. Additionally, two sales individuals earned honors, as Mike Harloff finished second among Group Ticket Sales Leaders and Scott Miller finished fifth among Ticket Revenue Sales Leaders and third among Group Ticket Sales Leaders.
"D.C. United has always taken pride in our successes both on and off the field," said United Vice President Stephen Zack. "We are pleased these individuals and departments have been recognized for their efforts."
Several members of United's staff have previously been honored by MLS, as O'Connor was named Marketing Executive of the Year last year, while Marquette earned the Community Relations Executive of the Year award in 2003. Vice President of Communications Doug Hicks and staff was also honored with the Team Public Relations Award in 2004. Harloff, who has been with the team since its inception, is no stranger to earning sales honors. The veteran salesman has been in the top five in Ticket Group Sales for five straight years (2001-2005), was in the top five for Ticket Revenue in 2002, and has twice been honored with the Commissioner's New Business Leadership Award (1998 & 1999).
The winners were chosen in a voting process comprising team general managers, the League office and peers within respective departments. Members of the media also voted for the Public Relations Award.
Community Relations Executive of the Year: Catherine Marquette
A part of the United front office since 1999, Marquette and staff managed all of the club's community-based efforts, including its United Drives, Soccer Geography and Good Sport programs, while overseeing all player appearances in the community. Marquette also helped to create and implement United's new employee-based volunteer program, United Builds. A testament to the continued importance of the department, Marquette's staff has increased to include four total employees, who also have a hand in United's non-profit arm, United for D.C.
Marketing Executive of the Year: Jamie O'Connor
A part of United since its inception, O'Connor was honored for the second time in as many years, as he oversaw the club's many marketing promotions. Working from the idea that the team's mission and identity should be consistent in every aspect of the club's advertising and programs, O'Connor and staff managed the Community Soccer Series, the Youth Fan Club and Coaches Association, among other programs, while also taking charge of the team's advertising campaign.
Most Improved Sales Team of the Year: D.C. United
Led by Sales Director Andy Smith, the D.C. United sales team earned title of 'Most Improved' in MLS during 2005. Upon his arrival from the USL'S Charleston Battery in early 2005, Smith reorganized the sales team, as seven of the team's 12 sales reps began their with United this season. With a focus on group sales, Smith and staff improved upon the club's 2004 group sales total of 55,000 by selling an impressive 77,000 this year.
Team Public Relations Award: D.C. United
Vice President of Communications Doug Hicks oversaw a department that successfully managed a demanding media schedule, while serving as the voice for all aspects of the club and team. In addition to routinely developing quality content-based collaterals in English and Spanish, United's public relations department was involved in a host of valuable community relations properties and the development of business plans for every area of the club's organization. Hicks also completed a historic deal with Comcast SportsNet, signing a three-year contract for United's broadcasting rights at the beginning of the season.
Ticket Revenue Sales (5th) & Group Ticket Sales (3rd) Leader: Scott Miller
Now in his fourth year with the team, Scott Miller finished third in MLS with 14,124 group ticket sales, while also earning honors in the ticket revenue sales category, finishing fifth. Serving as an Account Executive this season, 70% of Miller's sales were focused on the youth soccer community, while 30% came in the corporate market.
Group Ticket Sales (2nd) Leader: Mike Harloff
With the club since its inception, Harloff joined the Black-and-Red as an Account Executive. He has also served as a Senior Account Executive and is currently the Assistant Director of Sales. In 2005, Harloff finished second in MLS with 15,380 total group ticket sales.