Two of the brightest, boldest executives in MLS have earned places on Sports Business Journal's annual “Forty Under 40” list of top young personalities in the sports business world.
Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson and Sporting Kansas City part-owner Robb Heineman (right) have received the honor, a repeat feat for both men.
In fact, it's the third straight year Paulson has made the list, elevating him to the “Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame,” while Heineman (at right, with MLS Commissioner Don Garber) can savor a second consecutive nomination.
As part of the honor, SBJ profiled both executives, hailing Heineman's role in his club's renaissance over the past two years and his forward-leaning approach to technology and fan relations.
“Through social media, we’re trying to give fans a sense of ownership,” Heineman said. “They’re not just fans, but they help shape some of the decisions that we make.”
Meanwhile, Paulson spoke to the publication about his outspoken public profile and use of Twitter to connect with the public – and occasionally even share his opinions of refereeing decisions and the like.
“I’m trying to be a little bit less of the face of the team this season,” Paulson (right) told SBJ. “I don’t mind being out there, but if the owner is too much a part of the story of the team, that’s ultimately a negative thing.”
LA Galaxy and Chivas USA fans may be interested to note that Ray Elias, chief marketing officer for StubHub, who will assume naming rights for the Home Depot Center later this year, is also on the list.