Whitecaps FC appoint global sports industry leader Mark Pannes as CEO

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Following an extensive international search, Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Tuesday that Mark Pannes has been hired as the club’s chief executive officer. Reporting to ownership, Pannes will oversee all business aspects of the club.

Highlights of Pannes’ global sports experience include:

  • Managing partner of Union Sports, LLC – a private consultancy advising domestic and international sports and media clients on the developments of long-term revenue platforms, facilities, and fanbases (2016-2019)
  • Six years with Italian Serie A club AS Roma where he held numerous positions including chief executive officer, president of the club’s IP licensing business, as well as chief executive officer and project lead for Stadio della Roma (2011-2016)
  • Director, Global Sports Group for HSBC Private Bank, London. Managed funds totalling USD 1.45 Billion for 500+ athletes and institutions working across football, F1, rugby, tennis, golf, cricket, Americas Cup and the Olympic sports (2006-2011)
  • 10 years with the New York Knicks including three years as vice president, marketing where he oversaw all ticket and sponsorship revenue and brand management for the franchise. The club sold every ticket in his last nine seasons, launched the first team directed HD game broadcasts, and the WNBA’s New York Liberty, a three-time league finalist during his tenure (1990-2000)
  • Principal lecturer for the business of sports and media at University of Texas at Austin, and serves as founding chairman of the UT Center for Sports Communication and Media board where his focus is major sports properties, emerging media rights and distribution platforms

“Today we are very pleased to add a skilled and experienced new member to our executive leadership team. Mark has been a leader of globally recognized sports organizations and will help our club continue to strive for excellence in everything we do,” said Whitecaps FC co-owner & executive chair Jeff Mallett. “Over the past several months we have made clear our ambitions for this club to grow, highlighted with the addition of sporting director Axel Schuster and the investments being made in our first team roster. Together, Mark and Axel will lead the club to achieve its goals on and off the pitch.”

“This club has an incredible history, in an exceptional city, and I’m excited to work with all the passionate individuals involved with Whitecaps FC,” added Pannes. “As CEO, my job is to focus on the business by building upon the foundation that already exists among fans, supporters, and partners, and accelerate our growth with the tremendous opportunity that is in front of our club. I can’t wait to get started.”

Prior to launching his career, Pannes earned his Bachelor of Science in speech communication at the University of Texas at Austin, and then completed his doctorate at Fordham University School of Law.

Whitecaps FC kick off their 2020 MLS season on Saturday, February 29 at home to Sporting Kansas City.