Professional sports business veteran to take the reins moving into the league’s third season
SALT LAKE CITY (December 9, 2019) – Today, Major League Rugby (MLR) announced the appointment of George Killebrew, the former Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, as Major League Rugby’s new League Commissioner.
MLR conducted a comprehensive search across North America and internationally for the Commissioner role. Killebrew was hand-selected to head up the League, which will grow to 12 teams in 2020, as it enters the third season. Killebrew boasts 27 years of experience with the Dallas Mavericks in sales, marketing, ticket sales, corporate activation, and arena management as he rose to EVP/CRO. He has also worked for the athletic department at SMU, the Dallas Sidekicks indoor soccer, Professional Sports Publications and Learfield Communications.
Killebrew’s lengthy resume and passion for sports set him apart in the search for the new Commissioner. Killebrew and his team have been recognized 15 times with NBA Awards for excellence in sponsorship sales, suites sales, sponsorship services, and corporate activation.
Through Killebrew’s leadership at the Mavericks, sponsorship revenue increased year over year, and broke all previous revenue records. Killebrew now plans to bring this expertise to the MLR. “I’m very excited for the opportunity to serve as the Commissioner for Major League Rugby,” said Killebrew. “I plan to build upon the groundwork that the MLR has laid in its first two seasons and use the third season to cement the League in the professional sports market. I will be working towards building ticket sales and sponsorships revenues and developing the very best media platform possible as we continue to help grow rugby participation across North America.”
The MLR kicks off the 2020 season on Saturday, February 8. Errik Anderson, Chairman of the Board of Governors and principal owner of the New England Free Jacks, is enthusiastic about the continued momentum of the league. “MLR has outperformed expectations in its first two seasons in part because of a tailwind of rugby’s large global following, and our incredibly passionate domestic rugby community. George brings nearly three decades of commercial sports, media and entertainment experience, which is crucial as we transition MLR into our next phase of growth. George is a visionary sports leader grounded in commercial fundamentals while staying true to the inclusive values and traditions of our global sport,” said Anderson.
In the search for the new League Commissioner, MLR was assisted by Turnkey Search, a division of Turnkey Sports & Entertainment, one of the top executive search firms in sports and entertainment. Turnkey works for teams, leagues, brands, agencies and media outlets doing business in the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and college sports. Turnkey Managing Director Rick Alessandri said, “Rugby resonated within our industry and this search shows how bullish sports executives are on the future of rugby in North America.”
Killebrew is now active in his position as League Commissioner.
About Major League Rugby –
Major League Rugby is a professional rugby league that is entering its third season (2020) and represents the highest level of competition in North America. The league evolved from 7 teams in 2018 to 12 teams in 2020, featuring 11 from the United States and one from Canada distributed across an Eastern and Western Conference. The competition follows a league plus knockout format where teams play 16 regular season matches for a chance to advance to the playoffs. Matches are broadcast on CBS Sports Network, Facebook Live (for international viewers) and on different platforms in each local market. MLR prides itself on its incredible athletes, the passionate community behind them, and its strong values of Respect, Inclusivity, and Tradition.