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Chris Allphin Named 40 Under 40 By SportsBusiness Journal

Mar 29th 2015

At Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment, Allphin oversees the firm’s team and venue services division. The group consults with teams for naming rights, premium-seat sales and technology at their facilities.

Chris Allphin has experienced firsthand the need for sports marketers to expand beyond their core business.

At Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment, Allphin oversees the firm’s team and venue services division. The group consults with teams for naming rights, premium-seat sales and technology at their facilities.

The industry landscape for such deals has changed dramatically in the 15 years since Allphin first worked for Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Jeff Knapple at the former Envision firm. That period includes last decade’s recession, when both executives learned valuable lessons while with Wasserman Media Group, the agency selling naming rights to the new NFL stadium for the New York Jets and Giants. The building opened in 2010 and operated without naming-rights partner until MetLife put its name on the building in August 2011.

In 2012, Knapple moved to Van Wagner, a firm whose primary business to that point had been selling billboard space. Six months later, he hired Allphin again. Together, they helped the Braves last year sign SunTrust Bank, already a team sponsor, for naming rights to the team’s new ballpark opening in 2017. It took only three months to close the agreement, one of the quickest deals Allphin has worked on in the world of naming rights. “Those are the best ones, when the team knows the buyer very well,” he said.

Creating a good fit applies to Van Wagner, too. “Our industry can be resistant to change,” Allphin said. “We hire one agency for ticketing, tech advisers for scoreboards, naming-rights brokers — but you’re entertaining and talking to the exact same fans. It made a lot of sense for us to assemble what we think is an all-star team providing great game experiences, which directly correlates to revenue.”

Read more about the award at SportsBusiness Journal