“I am particularly honored that the Board of Directors has asked me to lead the company going forward,” said Mr. Checketts. “I have always looked to associate myself with strong brands and successful businesses. This is no different. In fact, between Goldman Sachs, the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees, I’m sure you cannot get any better. Additionally, the ability for my Fund to join with Legends on future acquisitions provides us with the capital that will enable us to look to grow this company significantly.”
“The appointment of Dave Checketts as chairman and CEO of Legends is such a natural and compelling fit," said Hal Steinbrenner. “He has proved himself an astute manager, entrepreneur and investor over the course of a long career built on a very solid sports and entertainment foundation. That operational skill, coupled with a strong business sense, will serve Legend’s well as it expands and grows.”
“This is an exciting time in the evolution of Legends Hospitality,” said Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys Owner. “Mike Rawlings did an outstanding job directing the creation of this partnership, and now we are well positioned to capitalize on the growth opportunities available to us in the future with the experience and expertise of Dave Checketts. Dave has a terrific track record of success in the business of sports and entertainment, and is one of the most respected entrepreneurial minds in the industry.”
"We are thrilled that Dave has agreed to join Legends, both as our Chairman and CEO and as an investor," said Gerry Cardinale, Managing Director in Merchant Banking, Goldman Sachs. "We are also extremely grateful for the tremendous leadership from Mike Rawlings in making Legends the successful enterprise that it is today. Having known and admired Dave for over a decade, I am hard-pressed to think of another individual who brings the breadth and depth of
experience in the business of sports across almost every vertical. Dave's unique background in sports as an owner, manager and investor will enable Legends to engage in meaningful dialogues with teams across leagues and geographies on a range of needs that should create a multitude of win-win opportunities."
Legends Hospitality was formed in 2008 with an initial focus on operating catering, concessions, retail merchandising and other facility management enterprises for major sports and entertainment facilities. Under Mike Rawlings’ leadership as CEO and Chairman, Legends has gradually expanded its services to include premium-seat sales and consulting services, ticket sales training and other services. It recently acquired CSL International and CSL Marketing Group, which does sports research and venue marketing.
"This transaction has exceeded my expectations in every aspect of the deal, through our first class partners, superior Legends management team and the growth of CIC’s investment," stated Michael Rawlings, former CEO and Chairman of Legends and a Partner of CIC Partners. Getting Dave Checketts’ to join Legends is great news for the company; he is the right guy at the right time and through his leadership Legends will continue to see great success and results."
Legends (www.legendshm.com), owned by the New York Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys, Goldman Sachs and the Checketts Partners Investor Fund, consists of Legends Hospitality Management - the premier provider of general concessions, premium food & beverage, catering, retail merchandise and tours; Legends Sales and Marketing – an industry leader offering team owners, facility operators and athletic departments premium tickets sales and service, PSL sales execution, sponsorship and naming rights capabilities and sales training; and CSL International that provides project feasibility and economic impact studies, funding plans and business operational reviews.
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David W. Checketts
Chairman and CEO, Legends Hospitality Management, LLC
David W. Checketts, whose career spans over four decades, is one of the most heralded sports, media and entertainment executives and currently serves as its Chairman.
Prior to him becoming Chairman and CEO, Legends Hospitality, Mr. Checketts founded SCP Worldwide in 2006. Under his direction and leadership, SCP acquired an impressive stable of assets in the sports, entertainment and media industries. In June 2006 the company acquired the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League, Scottrade Center and Peabody Opera House (which re-opened this fall to rave reviews after an extensive and heralded renovation project) as well as purchasing the Blues’ AHL affiliate Peoria Rivermen in July 2008. In 2004, SCP acquired the twelfth Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise launching Real Salt Lake and in October of 2008 opened, to critical acclaim, Rio Tinto Stadium – a 20,000 seat multi-purpose open air facility in Sandy, Utah. In October 2009 Real Salt Lake became Champions of Major League Soccer. SCP owns Salt Lake City sports-talk radio station ESPN 700 Sports, and has a controlling interest in Running Subway, an entertainment production company.
Mr. Checketts created his sports media company after a successful ten-year career at Madison Square Garden (MSG). As President and Chief Executive Officer for seven years, Mr. Checketts oversaw all operations of one of the most powerful sports and entertainment companies globally, including the “World’s Most Famous Arena” and its three sports franchises, the New York Knickerbockers of the NBA, the New York Rangers of the NHL, and the New York Liberty of the WNBA – along with the award winning MSG Network and FOX Sports Network. In 1997, while at his post, Mr. Checketts took on the ambitious acquisition and comprehensive restoration of New York’s historic Radio City Music Hall. Although MSG, under his leadership, was awarded with many accomplishments such as being named Arena of the Year for six straight years, the achievement he takes most pride in is the establishment of the MSG “Cheering for Children” foundation which created after school programs for thousands of New York City school children.
Mr. Checketts began his career at Madison Square Garden as President of the New York Knicks in March 1991. In the four seasons he served as President, the team finished twice in first place, made it to the Eastern Conference Finals twice and captured the Eastern Conference Champion Title in 1994. During this time, the team set records in attendance, ratings and revenues including setting the all-time sellout streak of 460 games at The Garden. Forbes named the Knicks the most valuable franchise in the NBA.
In his role as Governor of the Knicks (NBA), Rangers (NHL) and Liberty (WNBA), Mr. Checketts was instrumental in all three leagues development and mission. For the NBA, he was part of both the Planning Committee and the Labor Relations Committee which included being a lead negotiator in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in 1999. For the WNBA, he was one of the founding partners and served on the League’s Operating Committee.
Prior to joining the Knicks, Mr. Checketts spent one year as General Manager of NBA International, working with NBA Commissioner David Stern on building a presence for the league in broadcasting and licensing around the world.
n 1983, Mr. Checketts was named President and General Manager of the Utah Jazz. At 28 years old, he became the youngest chief executive in the history of the NBA. During his six year tenure, the team captured two Midwest Division titles and enjoyed a multi-million dollar economic turnaround.
Mr. Checketts did his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and earned his MBA from Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1981, where he graduated with top honors. Upon completion of his studies, he joined the Boston based consulting firm, Bain & Company.
Mr. Checketts serves on the Board of Directors of Republic Mortgage Home Loans LLC and JetBlue Airways, where he serves on the Compensation and Leadership Development Committee.
He resides in Connecticut with his wife Deb. They have six children and six grandchildren.