Major League Rugby Hires Jon Persch as Chief Commercial Officer
SALT LAKE CITY (September 10, 2019) – Major League Rugby (MLR) is pleased to announce Jon Persch will be the new Chief Commercial Officer for the MLR. Previously, Persch was the Chief Commercial Officer for USA Rugby in addition to holding Senior Executive Roles at Tribeca Enterprises, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and CAA Sports.
“We are thrilled to have Jon on board with the MLR,” said Dean Howes, Commissioner of Major League Rugby. “He brings an immense level of expertise of the commercial and sports industries that will aid in the development of fruitful relationships with partners to grow the MLR brand in the United States.”
Persch has been involved with rugby for 20 years. He started playing club rugby after graduating from University of New Hampshire and advanced to the select side level in the New England region. He returned to rugby in 2011 as an Assistant Men’s Rugby Coach at the University of Colorado. During this time, he was also working at USA Rugby as Chief Commercial Officer. Persch directed all commercial strategies and brand marketing efforts for rugby in the U.S., for teams from grassroots to National levels.
James Kennedy, Rugby United New York owner, says “Being in NYC and knowing the interest there is from corporate America to build relationships with MLR, it’s fantastic to have Jon onboard to facilitate these relationships.”
Persch has worked in the commercial sports and entertainment industries for over 25 years in the U.S. and global markets, where he has developed brand and commercial strategies for marketing, sponsor and fan engagement to include senior leadership positions with globally iconic organizations and properties such as CAA, WWE and Tribeca Enterprises.
Over his extensive career, Persch comes to the MLR equipped with knowledge on Brand Development, Sponsorship Activation, Strategic Planning and Consumer Driven Storytelling that will improve the MLR brand identity within the U.S. sports industry. With his comprehensive knowledge and passion for the sport, Persch understands rugby’s standing in the U.S., how it’s perceived as a global game and its role in the American sports business landscape, all which he believes are key skills of a senior level sports professional in today’s market.
“With rugby booming in the U.S. and in a Rugby World Cup year, I can’t think of a more exciting role in sports,” says Murray Barnett, Chief Commercial Officer for Formula 1 and former Chief Commercial Officer for World Rugby.
In his spare time, Persch serves as a board member for various organizations including Pet Partners, an organization that registers therapy animals for animal assisted interventions. Persch is the proud owner of two Dobermans and believes it’s a great cause to be involved in to improve the lives of millions of people through animal therapy.
“It’s fantastic to be involved with rugby again in the U.S,” says Persch. “I’ve been incredibly fortunate over 20+ years to see the explosive growth of rugby here in the U.S. and I’m excited to contribute my commercial expertise to the League and its growing roster of teams.”
MLR is a professional rugby league that launched in April of 2018 and is now entering its third season. It is an initiative driven by members of the North American rugby community, in partnership with private investors, who believe that North American Rugby can thrive at the highest levels; as an influential entity within international rugby; as a participation sport at the youth & senior levels; and as a commercial enterprise. MLR is the pinnacle of American rugby, and provides a rallying point for local communities, a focal point for American rugby fans, and an aspirational destination for young athletes.
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