Sports Industry Veteran and Former Comcast-Spectacor Entity President Named IRGSE CEO
NEW YORK CITY (November 30, 2015) – IRG Sports + Entertainment (IRGSE) has appointed sports industry veteran and former Comcast-Spectacor entity President Chris Lencheski as Vice Chairman of the Board of Managers and Chief Executive Officer.
IRGSE properties promote more than 1,150 motorsports, live entertainment and corporate events annually at their venues and within their series. Lencheski will be responsible for strategic and portfolio operations of the IRGSE family of companies, including the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) sanctioning body and the International Drag Bike League (IDBL) sanctioning body, as well as IRGSE properties: Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR), Memphis International Raceway (MIR), Maryland International Raceway (MDIR), and Cordova International Raceway (CIR).
“I am honored to join IRGSE at this exciting time in the company’s growth and transformation,” said Mr. Lencheski. “Having been involved in high-level motorsports as an agency owner, team owner and a promoter of series across the world, I look forward to working closely with the entire IRGSE ecosystem, and the opportunity to help drive the future growth of the IHRA Series and all IHRA member tracks.”
“We are thrilled to have such an industry leader join the IRGSE team, and look forward to Chris’ expertise as the company continues down its path of growth,” said Tom Steiglehner, Managing Director of TPG Specialty Lending, Inc. and IRGSE Board Member. “Chris brings to IRGSE a broad range of experience in the motorsports and entertainment fields – from his work with some of the world’s premier sporting events to his success growing businesses through marketing and sales – and we are looking forward to partnering with him.”
IRGSE is a portfolio company of TPG Specialty Lending, the U.S. middle market direct originations investment platform of TPG Special Situations Partners, the credit and special situations platform of TPG, a global private investment firm with approximately
$75 billion in assets under management.
What significant members of the Sports Industry are saying?
Peter Luukko; Executive Chairman, The Florida Panthers and its parent company Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, LLC stated, “From my own personal experience while he worked for me; Chris comes from the front, delivers a strategy and then simply gets on with it. He does so by aligning the goals and personnel of the company with that of the desired outcome for the client, whoever that client may be… He spends a lot of time tracking a business culture that matches the strategy for everyone’s benefits.”
Dr. Harvey Schiller; Commercial Commissioner, America’s Cup 35 stated, “Chris Lencheski’s presence will be a welcome addition to the future success of IRGSE. He has the right combination of skills to add significant value to each and every property under the IRGSE umbrella. He’s a true professional in every sense of the word.”
About IRG Sports + Entertainment:
IRG Sports + Entertainment (IRGSE) is a leading purveyor of sports and live entertainment experiences and is the privately-held parent company of International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) and International Drag Bike League (IDBL) sanctioning bodies. IRG owns and operates Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR), Palm Beach Driving Club (PBDC), Memphis International Raceway (MIR), Cordova International Raceway (CIR), and Maryland International Raceway (MDIR).
Owned and operated since January 2013 by IRGSE, IHRA is the second-largest drag racing and fourth-largest motorsports sanctioning body. Established in 1970, the organization manages three national touring series, the IHRA Drag Racing Series, and Street Warriorz. With headquarters in Norwalk, Ohio, IHRA sanctions more than 110 motorsports facilities in the U.S., Canada and Australia and has more than 13,000 racers of all skill levels as members.
IRGSE’s subsidiaries now promote more than 1,150 motorsports, live entertainment and corporate events annually at its venues and within its series.
About Mr. Lencheski:
Chris Lencheski is one of the most well respected professionals in the global sports and entertainment landscape. With over 20 years of professional experience, he has authored industry-setting standards and practice guidelines followed by major entities from network and cable television groups to Fortune 500 companies. His work has included collaborations with the Americas’ Cup, the Olympics, Formula One and World Cup projects as well as a host of international and national properties from every major league to governing bodies. He is recognized as an authority in identifying and leveraging rights sponsorship, partnership strategies and alliance opportunities to drive dramatic increases in sales, digital and television carriage distribution and CPG market visibility.
Prior to IRGSE, Mr. Lencheski was President of Comcast-Spectacor subsidiary Front Row Marketing and Analytics (FRMS) – the 35 offices multi-continent stadia, sports media commercial rights and entertainment agency inside the greater Comcast ecosystem. FRMS realized 40% growth in new business and portfolio revenue under his guidance and was re-positioned for future development inside the Comcast umbrella as the integrator of Comcast-Spectacor assets in major league teams, stadia, networks and consumer facing brands. Front Row was an integral part of the 5 billion revenue base of Comcast-Spectacor.
Before Comcast, Lencheski was Founder, CEO, and President of Adweek/Brandweek award-winning sports marketing agency SKI & Company, the first-ever global agency of record designation by General Motors for their General Motors Racing global operating group. Chris was a multiple team owner in the NASCAR Sprint and Nationwide Series, as well as owner and governor of the International Hockey League franchise; the Quad City Mallards – The IHL Affiliate of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers. The Mallards were “IHL Franchise of the Year 2009-2010”.
Chris is a graduate of Syracuse University and an alumnus of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. Chris is on the Board of Directors of BuddhaTix and Senior Advisor to Management and Board of MP & Silva. He is a three-term member of the Board of Advisors to the Syracuse University David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, as well as Founding Member of the Ivy Sports Symposium Board. Finally, Mr. Lencheski is also currently an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University.