The LA Sparks named Vanessa Shay team president on Monday, when she begins her role overseeing all business operations of the WNBA organization.
Shay was previously Director of Revenue for NWSL’s San Diego Wave FC, guiding the new franchise through its expansion effort from the team’s inception in 2021. In this role, she oversaw the entire generation revenue for the team, including signing team kit sponsors. and medical partner and helping the team record its first set of back-to-back sales.
Prior to joining Wave FC, Shay spent 13 years as Vice President of Global Partnerships for Anschutz Entertainment Group, with which she oversaw the launch of LA Live. She was also named the winner of the 2018 International Sports Leaders Under 40 award and completed a Women in Sports Executive program at the Tuck School of Business in Dartmouth.
“In partnership with Sparks ownership and General Manager/Head Coach Derek Fisher, I look forward to making an immediate impact on the franchise for fans, partners and our players,” Shay said in a statement. “The Sparks are one of the premier franchises in women’s sports, and I am committed to innovating in our business operations and building on the organization’s championship heritage.”
In the same statement, Sparks managing partner Eric Holoman said the organization was “thrilled” with the hire.
“Through an extensive national search, it became clear that Vanessa was the right leader for our organization,” Holoman said. “His strong business experience in the sports and entertainment market in Los Angeles will be instrumental in the continued growth of the Sparks. She has a deep passion for women’s sports and is committed to leading the Sparks through a new era of success.
Shay fills a vacant role since Danita Johnson left to become DC United’s chief business operations officer at the end of 2020. The former Sparks president and COO became the first black man or woman to hold the position. president of the MLS team and one of the highest-ranking female club executives in league history.
The Sparks are 2-2 and face the Minnesota Lynx in their home opener Tuesday night at Cyrpto.com Arena.