SVP, Business Development, USVCC
Jim Connelly is an accomplished Senior Executive and Marketing Innovator with more than 35 years of success across the sports, entertainment, media, and licensing industries. Leveraging extensive experience in driving industry innovation and business transformation to generate market dominance and recurring revenue streams, he is a valuable asset for companies working on brand building and positioning, licensing and distribution issues, or on change management initiatives.
His broad areas of expertise include strategic partnerships, sports marketing, sponsorship, brand development, licensing, operations, budgeting, P&L, negotiations, international business, and event management.
Throughout his executive career, Mr. Connelly has held leadership positions at companies including IMG, World Wrestling Entertainment, the National Football League, and Cunard Line. As Senior VP of Special Projects for IMG from November 2012 to April 2017, his responsibilities included overseeing the company’s collegiate licensing operations with retail sales in the range of $4.5 billion for the collegiate market. He also oversaw special projects and event enhancement initiatives. This followed three years as Senior VP of Global Licensing, Home Entertainment and Publishing with World Wrestling Entertainment, where he doubled WWE retail toy sales to more than $250 million annually. He previously spent more than two decades in senior executive positions with the NFL, where he was instrumental in catapulting the NFL Properties license business from $4 million to $250 million in global merchandise sales in less than two years with strategic positioning of the NFL brand in international markets. He also served as Managing Director of the NFL Europe League from 2001 to 2007, where he was recruited by the NFL Commissioner to oversee six teams and built and launched two new franchises to deliver a 100% boost in attendance and sponsorship. He has been responsible for transforming IMG’s Collegiate Licensing Company with a new strategic vision and roadmap to drive growth and increase brand valuations with $160-$170 million in annual royalties to university partners; for spearheading the NFL marketing strategy that led to the first offshore league game before a sold-out crowd at the UK’s Wembley Stadium; and for selling the first ever $3 million WWE live event tour sponsorship while also creating new home entertainment content that drove a 1000% increase in digital revenues.
Jim holds a BSBA from Georgetown University, and an MBA from The Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary. He has been designated one of the ten Most Influential Licensing Leaders industry-wide, and has been a keynote speaker at the Super Bowl.
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