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Ilitch Holdings, Inc. | VP, Corporate Partnerships | Detroit, MI


Ilitch Holdings, Inc. (IHI) provides professional services to the companies founded by Mike & Marian Ilitch (Ilitch companies). IHI is a family-owned company and the umbrella holding company of the Ilitch family of companies. Headquartered in Detroit Michigan, IHI encompasses leading brands in the food, sports and entertainment industries, including:

Sports & Entertainment Group (“SEG”)

  • Detroit Tigers & Comerica Park

  • Detroit Red Wings & Little Caesars Arena

  • Olympia Entertainment, including the Fox Theatre

  • Entertainment Joint Venture w/Detroit Pistons

  • Other Civic, Charitable & Business Initiatives

Other Interests

  • Little Caesars Pizza

  • Blue Line Foodservice Distribution

  • Champion Foods

  • Little Caesars Pizza Kits Fundraising Program

  • Olympia Development/The District Detroit

  • The MotorCity Casino & Hotel

  • Other Civic, Charitable & Business Initiatives

Reporting to the SVP, Corporate Sponsorship, this position will oversee all aspects of the sponsorship sales operations. The successful executive will be a hands-on leader who is an experienced, transformational sales leader and manager. This senior sales leader will also be adept operating strategically, helping to implement processes, motivate others and generate business success.

Any interested candidates should contact Turnkey Search directly. Contacting Ilitch Holdings will only delay consideration of your qualifications.

Position Summary

Vision. The position is a key revenue driver and leader of the Sports & Entertainment’s corporate partnerships team. This person will assist the SVP in leading the sales staff, including holding a group of direct reports. The position handles sponsorship sales, renewals and upsells. SEG is working towards the creation and implementation of a centralized group to assemble, value and sell all existing and new assets across all the SEG properties. This new, more centralized approach is envisioned to create synergies for SEG and deliver buying efficiencies for brands and agencies who wish to buy sponsorships and media across SEG’s robust landscape of properties & assets.

Approach. It is important to carefully select and curate the “right” long-lasting relationships and partnerships with brands that are aligned with SEG’s core values. Core areas of responsibility include: valuation, packaging & pricing strategies; go-to-market sales & marketing strategies & tactics; sales & pipeline tracking & management systems (including reporting systems); negotiations; retention & growth; mentoring, managing and developing staff in this new, centralized group. This position and this department will collaborate with many SEG stakeholders, including marketing, ticket sales, operations, finance, human resources, legal and other core shared services.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Responsible for the preparation and implementation of a strategic plan for sponsorship sales, including but not limited to: projecting, managing and delivering revenue and expense budgets, ensuring timely execution and focusing on an immediate and long-term business plan.

  • Develop and maintain a strategic prospecting strategy to create new sales opportunities and align appropriate resources to pursue the same in support of the department’s business objectives.

  • Establish the organization’s pricing and available inventory of sellable sponsorship assets to ensure the corporate partnerships department is positioned to maximize is revenue potential.

  • Create goals and objectives for the sales team in line with business objectives and departmental goals designed to improve revenues and profits.

  • Ensure relationships with strategic partners are effectively built and maintained. Identify and/or creates new opportunities for profitable business growth.

  • Build, develop and maintain a competitive, forward facing, best in class sales team.

  • Develop a tech driven culture allowing for strategic and targeted decision making and deployment of resources. Tools used include CRM, Tableau, Hoovers, etc.

  • Build dynamic dashboards and real time progress to measure against department objectives.

  • Assist in creating a proactive and integrated sales process strategy that increases internal visibility to sponsor proposals for more collaborative and ultimately more efficient approval of pitches.

  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality.

  • Collaborate across the Sports & Entertainment organization with multiple departments, including building operations, finance, marketing, sales, human resources, legal, among others.

  • Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach on a consistent basis. Demonstrate a leadership approach/style that promotes the values of the organization.

  • Manage a Talent Management program to identify key talent, strengthen skills to increase output, make adjustments where necessary, build a pipeline of candidates.

  • Help define our value proposition to be used to sell available resources.

  • Research current and projected industry best practices and trends to ensure sales strategies are competitive within the market.

  • Foster productive relationships with corporate partnership colleagues across Sports & Entertainment to understand marketplace trends and best practices.

  • Assist in ensuring contracts are executed in a timely manner following developed guidelines; ensuring coordinated distribution and communication between legal, accounting and other pertinent departments.

  • Ensure facilitation in the development and maintenance of consistent business relationships with clients and contacts while ensuring high levels of client satisfaction by providing outstanding service and results.

  • Develop and manage the budget for the department, manage profits and losses, and regularly monitor the budget to assist with real time financial projections.

  • Create a best in class B2B program to promote top to top relationships amongst our clients, thus adding value to our partnerships, which will result in increased investment and a quicker turn on renewals.

Qualifications, Skills and Education Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on business, management, sports, sales or related field.

  • 10+ years of progressively responsible and relevant experience in corporate partnership sales, renewals, and upsells.

  • Proven corporate partnerships leader with a demonstrated track record of performance and business achievements.

  • Strong track record of developing and implementing corporate partnership strategies that have consistently met or exceeded planned objectives.

  • Evidence of being a strategic thinker with the ability to develop and implement processes and plans.

  • Evidence of analytical data utilization that drive a business forward.

  • Successful leadership track record with high ethical standards.

  • Evidence of highly developed collaboration, persuasion, relationship building and interpersonal skills that results in the trust from peers, public and private stakeholders and company ownership/leadership. 

  • Established leadership, management and organizational experience, directing the outcome of multiple, complex projects.

  • Demonstrated communication effectiveness in all forms and the ability to educate and inform broad audiences with evidence of well-developed influencing, persuasion and negotiation skills.

  • Proficient at Microsoft applications. Internet, professional databases. Evidence of knowledge of current technologies and remain up to date with processes and best practices emerging in the industry.

  • No employment or contractual restrictions due to existing confidentiality and/or non-competition agreement and ability and willingness to sign a confidentiality and non-competition agreement with an Ilitch company.

Preferred Qualifications 

  • Master’s Degree in business, management, sports, sales or related field.

  • Knowledge of the Detroit market, including key sponsors and contacts.

  • Experience working in the sports and entertainment industry

Characteristic Qualifications

Leadership, Work Ethic, and Culture

  • Strong leadership skills and business acumen.

  • High energy and work ethic.

  • Demonstrates commitment to the Company’s core values.

  • Projects a positive image as well as inspiring trust and credibility with stakeholders.

  • Aligns words with actions; follows through on commitments; takes ownership, responsibility and accountability for actions and behavior.

  • Mature, hands-on executive with a player-coach mentality; able to personally sell as well as be a sales leader and mentor

  • Low ego; approachable; adheres to processes but is non-political and non-bureaucratic.

Judgment, Decision-Making and Sense of Urgency

  • Demonstrates exceptional judgment in carrying out duties.

  • Able to clearly define complex issues; identifies and discusses potential solutions with key stakeholders; shapes opinions and works to build consensus as appropriate; uses broad knowledge and common sense throughout process.

  • Acts with purpose and urgency in making timely recommendations and decisions.


  • Communicates clearly and effectively; possesses excellent interpersonal skills.

  • Keeps executive leadership fully and completely informed of important issues/aspects of the corporate partnerships department’s performance.

  • Over-communicates key messages as appropriate to internal stakeholders.

  • Uses right communication tone, manner and channel in all circumstances.

  • Actively listens and acknowledges conflicting points of view; treats all points of view with respect, even if he/she disagrees.

Executive Presence

  • Able to achieve immediate credibility with stakeholders by possessing appropriate composure, confidence, knowledge, clarity, and professionalism.

  • Exhibits a team-oriented approach.