Atlanta United today won a league-high five awards at Major League Soccer’s year-end Club Executive Awards ceremony that recognizes individuals and clubs for outstanding contributions off the playing field. The ceremony was highlighted by President Darren Eales being recognized as the Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year.
Under Eales’ leadership, Atlanta United had one of the most successful expansion club launches in professional sports history. The club broke multiple league records including single-season average attendance (49,257), season tickets sales (36,000-plus), single-game attendance (71,874) and total home attendance (819,404). The club also set numerous records on the field including goals scored by an expansion team in its first season (70) and goal differential (+30), fourth best in MLS history.
Also at the Club Executive Award ceremony, Don Rovak, Vice President of Sales and Service for AMB Sports and Entertainment was named Ticket Sales Executive of the Year as the club broke virtually every single attendance record in MLS history. Additionally, Atlanta United was named Marketing Team of the Year, while Senior Director of Marketing and Fan Engagement, Skate Noftsinger was named Marketing Executive of the Year, marking the first time in league history a team won both the Marketing Team of the Year and Marketing Executive of the Year. Finally, Manny Tejeda was named Team Administrator of the Year. Atlanta United led all MLS clubs with five total awards on the evening followed by several clubs winning two awards: Chicago Fire, New York Red Bulls, Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. A full rundown of the Club Executive Awards can be found below.
Also, on Wednesday night, Atlanta United dominated the League Ticketing Awards by taking home 23 total awards as a team, including the Commissioner’s Club Award for the top team in season tickets sold and the top team in group tickets sold. Accepting the awards on behalf of the organization were Jordan Otto, Senior Manager of Ticket Revenue and Strategy, and Keith Roberts, Manager of Ticket Sales. Individually, Atlanta United had each of the top five season ticket reps in MLS, led by Katie Ottolin with Joe Jackson, Brock Wright, Marco Patrie and Jess Rojas rounding out the top five. Fellow season ticket staff members Tim Van Duyne and Dillon Jemmott finished in the top 15. Atlanta also had eight of the top 11 representatives in new season ticket sales, including each of the top six. In group sales, Atlanta had three of the four representatives with Kacey Sims finishing in second place, with Orlando Ruiz and Tim Jameson rounding out the top four. However, those three led all new group ticket buyers.
2017 MLS Club and Executive Award Winners:
Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year – Darren Eales, Atlanta United
Ticket Sales Executive of the Year – Don Rovak, Atlanta United
Marketing Executive of the Year – Sarah Kate Noftsinger, Atlanta United
Marketing Team of the Year – Atlanta United
Team Administrator of the Year presented by Sportscorp Travel – Manny Tejeda, Atlanta United
Additional award winners
Corporate Partnerships Executive of the Year – Chris Shewfelt, Toronto FC
Ticket Sales Team of the Year – Seattle Sounders FC
Corporate Partnerships Team of the Year – Portland Timbers
Marisa Colaiano Community Relations Club of the Year presented by MLS WORKS – New York Red Bulls
Public Relations Team of the Year – Sporting Kansas City
Club Retailer of the Year – Columbus Crew SC
Platform Activation of the Year – TBD
Business Analytics Team of the Year – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Enhanced Lead Scoring)
Ticketing Sales Impact Award presented by the National Sales Center powered by SeatGeek – Chicago Fire (Outside Sales Program)
Digital Team of the Year – Philadelphia Union
Social Media Activation of the Year – D.C. United (Last Call at RFK)
Digital Content Experience of the Year – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Becoming Canadian: The Alphonso Davies Story)
Best Use of Access in Content – Chicago Fire (Bastian Schweinsteiger’s Arrival)
Security Team of the Year – Orlando City SC
Operations Staff of the Year – New York Red Bulls
Supporter Management Team of the Year – Sporting Kansas City
Athletic Training Staff of the Year presented by Mueller Sports Medicine – Houston Dynamo
Equipment Manager of the Year – Daniel Laroche, New York City FC