The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx today announced the hiring of Ethan Casson as the franchise’s new Chief Executive Officer. Casson will begin his duties with the organization on Monday, August 8.
Casson returns to Minnesota after most recently serving as Chief Operating Officer of the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He spent six seasons with the 49ers, initially in 2010 as the team’s Vice President of Corporate Sales. He led a team focused on generating corporate revenue associated with the 49ers’ new stadium project. Casson spearheaded the team’s effort in securing a 20-year, $220 million naming rights partnership with Levi Strauss & Co., one of the largest naming rights deals in NFL history.
Under Casson’s direction, the first two seasons at Levi’s Stadium saw record-breaking revenue growth in several areas of the 49ers business, inclusive of ticket and premium sales and corporate partnerships. In addition, Casson helped procure some of the most prominent events in sports and entertainment, including Super Bowl 50, WrestleMania 31, the NHL Outdoor Stadium Series, Pac-12 Championship Football and various music headliners.
Casson was promoted to the position of Chief Revenue Officer for two seasons (2014, 2015), before being elevated to his current role as Chief Operating Officer. His impact on the 49ers business and success of the Levi’s Stadium project led to Casson being recognized as a member of the Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” class of 2014.
Prior to the 49ers, Casson worked for 11 years with the Timberwolves and Lynx. As Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships and Game Presentation, Casson established many long-term partnerships with key Twin Cities brands while working to enhance the overall in-arena fan experience. Before his tenure with the Timberwolves and Lynx, Casson served in Sponsorship Development with ESPN.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Ethan back to Minnesota and back to the Timberwolves and Lynx family,” said Timberwolves and Lynx majority owner Glen Taylor. “Ethan has a proven track record of success, along with the energy and enthusiasm to lead our business development efforts to unprecedented heights for our franchise. We look forward to him leading and energizing our staff, and having him and his wife Lisa become involved in the communities around the Upper Midwest as representatives of the organization.”
“I would like to personally thank Glen Taylor for this tremendous opportunity,” said Casson. “The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx organization has played such a pivotal role in the development of my career. The Twin Cities is a special place with incredibly loyal fans and a strong corporate community. I am honored to be coming back to lead the franchise’s business efforts to unparalleled success.”
Casson earned a Bachelor of Science in sports management from Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire. A standout college basketball player, he was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in July 2013 and the Colby-Sawyer College Athletic Hall of Fame in October 2015.
As previously announced, previous Chief Executive Officer Rob Moor will be transitioning into a role that will assist in the oversight of the holdings and business interests of Glen Taylor.[Minnesota Timberwolves & Lynx press release]