Ilitch Sports + Entertainment announced that Ryan Gustafson has been named Senior Vice President of Business Operations Strategy. With a wealth of experience and a strong record of accomplishment, Gustafson will focus on project management, operational support and business development strategy to drive future growth. He begins on February 15, 2022, reporting to Chris McGowan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ilitch Sports + Entertainment.
Ryan’s experience, inventive thinking and integrity, along with his highly collaborative style, will be a great asset to the entire Ilitch Sports + Entertainment organization in this wide-reaching and highly visible role.
“We are excited that Ryan is joining our senior leadership group in Detroit, said McGowan. “His vast experience across multiple leagues and teams will be a valuable addition to Ilitch Sports + Entertainment as we continue to look for innovative ways to serve our fans.”
Gustafson brings nearly 15 years of strategic planning and revenue generation experience. Most recently, he served as strategy consultant at Elevate Sports Ventures and Pegula Sports & Entertainment. Gustafson previously held the position of Team President at the Seattle Dragons (XFL) where he led all business operations. Prior to that, he served as Vice President, Strategy & Development at the Seattle Sounders, where he oversaw all revenue-generating areas for the Club, and Vice President, Strategy & Innovation at the San Diego Padres.
Gustafson has overseen the development and implementation of short and long-term strategic plans, led innovative revenue generating initiatives, and headed up special projects surrounding data and analytics.
“I’m thrilled to join Ilitch Sports + Entertainment at such an exciting time for the Red Wings, Tigers, and in The District Detroit. I want to thank Christopher Ilitch and Chris McGowan for the incredible opportunity to join the team,” said Gustafson. “I look forward to getting started and helping create memories for the great people of Detroit and beyond.”
Gustafson earned his undergrad degree at the University of Puget Sound in economics and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He will relocate to the Detroit area from Seattle.