Ilitch Sports & Entertainment names Chris McGowan president, CEO

Detroit News

Detroit — Chris McGowan, a former executive with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, has been named president and CEO of Ilitch Sports & Entertainment.

In the role, McGowan will oversee the business division of the Tigers, Red Wings, The District Detroit, Olympia Parking and the Ilitches’ stake in 313 Presents.

McGowan, who replaces Chris Granger and starts his job Jan. 3, will report directly to Christopher Ilitch.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Chris and his family to Detroit and our organization,” Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, said in a statement “He has a proven track record in professional sports and live entertainment, and a passion for creating exceptional experiences. I look forward to working with Chris and his team to deliver innovative, engaging, and inspiring programming and campaigns that will appeal to our fans, colleagues, and partners.”

Said McGowan: “I’m thrilled about the opportunity to join the Ilitch organization and to lead Ilitch Sports and Entertainment. It’s an exciting time for both the Red Wings and Tigers, and The District Detroit is a sports and entertainment epicenter unlike any other in the country. I look forward to getting started and helping bring memorable experiences to the great people of Detroit and beyond for years to come.”

Ilitch Sports & Entertainment oversees sales and marketing within the Ilitch empire, and oversees venues such as Comerica Park, Little Caesars Arena and Fox Theatre, and several Metro Detroit concert venues.

McGowan was president and CEO of the Portland Trail Blazers from 2012 until he resigned in November amid allegations of workplace misconduct levied against Neil Olshey, president of basketball operations.

One of McGowan’s last notable moves was hiring former Piston Chauncey Billups to be the Blazers’ coach.

McGowan also was CEO of Vulcan Sports & Entertainment, which in part oversaw the Seahawks and Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders. Previously, McGowan worked with Los Angeles-based AEG, and was promoted to COO by the time he left. He helped open the Staples Center, now Arena.

A graduate of the University of Delaware, McGowan is married to Susan, and the couple has two sons.

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