Sarah Kirchberg is joining the MGM Resorts Sports team. She will take the lead in driving more amateur events toward the mammoth events company.
Most recently the director of sports and events at the St. Pete/Clearwater (Florida) Sports and Events, Kirchberg assumes the title of director of global sports sales. (Her position is new for MGM.) A new title also means a new home base. She is trading Florida’s sun and beach for the Las Vegas desert.
“Exciting, nerve racking… exciting!” Kirchberg says of the move. “This is the perfect time and opportunity to get outside of my comfort zone. And Florida is definitely comfortable for me.”
Kirchberg will use the contacts and knowledge gained the past 17 years in Florida to add a new element to MGM’s sports division headed by Daniel J. Rush, CSEE, CMP, CASE, vice president of global sports and events sales. Neil Johnson, also a director of global sales, has helped build MGM’s emerging esports prowess.
“I believe we are building the sports tourism dream team,” says Rush.
Kirchberg will concentrate on amateur sports—a natural fit given her background.
The addition comes at a perfect time for MGM, which has been building relationships with pro leagues expanding into Las Vegas. This includes the NHL with the Las Vegas Golden Knights, as well as other leagues playing exhibition games and holding events in the city.
Kirchberg will ensure MGM maintains a strong foothold on other levels of athletics months before the NCAA opens its first bid cycle since allowing gaming destinations to host championships.
“Quite frankly, demand led to the need for this new position,” says Rush. “We felt there is a lucrative piece of the sports tourism pie that we have not been able to focus on enough. Sarah’s experience with NGBs and other participatory sports should be a quick game changer for us.”
Creativity, problem-solving and a can-do attitude are what Kirchberg says she will most bring to the MGM team as it ventures deeper into the sports scene.
“The answer is ‘yes,’” she says. “Now what was your question?”