|Title:||Director of Athletics|
Anthony J. Azama (prounounced Az-muh) was announced as the John M. Schael Director of Athletics on March 28, 2017.
Azama arrives on the Danforth Campus after spending the past two years as the Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations at Columbia University in New York City. He was responsible for the strategic direction, oversight, coordination, leadership, and active participation in the revenue generation and external functions while at Columbia.
In less than a year, Azama restructured the External Operations units – Marketing & Promotions, Communications, Sponsorship, Ticketing, Memberships, Licensing, Branding, and Merchandising to create double digit growth in each of its revenue streams while taking the department through a rebranding process.
He led the rebranding of Columbia Athletics beginning with a new mission and values statement in 2016. Columbia’s “Only Here” concept was created and designed to promote the university’s extraordinary location in New York City, its unparalleled career and lifetime opportunities that the university affords its students, its superb athletics support performance program, and its elite level status as an Ivy League institution. To tell the story, he spearheaded the enhanced environmental graphics at both the Dodge Fitness Center and the Campbell Sports Center, overhauled the athletics’ website for relaunch, and negotiated a deal for a new online Lion Store partnership with Barnes & Noble.
In addition, the Lions ticket office generated its highest revenue totals ever in a fiscal year. Five of the men’s basketball team’s seven Ivy League conference games were sold out, while football season tickets increased by nearly 40 percent in 2016. Sponsorship revenue is at Columbia’s highest level since its inception over a decade ago as Dodge Fitness Center experienced a resurgence in membership sales revenue to more than $1.5 million. Licensing royalties were also at record-high levels for Columbia Athletics.
A 1998 cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University, Azama was a three-year letterwinner on the Commodore football team and received his bachelor’s degree in human and organizational development. In 2015, he received his master’s degree in business administration from Miami.
He was also selected to the 1998 All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) Scholar-Athlete Academic Team, the SEC Good Works team, and was on the Vanderbilt Dean’s List three times from 1995-97. Following graduation, Azama was inducted into the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, Inc., a scholar-athlete award for his academic achievement, school and community leadership and football performance.
He spent nine years working at Miami University (Ohio) prior to his two-year stint at Columbia, serving as the Director of Marketing and Sales from 2006-11 before being promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing, Sales & Licensing.
Azama spearheaded the RedHawks’ Graduating Champions branding campaign and the redesign of athletic marks that increased royalties and licensed vendors. He also contributed to game day presentation through the development of FanFEST, in-game promotions, and fan experiences. In addition, Azama increased game day merchandise sales by more than 50 percent.
He assembled Miami’s first ticket sales department and the developed unique ticket products (Football Foursome, McFlex Plan, and All You Can Eat Seats), which generated six-figure revenue in ticket sales. He led an external operations team of more than 40 people that included communications, IMG, broadcasting, development, game operations, Aspire, and the ticket office.
Azama also has experience working with Florida Citrus Sports (FCSports), a sports marketing and management organization responsible for staging more than 100 events including the Capital One Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl and the Gridiron Classic College All-Star Game. Azama joined Florida Citrus Sports in June 1998 as the Associate Director of the Gridiron Classic College All-Star Game.