And now it's official.
In a statement released this morning, Tom Glick, the former chief commercial and operating officer at Manchester City, was named New York City FC's first president.
In the statement, Glick said:
“This role for this club is arguably one of the most exciting in soccer right now. I am thrilled to take up the responsibility and the challenge. After two years of laying the foundations for this inaugural season and beyond, we have an incredibly talented team both on and off the pitch. I very much look forward to playing my part in leading and supporting them as we embark on the next and most important stage of our development."
Glick, a Bostonian, replaces Tim Pernetti, whom as we just posted, is leaving the team to be the new president of IMG College Multimedia. Before taking over here, Glick worked at Manchester City as the club's chief marketer. In a 25-year career in sports, Glick started out in minor league baseball. That stint was followed by several years at the NBA, first as VP of Marketing and Team Business Operations at the league office, and later as Chief Marketing Officer for the New Jersey Nets.
From there, Glick went to England, where he served as CEO of Derby County Football Club. There, he served as a member of the Football League Board, where he was instrumental in pushing through the adoption of Financial Fair Play regulations in the Championship, League One, and League Two.
At Manchester City, Glick was put in charge of City Football Marketing. That arm was set up to promote the business and monetize its sponsorship and marketing potential. It is responsible for spreading the group’s brand and bringing on board the major international advertisers who are now so important for the balance sheet of any club.
One thing comes to mind with Glick holding this position: with his experience in minor league baseball, this might point to New York City taking a much more proactive stance towards fan engagement. An interview with the Manchester Evening News points in that direction:
Glick was quick to stress the importance of the club's relationship with fans who attend matches on a weekly basis.
He added: "We have to be affordable for our fans, that is why we have invested heavily in all aspects of the matchday experience, from the concourse to the new and unique Chairman’s Club.
Given the at times rocky, at times curiously mechanistic relationship that New York City has fostered thus far, Glick's involvement couldn't come at a better time. The season is only a month or so away, and the club badly fractured their relationship with fans through the Frank Lampard contract fiasco.
Glick showed that influence in an interview he did with the Lansing State Journal shortly after taking over at Manchester City. He was the Lansing Lugnuts GM.
“I hadn’t followed (soccer) particularly closely,” Glick said. “I tend to immerse myself in the sport in which I’m working, so that was true with baseball and basketball at those times. One of the owners at Darby County and the gentleman who put the deal together to buy the club, called me and asked if I would consider moving over with my family and running the club. It took me off guard. But as I looked more closely at it, I was intrigued. And it turned out to be an amazing move.
“Football is the world’s sport. In England, it’s the first, second and third most popular sport every week in terms of what’s on the news. So it’s just been an incredible amount of fun.
“One of the things that we did in Lansing, which was really impactful, was just saying goodbye and thank you to Lugnuts fans as they were leaving, coming through the gates on their way out the game. I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of sports and sports is built around a live-event experience. It’s something at a very young age, when I was 20, when I had my first job, that really captured me. And that lasted.”
As before, we'll be keeping an eye on this story. That said, looking into Glick's past as a sports executive, I'm heartened by what I see. Let's hope that this marks a turning point in the club's relationship with its supporters.