The Madison Square Garden Company announced Wednesday that it has hired Geraldine Calpin, a former WeWork and Hilton Worldwide executive, as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, effective immediately.
According to a press release, Calpin “will be responsible for setting an overall marketing and digital vision for MSG that helps drive growth across the Company’s portfolio of renowned sports and entertainment assets.”
Those assets are formidable. In addition to the venue from which it takes its name, MSG’s portfolio includes New York’s Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theater, Southern California’s Forum, Chicago’s Chicago Theatre and Boston’s Wang Theatre. MSG’s assets also include sports teams such as the New York Knicks and New York Rangers and live properties, most notably the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes.
Calpin will also focus on developing the brand of MSG Sphere, the new Las Vegas and London venues MSG has planned that the company says “will pioneer the next generation of immersive entertainment experiences.”
“I look forward to joining this dedicated, passionate team to support the Company’s vision for its legendary brands,” Calpin said in a statement, “as well as for its next chapter – MSG Sphere, as these groundbreaking music and entertainment venues become part of an unparalleled global portfolio.”
As Chief Marketing Officer, Calpin led WeWork’s marketing strategy as it expanded across Europe. That role followed Calpin’s 16-year tenure at Hilton Worldwide, which culminated in her stint as Chief Marketing and Digital Officer. At Hilton, Calpin set enterprise-wide marketing and digital strategies that encompassed 14 brands and 100-plus countries. She oversaw a team of more than 300 employees and annual revenue of $30 billion.]
“We are pleased to welcome Geraldine to The Madison Square Garden Company,” MSG president Andrew Lustgarten said in a statement. “Her significant expertise in marketing and brand development will be important to our efforts to strengthen our visibility in the marketplace and establish innovative ways to engage with our customers, as well as our ambitious plans to expand the MSG brand to new markets.” Calpin will report to Lustgarten.
Calpin replaces Sharon Otterman, who joined William Hill US in July. Her hiring follows other personnel changes at the Madison Square Garden Company. In Dec. 2017, Lustgarten took over as president after the unexpected resignation of president and CEO David O’Connor. In August, Richard Constable was named Executive Vice President, Global Head of Government Relations and Public Affairs. And in October, executive chairman James Dolan became MSG’s CEO.
The staff changes come as Madison Square Garden Company continues to flourish. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, the company’s revenue grew 47 percent to $1.56 billion.
Next year will likely be an eventful one for the company. As MSG has continued to push beyond the sports and live businesses — in Aug. 2017 it acquired a controlling stake in esports company Counter Logic Gaming — it has started to explore cleaving its operation into separate companies. According to Securities and Exchange Commission reports filed Oct. 4, MSG is eyeing mid-2019 as a possible target date for completing such a move.