Dorna Sports has announced that they have hired former NBA executive Dan Rossomondo to the position of Chief Commercial Officer. The American will replace Manel Arroyo, who stepped down from the post earlier this year. Rossomondo will be in charge of negotiating, managing, and growing the commercial side of the business, including broadcasting rights, sponsorship, and other commercial tie-ins.
The move is a radical break from the past for Dorna. Previously, pretty much all of the senior executive posts were held either by the original group who set up Dorna to take on the commercial rights for grand prix motorcycle racing back in 1992, or by family members. They have rarely fished outside of that talent pool for senior positions, and never outside of Spain, or even Catalonia.
It is a sign of Dorna's desire for expansion beyond its traditional audience. Though growth of the sport has been steady, MotoGP has struggled to truly break into new markets. Attempts, such as with the Amazon Prime series MotoGP Unlimited, have floundered. And despite Dorna's best efforts, MotoGP has been unable to crack the extremely lucrative US market in the way that F1 has managed to do.
The replacement of Manel Arroyo was part of this. Arroyo, a little like Bernie Ecclestone in F1, had been the right person for the era of TV broadcasting, helping to take the sport to a global audience by signing a number of high-profile TV deals and sponsorships. (He was assisted in no small part in this by the emergence of Valentino Rossi as a global superstar who was bigger than the sport and tapped in to new audiences).
But Arroyo was less suited to the digital era. Dorna's recent broadcast deals have raised a lot of money, but left MotoGP behind a paywall. This has seen TV audiences crater, often by an order of magnitude or more. While the additional income from the TV deals has been shared with the teams through the contracts Dorna has with them, teams - especially in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes - have struggled to attract sponsors, with only a small audience to offer.
Rossomondo's role will be to bring some of the experience he has from the NBA - one of the biggest sports worldwide - and apply it to MotoGP and WorldSBK. At the NBA, the American was in charge of sponsorship, media, licensing, and more. The biggest challenge he faces is to expand and exploit the sport on digital platforms, where MotoGP has often struggled. Motorcycle racing is a spectacular sport with a lot of exciting moments, which should be tailor-made for creating viral moments on social media and beyond. How he approaches that will determine his success.
The press release from Dorna appears below:
Introducing: Dan Rossomondo
Dorna Sports welcomes new Chief Commercial Officer
Wednesday, 05 April 2023
After a global search for a new Chief Commercial Officer, Dorna Sports is delighted to welcome Dan Rossomondo to the role. Dan joins the company from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and is ready to put his commitment, drive and experience into one of the world’s biggest sports entertainment properties: MotoGP™. Dan will lead the media rights, global commercial partnerships and digital business teams, using his expertise to fuel the continued international growth of MotoGP™’s profile, audience and revenue.
Dan arrives at Dorna from his role as Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships and Media at the NBA. After gaining his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown and then an MBA from New York University, his career began in advertising sales at Madison Square Garden and has since taken him to IMG, Time Warner Global Media, the NBA and now, Dorna Sports.
At the NBA, Dan worked across a range of different business lines, both domestically and internationally, and was responsible for substantial growth across sponsorship, media, global attractions, licensing, and retail. He and his team negotiated agreements across an array of NBA properties and oversaw sales relationships with Walt Disney and Warner Media Discovery, as well as rights holders across the world. His experience in driving the growth of the NBA as a sports, entertainment and lifestyle property sees him join Dorna Sports with a proven track record of passion and results, ready to focus on taking MotoGP™ to even greater heights.
Daniel Rossomondo, CCO of Dorna Sports: "MotoGP is truly a global sport that combines technological innovation with the riders' ability, athleticism and skill. They are the heroes of the show and the sport is spectacular to watch. Right now, MotoGP is perfectly positioned to cultivate its current fan base at the same time as attracting new audiences, with incredible scope to push boundaries and take on fresh opportunities. It’s high paced, and the passion from riders, the people in the paddock and the sport’s millions of fans is something special. When I met Carmelo, Enrique and Carlos, our views on the sport and the business quickly aligned. I’m really excited to jump into the role."
Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: "We couldn’t be happier to welcome Dan. He is part of a real new era, not only on track as we enjoy the biggest season ever for MotoGP, but also behind the scenes and within Dorna. MotoGP is a global property, with millions of fans around the world, and welcoming Dan to the company makes us more global too. He brings a new perspective, a new outlook, and helps us to ensure we have an experienced, varied team charged with making this sport the biggest and best it possibly can be. We want to continue the incredible trajectory we’ve already begun, and Dan will be an incredible ally.
"Dan's vision for the commercial future of MotoGP fits perfectly with our views: fresh ideas, increased reach, and commitment to take the sport to new heights. At the helm, I’m confident he will provide existing partners with the best possible results and relationships, and at the same time will work to search out new, like-minded media, marketing and licensing partners. We know Dan can bring a lot to Dorna and our biggest property, MotoGP, and on a personal level we’re also very much looking forward to working with him. We’re very excited to begin this new chapter."
Dan will be welcomed to the role in a press conference at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas on Friday the 14th of April at 12:00 LT, where he will be available to meet the media and take questions.