Sports Career Spotlight

We've been featuring executives from the sports industry since 2001. Naturally, some of these executives have moved onward and upward in their sports careers. We believe these profiles remain relevant and valuable because they highlight the hard work, dedication, brilliant successes, and lessons learned in a variety of career paths through the sports industry.

Cullen Maxey

Cullen Maxey, Vice President, Corporate Partnerships

Arizona Diamondbacks


Maxey applies expertise in Phoenix market for Diamondbacks

Cullen Maxey grew up in Arizona and has been involved with the area’s professional and collegiate sports teams for the last 10 years. Maxey started his professional career with the Phoenix Suns in 1997 before moving on to the NHL’s Coyotes in 2001. He now joins the Arizona Diamondbacks after two years with Sun Devil Sports Marketing at his alma mater, Arizona State University. Maxey will lead the Diamondbacks’ corporate partnerships division.

Age: 36
New title: Vice president, corporate partnerships, Arizona Diamondbacks
Previous title: General manager, Sun Devil Sports Marketing
First job: Busboy
College education: Bachelor of science, communications, Arizona State University (1993)
Resides: Chandler, AZ with wife Brenda and children William and Elizabeth
Grew up: Phoenix
Executive most admired: Shawn Hunter, president and chief marketing officer, Anschutz Entertainment Group-Sports
Brand most admired: ESPN
Favorite vacation spot: San Diego
Last movie seen: “Cars”
Favorite movie: “Bull Durham”
Favorite musician: Billy Joel

What will be the biggest challenge in your position?

Being in a saturated sports market, the biggest challenge will be developing new philosophies that will really enhance our partners’ experiences and their returns. There is not a lot that has not been done in this market.

What is the difference between working in college and pro sports?

There is just a different mind-set with college athletics because there are so many other factors. It’s not just about wins, losses and revenues.

What is the biggest career risk you’ve taken?

I started with the Phoenix Suns in 1997 and that was a pretty secure job, so the biggest risk I took was moving into hockey with the Coyotes. At the time I moved in 2001, it had loads of upside but probably more downside with the team possibly leaving town and a new arena deal that was very much in limbo due to an ownership change.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?

Everything did work out with the Coyotes, so I had the chance to help open the Glendale Arena (now Arena). The feeling of opening night after years of hard work, just standing there and watching the opening night ceremonies was really a great feeling for me and my staff.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?

That’s pretty easy — it was the day the NHL canceled the season. That happened to take place within the same year as the new arena opening and you watched all the momentum and everything get sucked right out of it with the season being canceled.

This career spotlight is courtesy of the SportsBusiness Journal. CLICK HERE to visit their official website.

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