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.

Paul Tsuchiya

Paul Tsuchiya, VP, Event and Sponsorship Marketing



Name: Paul Tsuchiya
Age: 41
New title: Vice president, event and sponsorship marketing, Visa
Previous title: Principal at High Post Consulting, Los Angeles
First job: “Gofer” at NFL Properties, creative services offices, Los Angeles. I fetched a lot of photos.
Education: Bachelor of arts, UCLA; J.D., Harvard Law
Resides: Pasadena, Calif.; relocating to Bay Area
Grew up: Honolulu
Last movie seen: “National Treasure”
Favorite movie: The original “Star Wars”
Favorite musician: Miles Davis or John Coltrane
Typical hours worked in a week: 50-60
Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii, the big island, and Leucadia, just north of San Diego
Last book read: “Taking on the Yankees: Winning and Losing in the Business of Baseball, 1903 to 2003” by Henry D. Fetter
Executive most admired: Peter Johnson, IMG. He’s a silent killer.

Paul Tsuchiya joins Visa as vice president, event and sponsorship marketing with an all-star sponsorship lineup that includes the Olympics, NFL, NASCAR, Disney and Broadway. Before joining Visa, Tsuchiya ran his own consulting firm, was COO for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and was a vice president at IMG.

What’s the charter in your new position?
To bring some fresh thinking and outside perspective to leveraging one of the best sponsorship portfolios out there. I’m also looking into some new areas: figuring out video gaming and how we reach and talk to young adults. Visa has the chance to be the Gatorade of online gaming, as that rolls out. We’d also like to strengthen our alliance with Disney. Overall, I want to get to that intersection of entertainment and sports and make sure we can crack the code there. Anything Visa does is well-integrated and across great properties, so it’s really a great lump of clay.

What brand do you admire the most?
Nike. They revolutionized the ability to promote brands through iconic athletes, as opposed to doing official league or team sponsorships. They showed there was a new way to build a brand, and a lot of companies have followed them since then.

Any career advice for aspiring sports marketers?
Driving revenue is the quickest way to move up the ranks, so that may be the best place to start, even if you don’t want to be in sales your whole life.

Your biggest professional accomplishment?
Helping to bring the Grammys back to New York City in 2003 after a five-year hiatus. We did that under an orange-level terror alert, and amidst the 17 unions that have jurisdiction within Madison Square Garden, so it was challenging.

Your biggest professional disappointment?
Not signing Yao Ming when I was working for IMG in China in the late ’90s. We had dinner with his parents, but we couldn’t quite convince the powers that be [at IMG]. Everyone in Hong Kong and Cleveland is kinda kicking themselves now. I’d be lying if I told you we knew he was going to be as important globally as he’s turned out, but we knew he’d be big in Asia.

This Career spotlight is courtesy of the Sports Business Journal. CLICK HERE to visit their official website.

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