Jenny Boss, Marina Granovskaya, Kim Ng and other heads of sports
The most popular and successful team in the NBA, along with the Boston Celtics, is led by a woman. Also the current champion of the Champions League, as its CEO has been the right-hand man of billionaire Roman Abramovich since his arrival at the club, even now after his sale.
There are more and more women in management positions in major sports leagues. This includes the NFL, MLB, and MLS as well. Many of them even add tournaments to their showcases during their tenure. Others are on the way.
At the start of Women’s Month, let’s take a look at some of today’s female sports leaders.
Marina, Samoura and other women in football
The 47-year-old chief executive, Marina Granovskaya, has served as the right-hand man for Chelsea owner Abramovich, who announced on Wednesday that he was selling the club due to his association with Vladimir Putin’s government.
The great influence of Granovskaya, who also holds a Canadian passport, in the companies of the Russian billionaire, led to her becoming his official representative in 2010. She was promoted to her current position in 2014, and was a key player in the contract with the Nike brand, which will earn them 900 million pounds £ when the deal expires in 2032.
Under the tutelage of Granovskaia, the club made the 11 largest sales and 10 largest acquisitions in its history. It was his biggest sale Eden Hazard For Real Madrid, who paid about 100 million euros to the Belgian footballer.
Since 2013, the club has won the Premier League twice, the FA Cup, the Champions League and now the Club World Cup title. His future with the team is uncertain once Abramovich sells him in the coming weeks.
On the other hand, Senegalese diplomat Fatma Samoura was the first woman elected as FIFA’s Secretary General in 2016. Prior to her appointment, she worked for the United Nations, where she led several humanitarian programmes. A few weeks ago, he was also appointed to the Senate of the FIA (International Automobile Federation) that oversees the management and financing of the said entity.
On her part, Delia Smith, is a famous English chef and TV presenter. Also the most involved person in the English Premier League team, Norwich City. Along with her husband, writer Michael Wayne Jones, they have been involved in the Norfolk County Club for more than two decades. Their traditional phrase “Football is about people; listen to them, value them and help them succeed,” has made them a fan favorite.
In 2019, Mexican businesswoman and government official, Alejandra de la Vega, became the first woman to have a first-class team from Mexico. Four years ago, he acquired most of the shares in FC Juárez, then bought Lobos de Puebla to secure his place in the first division.
The president of Liga MX has highlighted the development of competition as a business for first-class clubs.
Also in 2019, coach Mariana Gutierrez was appointed Tournament Director of Liga MX Femenil. In 2021, businesswoman Julie Orman, actress Natalie Portman, and other celebrities founded NWSL’s Angel City Football Club.
Women in the MLB, NBA, and NFL
Among the legacies left by Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, who led the Miami Marlins before resigning this week, is the appointment of Kim Ng as general manager in 2020. With this appointment, Ng becomes the first female GM to hold the position in MLB as well as the first with Asian roots. .
Ng also served as the Senior Vice President of Major League Baseball Operations. Also as an assistant manager for the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. The first woman in the United States to purchase an MLB franchise was Joan Payson, who in 1957 was the co-founder and majority owner of the New York Mets.
Marge Shot, which later acquired the Cincinnati Reds in 1984, departed in 1999 after making discriminatory comments. These facts earned him a two-year sentence in MLB and his eventual departure.
Meanwhile, in the NBA offices, there are three women who own the majority on the team: Jenny Boss (Los Angeles Lakers), Gayle Benson (New Orleans Pelicans) and Judy Allen (Portland Trail Blazers). Also, Sheila Johnson, who was the first African-American woman to own or partner with three professional sports franchises: the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA), and the Washington Mystics (WNBA). In all, there are six women as presidents, chief operating officers or CEOs. There are also two general managers at G-League.
Returning to the topic of Buss, the CEO began her career at the age of 19 as the general manager of the Los Angeles Strings professional tennis team, which belonged to her late father, Jerry Buss. When her father passed away in 2013, 66% of his shares passed to her and her five other children. In 2017, Jenny completely acquired the Lakers.
Meanwhile, Benson is the owner of the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA and the New Orleans Saints in the NFL. He was the first of two franchises in the major sports leagues. It was later imitated by Allen, sister of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who controls Trail Blazers, in the Seattle Seahawks and has stock in the Seattle Sounders. Benson and Allen joined the NFL: Sheila Ford Hump (Detroit Lions), Virginia Halas McCasky (Chicago Bears), and Amy Adams Strink (Tennessee Titans).
Georgia Frontier was the most prominent owner of the NFL, in a historically male-dominated league, when it owned the Los Angeles Rams and moved to St. Louis, winning their first Super Bowl in 1999 before returning to the Angels; With the new administration they were the champions of the last Super Bowl.
Finally, there are also other cases such as the former world champion and Olympic medalist in athletics Anna Guevara, director of the National Sports Committee of Mexico, and Sarah Rosario, president of the Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico (COBOR), who are two great leaders when making sporting decisions for their countries.
They are the leaders of today, the pioneers of the present and who continue to open paths for the leaders of tomorrow.