Sunshine Soccer Group CEO and team owner Mark Frisch today announced Steve Livingstone as the first club president of the Jacksonville North American Soccer League expansion club.
Livingstone, a highly-respected sports professional with more than 23 years of experience in sports management, business development, media, public relations, sales and marketing, will lead the new Jacksonville soccer club as it prepares to begin play in the NASL in the spring of 2015. He joins the Sunshine Soccer Group with 17 years of leadership experience in the National Football League, the last eight of which he spent leading teams in the areas of business development, sales and marketing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“We’re thrilled to have Steve join us as our new team’s first soccer president,” said Frisch. “He has extensive knowledge and experience in starting up and bringing great success to professional sports teams and comes to us with a rich background including more than 20 years in professional soccer in the UK and football with the NFL. I know Steve is the right man to lead our new franchise and grow our new fan base here in Jacksonville and beyond.”
Livingstone, who will head up the club’s business development and commercial operations, will work with Sunshine Soccer Group President Dario Sala, the former Major League Soccer and Argentinian professional goalkeeper, who will also oversee the club’s soccer and technical operations as the team’s general manager.
Frisch also announced a competition to find a name for the new Jacksonville team.
“We have the makings of a great team in Steve and Dario, and I am also excited to announce that one of Steve’s first jobs will be to help us find a name for our team,” Frisch said. “We want our fans to play a part in that process by sending us their suggested names for our new team.”
The competition to name the team will begin in the coming weeks when the club will ask fans to send their suggestions, which will be incorporated into the new soccer team’s branding development. Fans will be able to post their suggested names by registering at www.jaxnasl.com. Fans who suggest the name that the club selects as the winner of the competition will be entered into a drawing to win a trip to a top professional soccer game in the UK.
“I consider it a huge honor and opportunity of a lifetime to be involved at the inception of the new Jacksonville NASL franchise,” said Livingstone. “You could say I’ve graduated from promoting American football to Europeans to promoting European football to Americans. I’m truly thrilled to have been given this opportunity by Mark and I am really looking forward to working with Dario and growing Jacksonville into one of the most successful soccer expansion franchises in U.S. soccer history. I am equally excited about meeting the fans, who will be crucial to our success. That’s why we will be seeking their input and involving them in the development of their team at every step, beginning with our competition to help us name the team.”
Prior to moving to Jacksonville in 2005, Livingstone was the team president and general manager of the Scottish Claymores in the NFL Europe League, where he attracted major sponsors and grew the team’s fan base and attendance from 6,000 to more than 18,000 fans. He successfully attracted and hosted the NFL Europe League’s World Bowl in 2003, with 30,000 fans in attendance at Glasgow’s historic Hampden Park, the world’s oldest soccer stadium.
He joined the Jaguars in 2005 and introduced the Champions Club from the NFLEL, a successful volunteer group that has helped the Jaguars sell more than 15,000 new season tickets and renew more than 40,000 during the last eight years. The Champions Club’s success inspired the development of Team Teal in 2010, which helped the Jaguars sell a NFL-record of 17,000 new season tickets. Livingstone also helped lead the Jaguars to more than 10,000 new season ticket sales in 2008.
The 45-year-old, who hails from Glasgow, Scotland, and was recently naturalized as a U.S. citizen, grew up playing soccer, rugby and American football, avidly watching the Scottish and English Premier and Champions Leagues, and was a season ticket owner with his home team, Glasgow Celtic F.C., and the Scotland National team, which played the USA in a friendly match at EverBank Field last year.
Livingstone began his sports career in media and journalism, where he was a sportswriter and editor with a number of national media outlets from 1991-1996, including the Scottish Daily Record, The Daily Mail, The Glasgow Herald, First Down and Scottish Television. He covered the Scottish and English Leagues, Champions League, FIFA World Cup Qualifications and Finals, the NFL and ten Super Bowls, and worked on Scotsport, Scottish Television’s flagship soccer show, and produced an NFL highlights show for the station from 1993-1996.
He joined the Claymores in 1996 and led the club from 2000-2005. The Claymores won the World Bowl in front of 40,000 fans at Murrayfield in Edinburgh in 1996 and appeared in the NFL Europe League Championship game in Frankfurt in 2000, but lost that game to the Danny Wuerffel-led Rhein Fire on a missed field goal.
An announcement on where the new NASL team will play its games will be made in the coming months. Fans can register their interest in purchasing season tickets for the new team now at www.jaxnasl.com. Fans who register before April 2014 will be placed in a drawing to win a trip to the World Cup Finals in Brazil next year.
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