The Los Angeles Sports Council today announced that LAFC President & Co-Owner Tom Penn has been selected 2018 Sports Executive of the Year. Penn will be honored at the 14th Annual LA Sports Awards, to be held on Monday, March 25 at The Beverly Hilton.
“I am truly honored to receive this prestigious award, and I do so on behalf of our dedicated and talented employees who do the work every day,” said Penn. “Building LAFC and Banc of California Stadium has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I’m extremely proud of what the Club has accomplished over the past year. We are grateful to be recognized within the L.A. sports landscape as we continue to unite the world’s city through the world’s game.”
Penn helped guide L.A.’s newest MLS Club to monumental success both on and off the field. Making history in their inaugural season, the Club sold out all 17 of its MLS home matches and set an all-time MLS record in points (57) for an expansion team while finishing the season in third place in the Western Conference with a 16-9-9 record and qualifying for the Playoffs.
In addition to the launching the Club, Penn was integral in the design, build and completion of LAFC’s $350 million dollar home in the Heart of Los Angeles, Banc of California Stadium. The world class, 22,000-seat stadium is the first open-air stadium built in the City of Los Angeles since 1962 — and it opened to wide acclaim as one of the country’s premier outdoor venues.
Under Penn, LAFC and Banc of California Stadium became a true destination in L.A. for fans, families and casual bystanders, as nearly 453,000 fans attended LAFC matches in the first season.
A sports industry veteran with over 16 years of experience, Penn joined LAFC after five years as an ESPN basketball analyst, with regular appearances on SportsCenter and other ESPN programs. He is the Co-Founder and President of the Sports Leadership Institute, an organization that creates private meetings and programs for sports team owners, sports executives and college AD’s and retired athletes.
Prior to joining ESPN in 2010, Penn spent four seasons as Vice President of Basketball Operations and Assistant General Manager of the Portland Trail Blazers. From 2000 – 2007, Penn served as Assistant General Manager and legal counsel of the Memphis Grizzlies, where he worked closely with legendary NBA executive Jerry West in team related matters.
The LA Sports Awards are presented annually by the Sports Council to celebrate the year in sports in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. The ceremony also will feature the presentation of the Sportsman, Sportswoman, and Coach of the Year, and a countdown of 2018’s Top Ten moments. The awards banquet will be televised on Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket (air dates TBA).