Daniel J. Rush, CMP, CASE
Vice President of Global Sports and Events Sales, MGM Resorts International
Daniel Rush is the first to admit Las Vegas
—a top-rated sports town—had “been catchers more than pitchers” until recently. Growing sports tourism simply wasn’t a priority for MGM Resorts International until it tapped Rush, who previously spent 15 years working in convention sales, to get the company into the game.
What was a blank canvas when Rush started in October 2013 now looks like a work of art. This spring, MGM opened T-Mobile Arena
, a facility designed to attract an NHL team. Mission accomplished: The puck drops in 2017 for the newly created franchise team. Soon after the NHL’s announcement, the Oakland Raiders began serious negotiations to relocate to Vegas, and Rush says he is working with the NCAA to change its policy to allow championship games to be held in gaming destinations.
Furthermore, Rush led the charge to convince the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics
to bring its annual convention to Las Vegas for the first time in 2020 and 2022. The official word came in late 2015.
“The announcement was a game changer for the perception of Las Vegas in the sports industry as college athletics leaders are realizing the opportunities it can provide,” says D.J. Allen, president of Xs & Os of Success
, an athletic leadership development company. “Despite the convention not being held for another four years, the NACDA decision alone will lead to many more opportunities in sports for Las Vegas.”
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The 2016 Game Changers are sponsored by Sports Pittsburgh