Cole Gahagan has been named as the new leader of the Learfield IMG College agency after it was announced that current president and chief executive, Greg Brown, will retire.
Gahagan steps up to his new role after only joining the company in January. Learfield IMG College appointed Gahagan, formerly chief commercial officer of licensed sports merchandise manufacturer and retailer Fanatics, as its president of content, revenue and enterprise solutions.
In this role, he has overseen the company’s collegiate multi-media rights content and sales, as well as its suite of services, including ticketing, licensing and venue technology enterprises. Prior to his time at Fanatics, Gahagan was chief revenue officer for Ticketmaster, and senior-vice president of business development and strategy for Live Nation.
Following the leadership transition, Brown will serve as co-chairman of the board of directors and advisor to the company. Brown began with Learfield in 1984 selling sponsorships for the Iowa State Cyclone Radio Network. He rose quickly through the ranks and was named Learfield’s president and chief executive in 2009 following the retirement of founder, Clyde Lear.
The Learfield Sports agency announced its merger with the IMG College division of the WME|IMG agency (now Endeavor) in 2017, a deal that Brown oversaw. He said: “When Cole joined us in January, I had in my mind transitioning to this new role later in 2020. But with college sports on virtual hold, this lull is an ideal time for the company leadership to transition now so we will be well positioned to serve our partners and sponsor brands on the other side of this national crisis. Cole brings extraordinary experiences to the challenges and opportunities ahead.”
Gahagan added: “Now more than ever, our Learfield IMG College team has a responsibility to usher the collegiate athletics industry into a new era of growth; leveraging data mining, digital tools and highly compelling content to engage more fans.
“Over the last several years, we have evolved from serving as an asset creation and sales company to a fully integrated media and tech leader — and we’re only getting started. I’m humbled to now help lead this new charge and am beyond bullish for what lies ahead — both for our people and our partners.”