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World Surf League appoints UFC executive as chief strategy officer

Joseph Carr, a former senior executive at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts series, has been appointed as the World Surf League’s (WSL) chief strategy officer.

Carr, who served as a senior vice-president and head of international and content for UFC, will also serve as head of international for the WSL.

Carr will be responsible for overseeing the WSL’s strategy and corporate development, as well as the execution of international operations, sales, events and athlete development.

Carr said: “As a life-long sports fan, I've had the opportunity to witness the WSL's impressive growth over the last few years. It felt like the perfect time to join the organisation and help it further alter the landscape of sport through continued digital innovation and a commitment to its athletes.

“Few sports have such a global and passionate fan base and a lifestyle component that extends far beyond competition. I am looking forward to driving the league's expansion efforts and making the WSL a globally-recognised brand."

Carr contributed to UFC’s international expansion strategy by organising new live events around the world, managing the series’ UFC Fight Pass OTT service, and helping lead the sale of the organisation to the WME-IMG agency. He first joined UFC as a senior director of investment and strategy, having previously worked in private equity.

Carr’s appointment comes after the WSL last month named experienced sports industry figure Sophie Goldschmidt as its new chief executive.

Goldschmidt joined the WSL from the CSM Sport and Entertainment agency, and previously worked as chief commercial and marketing officer for England’s Rugby Football Union; senior vice-president and managing director of EMEA at North American basketball league the NBA; and vice-president of the Women’s Tennis Association. She began her career at German sportswear giant Adidas, where she served as the company’s tennis and women’s football sports marketing manager in the United States.

Carr will work on fulfilling Goldschmidt’s vision for expanding surfing engagement on a global basis in the lead-up to the sport’s Olympic debut at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Japan.