Haslam Sports Group Names Kristin Bernert President of Business Operations for the Columbus Crew
COLUMBUS - Haslam Sports Group (HSG) today announced that Kristin Bernert has joined the Columbus Crew as President of Business Operations.
Bernert - an Ohio native who after 10 years in executive roles with Madison Square Garden Sports recently co-founded and serves as principal of KB2 Sports - will direct all business endeavors for the Crew, including fan engagement and marketing; community partnerships and impact; game experience and facility management; ticket sales and services; corporate partnerships and overall revenue generation; and organizational administration. Additionally, she will provide extensive support to the Crew's commitment to bringing additional championships to Columbus through consistent communication and collaboration with President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko.
"Kristin is an exceptional leader, and her vast professional sports expertise will be tremendous for the Crew as we further our vision to win championships and best engage with our fans and the City of Columbus," said Dee and Jimmy Haslam, CEO and Chairman of HSG. "Kristin has made a significant impact on many organizations throughout her career, and we are confident that she will help us accomplish all of our team's collective goals as we are all excited about returning to the pitch for the first full season at Lower.com Field."
"On behalf of the loyal Crew supporters, I am honored to help steward this storied franchise in a city that is so close to my heart, alongside an incredible teammate in Bez," said Bernert. "I look forward to further engraining the global game and our players into this amazing, growing and diverse community. I am extremely grateful to the Haslams for bringing me home to the Ohio sports community."
"We are thrilled to welcome Kristin to the Columbus Crew family. Our organization and our supporters will greatly benefit from her professionalism, leadership and experience," said Bezbatchenko. "Building off of the momentum of the opening of Lower.com Field and what the club has accomplished under new ownership, we think Kristin is set to help take this Club to the next level. Kristin's background in the WNBA, NBA, NHL and NWSL as well as her Ohio roots will position the Club for the success that we aim to reach across all elements of our organization. We are confident that Kristin's contributions will be evident and appreciated by our season ticket members, supporters' groups, corporate partners and the entire city both on matchdays and throughout the year."
"Kristin is an incredible addition to Haslam Sports Group and the Columbus Crew," said HSG Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Jenkins. "Throughout her career, Kristin has gained a diversity of experience in leadership roles throughout the sports and entertainment industry, but her passion for Columbus and desire to come back to Ohio and make a difference with the Crew and our fans was clear in our conversations, and we are so pleased to have her join the organization."
In 2021, Bernert - honored as a "Game Changer" by SportsBusiness Journal in 2016 and as one of Crain's Business Journal's "Notable Women in Sports" in 2019 - launched KB2 Sports to provide a wide range of best business practices and innovative strategies to leaders of various professional sports organizations. KB2 Sports offers advisory services related to business development and structure, long-term planning, talent acquisition, special projects and other functions for many entities across the sports industry, including the NWSL and Gotham FC, and multiple WNBA teams, as well as other companies focused on fan engagement and content creation.
Prior to establishing KB2 Sports, Bernert spent 10 years with Madison Square Garden Sports (MSGS), ultimately rising to Executive Vice President of Business Operations in 2018. In her role, she led business initiatives for all MSGS teams and affiliates, encompassing the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, Westchester Knicks, Hartford Wolf Pack, Knicks Gaming, and Counter Logic Gaming.
Bernert initially joined MSGS in 2011 as the Vice President of Business Operations for the New York Liberty, where she also led player personnel and team development. Before joining MSGS, she held a number of significant leadership positions in professional basketball, including President of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks (2008-2010); Vice President of Team Marketing and Business Operations at the NBA (2005-2008); and Vice President of the WNBA's Detroit Shock (2002-2005).
From 2000-2002, she was a corporate sales representative for the Cleveland Indians. She began her career in college sports with The Ohio State University (assistant marketing director, 1997) and Bowling Green State University (assistant athletics director, 1998-2000).
Hailing from Stow, Ohio, Bernert graduated from Siena College with a degree in psychology and earned a master's in sports management from The Ohio State University. While at Siena, she appeared in 106 games with 59 starts at the point for the Saints basketball team from 1992-1996 and was enshrined in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Hall of Fame in 2015.
Haslam Sports Group retained TurnkeyZRG to conduct an inclusive, nationwide search for the business leader position at the Columbus Crew. TurnkeyZRG is regarded as the leading talent recruiting firm in sports, entertainment and sport media. TurnkeyZRG has been active in soccer, recently placing five roles in the MLS league office, as well as the President of MLS Orlando City SC and the President of MLS Charlotte FC.
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