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 National Women's Soccer League

National Women's Soccer League Elevates Executive Bench with New Senior Hires

May 29, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) News Release

NEW YORK - The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) today announced several new senior level hires, appointing Michelle Haines as Vice President, Marketing; Jennifer Levine as Vice President, Public Relations and Communications; and Derek Throneburg as Vice President, Club Business. Throneburg will report to Chief Operating Officer Sarah Jones Simmer. Haines and Levine will report to Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, Julie Haddon.

"The NWSL has already set records for fan attendance and viewership through our new broadcast partnerships," said Commissioner Jessica Berman. "To continue fueling this momentum, it was critical for us to hire leaders with deep, diverse experience to fuel the next phase of our growth and build on our fandom."

Haines will oversee NWSL marketing initiatives inclusive of events, sponsor activation and partner marketing as well as social, community and brand creative. She joins the NWSL from the league's Seattle Reign FC, where she oversaw marketing, ticketing and community engagement department for the club. She played a critical role in developing integrated strategies and campaigns that increased awareness and engagement and generated record-breaking revenue. Most recently, Haines orchestrated the Reign's rebrand prior to the 2024 season as well as Megan Rapinoe's historic retirement campaign which set the NWSL's all-time attendance record with 34,130 fans in attendance. Prior to the Reign, she spent over a dozen years as a marketing and sales executive in live entertainment, including a role as Chief Marketing Officer of Seattle Rep, one of the nation's largest regional theaters. Earlier in her career, Haines created and executed Broadway campaigns working at SpotCo, including campaigns for the longest running American musical, Chicago, the return of Pippin, and Grace, a play starring Paul Rudd and Michael Shannon. Prior to that, Haines led marketing for national tours at DreamWorks Theatricals overseeing Shrek the Musical and Madagascar Live, as well as with Broadway Across America.

Levine will lead the PR function for the league; her remit will include driving fan growth and brand awareness as well as increasing the NWSL's relevance among consumer press and opinion leaders. She joins the league with years of experience developing communications strategies and launching cultural moments and campaigns for major global companies, most recently at Amazon Studios & Prime Video, where she was charged with corporate, financial, and internal communications across its various entertainment businesses. Her experience also includes building the first kids and family PR team at Netflix, where she oversaw the global growth strategy for the genre and orchestrated the international campaigns for President and Mrs. Obama's children's shows. Prior to that, she spent 5 years as Vice President of Communications at NBCUniversal's Cable Entertainment Group, and 13 years at Disney as Vice President, Global Communications for Disney Publishing Worldwide.

As Vice President of Club Business, Throneburg will launch the league office's club business initiatives, including the development of overall strategy and implementation of the first ever NWSL Club Optimization Group, focused on NWSL club business performance strategy. Throneburg has held senior leadership positions working with the NBA, MLB, and XFL. In his most recent role as Senior Vice President of Account Management and Customer Success at fan engagement platform StellarAlgo, Throneburg led all data-driven work across North American professional sports, including the company's partnership with the NBA. He was previously the Senior Vice President of Team Operations at the XFL, leading operations and business intelligence across the XFL's eight properties. Throneburg also oversaw ticket sales strategy, marketing, and business intelligence with Pacers Sports & Entertainment after spending ten years with the St. Louis Cardinals.

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