The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) have announced the appointment of two new executives, Ant Hearne and Michael Tange.
Ant Hearne joins the team to set up and lead all commercial activities for APL, including user experience, marketing, content, sponsorships, rights negotiations and other revenue opportunities. Ant joins from Foxtel’s streaming division, Streamotion, where he was the CCO of Kayo, BINGE, WatchAFL and WatchNRL overseeing significant growth in recent years. His career in Australia, Asia and the US incorporates senior marketing and commercial roles in telco, digital media, marketing tech and sports entertainment.
Michael Tange joins as Strategy and Digital Director, having spent 15 years working in global roles with sports, data and technology companies. Michael will lead strategy, digital development and media rights for APL. He joins from Nielsen Sports in New York where he spent a decade working on commercial strategy, broadcast, digital and fan development with leading properties such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, PGA TOUR and Major League Soccer.
APL Commissioner Greg O’Rourke continues to lead the operational side of the business in conjunction with Deputy Commissioner Tracey Scott. Tracey joins APL following spent 6 years with Football Australia in various leadership roles, most recently as GM of Leagues. She is also an Appointed Member of FIFA’s Professional Women’s Football taskforce.
These are the first official appointments made by APL following the announcement of the unbundling of the four professional leagues from Football Australia on December 31.
Paul Lederer, Chair of APL said:
“With full ownership of the four leagues, we have an ambitious vision for the growth of the game at every level. The new, expanded executive team have been tasked with unleashing the APL’s commercial and entrepreneurial capabilities, and we now have a structure that will enable them to deliver the right outcomes for all of Australian football.”
Ant Hearne, Chief Commercial Officer of APL said:
“Football represents the biggest growth opportunity in Australian sport - we’ve got twice as many participants as any other game in this country, we’re leaders in women’s sport (with all eyes on the game in the lead up to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup), and key to our future growth is the fact that we have the youngest and most diverse fans of any sport.
“It’s now time to deliver commercial outcomes that will fuel the sustainable growth of the game. Our teams are playing exciting, fast-paced, uncompromising football in front of the most passionate fans and it’s the APL’s mission is to take that direct-to-consumer in order to unlock the power of the fan and ultimately grow the whole game. It’s going to be an exciting ride.”
For background on the appointments, click here.
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