|Position:||Senior Associate Athletics Director, External Relations|
Anthony Azama was named Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations in November of 2015. Azama came to Morningside Heights after nine years at Miami (Ohio) University. Azama is responsible for the strategic direction, oversight, coordination, leadership and active participation in the revenue generation and external functions.
“Anthony is a great fit for our athletics program,” Director of Athletics Peter Pilling said. “His wide-range of experience managing the various aspects of external operations will help us continue to grow our alumni and fan outreach. We are very excited to welcome him to our staff.”
At Miami, Azama served as Director of Marketing and Sales from 2006-11 before being promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing, Sales & Licensing.
“I am excited to work with Peter Pilling and the Columbia University family,” Azama said. “I look forward to helping to maximize revenue opportunities for the development of our student-athletes, who compete against some of the best minds in the world and athletically in the Ivy League.”
In less than a year, Azama restructured the External Operations units – Marketing & Promotions, Communications, Sponsorship, Ticketing, Memberships, Licensing, Branding and Merchandising to create double digit growth in each of its revenue streams while taking the department through a rebranding process.
Azama led the rebranding of Columbia Athletics beginning with a new mission and values statement in 2016. Columbia’s “Only Here” concept was created and designed to promote the university’s extraordinary location in New York City, its unparalleled career and lifetime opportunities that the university affords its students, its superb athletics support performance program and its elite level status as an Ivy League institution. To tell the story, he spearheaded the enhanced environmental graphics at both the Dodge Fitness Center and the Campbell Sports Center, overhauled the athletics’ website for relaunch and negotiated a deal for a new online Lion Store partnership with Barnes & Noble.
In addition, the Lions ticket office generated its highest revenue totals ever in a fiscal year. Five of men’s basketball’s seven Ivy League conference games were sold out. Moving into the Fall 2016 year, football season ticket sales have increased by nearly 40%. Sponsorship revenue is at Columbia’s highest level since its inception over a decade ago as Dodge Fitness Center experienced a resurgence in membership sales revenue to over $1.5 million. Licensing royalties were also at record-high levels for Columbia Athletics.
At Miami, Azama spearheaded the RedHawks’ Graduating Champions branding campaign and the redesign of athletic marks that increased royalties and licensed vendors. He also contributed to game day presentation through the development of FanFEST, in-game promotions and fan experiences. Also, Azama increased game day merchandise sales by more than 50 percent.
He assembled Miami’s first ticket sales department and the development of unique ticket products (Football Foursome, McFlex Plan and All You Can Eat Seats), which generated six-figure revenue in ticket sales. He led an external operations team of more than 40 people that included communications, IMG, broadcasting, development, game operations, Aspire and the ticket office.
In addition to his athletics activities, Azama assisted in teaching a Sports Management and a first-year student course at Miami University. He was also involved in the Oxford community serving as the first two-time Chairman of the Oxford Chamber of Commerce Board. His community engagement through service on both the Oxford Visitors and Butler County Visitors Bureaus’ boards increased the Miami Athletics’ visibility beyond campus.
Azama also has experience working with Florida Citrus Sports (FCSports), a sports marketing and management organization responsible for staging over 100 events including the Capital One Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl and the Gridiron Classic College All-Star Game. Azama joined Florida Citrus Sports in June 1998 as the Associate Director of the Gridiron Classic College All-Star Game.
A 1998 cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in human and organizational development, Azama was a three-year letterwinner on the Commodore football team. In 1998 he was also selected to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) Scholar-Athlete Academic Team, the Southeastern Conference Good Works team and was on the Vanderbilt Dean's List three times from 1995-97. Following graduation, he was inducted into the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, Inc., a scholar-athlete award for his academic achievement, school & community leadership and football performance.
In 2005, he completed the Sports Management Institute Executive Program at University of North Carolina and University of Southern California. In 2015, he received his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Miami University (Ohio).