Former Ilitch Sports + Entertainment CEO, president Chris McGowan joins MLS executive team


Chris McGowan will join Major League Soccer’s executive team after less than two years as CEO and President of the Ilitch Sports + Entertainment organization.

MLS announces McGowan will serve as executive vice president and chief club performance officer in the press release earlier this week.

McGowan will lead MLS’ new club performance and optimization group, which will focus on developing and creating ideas to improve club performance and the growth of the organization as a whole, the release said.

McGowan was hired by Ilitch Sports + Entertainment, the business unit of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, in December 2021 and left earlier this year.

He is responsible for enhancing the fan, guest and partner experience across Ilitch-managed properties, including The District Detroit, Olympia Parking and the Ilitch Joint Venture (JV) interest in 313 Presents.

Prior to joining Ilitch Sports + Entertainment, McGowan spent nine seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, serving as the team’s Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice President.

McGowan will report to MLS Commissioner Don Garber, the release said.

Ryan Gustafson replaced McGowan as the new head of Ilitch Sports + Entertainment in March.


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