Five Questions with Mark Lewis, Executive Vice President of Championships and Alliances, NCAA

Mark Lewis, who has been in the role of Executive Vice President of Championships and Alliances, NCAA, for exactly one year, is spending time at the 2013 Symposium meeting with the membership of the organization.

In June, the NCAA will distribute the bids collectively for the 89 annual championships facilitated by the NCAA. NASC_News asked Mark Lewis a few questions about his role at the NCAA.

Q: You have been in your role for one year now. What are some of the accomplishments in which you are most proud?

A. Each year, we host 89 championships for our student athletes to compete at the highest level, and to create lasting memories for them. Our men’s tournament this year celebrated its 75th anniversary with a terrific tournament that included some of the best match ups in the history of the tournament, record TV ratings and terrific attendance. We also launched our Division II Championship Festivals for the first time. We received great feedback from our member organizations as well as our student athletes for the overall experience from our host cities and member organizations.

Q: What are three tips you can share with potential host cities?

A: First and foremost, all potential host cities need to develop close working relationships with our members, the colleges and universities in their market, to submit the bid. Secondly, it’s important to complete the bid per the specifications but also be creative. We want to see some community spirit and passion in the bid. Lastly but probably most important, we want to see how the host community and member organization are going to create a positive experience for our student athletes.

Q: What are you most excited about at the NCAA?

A: I get excited going to work every day. Interest in college athletics is at an all-time high as evidenced by the TV ratings of the men’s basketball tournament–the highest since the 90s. But every time we award a championship trophy, it’s a magical moment, and we get to do it 89 times a year.

Q: How are you looking to grow strategic alliances for the NCAA?

A: With 94 percent of the annual revenue for the NCAA coming from men’s basketball, I think about growing revenue opportunities with the other championships every day. Only five of our 89 championships are self-funding (men’s basketball, men’s hockey, baseball, men’s lacrosse and wrestling). We are constantly looking for ways to grow revenue while providing additional exposure to our student athletes. For example, we will broadcast the men’s and women’s golf championships on the Golf Channel this year.

About Mark Lewis

Mark Lewis was named the NCAA’s executive vice president for championships and alliances in April 2012.

Lewis oversees the administration and operation of 89 championships in 23 different sports, including ticketing and marketing operations. Lewis also is responsible for managing the broadcast partnerships with CBS, Turner Sports and ESPN, as well as the Association’s corporate partners.

Before joining the NCAA, Lewis was president of Jet Set Sports, a leading hospitality and event company with highly successful partnerships with various local and national Olympic organizing committees. As president, Lewis focused on managing partnerships with Olympic entities in the areas of accommodations, event tickets, catering, ground transportation, management and many other services.

Prior to his position at Jet Set Sports, Lewis was vice president of sponsorship at the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) where he was responsible for the oversight of all aspects of global Olympic and NFL sponsorships for General Electric, including working with various business units of the company to increase sales.

Lewis also previously served as president and chief operating officer of Olympic Properties of the United States in Salt Lake City, a joint venture of the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee and the United States Olympic Committee. This joint venture raised more than $1.5 billion in sponsorships with more than 70 corporations.

Lewis is a former Division I student-athlete who played football at the University of Georgia, where he received his undergraduate (accounting) and law degrees. He is married to Dawn Allinger Lewis, a former Pac-10 basketball player at Washington State and a 1996 Olympian in team handball.  They have two children, Peyton and Dylan.

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