Aug 12, 2019
Hosts Rekaya Gibson and Angela Spears chat with Danita Johnson, the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Sparks. She discusses her career working in the WNBA, NBA, and the NBA G League. She shares insights on increasing attendance, securing corporate sponsorships and developing community partnerships for the Sparks. She also shares her thoughts about the future of the WNBA.
About Danita Johnson
Danita Johnson was named the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Sparks. on January 7, 2019, returning to the organization where she served as Senior Vice President from 2014-2017. Most recently, she served as Director of Business Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2018. She is one of the only high-level sports executives to serve in management roles in the WNBA, NBA and NBA G League. Johnson is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She hails from Fayetteville, North Carolina and attended Western Carolina University where she earned her degree in Sports Management.
Danita Johnson was named President and COO of the Los Angeles Sparks on Jan. 7, 2019, returning to the organization where she served as Senior Vice President from 2014-2017. Most recently, she served as Director of Business Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2018.
Johnson brings an expertise in ticket sales, corporate partnerships, community programs, public speaking and digital media and marketing to the Sparks as one of the only high-level sports executives to serve in management roles in the WNBA, NBA and NBA G League.
During her tenure as President and COO, Johnson has already helped the Sparks lead the league in corporate sponsorship dollars earned, and oversaw the team’s signing of the largest community-based partnership in WNBA history with the Los Angeles County Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and California Mental Health Services Authority. The year-long campaign, called Spark The True You, is centered around spotlighting military women and their families and raising awareness about mental health.
Under her leadership, the Sparks have increased media coverage and social media engagement which helped lead to a Home Opener that drew over 12,000 fans to Staples Center. In addition, Johnson has represented the Sparks with public appearances at South by Southwest and the Sports Business Journal’s 2019 CAA World Congress of Sports.
In her prior role with the Sparks, Johnson helped launch the year-long #WeAreWomen campaign, which culminated in selling out all three levels of Staples Center, a historic attendance of 19,000. Overall, ticket sales increased by 50 percent during her tenure, setting the stage for the Sparks leading the league in attendance in 2017 and 2018. In addition, Johnson implemented the Sparks annual marketing campaigns and launched a community busing program to transport underserved communities to Sparks games.
Johnson got her start in sports management as an intern with the Fayetville Patriots, the first NBA G League team, eventually being hired full-time with the organization. Johnson then helped launch multiple sports franchises including the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA G League and the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA when they moved from Detroit.
Johnson developed a reputation for being a top seller and went on to finish second in the WNBA in ticket sales with the Phoenix Mercury in 2008. In total, Johnson has 14 years of industry experience working for the Sparks, Clippers, Washington Mystics, Tulsa Shock, Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns.
Outside the WNBA, Johnson sits on the board of the Share Winter Foundation, is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and is a WISE Within Mentor. She has a passion for travel, cooking and mentoring young professionals. Johnson hails from Fayetteville, North Carolina and attended Western Carolina University where she earned her degree in Sports Management.
Podcast Sponsored by Cuisine Noir Magazine
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