NEW YORK, May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Leverage Agency, a leading sports and entertainment marketing firm, today announced that Leonard Armato, one of the industry's most distinguished marketers, has joined Leverage as Chairman & Managing Director. Armato, who has also been at the forefront of sports and entertainment marketing for more than 25 years, comes to Leverage on the heels of an impactful two-year run as CMO and President of Skechers Fitness Group.
In his capacity as Chairman & Managing Director, Armato will lead the strategy and development of a distinctive brand accelerator model. This new model will incorporate the core competencies required to effectuate rapid growth in sports and entertainment properties, talent and brands including marketing partnerships, strategic development, media distribution, licensing, branded content, social media and public relations. Armato will open and oversee a new Los Angeles office while maintaining close contact with headquarters in NYC.
"I've had the opportunity to work closely with Leonard for many years on the client side when he was President of Skechers Fitness Group and the Commissioner of the AVP Beach Volleyball Tour, and I've always held him in high regard in terms of his leadership, creativity and marketing acumen," said Ben Sturner, CEO and Founder of Leverage Agency. "We share the same overall vision and passion about re-defining the market and taking Leverage to a new level with our new brand accelerator model."
"Under Ben's leadership, Leverage has emerged as one of the leading agencies in sports and entertainment marketing," said Leonard Armato. "I'm excited to join the team and help accelerate the growth of the company, expand our services and bring new innovative marketing platforms to clients."
Armato brings his renowned entrepreneurial spirit and extensive experience to Leverage. Armato began at Skechers at the start of 2010 and the company that year became the fastest growing footwear company in the world, increasing sales from $1.4 billion to over $2 billion. The brand pioneered a new category of footwear with its Shape-ups line, and this year used the Super Bowl to launch Skechers into the performance running category with a memorable ad featuring a French bulldog named Mr. Quiggly racing a pack of greyhounds.
Prior to joining Skechers, Armato served as CEO and Commissioner of the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour for seven years, where he established beach volleyball as the first "lifestyle sport," providing fans with an overall entertainment experience. While at the helm of AVP, Armato secured $100 million worth of integrated branded content deals. Under his leadership, AVP became a public company and Shamrock Capital Partners bid approximately $40 million to take AVP private in 2007.
Prior to that, Armato was founder of Management Plus Enterprises, representing icons such as Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Ahmad Rashad, Oscar De La Hoya and Shaquille O'Neal. Armato crossed Shaq over into the entertainment business in unprecedented fashion, with music, TV, movie and interactive deals. For Oscar De La Hoya, Armato developed the "Golden Boy" trademark and helped position the brand for future success in the boxing promotions business. He also helped De La Hoya create a Music Label, which included a Grammy nomination for Oscar as a musical artist.
ABOUT LEVERAGE AGENCY, LLC
Leverage Agency is a full-service sports, entertainment and media marketing company. Our accomplished staff brings deep expertise in creating 360-degree marketing partnerships through branded packaging, sponsorship sales, content creation/distribution, public relations, social media, digital, experiential marketing and asset valuation/ROI analytics. Headquartered in New York City, with offices in Los Angeles, Beijing and Dubai, Leverage provides insight-driven strategies and develops customized programs for clients to engage their target consumers through impactful sports and entertainment marketing. For more information, visit: www.leverageagency.com.
SOURCE Leverage Agency