2005 graduate making his move in the sports marketing world

Growing up as a fan of all sports in Philadelphia, Robert Johnson ’05 had a dream job in sports marketing for one of city’s major sports teams and earned a job with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2008.


But Johnson can also recognize a great opportunity, as he was recently named Vice President of Marketing for XFINITY Live! Philadelphia, a dining and entertainment district centered in the heart of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. Opening April 5, 2012, XFINITY Live! Philadelphia will contain over a dozen restaurant and entertainment choices, including six main venues: Victory Beer Hall, Broad Street Bullies Pub, Spectrum Grille, PBR Bar & Grill (Professional Bull Riders), Philly MarketPlace, and the first-ever NBC Sports Arena.


XFINITY Live! Philadelphia is joint partnership between Philadelphia-based Comcast-Spectacor and Baltimore-based The Cordish Companies.


Comcast-Spectacor owns the Flyers and previously owned the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. It is also the principal owner of Global Spectrum, which is the fastest growing firm in the public assembly management field with more than 100 facilities throughout the United States and Canada. 


Within Johnson’s new role as Vice President of Marketing, he will be in charge of marketing programs specifically for the district’s grand opening, then ongoing advertising and promotional messaging, overall marketing of the venues, and developing sponsorship opportunities for the entertainment district. He says his biggest challenge will be getting people to visit XFINITY Live! Philadelphia on non-event nights at the sports complex.


“As we prepare for a grand opening this spring, Rob will be an integral part of leading our collaborative efforts of making Philly Live! the ultimate entertainment and dining district,” said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. “At the Flyers, Rob did an unbelievable job creating and implementing solid marketing campaigns, and we are all excited to see him bring this same level of enthusiasm to XFINITY Live! Philadelphia”.


Johnson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations, and a minor in Sports Management at Marietta.  He was recruited by the previous Marietta rowing coach and participated in crew all four years. “My dedication and determination within crew has positively affected my hard work in my career,” says Johnson.  To this day he continues to row with Marietta College alumni at Fairmount Rowing Club on Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row.


One of Johnson’s Marietta professors, Debora Lazorik, has greatly impacted his career. “She has been very supportive throughout my career and has given me a way to keep in touch with Marietta College,” Johnson says.


“Rob's hard work, disciplined approach and professionalism has paid off as he continues to move forward in his career,” said Lazorik, Associate Professor of Sports Management. “As a student-athlete at Marietta College, he displayed those same traits that have helped him succeed in the very competitive sport marketing industry.”


Following graduation and completing his rowing career, Johnson became the marketing coordinator for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. He also received his Master of Business Administration from the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University while working his first job as the Jacksonville University rowing coach.


In 2008 Johnson moved on to become the marketing manager of the Philadelphia Flyers until 2010 when he became the marketing director. “I managed numerous marketing, publicity and business development projects through an analytical approach,” Johnson said. During those years, he created many successful marketing campaigns including the “Relentless Pursuit of the Cup”, which received international coverage during the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.


His peers have recognized Johnson’s work with the Flyers nationally. Flyers marketing was voted the most creative/innovative for marketing efforts in the NHL by a Sports Business Journal survey in 2008. In both 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, Johnson helped lead a team that ranked No. 1 in the United States for single game ticket sales in the NHL.


In addition to his everyday jobs, Johnson has been a guest lecturer/speaker at multiple universities since 2006. He likes to discuss the different approaches and intricacies of sports marketing to student groups based on variable product marketing.


Johnson has been extremely successful in the early years of his career and strives to continue flourishing.