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Chris McGowan

Chris McGowan MLS headshot

Executive Vice President, Chief Club Performance Officer

Chris McGowan joined MLS as Executive Vice President, Chief Club Performance Officer in June, 2023. In this role, McGowan leads MLS’ club performance group, which develops and implements the strategy, structure, best practices and performance metrics to drive club performance and league growth and value. Among other responsibilities, McGowan serves as a point of contact for team owners, club chief business officers and other leaders within MLS and the sports industry.

In his three previous roles before coming to MLS, McGowan was President & CEO Ilitch Sports and Entertainment, CEO and President of Vulcan Sports & Entertainment (VSE), and Chief Operating Officer of AEG Sports.

McGowan began his career with AEG, where he created the vision and business plans for the company’s sports division, which included the LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Kings (NHL). During his 16-year tenure (1996-2012) with AEG, the Galaxy won MLS Cup in 2011 and 2012, the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012, and he played a central role in the opening of the Staples Center (now Arena). SportsBusiness Journal recognized McGowan’s accomplishments at AEG by naming him a recipient of its prestigious “40 Under 40” honor in 2012.

With Vulcan Sports & Entertainment (2012-2022), McGowan served as VSE representative for the ownership stake in the Seattle Sounders and oversaw the sports teams and facilities of the Allen Family, which include the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA), Seattle Seahawks (NFL), Moda Center and Lumen Field. During his 10 years with VSE, McGowan attended many MLS and NBA board of governors meetings and served on the NBA team advisory committee and NBA media advisory committee. In addition, McGowan oversaw record-breaking growth with the Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter organizations. During the 2019-20 NBA season, the Trail Blazers set an organizational record for ticket sales revenue and the Rose Quarter hosted its highest number of shows and concerts. McGowan was honored as one of the "Business Executives of the Year" by the Portland Business Journal in 2017.

Most recently, McGowan led the business operations for Ilitch Sports & Entertainment, including the Detroit Tigers (MLB) and the club’s minor league operations, Detroit Red Wings (NHL), and all sports and entertainment venues managed and operated by the Ilitch Companies, Inc. McGowan, who managed a 500-person staff during his tenure with Ilitch Sports & Entertainment, led the vision to enhance both player and fan experience at Comerica Park by overseeing major stadium projects during the past year. In addition, he served as alternate governor for the Red Wings and attended all MLB owners meetings.

Along with his extensive experience in the sports business, McGowan is a lifelong soccer player and fan.

McGowan played the sport throughout childhood and went on to become the captain of the soccer team at the University of Delaware. McGowan’s youngest son, Kyle, played in the Portland Timbers academy and today plays for the University of Denver.