Veteran sports business executive John Walker was introduced as the President of Business Operations for the Houston Dynamo, Houston Dash and BBVA Stadium on Nov. 1, 2019.
Walker brings more than 30 years of experience in the sports industry to the role, including the previous three as Executive Vice President for Business Operations with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. He also brings experience in Major League Baseball, college athletics and with third-party ticketing companies.
As President of Business Operations, Walker oversees all aspects of the club’s business operations and all of its entities, including the Dynamo and Dash as well as BBVA Stadium and Houston Sports Park. He is also responsible for maintaining strong business relationships with the Dynamo-Dash Youth Club, Rio Grande Valley FC and the Brazos Valley Cavalry.
Throughout his career, Walker has progressively taken on larger leadership roles in professional sports and entertainment with an emphasis on identifying new revenue streams and growing existing ones, introducing new technology and creating a winning culture.
With the Grizzlies, Walker held many of the same responsibilities, overseeing all aspects of the team’s business, including ticket sales, service and operations; sponsorship sales and activation; arena operations; marketing and communications; human resources; finance; analytics and customer relationship management; and community relations.
Under Walker’s leadership, the Grizzlies business operations unit set franchise records in ticket sales and total revenue, and he helped the club sell its first-ever jersey partnership along with other key partnerships. He also led the effort to acquire a new G-League franchise in 2017 and the launch of an NBA2K e-sports franchise.
He also worked closely with the team president to cultivate and manage key relationships with team ownership, basketball operations leadership, local elected officials and other key stakeholders within the Memphis community.
A native of Morgantown, West Virginia, Walker earned his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and a Master’s of Sports Management from the University of Oklahoma. He started his career in sports at OU, working as a ticket manager in the Sooners’ athletic department from 1990-95 before joining the Kansas City Royals’ ticket office as Director of Ticket and Revenue Operations.
Walker made his first move into the NBA with the Phoenix Suns in 2000 as the team’s Vice President of Business Development and was promoted to Sr. Vice President in 2005. In those roles, he oversaw sponsorship, led the efforts to create new revenue streams and created the Suns Sixth Man program, a holistic season ticket service initiative designed to increase fan engagement and affinity.
After a decade in the Valley of the Sun, Walker transitioned into a different aspect of the sports industry in 2010, venturing into third-party ticketing efforts as the President and CEO of Tickets.com. Under his leadership, the company increased revenues three consecutive years and signed groundbreaking contracts with five Major League Baseball clubs along with the America’s Cup and Southampton FC of the English Premier League. He served as the President of PrimeSport for six months in 2014 before being recruited to the Grizzlies, and in that time he improved the company’s e-commerce efforts, initiated a dynamic ticket pricing model and negotiated new contracts with two MLB clubs.
While with the Grizzlies, Walker served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish’s Mid-South Chapter. He and his wife Lisa have four daughters: Brandi, Brooke, Audrey and Dakota.