NEW YORK – Jay Parry will step down as WNBA Chief Operating Officer (COO) on April 30, it was announced today by WNBA President Lisa Borders. Ann Rodriguez, Senior Vice President, WNBA League Operations will be promoted to COO.
Parry will continue to serve as a senior adviser to Borders. Additionally, she will become Principal Adviser at KenCreative in the San Francisco Bay Area, focusing on growing the company’s food, wine and lifestyle business. KenCreative is a branding firm with a client roster that includes luxury reseller TheRealReal, Blue Diamond Almonds and Noble Family Wines.
“I want to express my appreciation and admiration to Jay as she has been instrumental in the WNBA’s growth,” said Borders. “Jay’s extensive experience in sales and strategy helped our league accomplish so much during her tenure and it was a pleasure to work with her and have her be part of our executive team. I am pleased she’ll be continuing to advise us and I am looking forward to working more closely with Ann in her new role as we enter our 22nd season with tremendous momentum and anticipation. Ann’s strong track record in management and operations will be key as we look at innovative ways to grow our business.”
“This was a very difficult decision as I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the WNBA, working with Lisa, my colleagues at the league and teams, and the incredibly talented players.” said Parry. “I am deeply grateful for having the opportunity to play a role in growing the league and its business. I am excited about my move back to the West Coast while remaining connected to the WNBA.”
Parry has led the WNBA’s business and strategy functions since joining the league in May 2016. During her tenure, the WNBA saw significant growth in key business metrics – including reaching its highest attendance in six years in 2017 – while providing fans with new ways to engage with the league through livestreamed games on Twitter and the launch of the league’s first official one-day fantasy game with FanDuel. In addition, a full roster of WNBA teams and players appeared in a video game for the first time when NBA LIVE 18 launched last fall.
Prior to joining the WNBA, Parry served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. Her responsibilities included overseeing all aspects of planning and executing a record-breaking Super Bowl XLIX held in Arizona in 2015, working closely with the NFL and numerous business and governmental constituents in the market. Her professional career spans a wide array of sports-related and corporate assignments, including Senior Vice President of Brand and Business Development for the Phoenix Suns, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Phoenix Mercury and Executive Vice President at Bank of America.
Rodriguez, who becomes the league’s new COO upon Parry’s departure, joined the WNBA in August 2017 as Senior Vice President, WNBA League Operations. In that role, Rodriguez oversaw all on-court basketball operations, including playing rules, scouting, scheduling and venue compliance. She also directed the management of referee operations and the administration of player-related policies and programs while working closely with NBA President, League Operations Byron Spruell in the development of special projects and strategic planning. She currently serves on the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Steering Committee.
“Since joining the WNBA, I have been fortunate to work with a very special group of owners, league and team staff and players who are dedicated to growing women’s basketball around the world,” said Rodriguez. “I am excited to begin my new role and appreciate Lisa’s confidence in me to lead our business operations and strategy at an important stage in our league’s growth.”
Rodriguez came to the WNBA from Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United FC, where she served as Vice President of Business Operations. She spearheaded the team’s marketing strategy and business plans, focusing on ticket sales, marketing, events, digital and social media, broadcast, sponsorships, retail, communications and community relations. In its inaugural season, the team led the league in season tickets (more than 35,000) and attendance (more than 46,000 fans per game). In addition, Rodriguez was recognized by SportsBusiness Journal with a Forty Under 40 Award in 2017.
Prior to joining Atlanta United FC, Rodriguez worked with NextGen Angels, an investment group focused on early-stage companies, where she served as Senior Vice President in its Washington, D.C., office. Rodriguez also held a variety of leadership roles at Under Armour, working in strategy as well as global brand and sports marketing. She led Under Armour into the Premier League with its landmark partnership with Tottenham Hotspur and completed the brand’s first soccer sponsorship in South America, signing Colo FC of Chile. She previously served as Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes.