Stewart-Haas Racing has bolstered its sales efforts with two key hires, positioning a veteran sports marketing executive from Feld Entertainment with a recent Clemson (S.C.) University graduate who interned for the championship-winning NASCAR team in 2019.
Brian McKinley joins Stewart-Haas Racing as its vice president of sales, reporting to Mike Verlander, executive vice president of sales and marketing. McKinley was the co-head of global partnerships at Feld Entertainment, managing more than $40 million worth of activation across seven live touring properties, including Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Monster Jam and Disney on Ice. Reporting to McKinley is sales analyst Mitch Steiner, who graduated in May from Clemson where he participated in the Singapore Management University global summer program in July 2018 before interning for Stewart-Haas Racing.
“Despite all of the challenges the sports industry has faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been able to return to racing and achieve a significant amount of success,” said Verlander, referencing Stewart-Haas Racing’s eight NASCAR Cup Series wins and six NASCAR Xfinity Series victories. “We’re aiming to leverage that success by doubling down on our sales efforts, strengthening current partnerships while fostering new ones.
“Brian McKinley brings a tremendous amount of experience and creativity to Stewart-Haas Racing and he has an excellent wingman in Mitch Steiner, who demonstrated his abilities to us last summer. These personnel additions are an investment in Stewart-Haas Racing’s future and highlight our commitment to NASCAR.”
Prior to McKinley’s two-and-a-half year tenure at Feld, he was the vice president of sports marketing at Herbalife International. McKinley led a global sponsorship strategy for the $6 billion health nutrition company that encompassed more than 250 partnerships across 90 countries with a budget in excess of $50 million. Many were high profile, namely in soccer with FC Barcelona and the L.A. Galaxy, and players Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Others came in racing, notably with INDYCAR driver Townsend Bell, who kicked off his Herbalife partnership with an impressive fourth-place finish in the 2009 Indianapolis 500.
McKinley first touched auto racing in 2004 when he was the director of business development and marketing for PPI Motorsports, managing a full-season, multiyear agreement with Procter & Gamble’s Tide brand for its NASCAR Cup Series team. McKinley spent two years at PPI before joining Herbalife in 2006.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working in a variety of sports, including soccer, golf and tennis, but motorsports is the one that’s brought me the most satisfaction, both professionally with the kinds of activations we’ve been able to create and also in terms of pure entertainment,” McKinley said. “Stewart-Haas Racing has a proven record of delivering on and off the racetrack, and being able to contribute to that success is a coveted opportunity I’m proud to have.”
McKinley is a 1999 graduate of Purchase College, part of the State University of New York system of higher education.