Veteran Sports-Marketing Exec Ray Katz Joins Leverage Agency

Former Omnicom Managing Director Becomes President-Sports Properties and Media

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CHICAGO ( -- Leverage Agency, a fledgling sports-marketing shop backed by former Anheuser-Busch executive Tony Ponturo, has added veteran sports-marketing executive Ray Katz to its ranks.

Ray Katz
Ray Katz
Mr. Katz, who joins Leverage as president-sports properties and media, spent the previous six years as managing director-sports marketing of Omnicom Media Group's Optimum Sports unit, where he worked with such marketers as Visa, State Farm and Bank of America.

Mr. Katz had previously worked at the National Football League, where he was senior director of marketing; SmartixInternational, an affinity-marketing company he founded in 1999; and at Y&R.

"We are very excited to be able to have one of the industry's most impactful and successful leaders in Ray Katz join Leverage," Leverage CEO Ben Sturner said in a statement. "His expertise, contacts and creativity will be invaluable for Leverage as we continue to grow and add new properties and partners."

"I have nothing but the utmost respect for what Ben and his team have built at Leverage, and am looking forward to assisting them in their continued upward growth into the future," Mr. Katz said in a statement. "The industry has undergone some profound changes over the past few years, and Leverage is one of the few agencies truly poised for growth, which will enable me to contribute my core competencies to this highly capable management team."

Leverage made headlines last spring, when it announced that Mr. Ponturo -- long regarded as one of the most powerful and prominent executives in sports -- had taken an ownership stake in the firm. The former head of A-B's global sports and media operation remains the firm's chairman, but Mr. Sturner leads day-to-day operations for the firm, which represents sports properties such as the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, Major League Gaming and the U.S. Tennis Association.

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