SportsBusiness Journal’s Game Changers
Mimi Griffin – MSG Promotions Founder, President and CEO
Mimi Griffin, whose agency has overseen corporate hospitality at the U.S. Open for the last 18 years, has very specific memories of this year’s golf championship at Merion.
“It was the hardest U.S. Open I’ve ever worked, but it also was the most rewarding,”Griffin said. “I’d liken it to child birth: It hurt like hell, but something really special came from it.”
Because of its unique setup and awkward layout, Merion left that kind of impression on a lot of visitors, but Griffin’s MSG Promotions responded with several innovative ideas for hospitality.
Griffin grew up in Philadelphia reading Forbes and Sports Illustrated, so a career in sports business seemed destined. During her spring break as an MBA student at Lehigh University, she visited a friend who worked at Manufacturers Hanover. She later connected with Charlie McCabe, who ran marketing for the bank, and that led to a job and connections throughout the golf industry.
Now the agency she started in 1983 runs hospitality for the USGA and several other sporting events.
- Crowning professional achievement: Creating a business that after 30 years continues to maintain the highest standards of performance.
- Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Sheila Johnson. Sheila has been very successful in combining her personal passions with her professional pursuits, which to me should be everyone’s ultimate goal. Besides that, she has supported women’s basketball, which is one of my passions.
- The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Finding the right time for a brief “timeout” to regroup and re-energize. This is critical given the unusually long hours required in event work.
“Mimi has built a top-shelf marketing and management company at MSG Promotions. Her professionalism, the skills of her team, and the introduction and mentorship of hundreds of young men and women to high-quality, full-service corporate hospitality and entertainment has raised both the level of expectation by clients and the level of service across the industry.”
— Mike Butz | Senior managing director, Open championships
and association relations | U.S. Golf Association
September 9, 2013 | Michael Smith, writer for Sports Business Journal