MLB Taps Noah Garden, Chris Marinak to Replace Tony Petitti in Front Office
Garden takes over broadcasting and MLB Network, while Marinak will spearhead digital content and fan engagement
Major League Baseball has promoted Noah Garden to Chief Revenue Officer and Chris Marinak to Chief Operations and Strategy Officer. With the recent departure of Tony Petitti, Garden and Marinak will have oversight of additional departments that previously reported to the former Deputy Commissioner of Business and Media. Both executives will continue to report directly to Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. Petitti, who led the launch of MLB Network in 2008, left MLB earlier this month to become President of Sports and Entertainment at Activision Blizzard.
Previously EVP of Business and Sales, Garden will now oversee all MLB revenue-generating departments, including National Media, Broadcasting, MLB Network, and International. In addition, he will oversee Ticketing, Sponsorship, Corporate Sales, Sports Wagering, Consumer Products, and Video Games.
As EVP of Strategy, Technology & Innovation, Marinak oversaw Technology, Product, Scheduling and Game Operations. In his new role, Marinak also will lead departments focused on digital content and fan engagement including Marketing and Social Media, Web Content, Special Events, and Design Services. In addition, he will supervise a new Strategy and Analytics group.
“Noah and Chris are talented, smart and creative executives who I have relied on to effectively lead areas that are important for the continued growth of Major League Baseball,” said Manfred. “Their additional responsibilities complement the areas that were already in their purview, build upon their strengths, and increase organizational efficiencies.”
Gaming and esports giant Activision Blizzard brought in Petitti to oversee esports, consumer products, and film and television for Activision Blizzard, marking one of the most significant executive departures from the traditional sports world to the esports/gaming sector to date. As Deputy Commissioner, Business and Media of Major League Baseball and Chief Operating Officer, he led marketing, broadcasting and media rights sales, the MLB Network, digital content, youth programming and special events. Prior to that, Petitti was President of the MLB Network, which he helped launch from its inception in 2008.
Garden joined MLB Advanced Media in January 2001 and eventually oversaw MLBAM’s ticketing, sponsorship, and advertising departments before being named an MLB Executive Vice President in December 2014. Under Commissioner Manfred’s “One Baseball” approach, Garden has led MLB to reach all-time highs in number of sponsorships and sponsorship revenue. Garden’s department has formed new relationships and expanded long-term partnerships with prominent brands including Anheuser-Busch, Bank of America, Chevrolet, GEICO, MGM Resorts and T-Mobile.
Marinak, a former pitcher at the University of Virginia and an alumnus of Harvard Business School, joined MLB in 2008 and is a member of Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame. His department oversees relationships with the world’s leading technology companies, including Apple, Google, Mitel and Sony’s Hawk-Eye, for functions including ball and player tracking for Statcast, data, analytics, and MLB’s Replay Review system. During the 2020 season, Marinak has overseen the creation and ongoing management of the MLB schedule, the incorporation of audio from MLB The Show into ballpark game presentation and the development of Cheer at the Ballpark, which provides fans the ability to support their favorite team remotely and has registered more than 45 million fan reactions to date this season.