Foxwoods CMO steps downFebruary 23, 2011
Steve's breakdown: This is the guy who updated the "Wonder of it All" campaign and made a lot happen with sponsorships. The sponsorship deals will stay on but the advertising might need to be tweaked again.
MASHANTUCKET, CT: Robert Victoria, the Foxwoods Resort Casino executive responsible for negotiating a string of innovative marketing sponsorships with Madison Square Garden, professional sports teams, a Boston music hall and a Broadway theater, resigned Monday.
Victoria, the casino's No. 2 executive during the abbreviated tenures of William Sherlock, who served as interim president from last June to the end of the year, and Michael Speller, who was president from January 2009 to last June, wrote in an e-mail Tuesday that he had tendered his resignation to Scott Butera, who took over as president and chief executive officer last month.
"I am leaving for personal reasons that I am not comfortable disclosing," wrote Victoria, whom Sherlock named chief marketing officer in July.
Butera said there was "nothing out of the ordinary" about Victoria's resignation and that no other "senior departures" are anticipated. Two senior vice presidents - of gaming and finance - were let go in December, shortly before Butera's arrival.
"We're thankful for what he did for us. We wish him well," Butera said of Victoria. "We'll be handling our marketing with our existing staff."
In August, Foxwoods announced that it had reached a three-year agreement with Live Nation, the entertainment company, to rename the Hilton Theatre on 42nd Street in Times Square the Foxwoods Theatre. The venue is home to "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," the costly, much-troubled production whose opening has been repeatedly delayed.
"It's the crown jewel of our sponsorships," Victoria said of the theater deal at the time. "Every time they say 'Spider-Man,' they'll say 'at the Foxwoods Theatre.' "
Early in 2010, Foxwoods signed on as a "presenting sponsor" of Live Nation's House of Blues Boston, one of New England's leading live music venues. Under the multiyear agreement, the Lansdowne Street location is known as House of Blues Boston Presented by Foxwoods Resort Casino.
In June, Foxwoods and the New York Liberty of the Women's National Basketball Association announced a sponsorship deal that enabled Foxwoods to put its name and logo on the team's jerseys and around Madison Square Garden, the team's home arena. Foxwoods' neighboring competitor, Mohegan Sun, owns the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, which plays at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Foxwoods, which is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, and Madison Square Garden expanded their marketing agreement in December, with the casino securing exclusive advertising rights to the last five minutes of the professional basketball and hockey games played at the Garden and aired by the Garden-owned MSG cable networks. The "Foxwoods Final Five" logo appears on TV screens and in the arena at the end of games involving the NBA's New York Knicks and the NHL's New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils.
While no financial terms of the deals were disclosed, it's believed they each run into the millions of dollars.
Victoria also was credited with helping update Foxwoods' "Wonder of It All" advertising campaign, which involved a national search for a new version of the casino's iconic jingle, and with leading the development of a Foxwoods iPhone application. A graduate of Chariho High School and the University of Rhode Island, his nearly two-decade career in the casino industry includes earlier stints at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
Butera said Tuesday that Foxwoods would continue to market actively. He said he found some elements of the sponsorships Victoria negotiated to be "very good" while others needed to be improved. He said the casino needs to project a cohesive message.
Butera, a former investment banker with a reputation for helping bankrupt gaming operators reorganize, has been involved in the Mashantuckets' ongoing debt-restructuring talks.
In another departure involving Foxwoods management, Lori Potter, director of public relations, resigned earlier this month. Potter, a tribal member, said she resigned to pursue personal interests.