Chief Revenue Officer, Sacramento Republic FC
Dustin Vicari made a bold move. He had just graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science degree in sports, recreation and tourism but didn’t want to stay in his native Illinois anymore. So he headed to Phoenix, where he had played some baseball as captain of his junior college team, to pursue a career in sports.
As soon as he arrived, he started spreading his resume to every possible sports team in the region, large and small. But it was a chance meeting with a friend of a friend at a party that connected him with Al Guido, the current president of the San Francisco 49ers and chairman and CEO of Elevate Sports Ventures, a global sports and entertainment consulting firm, who at the time was managing sales with the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team. He quickly brought Vicari on board in 2006 to sell season tickets and has since become his longtime mentor.
That first job sent Vicari on a rocket ship. He joined Guido at sports firm Legends Global Sales sports company, where he helped to set sports industry revenue records for the new wave of NFL stadiums opening around the country through selling tickets, sponsorships and suites, including the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, the Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium and most recently, leading the opening of the Las Vegas Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium.
“I tell aspiring graduates I get connected with,” he says, “make sure that you end up in the right situation where you have leadership that cares for you and is willing to invest time and help you develop your career.”Dustin Vicari, Chief Revenue Officer, Sacramento Republic FC
“I tell aspiring graduates I get connected with,” he says, “make sure that you end up in the right situation where you have leadership that cares for you and is willing to invest time and help you develop your career.”
Vicari is still working with Guido, now as executive vice president for Elevate Sports Ventures while holding a dual role as Sacramento Republic FC’s chief revenue officer. He works with team owner Kevin Nagle and the executive team to create new opportunities for the region’s businesses to partner with the club and impact the community. (Vicari was brought on by billionaire Ron Burkle during the team’s failed bid for Major League Soccer.) The team is still pursuing an MLS bid, with Nagle continuing his vision to build a new stadium at the site of the historic Sacramento Railyards.
Vicari, 38, wants to help fulfill that vision for his wife and three sons, who are all involved in sports. He helped secure the naming rights for the current stadium at Cal Expo, Heart Health Park, through a partnership he made with the American Heart Association and Western Health Advantage. The sponsorship has a poignant meaning for Vicari — his daughter Leila died when she was 1 year old of heart disease.
“When I think about a heart health partnership, that just hits home for me,” he says. “We continue to work on this, help drive awareness around heart disease, which is the number one killer for men and women in the country. And we want to create health related programming to create awareness around that.”
Vicari is also proud of the work Sacramento Republic FC does teaming with Raley’s and Kellogg’s to provide food for underserved communities, helping at-risk children participate in a SMUD STEM program and the outreach soccer matches the team plays with inmates at Folsom State Prison.
“The impact we’re making in this community is significant,” he says. “I think that the work that we’re able to do to support the community is something that is personal and everlasting for these families, children and this community.”
Vicari spends his free time with his family, watching his sons play youth sports. “There’s probably nothing I enjoy more right now, outside of spending time with my wife: being able to see my kids play sports, to see the joy they have.”
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