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Facebook Hires NBA’s Dan Reed to Head Sports Partnerships

Dan Reed, president of the National Basketball Association’s minor-league operations, is joining Facebook to head up global sports strategy and partnerships with leagues, teams and athletes.

Reed will report to Nick Grudin, director of partnerships at Facebook. He joins the social giant’s roster of partner-development execs, which includes Sibyl Goldman, formerly executive VP of new media at Ryan Seacrest Prods., who heads entertainment partnerships, and Andy Mitchell, who leads news and international partnerships from New York.

As head of the NBA Development League (a.k.a the D-League) since 2007, Reed expanded the pro-basketball org’s minor league to 17 teams. On his watch, the D-League has hit record attendance numbers and revenue from ticket sales and marketing partnerships, and also broadened media distribution via new broadcast TV and digital outlets.

“Facebook is a powerful platform for connecting people with the sports, athletes and events they care about,” Grudin said in announcing the appointment. “Dan is a welcome addition to the team building more meaningful connections, conversations and experiences in this area.”

Last December, Facebook acquired SportStream, a small startup that aggregated and analyzed sports-related social conversations and content about sports in real time. Facebook’s partnerships team works with the SportStream product group, both of which are overseen by Justin Osofsky, VP of global operations and media partnerships.

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More recently Facebook reported record activity for the 2014 FIFA World Cup for a sporting event to date. From June 12 to July 13, 350 million people worldwide generated 3 billion interactions related to the soccer tourney on the service — including 88 million users and 280 million interactions for the Germany-Argentina final, making the match the most-talked-about sporting event ever on Facebook.

During the World Cup, Facebook had a partnership with Univision Communications, under which the broadcaster featured content from the social site (including athlete posts and trending data) in its telecasts. Facebook also had a promotional pact with NBC Sports for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Reed joined the NBA in 2004 as senior director of team marketing and business operations. Prior to that he was a management consultant with A.T. Kearney.

Reed’s last day with the NBA is July 31. The NBA said D-League staff will report to deputy commissioner Mark Tatum on an interim basis with a search for Reed’s replacement under way. In joining Facebook he will relocate from Brooklyn, N.Y., to California.

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