Stuart Layne is a seasoned strategic marketing and communications executive with decades of high profile media and sports marketing experience. He brings to the position of Executive Director of the Illinois Bicentennial an expertise in research, branding, publicity, events and sponsor relations.
In 1981, Stuart became the manager of the CBS FM Radio National Sales office in Chicago and subsequently became the Sales Manager of WBBM-FM before transferring to the CBS Television Network Sales office, also in Chicago. In 1984, he joined Emmis Communications of Indianapolis and managed radio stations in St. Louis (KSHE-95) and Minneapolis (WLOL-FM) before moving to New York when Emmis bought two struggling stations. Stuart built HOT 97-FM, which became one of the nation’s biggest Top 40/Dance- Hip Hop stations, and he was part of the team that built WFAN, America’s first all-sports radio station. When Emmis Chairman Jeff Smulyan bought the Seattle Mariners, Stuart became the team’s Vice President of Marketing and Sales. Within two years, the Mariners set team records in revenue and ticket sales and in 1992 won the American Marketing Associations Gold Effie for most effective entertainment marketing campaign. The Mariners became one of the most innovative marketers in sports. The M’s were among the first teams to offer branded food options in the ball park and even had Paul Newman throw out the first pitch when they switched to Newman’s Own Popcorn. Also among Stuart’s accomplishments in Seattle was the creation of the Mariner Moose. He is also responsible for rebranding the team’s look, logo, colors, and uniforms, still among the bestselling sports merchandise.
In 1993, Stuart spent several months back in Chicago when he helped launch Sports Radio WMVP, now ESPN 1000. In 1994, he joined the Boston Celtics where he became its Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales. In 1995, he successfully transitioned the organization and its fan base from the old Boston Garden to the new Fleet Center , now TD Bank Garden. In 1997, Stuart and the Celtics created the first well marketed and successful NBA Summer League which was the first to be broadcasted on network television. That league now resides in Las Vegas. The Boston NBA Summer League was underwritten in part by a unique sponsorship of Shaw’s Supermarket and supported in-store by Gatorade.
Stuart piloted many impactful and successful strategic sponsor programs in both Seattle and Boston for some of the biggest sports sponsors in the country, including Coca Cola, Anheuser Busch, Citizen’s Bank, General Mills/Wheaties, Southwest Airlines, Reebok, and many others.
In 2002, Stuart left the Celtics to open Seven 2 Sports, a marketing consultancy. Among his clients were the Forum in Inglewood California, the NBA, the National Corporate Theater Fund, Emmis Communications, the Indiana Pacers, and Celtics Legend Bill Russell. He produced several very high profile celebrity golf charity events, including Bill Russell’s MENTOR Champions Golf Challenge and Jim Brown’s Legends of Football Golf Tournament at the Super Bowl in New Orleans. In 2007 and 2008, Stuart was the Publisher of the free daily Boston Metro Newspaper. Under his direction, the Boston Metro became the number two newspaper in Boston.
Stuart returned to the Chicago area in 2014 to become Chief Marketing Officer of Great Shot Golf, a golf marketing agency in Lincolnshire Illinois. Great Shot Golf creates golf promotions, contests, and events. He graduated from the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University.