Rick White is the President of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs, where he supervises the activities of baseball’s leading independent professional league. During his time with the League, Mr. White has overhauled league financial affairs, instituted sponsorship and retail licensing programs and led Pace of Play efforts (reducing average time of game from 3:01 to 2:41) while influencing Major League Baseball to take similar steps. Due to Mr. White’s efforts, the Atlantic League enjoys the only Working Agreement of its kind with MLB.
He is a former Partner at Strategic Marketing Affiliates, a full-service licensing agency representing a portfolio of over 400 North American collegiate properties, recently acquired by Learfield Sports.
Mr. White was formerly President and CEO of Imperial Headwear, a top headwear provider to the golf, collegiate and outdoor industries. He led the company to the dominant share of the golf green grass market, with distribution in 98 of North America’s top 100 courses, while driving revenues from $19M to $35M, with EBITDA growth from $1M to over $3M.
White founded Major League Baseball Properties which oversaw trademark licensing, corporate sponsorship, publishing, international and special events. He originated sports’ first head-to-toe authentic fan apparel (“Diamond Collection”), pioneered vintage products (“Cooperstown Collection”), created sports fan festivals (“All-Star FanFest”) and launched MLB Clubhouse Shops. He led licensed product sales from $200M to $2B and was the first non-Commissioner to be conferred the Baseball Alumni Team’s Big Bat Award.
Mr. White founded Strategic Merchandising Associates (precursor to Strategic Marketing Affiliates), a lifestyle-market consulting firm, serving clients such as the Dallas Cowboys, Ivy League, Purdue University and other professional and collegiate teams, leagues, conferences and athletic departments. He was architect of the largest sponsorship in U.S. team sports history ($109M) between Adidas and the New York Yankees. After SMA, Mr. White headed subsidiary brands for Nike, including Cole Haan, Nike Team Sports and Bauer-Nike Hockey. Under Mr. White’s direction, revenues grew from $630M to $750M.
White also served as CEO of Reed Exhibitions, the largest trade show and conference production company in North America and later as CEO of the Phoenix Footwear Group, where he led sales from $40M to $160M in just two years.
Mr. White is a native of Los Angeles, California. He attended Chapman University, where he was student body president and played on the school’s nationally ranked baseball team. Mr. White was graduating class speaker and was awarded the prestigious International Rotary Fellowship for graduate study abroad. He graduated Magna Cum Laude, with a B.S. in Psychology. He later attended Purdue University’s Krannert School where he earned his MBA.