Lew Sherr, the current Chief Revenue Officer of the USTA, has been named USTA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director. According to USTA Chairman of the Board and President Mike McNulty, Sherr will begin in his new role on May 2 following Tuesday’s announcement.
In his new role, Sherr will partner with the USTA Board of Directors to set the strategy for tennis’ growth in the United States, and will lead the USTA National staff to ensure those strategies are successful and that tennis continues its recent growth trends toward an increasingly diverse player and fan base for the sport.
Over the past two years, tennis has seen a 27.9% increase in participation, growing by approximately 4.9 million players in that time period. In 2020, participation in the sport increased by 22%, with four million more players than in 2019. In 2021, the trend continued when an additional million Americans picked up the sport, a 4.5% increase over 2020.
Another top priority for Sherr, who has laid out a comprehensive growth strategy for the association and the sport, is the bolstering of services and support for the 17 USTA Sectional Associations, the drivers of tennis participation and growth on the front lines of communities around the country. He also plans to accelerate the digital transformation that is presently underway at the USTA.
In his tenure as USTA Chief Revenue Officer, Sherr has driven all revenue streams for the USTA to record levels including overall sponsorship, broadcast revenue, and attendance and ticketing revenue, and under his leadership, the USTA will ensure the Association’s financial strength and continue to build on the profitability of the US Open.
“Lew is the right person to lead the USTA and the sport of tennis,” said McNulty. “He is an empathetic leader who has proven he can build, develop, and motivate teams, and can design and implement successful strategies for growth. Equally important, he has demonstrated a keen ability to build relationships that foster trust and energize cultures.”
“I’m excited to assume this position at such an important time for tennis,” said Sherr. “I look forward to working closely with our talented national staff, our 17 sections, the incredibly passionate volunteer base, as well as all of the important stakeholders in our sport at every level. I know that tennis is a sport that can enhance lives and longevity, and it’s our responsibility to share it with as many people as possible. I thank the USTA Board for this opportunity, and I am eager to help lead this association–and the sport of tennis–to greater growth and long-term success.”
Sherr has a long and successful history in a wide range of sports, entertainment and media properties. Prior to the USTA, Sherr was Senior Vice President, Marketing Partnerships for Madison Square Garden where he directed all sponsorship activities of MSG’s Entertainment Division, which operated six music venues and produced several world-renowned touring theatrical productions. He also held senior level positions at Time Warner Global Marketing and Clear Channel Advantage. He began his professional career with a seven-year stint at Wilson Sporting Goods Company.
A graduate of Duke University and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, Sherr will be based at the USTA National Campus in the Lake Nona neighborhood of Orlando, Fla., but plans to make regular visits to all USTA National offices and USTA Section office locations.
The USTA CEO search was led by Nolan Partners, an Excel Sports Management Company. According to Nolan, the USTA Board considered a highly diverse long list and highly diverse short list that consisted of more than 50% female and/or ethnically diverse candidates.