News — It’s been three years since the National Women’s Soccer League has had an active commissioner. However, the wait for Jeff Plush’s replacement is officially over. The NWSL announced on Thursday that Lisa Baird has been named the next commissioner of the league.
The news broke before the official announcement from Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated, who spoke exclusively with the new commissioner. Baird formerly served as the chief marketing officer for New York Public Radio. She held that role for more than a year. However, before joining NYPR, she was the chief marketing officer at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
Baird will begin her role as NWSL commissioner on March 10.
“As a long-time fan of the game and the players, I am excited to be joining the league at this time,” Baird said, via a press release. “The NWSL has tremendous positive momentum and a clear path towards growth.”
Baird is filling the roles of Jeff Plush, the former NWSL commissioner. The NWSL had two major vacancies this offseason: commissioner and president. Amanda Duffy, the de-facto and unofficial commissioner and former president, left the club this month. She is now with the Orlando Pride front office.
Steve Malik, owner of the North Carolina Courage and NWSL Executive Committee chair, called Baird’s background impressive.
“Her impressive background at the forefront of sports and commercial business for some of the most iconic properties worldwide will be instrumental to the future success and growth of the league,” Malik said.
“The NWSL has tremendous positive momentum and a clear path towards growth.”
— NWSL Commissioner, Lisa baird
What is Lisa Baird’s new role as NWSL commissioner?
According to the press release, Baird is going to have a busy slate with her new role. She is responsible for “overseeing all operations for the league and NWSL Media with a focus on growing revenues and audience while elevating the profile of the league globally.”
As mentioned, she will begin the role on March 10.
Mike Golub, president of the Portland Thorns and another committee member, said that Baird had the right combination of experience and leadership for the role.
“Lisa’s stellar accomplishments with some of the most successful properties in our industry and her well established reputation as a leading global marketer make her the best person to steward the league’s next phase of growth,” Golub said.
Baird has earned a few accolades during her career. A graduate of Penn State University where she obtained a Master’s degree in Management, Marketing and Statistics, Baird was the 2011 WISE Woman of the Year. She was also named in Sports Business Journal’s first-ever class of “Game Changers: Women in Sports Business.”
Baird also formerly worked as the senior vice president of marketing and licensing for the NFL. She remained with the league for three years, launching NFL Play60.
Yesterday wasn't a mirage 😉
— NWSL (@NWSL) February 26, 2020