D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty announced Monday a shuffling of high-level posts that left the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission with its third different top executive in the last year.
Erik Moses, the former director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development, will serve as CEO of the sports commission after Fenty announced former commission CEO Greg O’Dell’s move to a similar position at the Washington Convention Center Authority.
Fenty credited O’Dell with overseeing the last phase of the construction of Nationals Park and said his development experience would be valuable in helping the convention center authority move forward with plans for a new hotel. Prior to joining the commission, O’Dell was a consultant on the construction of the new convention center.
“The great needs at the convention center were the driving factor,” Fenty said. “We felt Greg was the best person to go there, so that opened a position on the commission. [Greg] had the development focus in addition to being a great manager. Once the commission got that done, now a lot of their issues are going to be about business development, event development and legal issues [in which] Erik Moses has great talents and skills.”
Indeed, Moses is taking over a city agency in the middle of a transition. With the construction of the ballpark essentially complete, officials are now focused on carrying out a series of new initiatives, including the renovation of the D.C. Armory to allow for more sporting events and concerts, and luring more events to RFK Stadium.
“We now have what I consider reallocation of our human resources,” said commission board chairman Matthew Cutts, who already has met with Moses. “The stadium had been consuming all of our time, and we hadn’t been spending as much time promoting sports, bringing events and bringing new entertainment to the District. Now that the stadium project is winding down, we can devote more of our human resources to doing that.”
The commission is also working with Fenty and other city officials on plans for a new soccer-only stadium for D.C. United and a possible new stadium for the Redskins at the site of RFK.
“We’re kind of in the post-baseball era,” Moses said. “So I think now we have to connect with John and Jane Doe Citizen about why the sports commission is important and what difference it makes in the lives of D.C. residents. This city has a rich sports history, and that’s something we need to play up.”
Moses is also inheriting a commission that has had to rely on the D.C. Council for funding assistance. The commission is operating with a $2.5 million subsidy for both this year and 2009.
“I am aware of the subsidy, and I think there are some challenges there,” Moses said. “We have the support of [Fenty], and I believe we have the support of the council, and I’ll be meeting with them to shore up that support. But make no mistake: The goal is to be self-sufficient.”