ATLANTA – Today the Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena announced that Joel Browning has been hired as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In his new role, Browning will oversee the accounting, finance, information technology and analytics departments of both the Hawks and State Farm Arena while playing a leadership role in the strategic development of future large-scale projects. He will report directly to Chief Executive Officer Steve Koonin.
Browning joins the Hawks from the NBA where he was a vice president in its Team Marketing & Business Operations (TMBO) department and served as an account manager and dedicated sales, marketing and business operations consultant for the Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings. During his time at TMBO, he was a key contributor to the NBA’s record-setting operating performance, served as the primary point of contact between TMBO and NBA Finance on Advisory Finance Committee matters as well as the NBA’s game scheduling committee, and crafted design and monetization strategies for multiple NBA arena capital projects, including State Farm Arena. Browning played a leadership role on a team that was honored by the NBA with the 2019 Commissioner’s Award for Innovation for contributing to the NBA’s strategic partnership with Homecourt, a leading AI basketball app designed to scale global skills development.
“Joel adds a wealth of institutional NBA knowledge and high-level business and finance expertise to our executive team. For the past five years as our TMBO representative, he’s played an integral role in many of our key decisions, providing tremendous counsel and insight. We are thrilled to have him join us full-time in Atlanta,” Koonin said.
“I am so excited to join the Hawks & State Farm Arena at this incredible time for the franchise. Since Tony Ressler purchased the team, the Hawks made investments necessary to be a first-class franchise and have transformed their brand into an important staple of the Atlanta community,” Browning said. “After working with Steve and their talented executive team over the past five years, I am eager to join the group and contribute.”
Prior to his time at the league office, Browning served as vice president, business operations & strategy for the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports and Entertainment (PS&E). As a member of their executive committee, he drove the corporate strategy initiatives for PS&E Vice Chairman Arn Tellem and developed the financial projections that provided rationale for moving into Little Caesars Arena. Browning also implemented several ticket sales/suite strategic pricing initiatives leading to record highs in revenue and drove the financial analysis related to key strategic partnerships with Ticketmaster, Levy Restaurants and Live Nation, which resulted in PS&E entertainment setting record highs in profit.
Prior to his time at the league office and with the Pistons, Browning spent 10 years in finance roles, serving as a Media Investment Banking Analyst for J.P. Morgan and a Vice President for Bergman Group, a Los Angeles-based family investment office.
The California native received his undergraduate degree at Boston University before completing his M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson School of Management.