Nona Lee and Vicky Neumeyer
This week’s guests include two of the highest ranking female team sports executives: Nona Lee, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks; and Vicky Neumeyer, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans.
Nona has spent 19 seasons with the Diamondbacks, during which she successfully negotiated the team’s media and facility construction agreements and assisted with the preparation and presentation of salary arbitration matters. She is currently a board member of the Arizona State University’s Sports Law and Business program and the founder of the Phoenix Women’s Sports Association, a nonprofit helping empower girls and women through sports.
Vicky joined the New Orleans sports scene in 2000, providing legal consultation first to the Saints and later to the Pelicans. As a key member of the two franchises’ front offices, her counsel is invaluable in identifying and analyzing business and legal issues. She sits on the board of both the Texas Gulf Coast & Louisiana Make a Wish Foundation and the Louisiana chapter of the Girl Scouts.
Some highlights of Bob Wallace's conversation with Nona and Vicky:
On the role of technology in representing teams:
Nona: “We regularly look at how we can connect with our fans in a way that’s relevant. What is meaningful to this new generation? How do we get and keep their attention? It’s an ongoing exploration, and it’s going to take time.”
On the growing number of women in sports management:
Vicky: “The number of women has grown by leaps and bounds, both with front office staff and also club counsel. Just looking at the membership of the Sports Lawyers Association …. the number of women is amazing.”
Nona: “When we go to the Major League Baseball club counsel meetings, I am always struck now by how many women there are in the room. And I haven’t counted, but I’d easily say it’s half. I’m happy to see the numbers are growing.”
On one key issue for the future of sports law:
Vicky: “Data, and just trying to stay in front of it. Technology is moving so rapidly that once you finally get a policy for something or get a handle it, it’s passé and you have to start over again. And so you really need to be forward thinking.”