On Monday, the Los Angeles Sparks announced that Danita Johnson was hired as their new Team President and Chief Operating Officer.
Johnson was previously the Director of Business Operations for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. In her current roles, Johnson will oversee business operations for the team, which include ticket sales, sponsorship deals and community programs.
The position marks Johnson’s second stint with the organization.
She previously worked as Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service and Senior Vice President of Business Operations from 2014-17. Prior to that, she led ticket sales operations for the Washington Mystics (2013-14) and Tulsa Shock (2009-12), and worked in sales for the Phoenix Mercury (2007-09), according to her LinkedIn profile.
This is a great hire for the Sparks organization. In her last stint for LA, Johnson saw ticket sales increase by 50 percent. But what Johnson has to offer goes even further — she has overseen ticket sales for WNBA teams in different markets and situations after major organization changes, whether a relocation, like the Shock, or a long rebuild, like the Mystics.
The Sparks may have a better basketball team right now than the Shock in 2009 or the Mystics in 2013, which opens the path for Johnson to lead the team to success. But the Sparks have a new head coach in Derek Fisher who comes in with an unproven track record.
As the WNBA continues to grow, there will be more new business hires of people with many years of relevant experience in the league. Johnson’s hire shows just that, which should quell some past concerns about multiple WNBA executives leaving for other jobs in recent months.