Matthew Payne Hired as New Executive Director of Denver Sports

3 Nov, 2014

Former ED of Austin Sports Commission Brings Management, Event Recruitment Experience

Matthew Payne, former executive director for the Austin Sports Commission and an avid promoter of the Austin sports scene for almost a decade, has been hired as the new executive director of Denver Sports. In this position, he will be responsible for attracting new regional, national and international sports events and sports-related business opportunities for Denver that generate economic impact, engage the community and support Denver’s brand as an active, healthy city. He will start on December 1, 2014.

“Matthew Payne brings a great mix of experience in both managing major sports events and in recruiting sports events for cities. He has been very successful in bringing events like the ESPN Summer X Games and other first time sports championships to Austin, and we look forward to having him in Denver,” said Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER.  

Denver Sports was founded in 2001 with the purpose of bringing large sports events to The Mile High City for economic development and for the national and international media exposure that these types of events generate. The organization is best known for its involvement with events like the 2008 NCAA Men's Frozen Four and the 2012 NCAA Women's Final Four. In December 2012, Denver Sports merged with VISIT DENVER's sports marketing efforts.

“Denver has an incredible worldwide reputation as a city that loves sports, and has the fans and infrastructure to support major sporting events,” Payne said. “It’s really an honor to join the Denver Sports team and help bring new athletic events to the Rocky Mountain region,” he said.

During his tenure with the Austin Sports Commission, Payne's primary duties included overseeing the agency's efforts to recruit, retain and grow sports and athletic events throughout the Greater Austin area. In 2005, Payne helped establish the commission under the larger umbrella of the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, Austin's official destination marketing organization. 

His leadership role enabled Austin to recruit and attract first-time championships in the disciplines of soccer, triathlon, cycling, volleyball, football and others. The culmination of these efforts resulted in Central Texas successfully hosting impactful events such as the Davis Cup, USA Volleyball's Boys National Championships, and the Ironman 70.3 Austin – all of which greatly contributed to the overall economic impact of the Austin community. 

Payne was also instrumental in representing Austin in the city's successful multi-year bid to host ESPN's Summer X Games, the first of which took place in June 2014. 

Prior to his work in sports tourism, Payne was director of national sales for Global Entertainment Marketing, a Phoenix-based company engaged in sports management, event center development, facility/venue management and ticketing. He also worked with the first minor league professional hockey franchise in Austin, the Austin Ice Bats, where he served in several capacities for the startup franchise, including general manager.

About Denver Sports: Denver Sports was originally founded in 2001 to help bring high-profile sporting events to Denver. In 2012 it Denver Sports became an official affiliate of VISIT DENVER, which is a clearinghouse and resource for all sporting event organizers interested in Denver as a future location. 

The mission of Denver Sports is to proactively identify, pursue and attract new regional, national and international sports events and sports-related business opportunities that generate economic impact, engage the community and support Denver’s brand as an active, healthy city.  More information can be found at

About VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau: Celebrating 105 years of promoting The Mile High City, VISIT DENVER is a nonprofit trade association that contracts with the City of Denver to market Denver as a convention and leisure destination, increasing economic development in the city, creating jobs and generating taxes. A record 14 million visitors stayed overnight in Denver in 2013, generating $4 billion in spending, while supporting nearly 50,000 jobs, making Tourism the second largest industry in Denver. Learn more about Denver on the VISITDENVER website and at TOURISMPAYSDENVER or by phone at 800 2 Denver. Follow Denver’s social media channels for up-to-the-minute updates at:;;; and


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