LEONARD ARMATO BIO
As Founder and CEO of Management Plus Enterprises (MPE), Leonard Armato has been a trailblazer in creating, positioning, and building “high growth” brands and at the forefront of the convergence of sports, entertainment, marketing and technology. Armato created a formula for converting celebrity into “brand” by launching and building Shaquille O’Neal’s brand with a powerful coalition of marketing partners and positioning Shaq as a “tech influencer”. Armato also developed the “Golden Boy” brand for Oscar De La Hoya, now an industry leader in boxing promotion.
Besides representing athletes, Armato served as the sports and entertainment lawyer for blue chip brands where he created and negotiated partnerships with celebrities the likes of Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Paula Abdul, Heather Locklear, Priscilla Presley and Michael Jackson, among others. Armato also has a history in developing sports properties, particularly in the volleyball space. He is the founder of the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, which was the impetus for beach volleyball becoming an Olympic sport and created the FIVB World Championships of Beach Volleyball.
In 2000, Armato became a pioneer in sports and entertainment media by launching Digital Media Campus (DMC), a self-contained ecosystem with all of the resources under one roof necessary to launch and grow a sports and entertainment media company. Quincy Jones, Pamela Anderson, Shaq and other entrepreneurs launched businesses there. Investors in DMC included Venture firm, TCV, and internet titans such as Larry Ellison, Mark Andreessen, Ben Horowitz and Ron Conway, among others.
Armato also served as President of the Skechers Fitness Group and the Chief Marketing Officer of the Company. Skechers became the #2 Footwear Company in the USA in 2010, the year Armato joined the company, and was the fastest growing footwear company in the world. Armato orchestrated Skechers evolution from a lifestyle company to a performance company using celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Mark Cuban, as well as iconic athletes Joe Montana and Wayne Gretsky. In January, 2011 Advertising Age named Skechers one of the hottest global brands, featuring Armato in the publication.
In 2013 after leaving Skechers, Armato created The World Series of Beach Volleyball, the biggest sports/music/beach lifestyle event of its kind. Most recently, MPE has partnered with ESPN to own and grow the volleyball vertical and go direct to consumer by creating and aggregating premium content informed by data driven insights.
Armato received the Heal the Bay “Walk the Talk” Award in 2006 and the USD Law School “Distinguished Alumni” Award in 2007 and in 2010 gave the USD Law School commencement speech.