Southwest Sports Partners, LLC begins operations in Texas – Crescent City Sports

Southwest Sports Partners

New athletics consultancy and events services company led by former conference commissioner Tom Burnett

FRISCO, Texas – Southwest Sports Partners, LLC, a consulting and events services company, has announced its debut in the burgeoning sports capital of Frisco, Texas, home to multiple sporting organizations and events. Southwest Sports Partners is a turnkey agency uniquely positioned to deliver successful advice and support for the operational needs of sports-related clients and communities.

Southwest Sports will manage a range of services for its partners, including the planning, operation and catering of sporting events, executive-level consulting, employment consulting, and strategic planning and execution. In addition, the company will provide specialized athletics research and data review, public relations and other media services, financial reviews and benchmarking, athletics compliance and governance, and student-athlete issues such as college eligibility and name, image and likeness.

“We are very proud to announce the formation of Southwest Sports Partners and excited to bring extensive conference and national administration experience and perspective to the athletics consulting and services space,” said Burnett. “We look forward to forging partnerships at every level as we expertly help our clients find their sports solutions through our relationship-based and values-driven efforts.”

Burnett served as commissioner of the Frisco-based Southland Conference from 2003 until early 2022, specifically coordinating recruitment and annual operations of the successful NCAA Division I (FCS) Football Championship Game played at Frisco’s Toyota Stadium. In addition, Burnett recently served on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee overseeing March Madness and the Final Four. He led the group in 2021-22 as the national tournament returned to its traditional format in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During his tenure, he exponentially grew television coverage of Southland, including several national deals with ESPN Networks, and formalized the league’s corporate sponsorship efforts, which resulted in new revenue streams and unprecedented exposure. Burnett also initiated the Consortium of Southlands Football Officials in 2007 with the Big 12 Conference, a first of its kind dual program that combined individual training, observation, video review and development, a model followed by many other Division I conferences today. And in 2014, the Southland became the first FCS conference to implement instant replay of full NCAA football for all home games. Burnett has also served on 10 NCAA committees, councils and working groups.

A native of Houston and a 1988 graduate of Louisiana Tech University, Burnett served on the administrative staffs of the Sun Belt and American South conferences after starting his career in the athletics department at Louisiana Tech.

In addition to Southland, Frisco is also home to sports organizations affiliated with the National Football League (Dallas Cowboys), National Hockey League (Dallas Stars), Major League Soccer (FC Dallas), and Major League Baseball (Texas Rangers/Frisco RoughRiders), the National Basketball Association (Dallas Mavericks/Texas Legends) and the newly established PGA of America. Known widely as “Sports City, USA,” Frisco also serves as the home base for the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Toyota Soccer Center and US Youth Soccer.

In addition to the NCAA Football Championship Game, Frisco is also the site of the Frisco Bowl, the US Army Bowl, and the Conference USA and Lone Star Conference basketball tournaments. During the Covid pandemic, Frisco hosted the 2021 National Invitation Tournament and recently hosted much of the 2022 Big 3 tournament at the Comerica Center. As part of the PGA of America move, the Frisco East Course at Fields Ranch will host the 2023 Senior PGA Championship, 2025 Women’s PGA Championship and 2027 PGA Championship.

“We look forward to Southwest Sports’ interaction and contribution to the ever-expanding sports community here in Frisco, throughout North Texas and beyond,” Burnett continued. “This region continues to grow exponentially and sport continues to be a quality of life factor that makes this community and region so special.”

Burnett and his wife Tracy have two adult children, Cole and Jesse, and have lived in North Texas since 2003.

For more information about Southwest Sports Partners, log on to www.swsportspartners.com or follow us on Twitter (@SWSPartners) and LinkedIn (linkedin.com/swsportspartners). Burnett can also be reached directly at [email protected]

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WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT SOUTHWEST SPORTS PARTNER AND PRESIDENT/CEO TOM BURNETT:

MITCH BARNHART, DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS, UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY: “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Tom Burnett during our time on the men’s basketball committee. During some of the most difficult times, Tom has had the knowledge and understanding to create and lead incredible experiences on multiple fronts. As he assumes this role at Southwest Sports Partners, I am confident that he will provide the highest level of vision and guidance that will enable his clients to maximize their goals. As is always the case when dealing with Tom, this will be done with integrity and class.”

BOB BOWLSBY, FORMER COMMISSIONER, BIG 12 CONFERENCE: “Southwest Sports Partners enters the sports market at a time of rapid change. Tom Burnett and his team are uniquely qualified to help any organization assess its challenges, survey the landscape and apply innovative solutions. With an extensive background across a variety of fields, Southwest Sports Partners is well positioned to make an immediate impact.”

GREG BYRNE, DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA: “Tom Burnett is a trusted leader and advisor to many in intercollegiate athletics. His experience and understanding of the inner workings of our complex industry is an asset that any sports department or administrator can leverage.”

BUBBA CUNNINGHAM, DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA: “Tom’s experience, integrity and leadership in the athletic business will benefit those seeking thoughtful and successful advice. As a former Conference Commissioner and Chair of the DI Men’s Basketball Committee, he knows how to build genuine relationships and partnerships that will be key to continuing to provide valuable prospects in the sports industry.”

TAG GARSON, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, WASSERMAN MEDIA GROUP: “Tom Burnett is extremely knowledgeable in so many areas of the sports and entertainment industry. His skills span the spectrum and I am confident that both large and small properties and organizations will benefit from working with him.”

STEVE HATCHELL, PRESIDENT/CEO, NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: “Everyone agrees on the description of Tom Burnett. Thoughtful, patient, takes time to listen and evaluate, and then is firm and enlightened on next steps for all situations. You want him in the room and at the table as you make plans and solve problems. He is a shoulder-to-shoulder partner with solutions and a vision.”

DR. CHARLES McCLELLAND, COMMISSIONER, SOUTWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: “Tom Burnett has been a trusted innovative leader in the world of sport and intercollegiate athletics for over three decades. His ability to lead in times of uncertainty and find a clear path to success truly makes him one of the best in the business. Any company looking to grow and thrive would benefit tremendously from a partnership with Southwest Sports Partners and President/CEO Tom Burnett.”

CRAIG THOMPSON, COMMISSIONER, MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE: “Tom Burnett is a highly experienced sports administrator with deep connections in the intercollegiate world. His extensive and diverse background will serve clients well in a variety of fields and will be an excellent resource.”

DR. KEVIN WHITE, VP/ATHLETIC DIRECTOR EMERITUS, DUKE UNIVERSITY: “I am thrilled that Southwest Sports Partners is excited about entering the athletics consulting space. Indeed, with their highly experienced leader, Tom Burnett, an absolute rock star, Southwest Sports will immediately take a very strong market position!”

TOM WISTRCILL, COMMISSIONER, BIG SKY CONFERENCE: “I am so thrilled that Tom Burnett has started his own advisory group. His experience across all facets of collegiate athletics will provide his clients with a unique perspective and definitive results. Tom is one of the most connected and thoughtful leaders we have in collegiate athletics and his expertise is needed in these changing times.”

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