Michael T. Lehr
Executive Vice President of Business Development
Governor of the Worcester Sharks
MICHAEL T. LEHR
Michael Lehr enters his 12th season in the San Jose Sharks organization and his third as executive vice president of business development for Sharks Sports & Entertainment (SSE). He also serves as the Worcester Sharks Governor to the American Hockey League Board of Governors. From 2001 thru 2011, Lehr oversaw Sharks Minor Holdings, LLC as president and chief operating officer for the Worcester Sharks and Cleveland Barons, the Sharks top affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Lehr currently is responsible for various parts of SSE operations including the SAP Open ATP men’s tennis event (San Jose), and the men’s ATP World Tour event and the WTA international women’s tournament in Memphis, TN – as well as the Racquet Club of Memphis (a 188,000 square foot, full-service racquet, swim and fitness club. The club also features an elegant restaurant and bar, as well as extensive banquet facilities) and the exploration of new opportunities in domestic and international properties. Lehr also oversees Sharks Merchandise, assists in identifying and negotiating special events for HP Pavilion, and is responsible for developing new business ventures that fit within SSE’s core business philosophy.
In addition to the above, SSE operates the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks, the management of HP Pavilion at San Jose and select HP Pavilion events.
SSE also manages all or parts of several ice facilities in the Bay Area, including Sharks Ice at San Jose (the San Jose Sharks official training facility), Sharks Ice at Fremont and Oakland Ice Center operated by Sharks Ice.
Through his involvement in the Sharks merchandising division, Lehr has helped drive sales to impressive numbers, consistently near the top of the NHL. As a member of Senior Management he plays an intricate role in the structure and shape of the organization working with the other executives and ownership in running the organization day to day. In addition he co-chaired a major project of converting all the SSE properties to a one-platform software – SAP Business by Design.
Over the past six seasons, Lehr has guided the Worcester Sharks to become one of the top regarded franchises in the AHL. Along with current Worcester President Michael Mudd, Lehr was instrumental in developing and producing the Worcester bid to the AHL Board of Governors in order to secure the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic for the city of Worcester, the first time in 50 years the AHL All-Star Classic was held in Massachusetts. The 2009 AHL All-Star Classic was a tremendous success, with all four events filled to capacity and showcased the city of Worcester to host such an event.
As the San Jose Sharks primary player development affiliate, the team in Worcester has consistently helped mold and prepare the organization’s prospects for the jump to the National Hockey League. The organizations commitment by players, coaches and staff to the community was Lehr’s a top objective in moving the franchise to Worcester, which is now truly “Sharks Territory”. Lehr also handles all contract negotiations with the City of Worcester and is the liaison between the city and the Sharks.
Before joining SSE, he served as managing partner and co-founder of Power Plant Studios, a full-service marketing, management and communications group whose clients included Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.
Lehr successfully worked in Major League Baseball and for several regional sports networks. He served as the regional director of programming and network operations for SportsChannel Ohio in Cleveland and Cincinnati from 1991-93. Under his direction, SportsChannel captured its first local Emmy Award for "Outstanding Sports Coverage" of Indians Baseball. He also spent time in management roles with Prime Cable of Chicago and Westinghouse Broadcasting, Inc.
In 1993, Lehr became director of broadcasting and entertainment for the Cleveland Indians. During his tenure with the Indians, he oversaw the creation of the Indians Radio Network, negotiated broadcasting contracts and successfully engineered the formation of ballpark entertainment at Jacobs Field.
In 1996, he joined the Baltimore Orioles as vice president of marketing, sales and broadcasting. While with the Orioles, Lehr was responsible for overseeing many facets of the organization including marketing, broadcasting, advertising, corporate partnerships, luxury suite sales, retail operations, on-line ventures, ballpark entertainment, publishing, fantasy camps, spring training operations, promotions and ticket sales. Under his leadership, the Orioles more than doubled their corporate sponsorship and broadcasting revenues while setting a franchise high in ticket sales. He was a member of both the marketing and advertising committees for Major League Baseball.
Lehr’s commitment to the community has followed him in each city he has lived. He has been active for such charity groups as Big & Little Brothers, Cleveland Indians Charities, Orioles Foundation, American Lung Association, Grant-A-Wish, American Cancer Society, YMCA, Special Olympics, Cleveland Sports Commission, the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, the San Jose Chamber of Commerce and several other youth sports organizations.
A native of Chicago, Lehr earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.