TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment have hired industry veteran Sean Walker to the position of vice president of innovation and technology services. Walker will serve as part of the senior leadership team and will be responsible for the overall technological direction of the organization and arena operations.
“We are very excited to announce the addition of Sean Walker to the Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment family today,” CEO Steve Griggs said. “The most important thing in creating a world-class organization is hiring world-class people, and we feel we have done that with Sean. He has been on the cutting edge of innovation throughout his career and will work to improve our overall infrastructure, integration, operational efficiency and, most importantly, our guest experience through technology. On behalf of the entire organization we’d like to welcome him back to his home state of Florida.”
Walker joins the Lightning from the National Basketball Association (NBA) where he served as associate vice president of team, arena and event technology. In that position he developed and led key strategic technology initiatives for the NBA and also worked with senior management to develop the strategy and implementation plan league-wide. Walker worked with numerous business units to define technology used during NBA games and provided leadership, as well as direction, to the league and member clubs to implement those elements across arenas to ensure technical and operational readiness. He also managed a team of game technology specialists, directing all technology initiatives throughout arenas for NBA, WNBA and D-League games to ensure operational excellence, while also working with teams, arenas and other contacts across the leagues to ensure all technology initiatives met league specifications and were operationally effective.
The Florida native was instrumental in developing IT strategy for large-scale NBA events including the All-Star Game, NBA Finals and NBA Draft while ensuring plans were delivered strategically and operationally. Walker worked directly with various IT groups to implement a high-speed arena network, a wide-area network carrying 10G of video and data from each arena to the league office in New Jersey, to support centralized, league-wide instant replay on game nights. He also spearheaded a strategy and an operational plan for implementation of a sponsored timing and scoring system at all NBA arenas. Walker worked to bring NBA member teams together, managing the annual Team IT Conference and creating the Team Collaboration Committee, a leadership group among clubs to foster teamwork and information-sharing across the NBA.
Prior to joining the NBA, Walker served as the director of enterprise applications for the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA). In that position he directed and led technology initiatives for the world’s largest working sports organization. Walker developed technology solutions to meet needs in all areas of the organization, including PGA Spectator Championships (including the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup), PGA Golf Properties, along with member and education programs for 28,000 PGA professionals.
Walker possesses a Bachelors of Science, as well as Masters of Science degrees in decision and information sciences and food science and human nutrition, from the University of Florida.