Meet The Staff

John SaccentiJOHN SACCENTI
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ESPN EVENTS/LAS VEGAS BOWL

Now in his third decade as a member of the Las Vegas sports community, John Saccenti in 2014 was named by ESPN to serve as executive director of the Las Vegas Bowl, an ESPN Events owned and operated bowl game.
Saccenti (pronounced sah-SENT-ee) joined ESPN Events in 2001 and worked as an account executive on university projects at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for four years in addition to the Las Vegas Bowl. He also held the title of senior manager event sponsorship and marketing and associate executive director of the Las Vegas Bowl game
During his tenure, average attendance of the Las Vegas Bowl has jumped 93-percent compared the event’s first decade of existence. Those totals include the three highest-attended team sporting events in the history of the state of Nevada (2006, 2013 and 2015 games). Part of the team that helped launch the ESPN event business, Saccenti worked on the first two ESPN owned and operated events – which grew into a lineup that now numbers 31 events across the country; The events lineup includes fourteen bowl games, four neutral site football kickoff games, eleven college basketball tournaments and two post-season award shows.
Saccenti began his professional career in 1994 with the local minor league baseball team (AAA Las Vegas Stars) and hockey team (IHL Las Vegas Thunder). He worked in a variety of departments with the franchises, including public relations, sponsorships, marketing and operations, before finally serving as director of marketing. In 2000, he became marketing director for Vince McMahon’s XFL Las Vegas Outlaws football franchise, which went on to lead the fledgling professional league in both single-game and season attendance
A 2016 graduate of the Leadership Las Vegas program, Saccenti was also a member of the class of 2016 from ESPN’s Nextgen Rising Leaders program. He is a member of the board of directors of the UNLV Football Foundation and board of trustees for the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame. He currently serves as the chair of the PR & Marketing Committee for Football Bowl Association.
Honored in 2009 with the All American Football Foundation Bud Dudley Bowl Executive Award, Saccenti was a member of “Las Vegas’ Top 40 Under 40” list published by Vegas Inc. magazine in 2012.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Saccenti moved to Nevada in 1993 after graduating high school in Red Bank, N.J. He attended UNLV and earned his bachelor’s degree in communications in 1998.

 

MeetTheStaff David HirschDAVID HIRSCH
SENIOR MANAGER, EVENTS / LAS VEGAS BOWL

Hirsch was hired in July 2021 as Senior Manager, Events to assist in coordination of the Las Vegas Bowl.

A long-time employee of college athletics, Hirsch spent 25 years with the Pac-12 Conference. Originally hired by the Pac-10 Conference in 1995 as Director of Public Relations, Hirsch’s responsibilities included sport management duties for men’s basketball and cross country/track and field, as well as assisting in public relations for the Conference’s 22 sports. During the Conference’s expansion from 10 to 12 teams in 2010, Hirsch was elevated to Vice President, Communications and was the only Power 5 communications lead for both football and men’s basketball. Hirsch was the media coordinator for both the Pac-12 Football Championship Game and the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament. In addition, Hirsch worked with the Tournament of Roses Association, serving as Assistant Media Coordinator for the Rose Bowl Game. Prior to his time with the Pac-12, Hirsch was a member of the University of Arizona media relations staff (1988-1995) where he was Coordinator of Information Services. In that role, he was director of media relations for the Wildcats’ nationally-ranked basketball, baseball and volleyball teams.

Native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Hirsch finished high school in Phoenix, Ariz., then attended the University of Arizona where he earned his degree in Business Administration in 1986.

 

MeetTheStaff Veronica DuganVERONICA DUGAN
EVENTS COORDINATOR, ESPN EVENTS / LAS VEGAS BOWL

Dugan joins the ESPN Events team from Columbus, Ohio and is a proud graduate of Kent State University.  She began her career in events with the Cleveland Cavaliers, managing the social media accounts for the Cavalier entertainment teams for 3 seasons. After the 2017 NBA Finals concluded, Veronica moved out to Las Vegas to continue her career in the live events industry. She joined the Orleans Arena as their Premium Services Coordinator and was soon after promoted to Events Coordinator. Among the various events Veronica advanced at the Orleans Arena, her favorites include: The West Coast Conference, US Figure Skating Nationals, The CrossFit Games Regional Qualifier, and helping launch the inaugural season of the Henderson Silver Knights. Veronica was a part of the Orleans Arena team for three years, before joining the ESPN Events / Las Vegas Bowl team in September, 2021.

 

MeetTheStaff Celine CasillasCELINE CASILLAS
EVENTS ASSISTANT / LAS VEGAS BOWL

Casillas recently graduated from Pepperdine University in Spring of 2021 with her degree in Sport Administration and minor in Marketing. While finishing her last few months of her senior year, she landed a job with the Jordan Brand (Jumpman LA) as a brand ambassador. Casillas quickly realized that she wanted to do more than just work events; she wanted to produce them. Her dedication to learn more about the behind the scenes of an event led her to an event operations internship with Position Sports. Russell Westbrook’s  ‘Why Not?’ Academy was her very first event that she managed. Soon after, she was recommended for her position here at the Las Vegas Bowl with ESPN and left her home in LA to her new home in Las Vegas. She is now beginning her professional career and plans to make a name for herself in the sports and entertainment capital of the world – Las Vegas!