Meet The Staff
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 nuetral 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.
Jamias “J. J.” Jones, a Los Angeles Native, currently in his second year with ESPN where he is an Event Coordinator for the Las Vegas Bowl, Wooden Legacy Tournament, College Basketball Awards, and Collegiate Esports Championship. His areas of focus are event operations, sponsorship fulfillment, community activation, and website/social media.
Prior to entering into a full time position with ESPN, he interned with the company working as a College Sports Programming Intern. In his first year with ESPN, he helped launched the Las Vegas Bowl Youth Ambassador Program which recognizes local youth football players for their accomplishments on and off the field. In addition, he helped launched on the first ever Collegiate Esports Championship (CEC) where colleges from all around the country competed in various titles such as Overwatch, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Hearthstone, StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm, for a chance to become the champion of each of their respective games across the collegiate ranks. In its first year, the CEC received 1,075,247 total views on twitch, an estimated of 23,742,042 minutes watched on Twitch across a 3-day period, and received the Tempest Esports Business Award for Best Collegiate/Amateur/Semi-Pro Event of the Year.
Prior to ESPN, he attended the University of Oregon where he received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration, graduating in 2016 and then went on to earn his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Advanced Strategy and Leadership, graduating in 2018. As he pursued his Master’s degree, he was the Resident Assistant (RA) for the Umoja Scholars. In this role he was the leader and mentor for these students with the primary goal of cultivating a sense of belonging for incoming freshman. During his undergraduate career he walked onto the University of Oregon football team as a Running back who won notable games such as: Alamo Bowl (2013), Pac 12 Championship (2014), Rose Bowl (2015) and competed in the first ever College Football Playoff National Championship.