Former FIFA World Cup and Major League Soccer executive Marla Messing has been named Chief Executive Officer of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Southern California section, the organization announced today.
“There is an opportunity for tremendous growth within the SCTA and throughout all of our tennis programming,” said Chris Lewis, Chairman of the SCTA Board of Directors. “Marla’s extensive and successful background in marketing and sports management will be an invaluable asset to our USTA Section as we look to provide innovative and exciting opportunities for all of our current and future members. Having witnessed Marla’s leadership role in the tremendous maturation of soccer in the United States, we look forward to realizing much of the same on tennis courts across Southern California.”
Ms. Messing brings with her a diverse set of experiences across sports and commerce in senior leadership and executive roles, as well as an extensive local and national network. She most notably served as Executive Vice President of the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Building on her role with the FIFA World Cup, she played a critical role on the founding team that spearheaded Major League Soccer (MLS), currently in its 23rd year of operation. Assuming the role of Senior Vice President, Ms. Messing was critical to developing the League’s initial licensing and corporate identity programs, and the staging of its opening match.
Ms. Messing returned to the global soccer stage as President and Chief Executive Officer of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the ground-breaking womens-only sporting event that attracted 650,000 spectators and a cumulative worldwide broadcast audience of 800 million viewers. Messing was responsible for writing the business plan, building a management team, securing corporate partners and developing the marketing strategy for this event.
Messing also served as a Vice President and Executive Director of the LA2024 Exploratory Committee (Bid Committee for Los Angeles’ 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid). Among other things, Messing was responsible for managing the Committee’s relationships with sports leaders, including the heads of the national governing bodies of Olympic Sports, and the development of the LA2024 Innovation Network, a group of Southern California and Silicon Valley technology executives committed to supporting innovation for the Games. Los Angeles was subsequently awarded the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Messing began her professional career as a lawyer with Latham & Watkins, where she practiced corporate law in both Los Angeles and New York. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School.