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AMBSE vice chairman Steve Cannon announces retirement 

After nine years with AMB Sports and Entertainment, former CEO and current vice chairman, Steve Cannon, has announced he will retire from the organization at the end of June.


ATLANTA -- Steve Cannon, vice chairman, AMB Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE), has announced he will retire from the organization at the end of June.

Cannon was selected by Arthur M. Blank, chairman and owner of the Blank Family of Businesses, to help lead his for-profit sports entities as chief executive officer in 2016. Since that time, Cannon has worked closely with Blank and the leaders in each business to launch Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) and Atlanta United, scale PGA TOUR Superstore, further develop the Atlanta Falcons business initiatives and drive leadership, culture and community engagement initiatives across the organization. He also spearheaded a number of landscape-changing special projects for the organization, most recently the organization's efforts to helping the U.S. Soccer Federation relocate to Atlanta and build its first-ever national training center in nearby Fayette County.

"I spent the last nine years pinching myself for having the opportunity to serve at the highest level of the National Football League, Major League Soccer, and a world-class venue of Mercedes-Benz Stadium's caliber," Cannon said. "I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with a visionary, entrepreneur and leader like Arthur Blank in 2016, and it has truly been the most significant chapter of my professional career. I am forever grateful to Arthur and am proud of the good we put out in the world by continuing to live out his core values and driving culture in a diverse family of businesses. I am also proud of the succession plan put in place to elevate key leaders across the business to make this transition possible. All of Arthur's businesses are now being led by exceptional leaders and the results they are driving speak for themselves. It is a perfect time for me to make this transition knowing the caliber of people and teams that are in place and functioning at a very high level."

"I honestly can't be more grateful for Steve and the positive impact he's had on our organization, as a great partner to me and as a servant leader to so many others over the past nine years," said Owner and Chairman Arthur M. Blank. "As a champion and steward of our core values and culture, Steve has elevated our businesses and played a key role in developing the leaders of today and tomorrow. His leadership across all of our businesses and philanthropy has made positive impacts in so many ways, but the true legacy of his time with us will be the passion he brought to everything he touched; his tireless commitment to helping make AMBSE leaders in innovation, sustainability and fan and customer experience; and his relentless pursuit of making us the benchmark when it comes to celebrating and supporting America's military and their families. For all of it, I am very grateful, and I wish him and his family all the very best in the next chapter of their lives."

Under Cannon's leadership, Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened its doors in 2017 as a world-class venue for sports and entertainment. Home to the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, MBS has played host to the biggest sports and entertainment events, including Super Bowl LIII, the College Football Playoff Championship Game and has been the stage for the biggest entertainment acts in the world. Additionally, MBS will become the first stadium to host the College Football Playoff Championship Game for a second time in 2025 and will host eight matches, including a semifinal match, for the 2026 World Cup.

Prior to the launch of the stadium, Cannon implemented a specialized "Welcome Home" training to equip more than 4,000 gameday associates with the tools necessary to provide a world class experience for guests and continuously elevate the fan experience. As a result, the Falcons and MBS have earned top marks in a wide range of categories across the NFL including gameday staff, security, food and beverage and overall gameday experience in the league's Voice of the Fan survey, ranking number one in the NFL overall in 2022.

With a focus on sustainability, MBS became the first professional sports stadium in North America to achieve LEED Platinum Certification by the United States Green Building Council and the first stadium worldwide to receive TRUE Platinum Certification for Zero Waste. Also, the stadium's Food and Beverage Experience was honored as Sports Breakthrough of the Year in 2018 by Sports Business Journal for its revolutionary, affordable fan friendly pricing and quality metrics.

In his role as chief executive officer, Cannon helped launch Atlanta United of Major League Soccer in 2017 and maintained oversite of the club through 2023, while serving on the MLS Board of Governors. Atlanta United won the 2018 MLS Cup in just its second season, the earliest an expansion team has won the title since 1998. The club has established multiple league records including season ticket sales, single-season average and total home attendance.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cannon helped guide the organization through a shutdown and an eventual return to work plan during unprecedented times, while maintaining the culture and core values set forth by Blank. During the pandemic, AMBSE partnered with the Fulton County Board of Health to distribute more than 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations to metro Atlanta residents at MBS, becoming the largest vaccination site in the southeast. Additionally, with so many election sites still closed for the pandemic, Mercedes-Benz Stadium served as a voting location for the special runoff election in 2021.

As a graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Cannon led the efforts to make the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United military outreach efforts the benchmark in the NFL and MLS, respectively. In 2018, Cannon spearheaded the first NFL team directed USO Tour, visiting soldiers at various bases throughout Iraq and Kuwait. In the summer of 2023, Cannon took another Falcons delegation on a USO Tour to Romania and Bulgaria, becoming the first sports franchise to visit soldiers in those remote locations. For his leadership and tireless support for America's military and military families, Cannon was named the NFL's Salute to Service Award recipient in 2020, becoming the fourth Falcons nominee to win the overall award in a five-year span, and was presented with a USO Merit Award at the organization's annual gala last week in Washington D.C.

Cannon has also played a big role in modernizing marketing and digital functions across AMBSE that led to investments in Ticketmaster Studios, the state-of-the-art facility at Atlanta Falcons headquarters to provide fans closer access to players, coaches and executives within the organization with broader and more efficient storytelling capabilities. Another studio will be built in Marietta for Atlanta United as part of the team's recently announced expansion.

Working closely with PGA TOUR Superstore CEO Dick Sullivan and his leadership team, Cannon helped support the scaling of the leading golf specialty retailer in America from approximately 20 locations in 2016 to its current leadership position and recently opened 68th store and a robust ecommerce business.

Cannon's work in bringing U.S. Soccer Federation's headquarters and National Training Center to Atlanta culminated last Monday with a groundbreaking ceremony for the Arthur M. Blank US Soccer National Training Center. This new construction milestone for Atlanta will serve as a fitting bookend for Cannon's tenure at AMBSE after it began with the effort to launch Mercedes-Benz Stadium downtown and establish Atlanta United headquarters in Marietta.

Cannon graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and was Airborne Ranger qualified and served as First Lieutenant in West Germany during the fall of the Iron Curtain. During his time in the Army, he also served five years as an artillery officer. A two-time lettered wrestler at West Point, The National Wrestling Hall of Fame named Cannon the 2019 Outstanding American, an honor given to leaders who have used the disciplines of wrestling to launch distinguished careers in other walks of life.

Alongside his fellow West Point classmates, Cannon founded the Johnny Mac Soldiers fund in 2014. The organization honors military service and sacrifice by providing scholarships to veterans and military family members, particularly children of our nation's fallen and disabled. What began as a small effort to help the family of his fallen classmate, John McHugh, has grown into an organization that has raised and distributed more than $40 million in scholarships and other aid to date. Cannon also serves on the national board of directors for TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) and, most recently, as Board Chair for Avalon Action Alliance, a program funded by Blank and his Home Depot co-founder, Bernie Marcus. Cannon will now dedicate more time to Johnny Mac, TAPS and Avalon in retirement.

"While this has been a dream come true and I'm filled with immense gratitude, I am excited for the next chapter in my life, and I look forward to spending more time with my family and nine children across the country, while continuing my passion for serving our military community," said Cannon.

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