Andrew Lustgarten is stepping down as CEO and president of MSG Sports, the parent of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.
A longtime sports and media executive, Lustgarten has been with MSG for nearly a decade. He was president of the combined MSG companies, which included MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment (NYSE: MSGE), then helped lead their split in April 2020. He retained his position with each company after the break until he relinquished his role at MSG Entertainment in April.
Lustgarten will stay on as MSG Sports CEO until Jan. 1, when he will transition to the board. David Hopkinson, an executive vice president at MSG Sports, has been promoted to president and COO.
“The time is right for me to pursue new opportunities,” Lustgarten, 45, said in a statement. “I am enormously grateful to [executive chairman Jim Dolan] and everyone at MSG, and look forward to continuing to work with him and the rest of the MSG Sports team in my new role.”
The changes come on the heels of a banner year for MSG Sports. Coming off a pandemic that rocked live sports and entertainment, the company recently reported record revenue and operating income for its fiscal year ended June 30, including revenue growth vs. 2019 in every major category—tickets, media rights, suites, sponsorship, food and merchandise.
In his eight years at the MSG family of companies, Lustgarten helped oversee the spin-off, guided the company through the COVID pandemic, and also spearheaded growth through acquisition—including M&A involving esports org Counter Logic Gaming, restaurant and club operator TAO Group, and the Boston Calling music festival.
Hopkinson joined MSG Sports in 2020 after stints with Real Madrid and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the parent of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC. MSG Sports said it will not name a new MSG Sports CEO right now, and Jim Dolan will continue to oversee team operations for the Knicks and Rangers.
The MSG Sports portfolio also includes two development franchises—the G-League’s Westchester Knicks and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack—plus esports orgs CLG and Knicks Gaming.
Lustgarten is the latest executive departure from MSG’s companies. Earlier this year Lawrence Burian left executive roles in both MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment, which oversees the MSG cable networks and venues like Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre. PR veteran Deirdre Latour also departed as chief communications officer of MSG Entertainment.
Lustgarten stepped down as president of MSG Entertainment around that same time, but continued in his role at MSG Sports. Lustgarten, Burian and Latour were all among the 13-member MSG Entertainment leadership team under Jim Dolan.
The Knicks are worth $6.12 billion, according to Sportico‘s numbers, making them the most valuable team in the NBA and the third most valuable franchise in the U.S. The Rangers are worth $1.87 billion, second in the NHL and 66th in the U.S.
Lustgarten’s family has deep ties to the Dolans. Marc Lustgarten, Andrew’s father, was an executive at Cablevision alongside Jim and Charles Dolan, Jim’s father. All three of them serve on the board of the Lustgarten Foundation for pancreatic cancer research, set up shortly before Marc succumbed to the disease.