Restructuring at the Quiznos Pro Challenge continued Wednesday when the organizers behind the new Colorado stage race announced the hiring of former AEG president Shawn Hunter as co-chairman. Hunter, the top man at the entertainment giant behind the Amgen Tour of California during that event’s first two years, will join the fledgling seven-day race that starts August 22 in Colorado Springs.
“Being a long time Denver resident, I know firsthand what the picturesque state of Colorado brings to a professional sporting event and to champion cyclists,” said Hunter. “Hosting cycling’s top athletes for a competition in some of the world’s toughest altitudes and climbs will make for an epic race and we’re determined to make it one of the most exciting sporting events in the world.”
Hunter joins Quiznos founder Rick Schaden as co-chairman and should add firepower to the organization’s management team. At AEG, Hunter oversaw the management of eleven international sports franchises in addition to the Amgen Tour and was involved in revamping Major League Soccer. According to a press release, Hunter was also responsible for securing the Los Angeles Galaxy’s multimillion-dollar jersey sponsorship after signing star David Beckham.
“Shawn Hunter is a great asset to the Quiznos Pro Challenge team,” said Schaden. “His experience leading world-class sports teams will be invaluable in guiding the strategy for one of the premier professional cycling events in the world. We have no doubt the Quiznos Pro Challenge will be the biggest spectator sport in the state of Colorado and will rank in the top five in the U.S.”
Most recently, Hunter served as a director for Total Sports Asia, a sports management firm specializing in the Asian market. The firm’s clients have included the U.S. Open Tennis Championship and Manchester United.
Most notable is Hunter’s experience getting sports franchises and projects off the ground. He was central to the successful launches of the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche and Phoenix Coyotes and helped secure funding for the latter’s new arena. Hunter preceded AEG president Andrew Messick as head of what has become the country’s premiere stage race.
His acumen in organizational development should be a boon to the Quiznos race, which has seen tumult in its leadership with initial president Joe Moller departing last fall and principle Lance Armstrong under the investigation by the Food and Drug Administration.