As the director of the Canadian Hockey League for the past five years, Rishi Lal is responsible for closing the largest sponsorship agreement in the league’s history—a multi-year, multimillion-dollar deal. As he works with an organization with nine million fans, he also serves as CEO of his own corporation, Silver and Black Sponsorship Marketing. The company specializes in helping its partners strategically match brands with the right partner and developing new avenues for revenue, with a true focus on building genuine and authentic programs for his clients. Underlying Rishi’s success is his unique ability to build relationships, which sets him apart from his industry peers. “I’ve always been fortunate to connect with folks on a personal level which helps in building out real and lasting business relationships,” he shares.
As director of the CHL, Rishi draws from nearly 15 years of diverse experience in the sports industry to deliver successful marketing partnerships for its 52 Canadian hockey clubs as well as their flagship national events. By combining title naming rights opportunities and national and regional team partnerships with broadcast content that reaches millions of consumers, Rishi has created award-winning partnerships, including a Silver Medal at the Summit Creative Awards for a digital program he put together for a league partner. “We have created some really unique programs for our partners that are natural extensions for our fans and more importantly, our partners brand targets, which has really driven great business results all around,” he explains.
Rishi’s diverse background gives him a unique combination of skills that drive the success of both the CHL and Silver and Black Sponsorship Marketing. His career has taken him from story editor for TSN (ESPN Canada) to corporate sponsorship sales executive for University of Virginia’s athletic programs, from account manager with S&E Sponsorship Group to part of the collegiate sports marketing division of CBS. “It was a great adventure, and the connections, relationships and great mentors along the way have led me to where I am now,” he says. “Still hungry, still excited about the path forward.”
Rishi holds a master’s degree in sports administration from the University of Ohio, a post-graduate diploma in journalism from Humber College, and a B.A. in political science/communications from York University in Toronto, where he graduated with honors.
Director — Canadian Hockey League
LinkedIn: Rishi Lal