NTRA Expands Media Efforts; Hires VP

New initiative made possible through financial support from The Jockey Club.

As part of an expansion of its publicity efforts, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association has hired Stephen B. Panus to serve as vice president of communications.

The NTRA also plans to relocate the NTRA Communications office from its present base in Westchester County, New York to The Jockey Club offices in midtown Manhattan. The organization said the addition of Panus, and a second media specialist to be hired in the near future, will enable the NTRA to expand its media and public relations efforts “with an increased emphasis on mainstream media exposure.”

According to a release from NTRA, the new initiative was made possible through financial support provided by The Jockey Club, who will also support this effort with its significant data and technology capabilities.

“Expanding awareness of our sport and participation in it has been a goal of the NTRA from its inception,” Alex Waldrop, president and chief executive officer of the NTRA, said in a statement. “One of the best ways to achieve that is to get more stories out there to mainstream audiences. We are immensely grateful to The Jockey Club for its support of this important new initiative that will benefit the entire Thoroughbred industry”

“Promotion of our sport is essential for its future success,” said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club. “The Jockey Club has funded initiatives like this in the past, and we are proud to do so now.”

Thoroughbred Racing Communications, a national media relations office and predecessor of NTRA Communications that was funded in part by The Jockey Club, was based in The Jockey Club’s New York office throughout its existence (from 1987 through 1998).

Panus, along with Eric Wing, senior director of media relations, and Joan Lawrence, senior manager of communications, will move into The Jockey Club offices on or about May 31, 2011. Panus received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of South Carolina and a law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, has served in a variety of sports marketing, public relations and communications capacities.

From 2008 until 2010, he served as general counsel and vice president of business development for Agassi Graf Holdings LLC and the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education in Las Vegas. Prior to that, he represented professional athletes and also spent two years with Joe Goldstein Public Relations Inc. in New York City.

He has also served as a sports and entertainment marketing consultant for Strategisto LLC in Fairfield, Conn.