John Saccenti

Now in his third decade as a member of the ever-expanding Las Vegas sports community, John Saccenti in 2014 was named by ESPN to serve as executive director of the Las Vegas Bowl, an ESPN Events owned and operated bowl game.

Saccenti (pronounced sah-SENT-ee) also serves as the executive director of the recently launched Vegas Kickoff Classic, an ESPN Events-owned early-season college football matchup that pits nationally known programs at Allegiant Stadium, including a much-anticipated meeting of USC and LSU slated for 2024. That is the same year that the veteran administrator is in line to serve as chair of the executive board of Bowl Season (formerly Football Bowl Association), a group he was named a member of in 2021 after previously heading its public relations committee.

During his tenure at the Las Vegas Bowl, Saccenti recently helped usher in a partnership with three powerhouse leagues that span coast to coast as each December a team from the Pac-12 now takes on an opponent on a rotating basis from the storied

SEC and Big Ten conferences. A member of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority’s advisory group, he also oversaw the transition of the annual game from being played at Sam Boyd Stadium into its new home at the state-of-the-art Allegiant Stadium, starting with Wisconsin vs. Arizona State in 2021.

Saccenti joined ESPN Events in 2001 and worked as an account executive on university projects at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for four years in addition to the Las Vegas Bowl. He also held the title of senior manager event sponsorship and marketing and associate executive director of the Las Vegas Bowl game.

Part of the team that helped launch the ESPN event business, Saccenti worked on the first two ESPN owned and operated events – which has grown into a 32-event lineup that includes three early-season college football kickoff games, 17 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and a college softball event – which accounts for approximately 400 hours of live programming.

Saccenti began his professional career in 1994 with the local minor league baseball team (AAA Las Vegas Stars) and hockey team (IHL Las Vegas Thunder). He worked in a variety of departments with the franchises, including public relations, sponsorships, marketing and operations, before finally serving as director of marketing. In 2000, he became marketing director for Vince McMahon’s XFL Las Vegas Outlaws football franchise, which went on to lead the fledgling professional league in both single-game and season attendance.

A 2016 graduate of the Leadership Las Vegas program, Saccenti was also a member of the class of 2016 from ESPN’s Nextgen Rising Leaders program. He is a member of the board of directors of both the UNLV Football Foundation and Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame.

Honored in 2009 with the All American Football Foundation Bud Dudley Bowl Executive Award, Saccenti was a member of “Las Vegas’ Top 40 Under 40” list published by Vegas Inc. magazine in 2012.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Saccenti moved to Nevada in 1993 after graduating high school in Red Bank, New Jersey. He attended UNLV and earned his bachelor’s degree in communications in 1998.