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Toronto Argonauts President and CEO Michael Copeland, left, introduces new head coach Marc Trestman, right, and new general manager Jim Popp at a press conference to announce their hirings in Toronto in 2017. Woodbine Entertainment hired Copeland as its chief commercial officer on May 4, 2021.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Woodbine Entertainment hired Michael Copeland as its chief commercial officer on Tuesday.

Copeland joins Woodbine Entertainment after having founded his own sports consulting business. Prior to that, he had served as president/CEO of both the CFL (2006-15) and Toronto Argonauts (2015-18).

“In addition to his extensive background in sports and business, Michael is a strong, visionary leader, making him an ideal teammate to lead our commercial efforts as we look to realize those opportunities for growth in a rapidly changing sports marketplace in Canada,” Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson said in a statement.

Woodbine Entertainment said Copeland will oversee business development, digital strategy, marketing, sponsorships, broadcast and customer experience strategy.

Copeland, who was among Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 honourees in 2008, will also be involved with Woodbine Entertainment’s participation in the emerging sports betting sector in Canada as well as its real estate development project.

“Woodbine Entertainment is already one of Canada’s top sports and entertainment organizations with horse racing and the 50,000 jobs it supports at the centre of it all,” said Copeland. “Yet, the opportunity for it to embrace a bold vision for the future and reimagine its position as a Canadian sports and entertainment leader has never been stronger than it is now.”

Copeland is scheduled to begin his new role with Woodbine Entertainment on Monday.

Woodbine Entertainment also announced Christina Litz, who has served as its vice-president, media, digital, business and revenue development since December 2019, has left the organization.

She is joining True North Sports and Entertainment in Winnipeg as its Chief Brand and Commercial Officer.

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