Oct 13, 2021
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Joi L. Garner named General Counsel at NYRA

by Pat McKenna

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced today the appointment of Joi L. Garner as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Garner succeeds Joe Lambert, who is retiring, and will assume her responsibilities on October 15.

Garner previously served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at THINK450, the marketing and licensing subsidiary of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) responsible for group product licensing, developing brand collaborations and commercializing the likeness rights of the collective group of current NBA players.

At THINK450, Garner was the lead negotiator in several of the NBPA’s most significant licensing deals, including agreements with Take-Two Interactive (NBA2K), Fanatics and Dapper Labs. Garner was also instrumental in creating the NBPA’s partnership with Anheuser-Busch; and in social-justice initiatives, including DoorDash’s #PayItForward challenge that supported Black-owned businesses and Kia Motors’ holiday campaign that provided relief to families impacted by the pandemic.

In her new position, Garner will be returning to NYRA, where she served as associate general counsel from 2016-2018 and was responsible for commercial and technical contracts, commercial litigation, sweepstakes and contests, and acted as production counsel for NYRA’s television shows, including oversight of the landmark media rights agreement with FOX Sports.

“Joi’s legal and strategic acumen, combined with her depth of experience in the rapidly evolving sports, entertainment and media landscape, align perfectly with NYRA’s priorities,” said NYRA President and CEO David O’Rourke. “We are thrilled to welcome Joi back to NYRA to help shape the future of the organization. NYRA would also like to thank Joe Lambert for his years of dedicated service, and we wish him the best in retirement.” 

Prior to her tenure at THINK450 and NYRA, Garner was a member of the Sports and Entertainment group of Garvey Schubert Barer, advising media, companies, athletes and entertainers on corporate and entertainment matters. She also served at Morrison & Foerster LLP as an attorney; at the National Basketball Association as an international PR associate; and at MediaLink Worldwide, a broadcast public relations firm.

“In so many ways, NYRA sets the standard of excellence in thoroughbred racing,” said Garner. “It is an honor to return and join such a talented team committed to moving the sport into the future and embracing opportunities for growth and change.”

Several industry organizations and media outlets have cited Garner for her work, among them Black Sports Network, which featured her in its “Women in Sports” series; and Marcom Weekly, which named her to its ranking of “28 Powerful Black Leaders in Marketing & Media.” Garner has also been honored by the National Black Lawyers in its list of “Top 40 Under 40” and by SuperLawyers as a “Rising Star” in the Sports and Entertainment field.

Garner is a native of Philadelphia. She earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media Communication from New York University.

NYRA is currently conducting live racing at Belmont Park, where the fall meet continues through Sunday, November 7. For additional information, visit NYRA.com.  

About the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA)

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) holds the exclusive franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State's thoroughbred industry, which is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual economic impact to New York State. 

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