Thorns FC

Portland Thorns FC appoints Alexis Lee as President of Business Operations

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An Oregon native, Lee most recently served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Ilitch Sports and Entertainment (IS+E)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC proudly announce the appointment of Oregon native and seasoned sports industry professional, Alexis Lee, as the President of Business Operations.

"I am ecstatic to become part of Portland Thorns FC. Returning to my home in Portland and joining a cherished organization as the Portland Thorns, is a dream realized,” Lee shared. “I look forward to contributing to the organization's growth, aiming to elevate it to be the number one women's sports club globally by championing an inclusive business model aligned with the values of the Portland community."

In her new role, Lee will spearhead all facets of the club's business operations, including marketing, ticket and sponsorship sales, community relations, finance, legal, and human resources. Most notably, Lee's hiring marks the first Thorns-specific executive business employee, and as such she will be responsible for building out a robust and elite front office staff. As President of Business Operations, Lee along with Portland Thorn’s President of Soccer Operations, Karina LeBlanc, will report to Governor Lisa Bhathal Merage.

Lee brings a wealth of experience leading cross-functional teams in professional sports, live entertainment, and arts and culture. Most recently, Lee served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Ilitch Sports and Entertainment (IS+E) in Detroit, Michigan where she led all marketing functions for the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and MLB’s Detroit Tigers.

Prior to her time in Detroit, Lee served as Executive Director at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington, where she transformed the museum's operating and financial model, guiding the institution through essential cultural changes.

Lee's return to the Portland sports scene holds special significance, as she spent nearly a decade with the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter entertainment complex, where she held leadership positions across various marketing functions.

In an official statement, Governor Lisa Bhathal Merage expressed her enthusiasm for Lee's appointment, stating, "We are thrilled to welcome Alexis to our team. Alexis embodies our shared vision for the culture of the club, which will guide our future hiring practices. We're excited about the positive impact her experience and local roots in the community will bring to our organization."

Lee also expressed her excitement, stating, “It was evident from the beginning of the conversations with Lisa and Alex that our values and goals were aligned. We share a similar vision for the Club, relying on value-based leadership and a respect for the community. We are eager to bring it to new heights, while still honoring the history of this organization.”

A proud Oregonian, Lee earned her B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Sports Marketing from the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business and Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.

Lee's appointment continues an exciting new chapter for Portland Thorns FC under the new ownership of the Bhathal family as they continue to cement their position as a powerhouse in women's soccer both on and off the pitch.

The Portland Thorns are set to begin the National Women’s Soccer League regular season on March 16 against Kansas City Current at CPKC Stadium before returning to Providence Park on March 24 for the home opener against NJ/NY Gotham FC, tickets for which are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting