David O’Rourke named NYRA CEO and President
by Pat McKenna
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) Board of Directors today announced the unanimous appointment of David O’Rourke as NYRA CEO and President. O’Rourke, who has been serving as Interim NYRA CEO since January 23, will assume the role effective immediately.
“David has made significant and lasting contributions to NYRA since he joined the organization more than a decade ago,” said NYRA Board Chairman Michael Del Giudice. “He possesses broad expertise in nearly every facet of the industry, enjoys deep respect among his NYRA colleagues and industry peers, and understands how the sport and the business will continue to evolve in the future. His combination of skills and obvious leadership ability made this an easy choice and we congratulate David on this appointment.”
O'Rourke, 45, first joined NYRA as Director of Financial Planning in 2008 before becoming Vice President for Corporate Development in 2010. In 2013, he was appointed Chief Revenue Officer and Senior Vice President. In that role, O'Rourke was responsible for NYRA's business development strategies across a range of disciplines including industry relations, simulcast markets and contracts, television strategy, advance deposit wagering (ADW) operations, and capital projects.
During his tenure, O’Rourke has played a signature role in spearheading the development and growth of NYRA Bets, NYRA’s national ADW platform currently available in 30 states. He has also helped shepherd the dramatic expansion of NYRA’s flagship television broadcasts, Belmont Park Live and Saratoga Live, which will feature live coverage nearly every race day in 2019 from Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.
“I am honored to have been selected by the Board of Directors to lead NYRA during this exciting time in its storied history,” said O’Rourke. “We have made tremendous progress as an organization over the past several years, but there is still much work to be done to continue to grow our racing product during an era of unprecedented competition and change within the sports and entertainment industry. I thank the NYRA Board for this opportunity and will continue to rely upon the outstanding talent within our organization as we work closely with industry partners and stakeholders to build upon our successes.”
O’Rourke is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), the advocacy group comprised of racetrack operators and industry stakeholders charged with increasing the popularity and integrity of the sport. He is also a member of the Saratoga Race Course Local Advisory Board. He earned an MBA from Tulane University and is a graduate of Richard Stockton College.
Prior to joining NYRA, O’Rourke was a member of the Zolfo Cooper and Capstone Advisory Group Corporate Restructuring Practices, specializing in multiple operational and financial reorganization efforts in the real estate development, gaming, auto manufacturing, retailing and shipping industries. He also served as Vice President of Operations at Datek Online and was instrumental in helping the company develop into the world’s fourth largest online brokerage.
About the New York Racing Association (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 the State.
Over the course of 219 days of live racing in 2018, NYRA generated more than $2.1 billion in all-sources wagering handle with paid attendance exceeding 1.7 million for the fifth consecutive year.