David W. Checketts was named president and chief executive officer of Madison Square Garden in September 1994. The 42-year-old Checketts oversees all operations of the renowned sports and entertainment companies, including the “World’s Most Famous Arena” its four sports franchises—the New York City Hawks of the Arena Football League, the New York Knickerbockers of the National Basketball Association, the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League, and the New York Liberty of The Women’s National Basketball Association—along with the MSG Network and FOX Sports New York. He has also fostered an expanded commitment to hosting live entertainment, family shows and now, with the addition of Radio City Productions to the Garden family, the synergies between the two promise boundless new entertainment opportunities.
Last year, under Checketts’ leadership, MSG became the first arena to host the annual Grammy Awards. An inaugural extended run of “The Wizard of Oz” starring Roseanne as The Wicked Witch of the West, debuted in the spring of ‘97. October saw the second annual Madison Scare Garden, the family-themed interactive Halloween attraction in the Expo Center and 1997 concluded with a fourth successful year of “A Christmas Carol” (starring Hal Linden and Roddy McDowall). The Garden’s production of “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Mickey Rooney and Eartha Kitt, recently returned to the theater as part of a 15-city nationwide tour.
Checketts brings to his present position the same clear picture of the New York Community that marked his tenure as Knicks president. His dedicated efforts have been geared toward maintaining the Garden and its franchises as part of the cultural/entertainment fabric of the city, while expanding the company’s horizons with a constant flow of new and trailblazing ventures.
During the Checketts regime, the Knicks won two Atlantic Division championships (1993 and 1994), made two trips to the Eastern Conference finals, and emerged as Eastern Conference Champions in 1994, falling to Houston in a thrilling seven-game NBA Finals series. Checketts’ concern for the community and New York City youngsters was also underlined by the Knicks’ expanded humanitarian efforts.
Checketts serves as a governor reporting for both the Knicks in the NBA and the Rangers in the NHL, and is on the planning committee for the future of the NBA. He came to the Knicks from the National Basketball Association headquarters, where he had served as Vice President for Development since September 1990.
Earlier, during a six-year tenure with the Utah Jazz, which began in 1983, Checketts brought the team into prominence as one of the NBA’s most efficient and successful organizations. He completed a rise to the presidency of the Jazz in 1984, just one year following the launch of his professional sports career, and at age 28, becoming the youngest chief executive in the NBA. Checketts joined the Jazz from the Boston-based management consulting firm, Bain and Company.
He earned his undergraduate degree in communications and finance from the University of Utah after attending Brigham Young University, where he made the basketball team as a walk-on candidate. He later earned his MA from BYU.
Committed to the community, Checketts established the Madison Square Garden “Cheering for Children” Foundation, which was created to enrich the lives of children in the metropolitan area. The newly created Foundation will use the Garden’s vast resources to help raise funds, create awareness and recruit volunteers for especially important causes, including educational programs that benefit children.
Dave and his wife Deb have six children - Spencer (20), Katie (18), Nathaniel (15), Andrew (13), Ben (11) and Elizabeth (5) - and live in Connecticut.