Three new members to be inducted into the Sports ETA Hall of Fame this April

 Posted on: March 26 2024
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Contacts: Jackie Reau, Game Day
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CINCINNATI (March 26, 2024) – Three leaders in the sports events and tourism industry will be enshrined into the Sports ETA Hall of Fame, powered by Travel Oregon, at the organization’s annual Symposium in April. The new Hall of Fame members announced today are: Janis Burke, STS, CEO of the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority; John Gibbons, STS former executive director of the Rhode Island Sports Commission, and Bill Hanson, co-founder of San Antonio Sports.

The Sports ETA Hall of Fame is a lifetime achievement award recognizing long-standing and significant accomplishments in, and major contributions to, the industry trade association, Sports ETA, and the overall sports events and tourism industry. The Sports ETA Hall of Fame was launched in 2017, and there have been five induction classes with 18 honorees.

“Sports ETA is honored to welcome three new members into the association’s prestigious Hall of Fame,” said John David, President & CEO of Sports ETA. “Janis Burke, John Gibbons, and Bill Hanson have all made major impacts in our industries and their respective communities that are celebrated and recognized by their induction into the Sports ETA Hall of Fame.”

Janis Burke, STS has been the CEO of the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority since 2006. She became the third chief executive and first woman to hold the position since the inception of the organization in 1997. In addition to overseeing the billion dollars of bond debt service for Houston’s professional sports stadiums, under her leadership, Houston has been awarded major sporting events to include: 2026 FIFA World Cup, U.S.Olympic Trials, collegiate tournaments, numerous National and World Championships, AAU Junior Olympics, and the Transplant Games of America.

She is a past Chair of Sports ETA. Burke has also been recognized locally by Conference USA and Rice University for her outstanding contributions and achievements as a woman in the Houston sports industry, identified by the Texas Executive Women’s Association as a “Woman on the Move,” and named one of “Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women.”  

John Gibbons, former executive director of the Rhode Island Sports Commission, passed away last year at the age of 63. Gibbons joined the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2006. In 2010, he was appointed executive director of the Rhode Island Sports Commission, where he transformed the sports landscape in Rhode Island. Gibbons traveled extensively to represent Rhode Island to bring business to the state, including the NCAA Men’s Basketball, Ice Hockey, and the Division III Wrestling and Lacrosse tournaments in 2024 and 2025. He was a former board member for Sports ETA and, in 2022, received the Community Hospitality Ambassador of the Year Award from the Rhode Island Hospitality Association. In 2023, the PWCVB renamed its annual sports award the “John Gibbons Sports Ambassador Award” in his honor.

Bill Hanson is a co-founder of San Antonio Sports where he retired from after a 42-year career in amateur and professional sport organizations, primarily in event management and operations. Born and raised in Vermont, he went to San Antonio in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the U.S. Modern Pentathlon Training Center at Fort Sam Houston. In subsequent years, he was Executive Director of the USMP Association, Sport Manager at the 1984 L. A. Olympic Games, Assistant Competition Director at the Atlanta Olympics, and Technical Director at Pan American and Goodwill Games and four U.S. Olympic Sports Festivals.

Hanson spent eight years in the original North American Soccer League with the S.A. Thunder, the L.A. Aztecs and the S.D. Sockers. In his 22 years on the staff of San Antonio Sports, his job was internal operations and event bids and management. He directed sport operations for the 1989 AAU Jr. Olympic Games, was V.P. of Operations for the U.S. Olympic Festival ’93 and directed numerous NCAA, NGB, Big 12 Conference and other events hosted and created by SAS. Hanson served for years with Sports ETA on the Board and Executive Committee and was Chairman from 2007-08.

Sports ETA extends our sincerest appreciation to Hill Carrow, John Bisignano, Linda Logan, and Tara Green, who serve as the Association’s Hall of Fame Committee, for their diligent efforts in meticulously reviewing submissions, selecting deserving inductees, and collaborating with the Sports ETA staff to orchestrate a memorable ceremony for the Hall of Fame. Your dedication and commitment have enriched the legacy of Sports ETA, leaving an indelible mark on all who have been honored.

Special shout-out to Hall of Fame sponsor, Travel Oregon

About Sports ETA:

As the only trade association for the sports events and tourism industry, Sports ETA is the most trusted resource for sports commissions, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), and sports event owners. Sports ETA is committed to the success of more than 700 member organizations and 2,400 sports event professionals. We promise to deliver quality education, ample networking opportunities, and exceptional event management and marketing know-how to our members to protect the integrity of the sports events and tourism industry.  For more information, visit


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