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Russ Brandon, President, League and Football Operations

Russ Brandon is the President of League and Football Operations for the XFL. As President, Russ manages day-to-day operations of the league while directing strategic planning for business and football operations on both the league and team levels. Russ is responsible for overseeing league and team business practices, with a strong focus on commercial initiatives, including partnerships, ticketing, merchandise, media, marketing, digital and gaming. Importantly, Russ leads the development of the football philosophy to bring a dynamic game back for fans as the XFL returns to the field in 2023. 

Before joining the XFL, Russ was most recently Managing Partner and President of the Buffalo Bills, President and Alternate Governor on the Sabres and COO of Pegula Sports and Entertainment (PSE), managing all aspects of the day-to-day business and administrative operations of the three entities.

Over his 21-year tenure with the Bills organization, Russ earned several promotions; he joined the organization in 1997 as Executive Director of Business Development and Marketing and moved through the ranks to become Chief Operating Officer in 2008. In 2010, he was promoted to Chief Executive Office before being named President and CEO in 2013. In 2014 Russ helped facilitate the Bills sale to PSE, while also playing an integral role supporting the Pegula family during their transition into their roles as NFL owners.

During his time with the Bills organization, Russ led several value-enhancing initiatives including the $130M renovation of New Era Field and team facilities, successful negotiations of lease agreements in 1999 and 2013, stadium naming rights in 2016, and overall business operations restructuring. Under Russ’s guidance, Buffalo hosted numerous major sporting events including the NHL Draft, NHL Combine, NCAA Basketball Tournament, NCAA Frozen Four as well as numerous other sporting events and concerts at both KeyBank Center and New Era Field.

In 2011, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed Russ to the NFL’s Business Ventures Committee, which oversees various business verticals of the league, including consumer products, sponsorship, and marketing.

Russ began his sports business career as a member of the Rochester Red Wings (then Triple A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) serving in many capacities, including assistant general manager. He then went to work for the Florida Marlins in 1993 until 1997 and was a member of the 1997 World Series championship team.

Russ was a recipient of Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal’s Forty-Under-40 Award in 2001.

Russ was a four-year letterman in baseball and football at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York and graduated with a degree in communications. He was inducted into the St. John Fisher College Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.