Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins was named one of the 50 most powerful people in Central Florida and the most powerful in sports and entertainment.
Martins, the longtime executive for the Magic, essentially acts as the team’s day-to-day owner. He is the liaison between the DeVos family and the Magic, working with Dan DeVos on team matters. But Martins is the guy on the ground overseeing the business operations for the Magic directly. And everything else, at least, indirectly.
And outside of his work with the Magic, he is a pillar of the community. He uses his position as the head of the city’s oldest professional sports team to make a positive impact in the Orlando community.
It is no surprise then that once again Alex Martins was named one of the 50 most powerful people in Orlando by Orlando Magazine. It is a tad surprising to see him come in at No. 1 in the Entertainment and Arts section, ahead of Orlando City SC owner Flavio Augusta de Silva.
Considering all the work Martins has done in and around Orlando the last year, especially as the head of the One Orlando Fund distributing funds to victims and their families after the Pulse tragedy, it is not entirely surprising to see him top the list.
Orlando Weekly writes:
"A few months ago, Martins and General Manager Rob Hennigan were under fire: The team, which had shown so much preseason promise with the addition of Coach Frank Vogel and big-name players Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo, struggled to a 29-53 record, missing the playoffs for the fifth straight year. Martins immediately fired Hennigan and added Jeff Weltman from the Toronto Raptors as president of basketball operations; Weltman promptly hired John Hammond from the Milwaukee Bucks as the new GM. With both moves receiving rave reviews, hope has returned to the land of Magic. Other big milestones for Martins were the Magic’s acquisition of the Orlando Solar Bears franchise and the clearing of land for a $200 million sports and entertainment complex across from Amway Center. Martins was also a huge presence in community service matters, chairing the OneOrlando Fund, which distributed $33 million to survivors of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting and the families of those who died."
Martins certainly is under fire more and more from Magic fans. There is a perception he pushed the team to a Playoffs-or-bust season in the last few years if not directly guided basketball decisions. All accounts suggest he let general manager Rob Hennigan do his job and Hennigan made missteps in trying to build the Magic into a Playoff team.
But, also undoubtedly, normal ownership pressure to produce results caused Hennigan and his staff to make some decisions they may not have otherwise made.
It seems like Martins learned some lessons after making his first executive hire as the team’s CEO — he took over in 2011 after Bob Vander Weide resigned. Martins promised the Magic would be investing more in their basketball operations than ever before. That was certainly proven in hiring Jeff Weltman as president of basketball operations and adding experienced support staff in John Hammond and Pete D’Alessandro.
At least on paper, it feels like the Magic are heading in the right direction.
Martins has been a steady part of this list for several years. And there is no reason to think Martins will not remain among the power players in Orlando, both politically, in sports and entertainment and in the community. Or that it is a bad thing or undeserved. He has planted a flag firmly in the City Beautiful and helped transform it into the burgeoning metropolis it has become.
Orlando Magazine named Martins to this list in each of the past 10 years including ranking as the most powerful person in Orlando in 2012.
Still, Martins has remained extremely involved in the Orlando community. The Magic as a business organization are expanding their holdings. The franchise bought the Orlando Solar Bears and they are continuing their development of the entertainment complex across the street from Amway Center.
Whether fans like him or not, Martins is continuing to shape Orlando’s sports and entertainment scene. And in a largely positive way.
For fans, though, his success ultimately is judged on whether the Magic turn things around.