Magic CEO Alex Martins Named Seventh on Orlando Magazine's Most Powerful People List

By John Denton

June 26, 2014

ORLANDO -- Alex Martins’ visionary measures in helping revitalize Orlando’s downtown while also broadening the Orlando Magic’s footprint has cemented the Magic CEO’s place as one of the most influential leaders in Central Florida.

Just days after the Orlando City Council unanimously approved the Magic’s plans for the Downtown Sports and Entertainment Complex, Martins was ranked No. 7 on Orlando Magazine’s “Most Powerful People” list. Martins has been a staple on the list for years because of his strong guidance of the Magic, his leadership in construction of the dazzling Amway Center and his work on various boards throughout the Central Florida area.

Working closely with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Martins has been a leader in helping to bring life back to Orlando’s downtown. The Orlando Sports and Entertainment Complex will see the Magic invest $200-plus million in a project that promises to bring the Magic’s centralized headquarters, retail and hotel options and public gathering places to downtown Orlando.

Martins takes great pride in the Magic being leaders in the revitalization of downtown while also investing resources in the Parramore region.

“Like with the Amway Center, this has been several years of planning and working with the City to find the right avenue to add another great piece that will add to the core of downtown,” Martins said of the sports and entertainment complex. “So it’s incredibly exciting to get to the approval stage. Now, the real work begins in planning for construction. It’s going to be a long project and from start to finish we’re probably looking at five-to-six years. But we’re very excited to get started.”

The top 10 of Orlando Magazine’s “Most Powerful People” list for this year is as follows: Dyer at No. 1, attorney John Morgan at No. 2, Jacobs at No. 3, UCF President John Hitt at No. 4, Florida Hospital CEO Lars Houmann at No. 5, hotelier Harris Rosen at No. 6, Martins at No. 7, Walt Disney World executive George Kalogridis at No. 8, Gray Robinson’s Mayanne Downs at No. 9 and Orange County School Superintendant Barbra Jenkins at No. 10.

Back in January, Martins was ranked fifth on Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell’s list of the “The 25 Most Powerful People in Central Florida.” Martins has previously been ranked fourth, fifth and seventh on Maxwell’s list.

In a high-level leadership position with the Magic for the past eight years, Martins has remained a fixture in the rankings of the most dynamic leaders in Central Florida for much of the past decade. He was a “Hall of Power” member after ranking in Orlando Magazine’s Top 5 for five years in a row of their “Most Powerful People” rankings, a list he’s been a part of each of the past seven years. Martins sat atop that list in 2012.

In addition to his work with the Magic, Martins is also a board member of Visit Orlando where he has supported tourism promotion initiatives and secured the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, which generated more than $95 million in economic impact for the city and helped to shine the spotlight on Orlando. Martins was also a strong proponent of SunRail, a public transit system that opened last month to rave reviews throughout Central Florida.

Martins recently guided the Magic through their 25th anniversary season and he’s overseen the franchise’s efforts to rebuild the team by making the hires of General Manager Rob Hennigan and Head Coach Jacque Vaughn. Martins has led an evolution in the thought processes of how the Magic evaluate player acquisitions and make business decisions with a carefully planned, systematic approach.

“It takes a lot of patience and resolve, but that approach is already paying big dividends for us. Because of our strategic approach – whether it’s being one of the first teams in sports to embrace analytics and having a department of five people solely focused on looking at numbers, that helps us make the right decisions,” Martins said. “Or maybe it’s the way we approach our corporate sponsors and how we want to deliver them a return on their investment. That systematic approach, that strategic approach to our business is already paying dividends on the business side.

“The systematic approach is a new system on the basketball side, but I think it’s already paying dividends there as well,” Martins continued. “The assets that we have gotten in any deals done so far have clearly been maximized. And we’ve developed a core group of guys who want to play the right way and have the work ethic and the approach toward team that you find in every championship team. It requires patience and a lot of discipline. We live in a ‘want-it-now’ culture and it’s really, really hard when the pressure of expectations are coming from the four walls of this organization. But we honestly believe that we’re doing it the right way and establishing the building blocks for the future so that we can sustain some great success. And I don’t think it’s that far away for us.’’

Excerpt from Orlando Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful People Edition:
With the Orlando Magic’s first 25 years in the books, Alex Martins is looking to the future. He is in the midst of rebuilding his team in the post-Dwight Howard era – two first-round draft picks in June’s NBA Draft should help – and he is expanding the Magic’s presence with a $200 million downtown sports and entertainment complex across from the Amway Center. Martins is also part of the NBA Team Media Advisory Committee negotiating new national television agreements. In the community, he’s known as a team player, often acting as an intermediary among various governments and organizations. Martins, who received his MBA from UCF, was named to the school’s Board of Trustees; was a major advocate for SunRail; and has been a key player in oversight of the downtown performing arts center.