President & Chief Operating Officer
LA Sparks President and COO Danita Johnson is revolutionizing the women’s sports business model. In a landscape where women’s sports receives less than one percent of sports sponsorship dollars and less than four percent of sports media coverage, Johnson has implemented an innovative approach to growing the WNBA’s marquee franchise.
Johnson stepped into the role prior to the 2019 season and immediately painted a vision emphasizing growth in digital media, meaningful community platforms and establishing
impactful corporate partnerships. Simultaneously, Johnson prioritized building strong organizational structure and staff development, unifying her team around the Sparks mission statement, #LeadTheCharge.
In her first season as President, Johnson’s strategy culminated in the Sparks winning the 2019 WNBA Business Franchise of the Year Award, laying a blueprint for increasing equity in women’s sports and thriving in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
In 2020, Johnson helped the Sparks launch Change Has No Offseason, a long-term social justice pillar focused on combatting systemic racism and sexism. The campaign includes voter registration and education programming, immigration reform initiatives, as well as an enhancement of existing programs related to women’s issues, mental health and wellness, and police and youth relations.
Johnson got her start in sports management with the Fayetteville Patriots, the first NBA G League team where she helped launch the Bakersfield Jam and later the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA. She’s also worked for the Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Mystics, Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns. With over 15 years of experience, Johnson is one of the only high-level sports executives to serve in management roles in the WNBA, NBA and NBA G League.
Johnson has combined powerful private and public partnerships, increased media coverage and social media engagement, and unique community initiatives to drive sponsorship revenue and ticket sales. Both her personal story and approach to sports business is ground-establishing not just for women’s sports teams, but for any organization trying to grow in a competitive market.
Outside the WNBA, Johnson sits on the board of the Share Winter Foundation, is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and is a WISE Within Mentor. She has a passion for travel, cooking and mentoring young professionals. Johnson hails from Fayetteville, North Carolina and attended Western Carolina University where she earned her degree in Sports Management.