Sunoco Debuts "Essence Of Racing" Campaign Executive Transactions Isiah Thomas Expected Backlash Over Hiring FanDuel Brings On Most Of Zynga Sports Team Georgia Approves Increased Athletic Budget Kentucky Adding Ribbon Boards At Rupp IndyCar Ponders How To Attract Fans Long Term Jeff Gordon Hired As Full-Time Analyst For Fox Danica's Sponsorship Status To Be Telling For NASCAR Classified Advertisements
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KOBE BRYANT was featured on last night's ABC Barbara Walters special "Six To Watch." Walters: "Scandal-free and cozy in the limelight, Kobe Bryant is a marketer's dream. He seems to have as many endorsements as he has moves on the court" (ABC, 5/20). Actor RUPERT EVERETT was also one of Walters' "Six To Watch." Everett, who is gay, said that he plans to make a gay JAMES BOND film. Walters: "If you are the gay James Bond, who would be the Bond Girl?" Everett: "DENNIS RODMAN. I'm serious" (ABC, 5/20).
The USOC named J. MICHAEL WILSON Dir of Visitor Center & Community Relations, and ERICA HUTCHINSON Assistant Dir of Visitor Center and Community Relations (USOC)....Disney named THOMAS STAGGS as CFO & Exec VP, filling the post vacated by RICHARD NANULA. Staggs, who joined Disney in '90, most recently served as Senior VP/Strategic Planning. In other news, Disney named PETER MURPHY Chief Strategic Officer. Murphy, ABC CFO since last year, will oversee business development and the global growth of Disney's businesses (Mult., 5/21).
In N.Y., Paul Tharp previews CARL HIAASEN's "scathing" new book on WALT DISNEY CO., "Team Rodent: How Disney Devours The World" (N.Y. POST, 5/21)....Due to his shoulder injury, GREG NORMAN is unable to drive the pace car during this weekend's Indy 500. He will be replaced by '63 Indy winner PARNELLI JONES (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/21)....The AP reports that Amway co-Founders, the DEVOS and VAN ANDEL families, have "contributed" nearly $95M to charities since '95, for a total of $150M this decade. Many of the donations are to Christian causes. RICHARD DEVOS is RDV Sports Chair (AP/DET. NEWS, 5/21)....GEORGE WILL was named to the Board of Dir of the NEGRO LEAGUES BASEBALL MUSEUM (K.C. STAR, 5/21)....TARA LIPINSKI was in Washington, DC, pushing anti-tobacco legislation (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/21).
SFX Chair ROBERT SILLERMAN, whose company recently purchased FAME, is now one of the "three most important suits in the NBA," along with Commissioner DAVID STERN and DAVID FALK, according to Shaun Assael of ESPN MAGAZINE. Sillerman helped found The Marquee Group in '95, and his "likely next step" will be to combine FAME with Marquee "to create a sports mega-agency." With the consolidation of the sports agency business, Assael writes that Sillerman may be "a sports version of Michael Ovitz." However, an SFX exec said Sillerman "doesn't have the ego needs of an Ovitz. He'll be as aggressive, but not as high-visibility." Assael writes "that's good news for Falk" as he heads into offseason contract talks and may rep not only his own client list, but "potentially" Marquee's "as well." Assael: "Sillerman's role at the NBA power table? Nobody's sure. But remember that during the peak of Ovitz's power, he was setting the salaries of virtually every performer in the entertainment business -- a scary thought if you're David Stern" (ESPN MAGAZINE, 6/1).