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WMG Chair & CEO Casey Wasserman
Wasserman Media Group has acquired the NBA and MLB player representation practices of veteran agent and former SFX Sports CEO ARN TELLEM, who will become the President of WMG Management as part of the deal. Tellem, considered one of the most powerful agents in sports, had announced last year that he was exercising an option to buy out of his contract at SFX Sports and was in talks with a number of investors about a business partnership. “For me, I had the opportunity to evaluate many people and this was my first choice from the very beginning,” Tellem said. WMG Chair & CEO CASEY WASSERMAN “has an intense passion to compete in the sports and entertainment field and be on the cutting edge in this business. I thought he would be the ideal partner for me because that is very much what I wanted to do,” Tellem said.
CLIENT BASE: Tellem will bring with him to WMG a client base of about 50 NBA and 50 MLB clients, including JASON GIAMBI, HIDEKI MATSUI, NOMAR GARCIAPARRA, BARRY ZITO, TRACY MCGRADY, JERMAINE O'NEAL and PAU GASOL. Tellem will bring his team of agents, including BOB MYERS, JOEL WOLFE, THAD FOUCHER and JEFF WERNICK with him to WMG. The one major agent Tellem will not be bringing is ROB PELINKA, who represents about ten NBA players, including NBA superstar KOBE BRYANT. Wasserman, asked about Pelinka and Bryant’s absence from the deal, said, “It is safe to say that if I wanted Rob Pelinka and his clients to be part of this acquisition they would have been. This was not an accident.” Pelinka could not immediately be reached for comment.
PELINKA PROMOTED: Meanwhile, SFX Sports Group announced that it has promoted Pelinka to the position of President SFX Basketball L.A. Pelinka was the only agent in that office who did not follow Tellem to WMG. In addition to Bryant, Pelinka represents a number of NBA players, including CARLOS BOOZER, CHANNING FRYE, ANDRE IGUODALA, CHRIS KAMAN, COREY MAGGETTE, MORRIS PETERSON and GERALD WALLACE. DANIEL ROSIER, COO of SFX Sports Group, said in a statement: “Rob has a proven ability to successfully recruit and represent players while managing and growing his business. We have no doubt that he will continue to grow our basketball practice in a way that will ensure it remains one of the elite sports agencies in our industry.”
It’s that time of the year again SportsBusiness Daily’s and SportsBusiness Journal’s much-anticipated annual Super Bowl pick ‘em contest is open. Test your prognostication skills against those of your fellow subscribers. The best and brightest in the sports industry will receive an award perhaps second only to the Vince Lombardi Trophy itself recognition of your feat in the Morning Buzz, The Daily, the Closing Bell and SportsBusiness Journal! In addition, we have added a new challenge to our contest this year. Picking the winner of a game between two teams is easy compared to picking the winner of about 60 Super Bowl ads. Which Super Bowl advertiser do you think will capture the top spot in USA Today’s Ad Meter the Monday following the big game?
THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of some people and entities in sports business. Here are this week’s newsmakers:
Toyota Takes Checkered Flag
With Nextel Cup Announcement
LOSE: ISIAH THOMAS Embattled Knicks President in the middle of an ugly “he said/she said” after ANUCHA BROWNE SANDERS, the team’s former marketing exec, accuses him of sexual harassment. The allegations provide sexy fodder for the New York tabloids, which have responded with full-page coverage on the front and back pages. Look for a continued PR battle, as both Thomas/MSG and Sanders are likely to bring in the top hired guns to soil the other.
DRAW: NIKE The long shadow of Founder PHIL KNIGHT is never more prevalent than this week as WILLIAM PEREZ’s 14-month tenure ends abruptly when Knight and Co. ask for his resignation. A rare public exchange follows, in which Knight claims Perez didn’t understand the Nike brand and business, while Perez claims Knight was a less-than-supportive player. Nike and Knight are honest about a return to company roots, but the stigma around the “Nike culture” returns.
The Bills promoted VP/Business Development & Marketing RUSS BRANDON to Exec VP/Business Operations and moved VP/Business Administration JIM OVERDORF to VP/Football Administration (THE DAILY)....Wild VP/Finance & Corporate Controller MIKE NEALY is leaving to become Coyotes CFO (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/25)....The Vikings named Chargers Dir of Pro Scouting FRAN FOLEY VP/Player Personnel (Vikings)....Blues Dir of Team Services MIKE CARUSO has added media relations duties and will become Dir of Media Relations & Team Services (Blues)....Aaron Rents named Braves GM JOHN SCHUERHOLZ to its BOD (ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE, 1/26)....Bulls Media Relations & Corporate Communications Senior Manager MARIANNE CAPONI has left to head up sports PR for LaSalle Bank (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/26).
HOT SHOTS: The Heat promoted VP/Season Ticket Services & Business Development KIM STONE to Exec VP & GM of AmericanAirlines Arena, VP & CIO TONY COBA to Senior VP/Information Technology, AmericanAirlines Arena Assistant GM BRIAN BABIN to AmericanAirlines Arena VP & Assistant GM, Dir of HR SONIA HARTY to VP/HR, Senior Dir of Ticket Operations JENNIFER MALLERY to VP/Service & Box Office, Dir of National Sales & Corporate Sponsorships CHRIS MARAGNO to VP/Corporate Sales & Service, Controller JEFF MORRIS to VP/Finance, Senior Dir of Operations & Facility Services JIM SPENCER to VP/Operations and Dir of Event Services JARED DIAMOND to AmericanAirlines Arena Assistant GM. Heat Dir of Community Affairs STEVE STOWE will add the title of Exec Dir of the Heat Charitable Fund Dir of Community Affairs (Heat).
FACILITIES: Global Spectrum, which operates the Iowa Events Center, named MATTHEW HOMAN as the facility’s GM, SCOTT KAVANAUGH Assistant GM and CHRIS BERG Dir of Operations. Kavanaugh will form a two-person Assistant GM system with HOLLY KJELDGAARD, who had been serving as interim GM. Most recently, Homan was Assistant GM of the Colonial Center in Columbia, South Carolina (Global Spectrum)....Target Center Dir of Operations REID KATZUNG is leaving to be involved in Turin Olympics venue management (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/25).
MEDIA: FSN North named Juntunen Mobile Television VP & GM BOB ROHDE Dir of Operations (FSN North)....Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic promoted Promotions Producer AUSTIN KRABLIN to Creative Services Manager (CSN Mid-Atlantic).
Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seattle-based footwear manufacturer MONTRAIL has been purchased by COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR for $15M and “some debt assumption.” Former Montrail President SCOTT TUCKER will become GM of the brand for Columbia and former CEO MENNO VAN WYK WILL be a consultant. Tucker said that the strategic focus of the shoe lines “is still trail running, hiking, climbing and some casual wear.” The company and its 25 employees will move to Portland within the year (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 1/27).
Street Offers Insight
Into Bode Miller
NAMES: USA Network golf analyst JENNIFER MILLS will play a TV golf reporter in the movie “FINE IRISH WHISKEY,” which will be filmed this fall in Ireland (GOLFWEEK, 1/28 issue)....White Sox manager OZZIE GUILLEN is interviewed in an upcoming issue of PLAYBOY (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/27).