SBD/Issue 202/Sports Industrialists

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  • NFL Integrating Marketing And Licensing Departments

    By Terry Lefton, Editor-at-Large

    NFL’s Baird Adds Licensing
    Business To Job Responsibilities

    The NFL is integrating its marketing and licensing departments, with marketing taking the upper hand. Senior VP/Marketing LISA BAIRD, who came to the NFL last August after marketing jobs with Procter & Gamble, GM and IBM, now assumes responsibilities for the league’s licensing business, which generates more than $3B annually in retail sales. Her title expands to Senior VP/Consumer Products & Marketing. Baird has no prior experience in licensed sports products sales. MARK HOLTZMAN, who had run NFL licensing as Senior VP/Consumer Products for the past five years and reported to NFL Exec VP & COO ROGER GOODELL, is now Senior VP/Channel Development, reporting to Baird. Holtzman continues to be responsible for the league’s apparel business. He will also run the NFL’s Extra Points payment card program, in an attempt to better integrate payment cards with NFL retail sales. VP/Apparel SUSAN ROTHMAN, NFL Direct Senior Dir BOB O’KEEFE, Senior Dir of On-Field Branding & Promotion DENNIS KAISER and Manager of Int’l BETSY ROACH will report to Holtzman. GENE GOLDBERG, a 25-year NFL veteran who had been overseeing the videogame category and reporting to Holtzman, moves to VP/New Business & Product Development, reporting to Baird. Also reporting to Baird are: VP & Exec Creative Dir MICHAEL CAPIRASO; Senior Dir of Hardlines LEO KANE, who now assumes responsibility for videogames; Dir of Growth Markets BETH COLLETON; Dir of Market Intelligence CARY MEYERS; Dir of Fan Programs & Marketing Strategy PETER O’REILLY; and Dir of Entertainment Marketing & Promotion TRACY PERLMAN.

    AUDIBLES: The aim of the re-org is consolidating league marketing functions. Accordingly, the new structure sees NFL consumer products marketing and league marketing functions amalgamated for the first time. The new NFL marketing department will be responsible for market research, product development, creative services, marketing programs and channel development. While it is not unusual for sports properties’ licensing and marketing departments to report to the same executive — normally a properties president — combining marketing and licensing is a novel approach.

    ROGER THAT? Some in the industry see the re-org as a certain sign that Goodell is getting the vacant commissioner’s job. “There’s no way these moves are made otherwise,” said a senior marketer at one the NFL’s largest licensees. “Roger’s deal is done and this is the first step of the new administration.” However, NFL Dir of Corporate Communications BRIAN MCCARTHY cautioned, “There’s not necessarily any reason to tie these moves to the commissioner’s job search.”

    Print | Tags: IBM, NFL, Procter and Gamble, People and Pop Culture, Visa
  • Bobcats Hire Michael Jordan Confidant As New President & COO

    Johnson (r) Taps Whitfield
    As Bobcats President & COO
    Bobcats Sports & Entertainment named Jordan Brand Dir of Business & Legal Affairs FRED WHITFIELD President & COO. Whitfield, whose experience also includes stints at Nike and Falk Associate Management Enterprises, served as Wizards Dir of Player Personnel from ’00-03, where he was responsible for the team’s salary cap and contractual issues (Bobcats Sports & Entertainment). Whitfield “intends to focus on business issues — marketing the team, selling tickets and sponsorships — and leave the basketball side” to GM & coach BERNIE BICKERSTAFF. Bobcats Owner ROBERT JOHNSON said that Bobcats Managing Member of Basketball Operations MICHAEL JORDAN “suggested Whitfield as a possible candidate” (, 7/17). The CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL’s Erik Spanberg reports Johnson “plans to assume the CEO job” vacated when former President & CEO ED TAPSCOTT resigned in May. The move “is about more than just a title,” as Johnson intends to “play a more active role” in the team’s operations (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/14 issue).

    GOING TO MARKET: Whitfield said that it is “crucial the franchise broaden its marketing beyond the Charlotte city limits.” While the Bobcats have a deal with Time Warner, Johnson said of other area cable outlets, “We have to create a demand for our product in those markets so those systems say ‘I need to kick someone else off to put the Bobcats on.’” Whitfield “hopes to broaden the Bobcats’ appeal beyond the young, urban crowd currently attending games.” Whitfield: “We really need to draw the whole community (including) the NASCAR crowd. They bring 125,000 people where they [race]” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/18).

    Print | Tags: Charlotte Hornets, NASCAR, Nike, People and Pop Culture, Washington Wizards
  • Wasserman Media Brings On Former IMG Olympic Marketing Exec

    Wasserman Media Group (WMG) named former IMG President of Olympic Sales & Marketing ROBERT PRAZMARK Exec VP/Marketing, “where he hopes to represent international sports properties in sponsorship and marketing sales, among other things,” according to Liz Mullen of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Prazmark, who will report to WMG Marketing President JEFF KNAPPLE, represented the USOC from ’99-’05 at IMG. Knapple: “It would be logical to assume we would build out an Olympic business and Rob would be a big part of it” (SBJ, 7/17 issue).

    EVOLUTION OF SFX: In SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Andrew Marchand reports four former execs from SFX Sports Group and SFX Media Group “are expected to announce this week the formation of Evolution LLC,” a two-division company based in Manhattan. RICK DIAMOND and SETH MAYERI will lead Evolution Media Talent and JOSH SCHWARTZ and BRIAN SAMUELS will lead Evolution Management & Marketing. Diamond and Mayeri, who represent news and entertainment talent, were able to bring over most of their 80-100 clients from SFX, including SI’s SETH DAVIS, ESPN/ABC soccer analyst ERIC WYNALDA and BUD COLLINS (SBJ, 7/17 issue). Meanwhile, in a separate piece, Mullen cites sources as saying that player agent GREG LANDRY has left SFX Sports and joined CAA (SBJ, 7/17 issue).

    Print | Tags: IMG, People and Pop Culture, USOC
  • Executive Transactions

    Miller Brewing Co. promoted CMO TOM LONG to President & CEO, succeeding NORMAN ADAMI, who was promoted to President & CEO of SABMiller Americas (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/18)....OLN named ESPN Senior VP/Finance & Planning Operations KIM ARMOR CFO & Senior VP/Business Development (OLN)....ESPN named DirecTV VP/Marketing CHRISTOPHER BRUSH VP/Marketing for Mobile ESPN. Prior to working at DirecTV, Brush was Dir of Marketing Partnerships for the NBA (ESPN)....CSTV Senior VP/Marketing KAREN CARTALES was named Senior VP/Marketing for Lifetime Networks (AD AGE, 7/17 issue)....Goldman Sachs Group Int’l General Counsel TERRY MILLER will lead the legal team for 2012 London Olympics, reporting to CEO PAUL DEIGHTON, the former COO of Goldman Sachs’ European businesses (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 7/17)....National Women’s Hockey League Commissioner SUSAN FENNELL is resigning (TORONTO STAR, 7/15)....Sport Dimensions named Centrix Financial Dir of Marketing TODD STONIS Dir of Business Development (Sport Dimensions).

    Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to

    Print | Tags: CBSSN, DirecTV, ESPN, NBA, People and Pop Culture, Walt Disney
  • Names In The News

    ESPN’s PETER GAMMONS was released from a Boston hospital on Monday, nearly three weeks after suffering a brain aneurysm. His wife, GLORIA, said in a statement that he was moved to an undisclosed rehab center (Mult., 7/18)....U.S. Olympic Gold Medal-winning swimmer GARY HALL JR. and his younger sister, BEBE, were attacked by a shark during a recent spearfishing trip off the Florida Keys. Hall “emerged unscathed,” but Bebe received 19 stitches after being bitten on her upper arm (L.A. TIMES, 7/18).

    LEGAL MATTERS: BetOnSports CEO DAVID CARRUTHERS appeared Monday in federal court in Ft. Worth, “a day after federal agents arrested him during a layover” at Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport. He was indicted June 1 by a federal grand jury in Missouri on charges of racketeering conspiracy. The indictment includes three additional companies and nine other people, including BetOnSports Founder STEPHEN KAPLAN (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/18)....Former Big Ten football referee JAMES FILSON has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that he was fired by the conference in ’05 because he has sight in only one eye (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/18).

    Reiner (l) To Voice Talking
    Baseball In Animated Film
    PAYNE STAKING: Augusta National Golf Club Chair BILLY PAYNE speaking before the Atlanta Rotary Club “challenged the community Monday to build a civil rights museum and promote the teachings of MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. to the rest of the world.” Payne, who served as CEO of ACOG, called the idea “even bigger than Atlanta’s Olympics” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/18).

    MEATHEAD OF THE ORDER: The animated film “EVERYONE’S HERO,” the story of a boy’s 1,000-mile journey to return BABE RUTH’s bat, “which was stolen on the orders of the maniacal owner” of the Cubs before the deciding game of the ’32 World Series, features voices including actor and director ROB REINER as a talking baseball named Screwie, actress WHOOPI GOLDBERG as Ruth’s bat, actor BRIAN DENNEHY as Ruth, and Yankees manager JOE TORRE as the Yankees manager. The film, which was originally directed by the late CHRISTOPHER REEVE, opens September 15 (USA TODAY SPORTS WEEKLY, 7/13 issue).

    IN MEMORY: Former Chicago Sun-Times college sports reporter BOB PILLE died at his home in Tucson at the age of 80. His 45-year career included 22 years covering Big Ten sports for the Sun-Times before retiring in ’88 (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/18)....Former Angels investor STANLEY SPERO died at the age of 86. Spero was involved in the team’s operations as the General Sales Manager and GM of KMPC-AM and KABC, which aired Angels games (L.A. TIMES, 7/18).

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Chicago Cubs, ESPN, New York Yankees, People and Pop Culture, Walt Disney
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