SBD/Issue 136/Sports Industrialists

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  • People In The News: William Wesley A Power Broker In Sports

    In N.Y., Pete Thamel profiled Greentree Mortgage broker WILLIAM WESLEY, who has extended a "puzzling and powerful reach throughout sports," and is "known to the people in the know but remains a face in the crowd to most everyone else." Wesley is a "confidant" of Bobcats Managing Member of Basketball Operations MICHAEL JORDAN and a "close friend" of Cavaliers F LEBRON JAMES. Wesley, who has "gained power through his connections," is a "sideline presence from summer basketball games to the NBA finals to the Super Bowl." Thamel: "He has the ear of NBA owners and junior high phenoms alike. He had strong enough ties in the music and sports worlds to introduce James and JAY-Z." Wesley has been "linked with the family of [Memphis G] DERRICK ROSE and to one of the country's top high school players, TYREKE EVANS." Univ. of Connecticut coach JIM CALHOUN: "If someone brought him in for show and tell, I'm not quite sure what Wes would present. It was easy to identify SONNY VACCARO because of Nike and later adidas. It was easy to identify DAVID FALK because of the players he represented. It's difficult to identify Wes, but in some ways he's a power broker of the same scale." Big Ten Commissioner JIM DELANY: "Whether college, professional or youth basketball, shoe companies or media, U.S. or international, I would guess that Wes is as connected as any individual that I've observed. That said, I still don't know much about him." Delany told Wesley that he "would love to have him help Big Ten programs recruit players if he knew for sure that what Wesley was doing was allowed." NCAA Associate Dir of Enforcement LUANN HUMPHREY has "been asking college coaches and administrators about Wesley's role in recruiting for months." NCAA President MYLES BRAND: "Am I concerned about people who have an influence on basketball that one might not consider healthy, leaving aside this one individual? You bet, all the time" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/5).

    Fantasy Sports Ventures Founder Says Network
    Complementary To Larger Media Sites
    FANTASY TALK: In a Q&A with Jack Bell of the N.Y. TIMES, Fantasy Sports Venture Founder CHRISTOPHER RUSSO, whose company operates, said his site’s “competition is bigger media sites.” Russo: “But we’re also complementary to those sites. People play fantasy games at those sites and then they tend to come to us for new, fresh information and analysis.” When asked if the sites in his network have “anything in common” with Facebook or MySpace, Russo said, “In general terms, the users of community-based applications are highly engaged. In the last couple of years, the buzz has been about what’s the social networking application for sports -- the killer app for sports. It really is fantasy sports. But it’s different from Facebook, which to me really is a community of 12, your friends from college. In fantasy sports, you’re playing together in a league, having fun, trash-talking.” When asked why football has “overtaken baseball” in terms of the number of fantasy players, Russo said, “Baseball was the first fantasy sport and, next to football, has the most audience. But with baseball, you need to be on top of your teams and stats every day. It takes a higher level of commitment. Football is more weekly” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/5).

    WOMEN'S TOUR NEXT? Outback Champions Series Founder & InsideOut Sports & Entertainment co-Founder JIM COURIER in a Q&A with the BOSTON GLOBE, was asked if he has considered adding a women’s tour to the series. Courier: “The second that we get enough buy-in from the right women, we will attempt to launch one of these, if someone doesn't beat us to the punch. I'm sure it's not a novel idea. It's name recognition. The most attractive thing that I think tennis brings in comparison to other sports at our biggest and best events is men and women competing at the same event. You don't see that in any other sport. And we'd love to be able to have STEFFI GRAF and MONICA SELES and MARTINA NAVRATILOVA and GABRIELA SABATINI and [LINDSAY] DAVENPORT, when she's finished playing in the WTA. We'd love to have them come and play, and the fans would love to see them" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/6).

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  • Double The Fun: Lopez Twins Sign With WMG For Representation

    Lopez Twins Ink Representation Deal With WMG
    Wasserman Media Group (WMG) has signed Stanford Fs and twin brothers BROOK and ROBIN LOPEZ, who are not only top NBA prospects, but present some unusual marketing opportunities for representation on and off the court. Brook Lopez is ranked No. 3 and Robin Lopez is ranked No. 18 by NBA draft analysis Web site WMG Basketball Managing Dir BOB MYERS, who has trained under WMG Management President ARN TELLEM, will be the primary agent for the twins. The Lopez twins decided to sign with Myers after an agent selection process that was run by their mother, DEBORAH LEDFORD, Myers said. “I think they were comfortable with the fact that we represented the Collins twins, another pair of twins from Stanford,” Myers said, referring to JASON and JARRON COLLINS, who were both selected in the '01 NBA Draft. Myers: “There are definitely a lot of opportunities on the marketing side, but a lot of that will depend on success on the basketball court.”

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  • Executive Transactions

    LSU named JOE ALLEVA AD, replacing SKIP BERTMAN on a yet to be determined date. Alleva, who has been Duke's AD since '98, was in charge of the program during the '06 Duke lacrosse case. He was chosen from a group of four finalists, including Kentucky Deputy AD ROB MULLENS and LSU Senior Associate ADs VERGE AUSBERRY and HERB VINCENT (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 4/5).

    EXECS: NHL Exec VP/Communications & Brand Strategy KAREN DURKIN is leaving the league to become Women's Sports Foundation CEO. In her new role, Durkin will "help fill the void after DONNA LOPIANO left in August after 15 years at the helm" of the foundation (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/7 issue)....The NLL Boston Blazers have hired Doug Reffue as President. Reffue formerly was Dir of Brand Management for Yankee Candle Co., and before that served in a similar role for Brine Inc. (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal)....Golf 20/20 has named USGA Chief Business Officer PETE BEVACQUA to its BOD (THE DAILY)....Fox Interactive Media (FIM) named Exec VP/Technology & Production ADAM BAIN to Fox Interactive Media Network President (FIM)....Comcast SportsNet Bay Area has promoted TOM PELLACK to VP/Marketing & Creative Services and JEN FRANKLIN to Dir of Marketing & Interactive Communications (CSN)....Former Tallahassee Sports Council Dir JOHN CITRON has joined The Greater Springfield Area Sports Commission as Exec Dir (Springfield)....The Trail Blazers hired JAMIE KELLER to an inside sales position (Game Face).

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  • Names In The News

    The U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) today at the NCAA men's basketball Final Four in San Antonio will award its Katha Quinn Award to ESPN VP/PR JOSH KRULEWITZ and ESPN VP/Communications MIKE SOLTYS. ESPN's Andy Katz, who serves as USBWA President, wrote, "Managing ESPN's communications network is a 24/7 job, just like the network and all its media outlets. Krulewitz's and Soltys' demeanor, their ability to handle a crisis and [their] desire to deal with the media in a thoughtful and helpful manner is unmatched" (TIPOFF, 02/'08 issue).

    Moreno Treats Several Angels Fans To
    Postgame Shopping Spree In Team Store
    OWNERS IN THE NEWS: Angels Owner ARTE MORENO after Friday's Rangers-Angels game, surprised about "three dozen Angels fans by inviting them on an impromptu shopping spree in the team's gift store." About an hour after the game, Moreno and his wife, CAROLE, walked outside Angel Stadium and opened the team store for the fans and bought everyone a T-shirt and hat (L.A. TIMES, 4/6)....Former NBAer and Sacramento Mayoral hopeful KEVIN JOHNSON Friday night "hoped to raise" $25,000 at a fundraiser hosted by Suns Owner ROBERT SARVER. Johnson said that he "plans to return for another fundraiser, to be organized in part" by Suns Chair JERRY COLANGELO (EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE, 4/5).

    AWARDS & HONORS: The Blue Jays Friday added former MLBer ROBERTO ALOMAR and former team President PAUL BEESTON to the team's Level of Excellence (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 4/5)....Fordham Univ. will award Dodgers announcer VIN SCULLY as the first recipient of the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting at Fordham's WFUV-FM 60th anniversary gala April 29 (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/5).

    SIGNING OFF: The Hartford Courant's TOMMY HINE retired March 29 and leaves with memories of a 43-year career that took him to "all parts of the state, country and world." Hine: "My favorite assignment was the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. The Scandinavian nights were so crisp and cold, the days so sunny and clear, the fresh snow so pristine, and the Norwegians such rabid fans, they should make Lillehammer the permanent home for the Winter Games" (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/6).

    NAMES: Former MLBer JOSE CANSECO said that White Sox GM KEN WILLIAMS "knew about the steroid use on his team" in '01. Canseco: "Of course, they knew. They didn't care. They all knew. ... (Williams) was a player (in the past). He knew." Williams denied the claim and said that he "will explore legal action against Canseco" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/5)....Phillies broadcaster HARRY KALAS did a voice-over for TV promos for the new film, "Leatherheads" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/5)....Davidson G Stephen Curry appeared on NBC’s “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” Friday night where he said reaching the Elite Eight was the “greatest three weeks of my life.” NBC’s Conan O’Brien: “On a slightly negative note, so many people are mad at you for ruining their NCAA pool” (NBC, 4/4)....Charlotte-area golf course operators and equipment manufacturers said that for courses in the Charlotte area, there is "little indication that the game is feeling any impact from the economic downturn." IRI Golf COO LARRY BENSON, whose company manages seven courses in the area, said, "We haven't seen any type of decline" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/5).

    GET WELL SOON: Univ. of Georgia football broadcaster LARRY MUNSON Friday underwent brain surgery but is "expected to make a full recovery and still plans on calling" games this fall (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/5)....Former Champ Car World Series co-Owner KEVIN KALKHOVEN yesterday attended the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix at St. Petersburg after checking himself out of a hospital in Aspen, Colorado, following a ski accident (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/7).

    IN MEMORY: Former Browns radio announcer GIB SHANLEY Sunday died at the age of 76. Shanley, the “face of sports” at WEWS-ABC for 20 years, served as the Browns’ announcer from ’61-84 (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 4/7).

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
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