SBD/Issue 168/Sports Industrialists

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  • Wheeler Retiring From Lowe's Motor Speedway, SMI Positions

    Wheeler To Step Down At LMS
    After Sunday's Coca-Cola 600
    Lowe’s Motor Speedway (LMS) President and SMI COO HUMPY WHEELER is retiring from both positions following Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 (SMI). The AP's Jenna Fryer reported it is "not immediately clear who will succeed Wheeler." Candidates include SMI Exec VP/National Sales & Marketing MARCUS SMITH, the son of SMI Chair BRUTON SMITH, and LMS Exec VP/Management & Administration LAURI WILKS (AP, 5/20). In Charlotte, David Poole in a front-page piece reports Wheeler is "working on a deal for a book about his more than 40 years in racing and will likely do more episodes" of "The Humpy Show" for Speed, which aired a one-hour debut in January. Wheeler has been at LMS since '75 and has served as "almost equal parts businessman and ringmaster," During Wheeler's tenure, LMS has "more than doubled its seating capacity to around 160,000," added condominiums in Turn 1 and added the Speedway Club restaurant. New Hampshire Motor Speedway President JERRY GAPPENS said of Wheeler, "He's a combination of DON KING, WALT DISNEY and P.T. BARNUM" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/21).

    REAX: In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes, "Most of us think of Humpy as a brilliant salesman whose flashy promotions offer lots of explosions but never blow up. But he's so much more." Wheeler "understands what every businessman should. Customers are not obligated to buy. Promoters are obligated to give them a reason to. So Humpy did" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/21). The CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's Poole, in a blog entry, wrote Wheeler has "done enough for his sport that nobody should begrudge him the opportunity to do some things he wants to do" (, 5/20).

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  • Executive Transactions

    MSG promoted Senior VP/MSG Sports & Facility Event Sales JOEL FISHER to Exec VP/MSG Sports & Arena Renovation, reporting to Cablevision and MSG Vice Chair HANK RATNER on MSG's renovation project, and MSG Sports President & COO STEVE MILLS. Fisher will continue to head the MSG Sports Properties division (MSG), a fantasy sports operator, named KELLY PERDEW CEO. Previously, Perdew was President of, a subsidiary of ProElite Inc. (RotoHog)....The AP named MICHAEL LUTZKY Dir of Product Development for AP Sports. Most recently, Lutzky was an associate with McKinsey & Company (AP).

    FRANCHISE: MLB Cardinals VP/Community Outreach & Cardinals Care TIM HANSER has announced his resignation to pursue a new career with the acquisition of a St. Louis-based manufacturing and distribution company (Cardinals).

    EXECS: Famous Footwear named WILLIE SMITH Senior VP/Marketing. Most recently, Smith was Steve & Barry’s CMO of Athletics (, 5/20)....Gameday Management Group named LISA FREEDMAN Project Administrator for Bus Systems Management for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. Freedman has planned and organized all aspects of corporate, sports, television, live entertainment and hospitality events, including the Super Bowl and the ’02 Salt Lake Games, among others (Gameday Management Group).

    COLLEGE: Army has restructured its Athletic Department, announcing the following changes: Senior Associate AD for Athletic Communications BOB BERETTA will now serve as Senior Associate AD for Athletic Communications, Relationships & Branding and will oversee Army’s multi-media and broadcasting, marketing and development efforts; Associate AD NATE PINE was promoted to a role in strategic planning for the Army Athletic Association; Dir of Multi-Media Services, Broadcasting & Community Outreach RICH DEMARCO was promoted to Assistant AD for Multi-Media & Broadcasting and will continue to serve as part of Army’s football broadcasting team, as well as the radio play-by-play voice for Army men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and lacrosse; BRIAN GUNNING was promoted to Assistant AD for Athletic Communications; and DOUG FILLIS was named Assistant AD for Development & Revenue Generation. The following were given new titles: MADY SALVANI, Dir of Research & Special Reports; RYAN YANOSHAK, Dir of Licensing & Branding; TIM VOLKMANN, Dir of Media Event Management; and TRACY NELSON, Dir of Internet Services (Army).

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  • Names In The News

    Director SPIKE LEE is "set to shoot a feature-length documentary" about Bobcats Managing Member of Basketball Operations MICHAEL JORDAN. The NBA will finance the movie, while Lee's 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks will produce it. The documentary will include "extensive unseen footage shot by NBA cameras during the final two years in Jordan's career," the '01-02 and '02-03 seasons (DAILY VARIETY, 5/21).

    BOOK CLUB: Author Jonathan Mahler, in a special to the N.Y. TIMES, reviews former MLB Commissioner FAY VINCENT's new book, "WE WOULD HAVE PLAYED FOR NOTHING," and writes if Vincent's "goal was to land big interviews, he has succeeded." But the interviews are the "least engaging moments" in the book, and "much more enjoyable, not to mention resonant, are the personal, even quotidian, anecdotes" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/21).

    HONORS & AWARDS: Blackhawks President JOHN MCDONOUGH tonight will receive the Chicago Exec of the Year Award from the Chicago chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/21)....The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has awarded Trail Blazers and Seahawks Owner PAUL ALLEN its Vanguard Award for Science & Technology (, 5/19).

    NAMES: A document shows that former NBAer and Sacramento Mayoral candidate KEVIN JOHNSON in '97 agreed to pay a Phoenix-area teenager $230,000 after the teenager claimed Johnson "molested her." The draft agreement indicated that Johnson "denies the allegations are true" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 5/20)....Braves C BRIAN MCCANN and 3B CHIPPER JONES Monday released their Charity Wines. Jones' Chipper Chardonnay supports The Miracle League, while McCann's McCann Merlot supports The Rally Foundation For Cancer Care (Charity Hop)....Former LPGA President CAROL MANN Monday conducted a clinic for about 40 participants in Genesee Valley, New York, through the Exec Women's Golf Association (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 5/20).

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