SBD/Issue 174/Events & Attractions

The Envelope Please: Inaugural Sports Business Awards Given Out

Eleven awards were presented last night in a ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in N.Y. for the inaugural Sports Business Awards presented by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily. Winners included AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke for Sports Executive of the Year, MLS for Pro League, the Red Sox for Pro Team, Octagon for Sports Agency and Fox Sports for Sports Media. See below for the full list of winners.

Athletic Director
Ron Wellman, Wake Forest Univ.
Sports Facility AT&T Park
Sports Innovation/Technology Sportvision
Sports Online ESPN Digital Media
Sports Event Marketing Firm SportsMark
Sports Sponsor of the Year Pepsi Cola North America
Sports Executive of the Year AEG CEO Tim Leiweke
Sports Agency Octagon
Sports Media Fox Sports
Pro Team of the Year Red Sox
Sports League MLS

Pepsi's Ralph Santana Accepting
Sports Sponsor Of The Year Award
WINNERS' REAX: The winners' reactions ranged from pride to humble gratitude, with an "our-work-is-not-done" theme prevalent throughout the night. Leiweke said, “This is really kind of embarrassing for us. We try not to get focused on awards. It’s a great tribute to AEG, but we firmly believe our best days are still ahead of us.” MLS Commissioner Don Garber: “This is a great statement about dedicated ownership, passionate fans, sponsors that believe in a sport and broadcasters that are willing to take a risk.” Pepsi VP/Sports & Interactive Marketing Ralph Santana: "We always strive for things that will make people in the industry say, ‘Wow. Look what they did.’" Octagon President & CEO Rick Dudley: "This really puts it over the top." Upon accepting the award for Pro Team of the Year, Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino said, "We had a saying after we won in 2004 that any group of schmiels could win once. ... We hope that sometime down the road after this becomes a well-established tradition we have the great good fortune to come back and do this again."

SAN FRANCISCO TREAT: Sportsmark won for Sports Event Marketing Firm of the Year, and CMO Keith Bruce said, "Needless to say, we're going to have a little champagne before the flight back to San Francisco. ... At Sportsmark, we have a philosophy and it's called: People, performance, perspective. That theory allows us to create some unique best-in-class sporting events. ... We can't think of a better award that represents that theory of people, performance, perspective than this." Facility of the Year winner AT&T Park hosted the '07 MLB All-Star Game, and MLB Giants President Larry Baer said building the ballpark had been a “crusade, so this is a validation of all that work” (THE DAILY).

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