SBD/Issue 85/Sports Industrialists

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  • Arsenal Takeover Would Add To Stan Kroenke's Strong Portfolio

    Kroenke Only 17 Shares Short Of Triggering
    Mandatory Bid For Arsenal
    Kroenke Sports Enterprises Owner Stan Kroenke has "built a portfolio that makes him one of the most powerful people in sports," but his next move "will firmly establish him ... as a major attraction on the sports world's map," according to a profile by Jere Longman of the N.Y. TIMES. Kroenke is "on the verge of taking control" of EPL club Arsenal. He owns 29.9% of the club and is "17 shares short" of reaching 30%, a threshold at which he would have to make a bid for the entire team. Some Arsenal fans "worry a new owner will saddle the club with debt and curb the signing of players," but sports finance experts said that that "has not been Mr. Kroenke's style." MLS Commissioner DON GARBER said that Kroenke's "interest in soccer was apparently piqued by another billionaire entrepreneur, PHIL ANSCHUTZ, from whom he bought" the MLS Rapids in '03. Longman notes Kroenke's business model with the Rapids, Nuggets and Avalanche "has been to own not just teams, but also the building in which they play, the regional sports network (Altitude) that broadcasts their games and the ticket distribution system (TicketHorse)." Meanwhile, Kroenke's personality is "most often described for what it is not -- flamboyant." NBA Commissioner DAVID STERN said that Kroenke is "inquisitive and analytical, 'as knowledgeable a person as there is' about basketball, an owner 'willing to do old things in a new way,' but ultimately a man without anecdotes." Stern said that Kroenke "remains so self-controlled" that he has "never once called the NBA offices to complain about officiating." Longman noted neither Kroenke "nor his associates were made available" for the article (N.Y. TIMES, 1/15).

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  • WMG, James Grant Sports Lead Way With Five MLS First-Round Picks

    Wasserman Media Group and James Grant Sports, formerly known as Proactive, both represent five players selected in the first round of Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft. The top two picks -- Danny Mwanga from Oregon State Univ. and Tony Tchani from the Univ. of Virginia -- are repped by WMG, while JGS represents all four Wake Forest players selected among the top 14 picks. The following chart, which was compiled by SportsBusiness Journal's Tripp Mickle, lists the first round SuperDraft selections and their representation (THE DAILY).

    1) Union Danny Mwanga/F/Oregon State Wasserman Media Group
    2) Red Bulls Tony Tchani/MF/Virginia Wasserman Media Group
    3) Earthquakes Ike Opara/D/Wake Forest James Grant Sports
    4) Wizards Teal Burnbury/F/Akron First Wave Sports
    5) FC Dallas Zach Loyd/MF/North Carolina First Wave Sports
    6) Union Amobi Okugo/MF/UCLA Wasserman Media Group
    7) Union Jack McInerney/F/Cobb Soccer Club James Grant Sports
    8) Crew Dilly Duka/MF/Rutgers Wasserman Media Group
    9) Revolution Zack Schilawski/F/Wake Forest James Grant Sports
    10) Chivas USA Blair Gavin/MF/Akron First Wave Sports
    11) Sounders FC David Estrada/F/UCLA No representation
    12) Crew Bright Dike/F/Notre Dame No representation
    13) Fire Corben Bone/MF/Wake Forest James Grant Sports
    14) Red Bulls Austin daLuz/MF/Wake Forest James Grant Sports
    15) Real Salt Lake Collen Warner/MF/Portland Foster/Easley Sports Management
    16) Galaxy Michael Stephens/MF/UCLA Wasserman Media Group

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  • This Week's Newsmakers: Costas Helps Land McGwire Interview

    THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of people and entities in sports business. Here are this week’s newsmakers:

    WIN: BOB COSTAS -- MLB Network snags the first televised sit down with Mark McGwire in the wake of the slugger’s steroid admission thanks to the venerable baseball broadcaster. Costas’ boss, MLB Network President & CEO Tony Petitti, says the interview “doesn't happen without Bob.” And Costas acquits himself well, asking tough questions and receiving mostly solid reviews for his performance.

    ManU Reveals Plans
    To Ease Franchise's Debt
    LOSE: MANCHESTER UNITED -- The EPL club’s financial issues are a hot topic of conversation in England, as figures released this week reveal that while record revenues continue to flow in, the team is plunging deeper into debt. The club reveals plans for a bond issue to ease the franchise’s debt load, and the GLAZER family sends team officials out to cities around the globe attempting to attract investment in the club. The embattled owners also incur more media and fan wrath by floating the idea of selling the team's legendary Old Trafford stadium.

    DRAW: MARLINS -- The penny-pitching club pledges to spend more on its on-field product after being called out by MLB and the MLBPA for not spending enough of its revenue-sharing income on player payroll. While the move may have proven embarrassing for the team, it will be welcome news for baseball fans in South Florida who long to see the club open its coffers to retain star players. And the Marlins have made good on their commitment only two days after the announcement, signing P JOSH JOHNSON to a four-year, $39M deal.

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  • Executive Transactions

    AEG Facilities has hired DENNIS PETRULLO to head its business development and event booking operation at the new Louisville arena, a 22,000-seat college basketball facility opening this fall. For the past two years, Petrullo was SCP Worldwide’s Senior VP/Business Development at Scottrade Center in St. Louis and Rio Tinto Stadium in suburban Salt Lake City. Prior to that position, Petrullo served 10 years as Scottrade Center Senior VP & GM. Petrullo previously worked 14 years for Delaware North Sportservice. Petrullo’s new role also includes booking events at Freedom Hall and Broadbent Arena in Louisville (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal).

    SWITCHING APPLES: KEN PODZIBA is stepping down as N.Y. sports commissioner to become chief executive of Bike NY, which stages the five-borough city bike tour. He has been the sports commissioner for over a decade, acting as a link between the city and sports entities looking to do business with N.Y. He is expected to be replaced by his deputy, ANDY GOULD. A farewell party is being held Wednesday at the New York Athletic Club. N.Y. Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG is expected to attend (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal).

    MLS Names Rodriguez (l) To Exec VP Position;
    Durbin (r) To Focus On MLS Player Contracts

    WELCOME TO THE TEAM: The Blackhawks signed Senior VP/Business Operations JAY BLUNK to a contract extension. Blunk is in his third season with the team after spending the previous 22 years with the Cubs (Blackhawks)….MLS announced a reorganization of its league office and created two new departments to focus on technical development and player/labor relations. NELSON RODRIGUEZ was named Exec VP/Competition, Technical & Game Operations, while Exec VP/Player Relations & Competition TODD DURBIN will expand his existing responsibilities, overseeing the signing of all player contracts (MLS)....PGA of America CEO JOE STERANKA has been named Chair of the World Golf Foundation for ’10. He succeeds R&A CEO PETER DAWSON (World Golf Foundation)....Delaware North Companies named Wyndham Worldwide Senior VP & Treasurer CHRISTOPHER FEENEY CFO (Delaware North Cos.)….DENNIS DRAZIN was confirmed by the New Jersey Senate as a member of the state's racing commission and "reportedly is in line to become" Chair (, 1/13)….Premier Partnerships named NBA Coordinator of Team Strategic Initiatives for Team Marketing & Business Operations UZMA SYED Manager of Corporate Partnerships (Premier Partnerships).

    EXECS: Fox Cable Networks promoted MICHAEL BIARD to Exec VP/Affiliate Sales & Marketing (Fox)….YES Network promoted BILL BOLAND to Senior Producer. He will become Lead Producer for Yankees telecasts on the net (YES)….Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic named Thrashers Dir of Media Relations BRIAN POTTER Senior Dir of Communications (Comcast)….JESSICA BRYANT was named PR Dir for Bruno Event Team. Previously, Bryant worked in the Office of Presidential Advance and Office of the First Lady in the Bush White House (Bruno Event Team)....Temple Univ. promoted Compliance & Student Services Coordinator JENNIFER SEKELLICK to Assistant Dir for Compliance & Student Services in the school's athletic department (Temple)....ISP Sports named JOSE LIZARDO Senior Account Exec of the Miner ISP Sports Network, PAUL WOODY Assistant GM of the Rebel ISP Sports Network, BRETT WALLERSTEDT Assistant GM of the Sun Devil ISP Sports Network and NEAL TALMADGE GM for the Houston ISP Sports Network (ISP).

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

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  • Names In The News

    AEG's Tim Leiweke Receives City Of Hope
    '09 Spirit Of Life Award
    AEG President & CEO TIM LEIWEKE received the City of Hope '09 Spirit of Life Award Wednesday night at a benefit that raised $9M for the cancer research center outside L.A. (, 1/14). In L.A., Cara Mia DiMassa notes the event was a "gala for the 54-story Ritz-Carlton hotel-condo tower that is the centerpiece of L.A. Live and opens for business next month." KB Homes Founder ELI BROAD and WMG Chair & CEO CASEY WASSERMAN were among those in attendance (L.A. TIMES, 1/15).

    A PLACE TO CALL HOME: In San Antonio, Vianna Davila reports the City South Management Authority "approved a zoning change at its board meeting Thursday that greenlights construction of a residential treatment center for abused boys," which would be owned by Rams CB RONALD BARTELL. Bartell said that the planned 6,700-square-foot center "will be designed for boys with emotional problems who've come from abusive homes and are wards of the state" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 1/15).

    WHAT TO WATCH: Golfers NATALIE GULBIS, ROCCO MEDIATE, DUFFY WALDORF and CBS' DAVID FEHERTY and GARY MCCORD will make cameo appearances on CBS' "CSI" on January 21. The episode, titled "Long Ball," is about investigators "trying to untangle a golf murder mystery" (GOLFWEEK, 1/15 issue)....New Line Cinema and ESPN will produce the sports biopic "MULKEY," which is set to be directed by MIKE TOLLIN. The project "follows the story of firefighter LOUIS MULKEY, who was an assistant high school basketball coach in South Carolina before he and eight others perished in a 2007 fire at a Charleston furniture store." CHRISTOPHER WILKINSON and STEPHEN RIVELE, who wrote "ALI," are "penning the script" (DAILY VARIETY, 1/15).

    HONORS & RECOGNITION: The Portland Oregonian's RACHEL BACHMAN has been named Oregon sportswriter of the year for '09 by the National Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association. It is the first time that a woman has won the award in its 50-year history (, 1/14)....Fox NFL analyst TROY AIKMAN will be inducted into the Oklahoma Sports HOF as part of its '10 class on August 3 (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 1/15).

    NAMES: A celebration of Angels play-by-play announcer RORY MARKAS's life was held Thursday at Angel Stadium's Diamond Club (L.A. TIMES, 1/15)....The Univ. of Florida license plate was the top seller among specialty plates in the state in '09. The UF plate "ended the year with 120,858 total plates sold, up more than 7,000 from 2008." The Florida State Univ. plate ranked No. 3, "up two spots from 2008," while the Buccaneers plate ranked No. 9 (, 1/11)....Mets P JOHN MAINE, 1B DAN MURPHY and mascot Mr. Met Thursday appeared on ABC's "GMA" to donate winter coats for needy families ("GMA," ABC, 1/14)....U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. DAVID PETRAEUS will be the grand marshal for the March 28 IRL Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (, 1/14)....The Nike School Innovation Fund Wednesday announced that it awarded $1.1M in grants to public schools in Oregon (BEAVERTON VALLEY TIMES, 1/15).

    ------------------------------- AWARDS NOTIFICATION -------------------------------

    Today’s the day! Last chance to submit an entry for the 2010 Sports Business Awards!

    Don’t let this year’s winners be determined without your entry! We’re honoring the best in the categories of Professional Sports Team; Professional Sports League; Sports Event; Sports Executive; Athletic Director; Sports Media; Sports Television; Digital Sports Media; Talent Representation and Management; Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services; Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services; Sports Event Marketing Firm; Sports Sponsor; Sports Facility; and Sports Technology.

    Entries are being accepted through the end of the day. Go to to have your voice be heard.

    ------------------------------- AWARDS NOTIFICATION -------------------------------

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