SBD/Issue 88/Sports IndustrialistsPrint All
George's Resigns From BOD Of IMS
And All Other Hulman & Co. Affiliated Companies
TUNNEL VISION: SPEEDTV.com's Robin Miller wrote George "seemed content to run his one-car Vision Racing team with step-son ED CARPENTER and has been supportive of the proposed Delta Wing project (a new Indy car for 2012 owned by several IndyCar owners)." But without longtime sponsor JOHN MENARD "on board for 2010, George is scrambling to keep Carpenter on the track." In a team meeting recently George "reportedly told his crew that he hadn't given up and was searching for sponsorship but it was possible the season might only include Indy and a couple of ovals" (SPEEDTV.com, 1/19).
Saints VP/Marketing &
Favorite leisure time activity in New Orleans: Spending time with my wife and two daughters.
Book you are currently reading: A biography of NIXON and KISSINGER. It's really interesting the dynamics between them as well as the history of world affairs at that time.
Favorite vacation spot: Anguilla.
Q: What is your favorite memory of your time with the Saints thus far?
Hales: Winning our first divisional game against Philadelphia because it was a year after Katrina. I remember watching the game, and people were still in unfinished suites and it was still very rudimentary. To have that kind of emotional payoff after what the whole city had been through was really something that's probably unmatched.
Q: What has been the team's marketing strategy during such a successful regular season and playoff run?
Hales: What we've really tried to do is to keep the focus on football. We've got a great team, we've got great players, we've got great coaches, and it's pretty simple just to focus on them, and let the players tell the story. The connection between our players and our fans I think is greater than anywhere else.
Q: What is the feeling around the franchise relative to the last time the Saints made it this deep in the playoffs in 2007?
Hales: It's interesting, when we were leaving these prep meetings when we were this close last time the [Super Bowl] was also in Miami. There's a lot of similarities. Last time, when we made it we were coming off of a 3-13 season and Katrina, and while we were all really hopeful, I think there was a certain sense that we were just excited to be there. I think right now is a little more business-like. We've learned a lot about preparing and how we can really go out there and maximize the opportunity to make sure that we take care of this, and make it as great as it can be for our teams, players, families and fans.
Q: What do the Super Bowl prep meetings entail? How much prep are you doing for the potential Super Bowl appearance ahead of Sunday's game?
Hales: It's a huge undertaking for any organization to do this. The demand for tickets and hotels and everything, when you go to these meetings, really that's what you spend your time on. A lot of times we're going over the different hotels, where the tickets are allocated, what services are provided to the team, where the team's going to practice, where the media is going to be, what the media schedule is. The idea behind all of this is you spend a week in planning so that when you get here, things are running as smoothly for everybody as possible so it’s a good experience, not a burden for anybody.
Q: Playoff football obviously is different than regular-season football. What are some of the differences on the business side of things?
Hales: It's just a little bit different in that things are a little bit more compressed. You have to get all of the sponsors, suite holders and everyone taken care of in terms of tickets and any other needs that they have. You don't have quite as much time leading up to the game as you usually would. At the same time, you have to plan a couple steps ahead in case you are fortunate enough to make it to the Super Bowl.
Q: What is the biggest misperception out there about teams that go deep in the NFL playoffs and what it means on the business side?
Hales: I think people assume that there is a lot of additional revenue for the participating clubs, and the reality is that's not the case. It's a league event and the revenue is really split up among the teams far more than it is the teams that are actually participating. All the ticket revenue, for example, goes to the league, you don't get your usual share from that. You don't get any additional suite revenue because the tickets and leases are already inclusive of any event in the building. It's not the financial boon that some people might think it is.
Q: In your own words, what would making the Super Bowl mean to Saints fans and the city of New Orleans?
Hales: I'm probably a little bit partial being from New Orleans, but I really don't think there's any connection between fans and the team like in New Orleans. When we get back from a road victory, you'll have ten thousand people lining the streets where we get off the plane. Just imagine, it kind of sets up perfectly, if we can get to the Super Bowl and basically play a week before Mardi Gras, I would say it would be the greatest party the world has ever seen.
Darby Will Oversee Officials, Focus On
Technical Aspect Of Sport In New Role
EXECS: The Competitor Group (CGI) promoted COO SCOTT DICKEY to President. He assumes the title from President & CEO PETER ENGLEHART, who will remain CEO. Dickey joined the CGI BOD upon the company's inception and became COO in '08. He also serves as an Operating Partner for CGI parent company, Falconhead Capital. Prior to joining CGI, Dickey served as Transworld Media President (CGI)....Golf Channel promoted VP/Marketing & Brand Management REGINA O'BRIEN to Senior VP/Marketing. O'Brien will lead all the marketing and promotional efforts for the network and its new media businesses, including GolfChannel.com (Golf Channel)...The Electric Beverage Company named Pro Football HOFer LAWRENCE TAYLOR Exec VP (THE DAILY)....The CFL Calgary Stampeders named LYLE BAUER President & COO, replacing SCOTT ACKLES, who stepped down to become Chair of the '11 Grey Cup (Stampeders)….The Padres named RANDY SMITH Dir of Player Development (Padres)….The D'Backs named KRISTINE HEDLUND Dir of Community Affairs. Hedlund is the former Publisher of Phoenix Woman Magazine (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/18)….The Nets announced assistant coach TOM BARRISE will move to the front office as Special Assistant to the President (Nets)….The MLS Portland Timbers named GAVIN WILKINSON Technical Dir (Portland OREGONIAN, 1/18)….The Triple-A Int’l League Gwinnett Braves named NORTH JOHNSON GM, replacing BRUCE BALDWIN, who stepped down in October after 23 seasons with the team (Braves).
Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writer Says "Love Affair" Between
Manning, Indianapolis Like None Other
THINKING BIG: BROADCASTING & CABLE's David Tanklefsky profiles Base Productions co-Founder & co-CEO JOHN BRENKUS, the host of "Sport Science," which ESPN recently acquired. The show "challenges long-held assumptions about what makes athletes successful, and utilizes Base's signature fast-paced visual production techniques." Brenkus on the show "plays the Everyman foil, often putting himself in harm's way to illustrate a point" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 1/18 issue).
DON'T FORGET ABOUT US: Jewish charity Areivim has sued the estate of late Pistons Owner BILL DAVIDSON for "refusing to pay the charity" money that Davidson pledged before his death. Davidson pledged to contribute $5M to the charity, but had contributed only $200,000 before his death. Areivim is suing in Oakland County (MI) Probate court for the remaining $4.8M (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/20).
BEST WISHES: Thirty officials, coaches and referees from the Haitian soccer federation died in last week's earthquake, while "another 20 remain missing." FIFA is donating $250,000 to relief efforts, and FIFA CONCACAF President JACK WARNER has pledged $100,000 (MIAMI HERALD, 1/20)....MLS Crew President & GM MARK MCCULLERS was "injured in a personal watercraft accident yesterday while vacationing in Puerto Rico." McCullers, who was transported to the ER, said, "I'm OK. My arm is in a sling, but I'm able to walk. I feel pretty lucky" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 1/20).
James (l), Brown (r) Kick Off Celebration
Of Black Heritage At Quicken Loans Arena
IN MEMORY: ALASTAIR MARTIN, who was the top executive of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association from '67-70, "when the distinction between pro and amateur was abolished," died last week at the age of 94 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/20).