SBD/Issue 126/Sports Industrialists

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  • Nominees For The 3rd Annual Sports Business Awards Announced

    SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily will host the third annual Sports Business Awards at the Broadway Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis in N.Y. on May 20. The awards recognize excellence and outstanding achievement in the business of sports for '09. We are pleased to announce the final nominees in the 15 categories.


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  • Several Sports Figures Appear On "Undercover Boss," "Apprentice"

    CDI's Carstanjen Takes Part
    In CBS' "Undercover Boss"

    Churchill Downs Inc. COO BILL CARSTANJEN took part in Sunday’s episode of CBS' "Undercover Boss," where he went undercover at Churchill Downs as a new hourly employee. Carstanjen: “I think most people in America know our company because of the Kentucky Derby. … This is an industry steeped in tradition and the people who work in it are passionate about it. Unfortunately, I have to make sure it's run as a profitable business, which means sometimes questioning those traditions." He said he had not "been on a horse in about 15 years.” Carstanjen: “I'm embarrassed to admit this but they're a little bit intimidating … and I like to watch them from afar." Carstanjen told his executive management team the reason he was doing this was to "cut through the spreadsheets and powerpoints, and it's going to be a chance to be a fly on the wall." Carstanjen worked assisting a trainer at Calder Race Course and playing the bugle to call the horses to post, cleaning suites, and working with the horses at Arlington Park. Carstanjen said after meeting the people he worked under at the tracks "I'm stunned how personal this experience was" ("Undercover Boss," CBS, 3/14).

    FACING THE FIRING SQUAD: NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” debuted its latest season last night, and the cast includes former NFLer and pro wrestler BILL GOLDBERG, former U.S. sprinter MICHAEL JOHNSON, former U.S. swimmer and broadcaster SUMMER SANDERS and former MLBer DARRYL STRAWBERRY. The show featured a challenge with the two teams -- split into men and women -- running a diner in a contest to see who could earn the most money. Strawberry said of recruiting people to visit the diner, "I'm Mr. New York. This is a place I know well and people in New York love me, they respect me and they know I'm one of theirs. They know I care. They got my back on this." Comedienne CAROL LEIFER was fired ("Celebrity Apprentice," NBC, 3/14).

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  • Executive Transactions

    Leonard Armato Has Joined
    Skechers As Its New CMO

    In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports former AVP Commissioner LEONARD ARMATO has joined Skechers as CMO and President of the company's Fitness Group. Armato, who left the AVP a "little less than a year" ago, has been "working as a consultant to Skechers for three months" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/15 issue).

    OLYMPIC MOVEMENT: U.S. Speedskating Exec Dir BOB CROWLEY has resigned as "part of sweeping changes by the organization in the wake of a disappointing performance by the long-track team at the Vancouver Olympics." The long-track team won four medals in Vancouver, down from seven at the '06 Turin Games and eight at the '02 Salt Lake City Olympics. Former Park City (UT) Mayor BRADLEY OLCH will serve as interim Exec Dir until the USS BOD appoints a permanent successor to Crowley, who left by "mutual agreement" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/15)....The USA Cycling BOD has elected BILL PETERSON as President, effective immediately, replacing MARK ABRAMSON who is leaving after a two-year term. USA Cycling also re-elected WAYNE STETINA as VP and JIM PATTON as Secretary (USA Cycling).

    EXECS: Rice Univ. has hired former Univ. of Indiana AD RICK GREENSPAN to the same position, succeeding CHRIS DEL CONTE (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/13)....The Dolphins have promoted NAT MOORE to VP & Senior Advisor. He will continue to oversee Dolphins alumni activities and will work closely with Dolphins CEO MIKE DEE on special projects (Dolphins). The Dolphins also hired KALEB THORNHILL as Dir of Player Development. Thornhill most recently worked in the Lions' front office (, 3/12)....Competitor Group has appointed JULIA BEESON POLLORENO as Editor-in-Chief of Triathlete magazine. Polloreno most recently was Senior Editor at San Diego Magazine (CGI)....Triple-A PCL Sacramento River Cats Assistant GM/Media Relations GABE ROSS has left the club to take a position with the Sacramento City Unified School District (THE DAILY)....Sarasota-based Solace Sports Services has promoted NICHOLAS STEWART to COO (Solace Sports).

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  • Names In The News

    Yankees co-Chair & Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner said "the plan" is for Chair GEORGE STEINBRENNER to attend the Yankees home opener April 13 against the Angels. George Steinbrenner "has been in poor health" and "has rarely been seen at Yankee Stadium of late," tough he attended the first two games of the '09 Yankees-Phillies World Series (AP, 3/13).

    Ditka Claims To Have No Regrets
    For Passing Up Chance At Senate Seat

    POLITICAL BEAT: Red Sox Senior Advisor of Baseball Projects JEREMY KAPSTEIN is "seriously thinking about running" for Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor. Kapstein "would run in a Democratic primary against the incumbent," Lt. Gov. ELIZABETH ROBERTS. Kapstein: "In these very difficult times, we must make the office of lieutenant governor a powerful force for job preservation and job creation. I love our state and I want to help" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 3/14)....ESPN's MIKE DITKA said that he has "no regrets about passing up Republican Party overtures to run against" President BARACK OBAMA for the Illinois U.S. Senate seat in '04. Ditka said politicians in DC are "not there to represent a party, a special interest." Ditka: "You're there to represent America, the people that elected you. They don't do that. I'm sorry, they don't do it! And you can make all these promises when you're a candidate, and none of them happen" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/14).

    INSURANCE PAYOUT: The family of late Georgia luger Nodar Kumaritashvili "will receive a death benefit" from VANOC. VANOC VP/Communications Renee Smith-Valade said that the committee "had notified Kumaritashvili's family that his death was covered under a private insurance program it was required to provide for members of the Olympic family." Smith-Valade "would not say how much the death benefit is," though she said it is an "appropriate and respectful sum" (VANCOUVER SUN, 3/15).

    WRITERS BLOCK: Washington Post columnist JOHN FEINSTEIN said that he has "backed away -- at least for now -- from doing a biography" of former Univ. of North Carolina men's basketball coach DEAN SMITH. Feinstein last August announced that Smith "had agreed to cooperate on the book, which was scheduled for release next year," but Feinstein said that Smith's family "told him they feared the kind of time the writer needed might be too taxing on the 79-year-old." Feinstein Friday said that he "might write a book about Smith later, but do one that doesn't require his help" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 3/15)....Detroit Free Press columnist MITCH ALBOM "was selected for the biggest prize of his journalism career: the Red Smith Award." The award is "bestowed annually for lifetime achievement" by the AP Sports Editors (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/14).

    NAMES: The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association has "initiated a lifetime contribution award" called the ERNIE HARWELL Lifetime Contribution Award, in recognition of the former Tigers broadcaster (AP, 3/14)....Former NFLers KEITH VAN HORNE and CALVIN THOMAS, both members of the '85 Bears, are "part of the U.S. Census Bureau's efforts to reach historically undercounted communities." The bureau's sports collaborative program is "sending retired athletes into schools, public housing and community events within hard-to-count areas, as part of a $340[M] marketing and advertising campaign" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/13)....Celtics Managing Partner STEVE PAGLIUCA and President RICH GOTHAM "toured the new Fisher House" in Boston Friday with Fisher House Foundation CEO KENNETH FISHER and President DAVID COKER. The Celtics "have a fund-raising partnership with Fisher House, which provides housing near hospitals for families of soldiers treated for illness, disease, or injury" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/13)....BNP Paribas Open Owner LARRY ELLISON Friday night presented the Red Cross $1M for relief efforts in Haiti after hosting the “Hit for Haiti” charity tennis event at Indian Wells Tennis Garden (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 3/13)….Skateboarder TONY HAWK and actors KEANU REEVES, ADRIEN BRODY and CHRISTIAN SLATER are among entrants in this year’s April 17 celebrity race preceding the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (, 3/11)….VANOC CEO JOHN FURLONG will receive an honorary degree from the Univ. of British Columbia this spring (VANCOUVER SUN, 3/13)….U.S. swimmer MICHAEL PHELPS attended JAY-Z’s concert in Atlantic City on Saturday night (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/15).

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