SBD/Issue 175/Sports Industrialists

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  • Little Known About Potential Hornets Owner Gary Chouest

    Chouest's Wealth Could
    Give Hornets Stability

    Hornets Minority Owner GARY CHOUEST, who is negotiating to buy GEORGE SHINN's share of the team, "remains a mysterious owner-in-waiting," according to a profile by Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Chouest's "financial wherewithal is estimated to be in the billions, a bank account that would ensure the franchise's long-term stability in Chouest's hometown region while, for the first time in team history, create limitless financial possibilities in the area of player and coaching acquisitions." Chouest, who paid $62M in '07 for his 25% stake in the Hornets, "remains the richest man in Louisiana that nobody knows," as he has "steadfastly ignored all requests for comments or interviews." But those who know Chouest indicated that he is a "quiet, philanthropic individual with an unabated love for the game of basketball -- a generous soul who gives of himself and his resources to enrich the lives of friends, employees and acquaintances." Smith noted Chouest serves as President & CEO of Edison Chouest Offshore, a "worldwide leader in the marine transportation industry."  The fact that Chouest "took time away from his company to interview prospective Hornets coaches" was "something that impressed coaching candidate MIKE FRATELLO." Fratello said Chouest was "on top" of the coaching search. Fratello: "I think he has a pretty good feel for the game as far as personnel. He's a guy who has much more of an interest in the game than some others who might be going into it for simply the business standpoint of it." Fratello added Chouest is a "very, very pleasant person." Fratello: "He's not a guy who's trying to dominate the conversation. ... I think he'll be a great owner." Bollinger Shipyards Owner BOYSIE BOLLINGER said, "I think what's unique about him is I don't think he's doing this for the ego, where many, many other people do it for the ego. I think he's doing it because he actually enjoys basketball" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 5/23).

    DEEPLY INVOLVED IN GULF: The TIMES-PICAYUNE's Smith in a front-page piece noted Edison Chouest Offshore "has been deeply involved in many facets" of the response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. ECO spokesperson Lonnie Thibodeaux said BP "is a loyal and long-standing customer of Edison Chouest so we've been [in] support of that operation ever since" the night of the explosion. He added he is "not at liberty to give any details about what specific Chouest assets are involved or precisely what they are doing" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 5/23).

    WHAT'S THE BUZZ? In New Orleans, John DeShazier wrote the delay in Shinn's sale of the Hornets to Chouest "has become a nuisance, bordering on embarrassing for the perception it gives that New Orleans’ NBA franchise can’t conduct" the business of filling the team's coaching vacancy. It appears that Shinn "isn't ready to sell, or may no longer even want to." Shinn and Chouest "don’t owe us an explanation as to why the deal hasn’t been done." But they should know that by "saying nothing, we’re left to our own devices, allowed to form our own opinions and to give thought to rumors that aren’t all flattering" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 5/22).

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  • Executive Transactions

    NBA Kings VP/Strategic Alliances JEFF DAVID has left the team to work in the NBA's Global Marketing Partnership group, based in N.Y. (THE DAILY)....Octagon has promoted NICK MIRABILE to VP of its Merchandise & Licensing group (THE DAILY)....Tulsa Sports Commission Exec Dir MIKE DODSON Thursday confirmed that he has resigned from the position (TULSA WORLD, 5/21)....General Sports & Entertainment has named UTA Digital Media & Business Development Coordinator MATT WOLF as Dir of Marketing (General Sports)....Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing named SCOTT HUTCHISON to the newly created position of Managing Dir (Gilt Edge)....Former National Soccer HOF Dir of Museum & Constituency Services JACK HUCKEL has formed JR Huckel & Associates, an induction and elections consulting and management firm for Hall of Fames (JR Huckel).

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  • Names In The News

    Wade Tops Sun-Sentinel's List Of
    South Florida's "Most Powerful Sports People"

    The South Florida SUN-SENTINEL ranked Heat G DWYANE WADE No. 1 on its list of South Florida's "most powerful sports people." The SUN-SENTINEL's Dave Hyde wrote of the impending free agent, "No player, coach, general manager or team owner has the ability over the next year to save or sink a South Florida franchise quite like Wade." Dolphins Exec VP/Football Operations BILL PARCELLS ranked No. 2, Marlins Owner JEFFREY LORIA ranked No. 3, and Dolphins coach TONY SPARANO and QB CHAD HENNE ranked tied for fourth (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/23). Meanwhile, the SUN-SENTINEL's Sarah Talalay noted Wade "took the witness stand late Friday afternoon in the first of several cases that take aim at business decisions he's made." Wade in the case, which is currently in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, is "accused of failing to meet his marketing obligations to a chain of shuttered D. Wade's Grill restaurants." Wade additionally is being sued for "walking away from a Miami charter school also named for him" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/22).

    DOUBLE DUTY: USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale writes RYAN BRAUN is a "business entrepreneur by the day" and a left fielder for the Brewers "by night." Braun has a restaurant in Milwaukee and "another scheduled to open in June in Lake Geneva, Wis." He is an "investor in a T-shirt line, Remetee, and its website features celebs as varied as American Idol sensation ADAM LAMBERT, rapper RICK ROSS and myriad athletic figures sporting the brand." Braun also endorses Muscle Milk and AirTran and "says he hopes to soon launch his own energy drink." Nightengale writes Braun "epitomizes a new breed of young players: brash, full of confidence and unafraid to celebrate conquests" (USA TODAY, 5/24).

    KINGS COACH ARRESTED: NHL Kings assistant coach MARK HARDY "was arrested early Friday and charged with felony fourth-degree sexual abuse after a complaint by a family member at a hotel" in DC. Hardy was "taken into custody and appeared before a judge" Friday afternoon in DC Superior Court, and he is "due to appear in court again June 4." A Kings spokesperson "declined to say whether Hardy remains on the payroll or has been suspended or placed on leave" (L.A. TIMES, 5/22).

    STILL A MAVERICK: In Minneapolis, Curt Brown noted independent league St. Paul Saints and Single-A South Atlantic League Charleston River Dogs President MIKE VEECK was "once considered the loose cannon of baseball promotions, a third-generation huckster who flamed out with four Major League teams." Veeck, who "regularly shuttles between" Charleston and St. Paul, is "entering his 18th season serving up minor league yucks for a reasonable price" at the age of 59. Brown wrote with a pig "named 'Brat Favre' delivering balls to umpires this season, and a Revolutionary War promotion set for June 11 before the U.S.-England World Cup soccer game, the Saints are as zany as ever" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/23).

    Andre Johnson Has Hired Houston-Based
    Agent Kennard McGuire To Represent Him

    NAMES: Former WWE CEO LINDA MCMAHON "capped an improbable entry into politics" Friday by winning Connecticut's Republican Party endorsement for the U.S. Senate. McMahon "edged" former U.S. Rep. ROB SIMMONS (STAMFORD ADVOCATE, 5/22)....Texans WR ANDRE JOHNSON has hired Houston-based agent KENNARD MCGUIRE to represent him. Johnson "had been advised by his uncle, ANDRE MELTON, in his first two negotiations with the Texans" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/22)....Chicago Mayor RICHARD DALEY sat with White Sox and Bulls Chair JERRY REINSDORF at Friday’s Sharks-Blackhawks Game Three at United Center. Cubs GM JIM HENDRY and Bulls GM GAR FORMAN also were in attendance (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/23)….Celtics CEO & Managing Partner WYC GROUSBECK spoke at Saturday’s commencement for Suffolk Univ.’s Sawyer Business School, urging graduates to “remember that the people who’ve had a major impact on their lives did so out of love, passion and caring” (BOSTON HERALD, 5/23).... Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT will introduce ROGER GOODELL prior to the NFL Commissioner’s commencement address next weekend at UMass-Lowell (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/23)....Mets Senior Dir of Season Tickets & Group Sales TOM FERSCH is “fighting a hard, brave battle against cancer” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/23).

    IN MEMORY: Houston real estate developer WAYNE DUDDLESTEN, who “led the investment partnership that brought the Rockets to Houston,” died Thursday at the age of 80 after a “nearly five-year battle with multiple cancers” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/24).

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