SBD/Issue 211/Sports Industrialists

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  • Yankees Roll Out Touching Tributes To Steinbrenner, Sheppard

    Steinbrenner Remembered Duing Pregame
    Ceremony At Yankee Stadium Friday

    The Yankees on Friday night prior to their home game against the Rays paid tribute to late Chair George Steinbrenner and late PA announcer Bob Sheppard in a ceremony that contained "some of the extravagant touches that came to define Steinbrenner’s ownership," according to Ben Shpigel of the N.Y. TIMES. Wearing uniform patches commemorating both Steinbrenner and Sheppard, the Yankees "watched the ceremony from in front of their dugout, with their caps off," and "most of the Rays did the same." After a video tribute to Steinbrenner, P Mariano Rivera "placed two long-stemmed red roses across the plate -- one for Steinbrenner, one for Sheppard." The Yankees elected to "turn off the public address system during the game as a way to honor Sheppard." SS Derek Jeter was the only player to "address the crowd during the ceremony," which also included a "traditional moment of silence, followed by the playing of taps" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/17). On Long Island, Mark Hermann noted there was a "quiet prologue to the ceremony, with light and respectful organ music accompanying a video of Steinbrenner." Many players were "seen on the video screen, honoring" their late owner during the "moving, brief, tasteful ceremony worthy of George Steinbrenner" (NEWSDAY, 7/17). In N.Y., Larry Brooks wrote the tribute was "distinguished in its simplicity." It was a "special night and sadness at the same time," an evening "marked by melancholy and a night marked by celebration of just what it was Steinbrenner had brought to the Yankees" (N.Y. POST, 7/17).

    FOR OLD-TIMERS' SAKE: ESPN N.Y.'s Ian Begley noted during the Yankees' annual Old-Timers' Day Saturday, "former players shared their memories" of Steinbrenner and Sheppard. About 48 former players and their wives were "quick to offer anecdotes and memories of Steinbrenner and Sheppard, whose deaths" last week "cast a shadow on what is normally a day for reminiscing about fun times in the Bronx" (ESPNNEWYORK.com, 7/17). The Yankees played a "video montage honoring" Sheppard before the old-timers' game Saturday at Yankee Stadium. Also, instead of playing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch, the scoreboard "showed a clip of Sheppard cheerily singing 'Let Me Call You Sweetheart,' which he made a Mother's Day tradition at the Stadium" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 7/18).

    THE BOSS LAID TO REST: In N.Y., Calabrese & Hale reported Steinbrenner on Saturday was "entombed at a Florida cemetery in an imposing blue-gray crypt with pillars and stones the colors of those at Yankee Stadium as his widow, Joan, and children watched and wept." Joan, the couple's four children and their grandchildren were among "about 40 mourners" at the ceremony at Trinity Memorial Gardens near Tampa (N.Y. POST, 7/18). The 10 pallbearers included Yankees co-Chair & Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner and co-Chair & General Partner Hank Steinbrenner, as well as George's son-in-law, Felix Lopez (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/18). The cemetery was closed for Saturday's service. Deputies in "marked and unmarked cruisers patrolled the roads for security breaches for hours," and the event was "so hush-hush that the deputies didn't know until a briefing" on Saturday morning (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/18).

    FINAL REMEMBERANCES: N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said the “only larger-than-life figure that the Yankees ever had that was comparable” to Steinbrenner was BABE RUTH. Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan: "He reinvigorated New York and became the most identifiable New Yorker of the past 40 years, with the possible exception of his friend, RUDY GUILIANI." ESPN.com’s Howard Bryant: "I don't think anyone could have recognized that coming out of the strike what that local cable television money (from the YES Network) was going to do to these individual markets. He saw that” ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN2, 7/18).

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  • Leonsis Formally Taking Over As Chair & CEO Of Monumental

    Leonsis To Lead Monumental Sports &
    Entertainment As Chair & CEO

    TED LEONSIS today is expected to "formally announce he is taking over" as Chair & CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Capitals, Wizards and WNBA Mystics, according to Thomas Heath of the WASHINGTON POST. Leonsis will have offices at the Verizon Center and at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex. DICK PATRICK will serve as Monumental COO, reporting to Leonsis, in addition to “keeping his job as president of the Capitals.” Patrick will “run most of the revenue-generating groups at Monumental, overseeing the combined ticket, sponsorship and premium seating sales organizations.” RANDALL BOE will report to Leonsis as Exec VP for Corporate Operations, with “responsibility for human resources and the legal departments.” GREGG BIBB will serve as Exec VP for Basketball Business Operations for the combined Wizards/Mystics organization.  PETE BICHE is staying on as CFO and “will report directly to Leonsis.” Sponsorship sales will be led by JOHN GREELEY. The “newly consolidated ticket sales organizations” for the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics will be led by JIM VAN STONE, who will report to Patrick. RICK MORELAND will lead the luxury suite and sales group, GARY HANDLEMAN will continue to lead facilities management and MIKE BOWIE will continue to head up the engineering department. Leonsis said that Monumental’s MIKE KELLY will “assess the Ticketmaster business and begin planning for the future.” Capitals VP/Communications KURT KEHL will become Monumental’s VP/Corporate Communications (WASHINGTON POST, 7/19). 

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  • Executive Transactions

    The Suns promoted the following: JEFF IANELLO to VP/Sales, GEOFF BUDOFF to Senior Dir of Suite Experience, ERIC KUSSIN to Senior Dir of Group Sales, DEVNEY PREUSS to Dir of Activation, NICK FORRO to Dir of New Business Development and BOB HAMER to Dir of Organizational Sales. The team also promoted MARC GOLDBERG and DAVID HUGHES to Senior Producers for Suns Productions, BECKY MONTES and LIVIA VAN ARSDEL to Senior Activation Specialists for Marketing Partnerships, JOSE MORENO to Community Relations Coordinator and KEVIN PIRES to CommTech Specialist (Suns).

    EXECS: NASCAR named Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Senior VP & Chief Technology Officer ANDREW SCHWALB VP and Chief Information & Technology Officer for NASCAR and NASCAR Media Group (NASCAR)....The Canadiens named Capitals Pro Scout LARRY CARRIERE Assistant GM for Player Personnel, replacing JULIEN BRISEBOIS (CP, 7/16)....The Big Ten Conference promoted MARK RUDNER to Senior Associate Commissioner of Television Administration, WENDY FALLEN to Associate Commissioner of Championships, CHAD HAWLEY to Associate Commissioner of Compliance, STEPHANIE KIRBY to Associate Dir of Championships, VALERIE TODRYK KREBS to Associate Dir of Communications, JESSICA PALERMO to Assistant Dir of Championships and DAN MIHALIK to Assistant Dir of Communications. The Big Ten also hired BILL SIITARI as Dir of Accounting (Big Ten)....Cosmos Sports promoted SCOTT MOSEY to Exec Dir, MIKE MIELE to Dir of Marketing, and BRYAN MCGAHEY to Dir of Team Services. Cosmos also hired JORDAN HARDING as Manager of Corporate Partnerships. Cosmos Sports Manager of Corporate Partnerships JASON SZAMES resigned from his position to pursue his MBA (Cosmos)....Tickets.com promoted Dir of Sales Engineering DOUG LYONS to VP/Product Marketing Strategy (Tickets.com)....Boston Univ. named former Padres Dir of Marketing JENIFER BARSELL Associate AD for Marketing Communications (BU).

    Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

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  • Names In The News

    Saints' Super Bowl Success Sees Benson (l),
    Payton (r) Near Top Of Times-Picayune's List

    The Saints' "unprecedented success and fame" is why the team dominates the New Orleans Times-Picayune rankings of the "most power/influential people on the south Louisiana sports scene." Saints Owner TOM BENSON ranked No. 1 for the second consecutive year, and he has "plenty of company at the top." Saints QB Drew Brees ranked No. 2, Saints coach SEAN PAYTON ranked No. 3, and Saints GM MICKEY LOOMIS ranked No. 6. The rest of the top 10 included Hornets Owner GEORGE SHINN at No. 4, Hornets G CHRIS PAUL at No. 5, SMG Regional VP Doug Thornton at No. 7, Cox Sports Television VP/Regional Sports ROD MICKLER at No. 8, LSU football coach LES MILES at No. 9 and LSU AD JOE ALLEVA at No. 10 (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 7/18).

    ISSUES TO SKATE AROUND: In Salt Lake City, Michael Lewis noted new U.S. Speedskating Exec Dir MARK GREENWALD "started work last week," and he is "hopeful and confident that he can smooth what has become a turbulent ride for one of the nation's most successful winter sports federations." Long- and short-track speedskaters accounted for 10 of the 37 medals the U.S. won at the '10 Vancouver Games, but Greenwald "expects to have his hands full" due to the "financial strain caused by a sponsorship drought amid a poor economy ... [and] the dismissal of most coaches and a hopeful but skeptical group of athletes." Greenwald "aspires to find new sponsors around the world, improve coaching development, reconnect with alumni and use his collaborative skills and sport-building experience ... to build an enviable program." But he first "must hire a new high-performance director, figure out the budget, and formulate a plan for the build-up to" the '14 Sochi Games (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 7/18).

    INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY: The N.Y. TIMES’ Katie Thomas profiled IOC President JACQUES ROGGE, who said he begins working “at close to 8 o’clock.” Rogge: “My normal day would be being briefed about the world media, and I get the highlights of the day. Then I would have individual visits by many people visiting Lausanne.” He added he travels often, because he needs “to have face time.” Rogge: “There is no way you can run such an organization with just e-mails, videoconferencing or telephone calls” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/18).

    FLY LIKE AN EAGLE: In Philadelphia, Mike Jensen profiles Eagles GM HOWIE ROSEMAN under the header, “Howie Roseman Relentlessly Pursued NFL Dream.” Roseman, 35, was promoted to the GM role earlier this year and now has a “seat at the oval table, often right next” to Eagles coach ANDY REID and across from President JOE BANNER. Roseman said, “I think one of the reasons I’m in this role here is because I have strong opinions that I hope to back up with information” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/19).

    BASKETBALL ORIGINS: A "larger-than-life statue" of DR. JAMES NAISMITH "will be unveiled later this year" in Almonte, Ontario. Identical bronze statues "showing Naismith seated on a bench with a ball and two peach baskets" have been created "for the site in downtown Almonte, for a second site near the Springfield, Mass., gymnasium where the first games were played in 1891, and for the University of Kansas campus where Naismith spent most of his career coaching students and guiding basketball's early evolution" (Montreal GAZETTE, 7/17).

    NAMES: Former Univ. of North Carolina men's basketball coach DEAN SMITH's family in a letter said Smith has a "progressive neurocognitive disorder that affects his memory." Rumors about Smith's condition had "spun so out of control, a school spokesman had to confirm last week that Smith is still alive." Smith's wife LINNEA said it is a "complex medical diagnosis," and is "in a category of progressive memory disorders, and we're staying away from labels" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/18)....The Pro Basketball HOF “will conduct a week of festivities" beginning August 7 in advance of the induction of the ’60 and ’92 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball teams. HOFers MICHAEL JORDAN, LARRY BIRD, MAGIC JOHNSON, OSCAR ROBERTSON and JERRY WEST all are expected to be in attendance (Springfield REPUBLICAN, 7/16)….Heat F LEBRON JAMES reportedly has “started paperwork to purchase” a $49.5M, 20,088-square-foot mansion at Casuarina Concourse -- the “most expensive home in Coral Gables, Fla., area” (LIFEANDSTYLEMAG.com, 7/15).

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