SBD/January 21, 2011/People and Pop Culture

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  • Bob Kain Writes Letter Responding To Recent USA Today Article On Forstmann

    Kain responds to recent article on IMG
    The following is a letter to the editor concerning a USA Today item summarized in SBD on Jan. 12. A portion of this letter can be found in Friday's edition of USA Today.

    January 13, 2011

    Michael McCarthy’s January 12 article about Ted Forstmann and IMG [cited in SportsBusiness Daily] re-writes history. As an executive at IMG for 31 years and co-ceo when founder Mark McCormack died in early 2003, I was among the key people charged with selling the company for the McCormack Family Trust. We ultimately did so in November 2004 to Forstmann Little (FL), Ted Forstmann’s private equity firm. I resigned from IMG in 2006.
     
    I think I speak for thousands (3,000 in 2004) of IMG employees in wanting to set the record straight about the historical growth and direction of the company. Mr. McCarthy writes “…and now he’s [Forstmann] transformed IMG into a global sports, fashion, and media empire with ownership stakes in India, Brazil, and China.” IMG had, in fact, been long recognized as the global leader in those arenas (operating out of over 65 offices in 30 countries) by the time Forstmann-Little acquired it. Almost 50% of its revenues came from outside the U.S. It owned, operated or represented 2,000 events annually and was the world’s largest independent sports TV distributor and producer (10,000 hours of content, much of it owned by IMG, sold to 160 countries.) It was also the #1 modeling agency in the world.

    Contrary to what the article suggests, IMG operated in China and India for over 25 years before the Forstmann Little acquisition. It helped the Chinese create their current professional soccer and basketball leagues, not only representing them but also owning two teams in the basketball league. It ran three golf tournaments in China in 2004. In India, IMG represented the national governing body of cricket, that country’s #1 sport, and created the first ATP Tour tennis event there.

    Mr. McCarthy writes that “He [Forstmann] wants to be an owner not a middle man….” Mark McCormack recognized the merits of the same by the late 1970’s, creating and owning countless properties globally including World Match Play, partnering with the European PGA Tour, Stars on Ice, The ATP/WTA event in Miami, N.Y. Fashion Week, etc. It is this foundation, coupled with the long-term relationships IMG had established with iconic athletes and models from Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam to Venus Williams, Rafael Nadal, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning and Gisele Bundchen, and iconic events (Wimbledon, WTA Tour, the British Open, World Cup of Rugby, etc.) that helped make it possible for Mr. Forstmann to form joint ventures in China, India and Brazil. And didn’t that foundation compel him to acquire IMG in the first place?

    We applaud Mr. Forstmann for consolidating the College sports marketing business, for which he has spent around $300 million. Mark McCormack’s IMG was certainly not capital-rich, relying more on organic growth which was, nonetheless, highly successful and profitable, growing in value 43 out of 44 years.

    Most IMG alumni are cheering for IMG’s continued success, especially those of us who are also stakeholders. But we are strongly motivated to honor the extraordinary vision of Mark McCormack and accomplishments of his loyalists. IMG’s history should be enhanced by the company’s current operations. It shouldn’t be re-written.

    Bob Kain
    Former co-CEO of IMG

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture, IMG
  • Showtime Original: Kobe Bryant To Be First Athlete With Hollywood Star

    Bryant will be honored outside Grauman's Chinese Theater on Feb 19.

    Lakers G KOBE BRYANT will become the first athlete to have a hand and footprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The ceremony will take place on Feb. 19 during NBA All-Star weekend festivities in L.A. (Lakers). Bryant said the ceremony will be “cool.” He added that he has “yet to visit the theater as a tourist since moving” to L.A. in ’96. Bryant also is “taking a turn at acting in a soon-to-be released short film” directed by ROBERT RODRIGUEZ in conjunction with Nike (ESPNLA.com, 1/20).

    PAGE TURNER: Lakers Exec VP/Business Operations JEANIE BUSS recently released “Laker Girl,” her autobiography written with former L.A. Times writer STEVE SPRINGER. Buss: “I get asked all the time, what’s a typical day like for you in your job with the Lakers, and there’s no easy way to answer that. So, Steve Springer, who was the beat writer for the Lakers at one time, kind of pitched this idea of doing a journal format, interspersed with chapters of my life and how I got to be where I am and kind of why I see the world the way I do. I didn’t think I had enough to fill a book, but working with him was perfect because it turned out to be a very nice year in the life considering that it ended with a championship” (NYTIMES.com, 1/20). Buss added, "It's not a basketball book, and I'm hoping that people who are interested in family businesses (read this) because that's all this really is" (WSJ.com, 1/9). 

    ALL IN: Lakers F LAMAR ODOM said of the team’s celebrity fans, “I was surprised at how much JACK NICHOLSON enjoys the game. … JOEL and KARYN SILVER and DENZEL WASHINGTON as well. Sometimes you think it’s just a show from the outside looking in, but being there, you’re surprised by how much they get into it. … (Nicholson) gets on the refs. He gets on the refs hard. He rides them. He lets them know if they’re messing up or if they missed a call. It’s as though he’s in the game” (PLAYBOY, 2/ ’11 issue).

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture, Los Angeles Lakers
  • What's Up For The Weekend With NBA Kings Co-Owner Gavin Maloof

    Maloof calls weekend his family bought the Kings his best ever

    Ever wonder how executives in sports business spend their weekends? THE DAILY this week continues "What's Up For The Weekend," providing readers with an inside look at people in our industry. This week, we catch up with NBA Kings and Las Vegas Palms Casino co-Owner GAVIN MALOOF, who chatted with Staff Writer Theresa Manahan.

    Q: What are your plans for this weekend?
    Maloof: I always go to the Palms. There’s always a party at the Palms, so I’m sure something will happen.
     
    Q: What are your New Year’s resolutions?
    Maloof: I’ve been trying to lose some weight. I had a bet with a couple other gentlemen to see who can lose the most weight in a month, so that’s kind of my New Year’s resolution. I’m doing pretty good, I’ve lost probably five pounds.

    Q: What do you like to watch on the weekend?
    Maloof: I’ve been watching my sister in the “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” So I watch that a little bit and I enjoy watching it, it’s a good show.

    Q: What do you like to read on the weekend?
    Maloof: I usually just read the run of magazines. I read Sports Illustrated. I like Sports Illustrated. I get it delivered to the house.

    Q: What workout routines or activities do you like to do?
    Maloof: I’m usually on the elliptical. I work out probably five times a week when I can. And I do a little bit of lifting.

    Q: Best weekend ever?
    Maloof: Probably when we bought the Kings. We were negotiating to buy the Kings and I was actually up all night. I couldn’t sleep. And we signed the papers the next day, so it was really exciting for me. That was probably my most exciting weekend.

    Q: Favorite weekend getaway?
    Maloof: I come to L.A. quite a bit and I stay at the Peninsula. And I go to Orange County and I like to stay at the Montage. That’s a nice getaway for me.

    Q: Guilty weekend pleasure?
    Maloof: I’ve had a lot of guilty weekends in the past but not too many any more.

    Q: Favorite local restaurant?
    Maloof: If you take out all the restaurants at the Palms, there’s a great restaurant at the Encore called Botero. I enjoy going there and having a steak dinner. That’s a really great restaurant.

    Q: Do you have any routine weekend chores?
    Maloof: I sweep the floor. I sweep the backyard. Actually, I used to do that when I was younger. That was my job -- sweeping the kitchen. So I like to sweep a little bit.

    Print | Tags: Sacramento Kings, Basketball, People and Pop Culture
  • This Week's Newsmakers: Tom Jackson's Objectivity Questioned

    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: UNIV. OF TEXAS -- The Longhorns ink a lucrative long-term deal with ESPN to start their own TV network. The agreement will boost the coffers of the school’s academic and athletic departments and will likely provide a template for other big-time programs looking to start their own networks. The channel promises to raise the profile of Texas’ already powerful athletic program, and will provide a platform for the school’s less-publicized sports.

    LOSE: TOM JACKSON -- The veteran ESPN analyst’s credibility is called into question this week after he says he used his pregame prediction on “Sunday NFL Countdown” as a way to pump up the Jets and create an “us against the world” mentality for their playoff game against the Patriots. Jackson says picking the Pats to blow out the Jets was part of a “psychological game” and his actions were “premeditated.” He later backtracks on his comments, but not before raising some serious doubts about his objectivity.    

    DRAW: VENUS WILLIAMS -- Prior to retiring due to injury during her third-round Australian Open match Friday, the tennis star gets harsh reviews for her yellow, lattice-style dress during the second round. Williams' "Alice in Wonderland"-inspired dress is described as a "mix between Solid Gold Dancer and Edward Scissorhands." Another pundit says Venus is "turning into the LADY GAGA of tennis." The criticism of Williams' garb might normally be a sidebar, but it is the biggest news coming out of an otherwise uneventful Aussie Open, and has clearly given Venus the attention she was seeking with her choice of attire.

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
  • Executive Transactions

    Findlay joins MLS as CMO
    MLS/SUM has hired Town Sports Int'l VP/Marketing J. RUSSELL FINDLAY as CMO. Findlay will be responsible for all marketing, branding and consumer initiatives. He is a 20-year veteran of PepsiCo and Unilever, serving as Dir of Marketing for soft drink innovation at PepsiCo (MLS/SUM)....Octagon has promoted SIMON WARDLE to Chief Strategy Officer for Octagon Worldwide. Wardle previously served as Exec VP & Head of Octagon's Marketing North America Insights & Strategy unit (Octagon)....Team Epic has named MICHELLE BERG the agency's first Exec VP, reporting directly to the Exec Committee. Berg will manage all aspects of the agency's cultural, operational, and strategic integration between current and acquired Team Epic agencies. She also will oversee the agency's approach to and evolution of client service strategies. Berg's promotion follows her recent nomination for the WISE Women of the Year Award (Team Epic).

    EXECS: Tennis Channel has hired GAIL RODRIGUEZ as Dir of Ad Sales Marketing, based at the network's N.Y. office. Most recently, Rodriguez served as Marketing Services Manager for Discovery Channel. Previously, she served as Manager of Fan Development & Promotions for the Capitals (Tennis Channel)....ESPN Dir of PR CRYSTAL HOWARD is leaving the company, effective Friday (THE DAILY)....USA Water Polo has hired CLAUDIA DODSON as Associate Dir of Competition and CHRISTY MEDIGOVICH as Membership Manager (USA Water Polo)....HOK has hired ERIK WOOD as Client Services Principal & Regional Leader. Wood previously served as Dir of Marketing for N.Y.-based Cooper, Robertson & Partners (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/21)....The Suns have hired REBECCA CLARK as PR & Community Relations Coordinator. Clark previously worked as an events preview writer for the Arizona Republic, as well as assistant editor for Gannett Magazine Group (Suns)....The MLS New England Revolution have promoted NICK KROPELIN to Soccer Operations Manager. The club also has hired ALEX KANTOR as Communications Coordinator and STEPHEN SANDS as Soccer Operations Coordinator (Revolution)....JOE PINTO, Manager of Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., has resigned to take a position with the Triple-A Int'l League Norfolk Tides. No successor for Pinto has been named (PALM BEACH POST, 1/20)....Women in Sports & Events has named six new members to its national BOD: SOPHIA KUO, AMANDA MITCHELL, MEGHA PAREKH, MELODY PERRY, ALISON WAGNER and ERIN WEINBERG (WISE).

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

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
  • Names In The News

    Close (left, with family) to be inducted into Michigan athletic department's Hall of Honor

    In Michigan, Jeff Arnold profiled CAA agent CASEY CLOSE, whose "philosophy of fair-dealing ... and allowing his work -- not his name -- to do the talking has been paying off." Close will be inducted into the Univ. of Michigan athletic department's Hall of Honor Saturday, and he said, "There's been some great people out there in the business and there were guys to emulate, but I always wanted to do it my way. If you're going to have any amount of success, you ultimately need to choose your own path that fits in your personality and what you're all about." Arnold noted Close "remains content to fly under the radar while dealing with major leaguers playing at a level he always hoped to" (ANNARBOR.com, 1/20).

    MAKING IT TO THE BIG LEAGUES: In K.C., J. Brady McCollough noted most of new Univ. of Kansas AD SHEAHON ZENGER's ascension in sports "has occurred in the shadows, out of sight from the high-stakes world of major-college athletics." But that "changed when he got the KU job." Zenger's "dream job comes with serious tasks," as he "must rebuild the trust of KU donors and fans in the aftermath of a $2 million ticket scandal." Zenger said, "There's a need for nurturing within the department, and harmony, and trusting one another and believing in one another. The flip side of that coin is the fan base wanting to be reassured and connected to the department. Those two things are very similar to what I found at Illinois State six years ago." McCollough noted fan reaction to Zenger's hire "has been mixed." Most "laud the selection, which was vetted heavily for character concerns by KU's search committee, but others question Zenger's lack of BCS credentials, or his ties to Kansas State, where he earned his undergraduate and master's degrees" (K.C. STAR, 1/20).

    NOT HORSING AROUND: In Louisville, Gregory Hall reports Churchill Downs Inc. "may be ready to settle its $15 million claim from Centaur, its former minority partner and the current owner of Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind." When CDI sold Hoosier Park in '07, it was to receive $15M from Centaur "if the track got slot machines within a certain time frame." That requirement "was met, but Centaur filed for bankruptcy last March." CDI in a filing Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware said that it "has negotiated 'a fair and equitable' settlement with Centaur that has yet to be filed" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 1/21)....Fifth Third Bank "has sued prominent Thoroughbred breeder Gulf Coast Farms and related business entities, alleging the breeder defaulted on about" $15M in loans. Gulf Coast, which is headed by GERALD BAILEY and LANCE ROBINSON, was the "fourth-leading breeder in North America in 2010," with almost $5.6M in earnings (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 1/21).

    NAMES: A Forbes report named the Town of Westlake, Texas, the “most affluent neighborhood in the country.” Some of the Dallas suburb’s residents include Rangers LF JOSH HAMILTON, Rangers Managing General Partner & CEO CHUCK GREENBERG, Blue Jays CF VERNON WELLS, Yankees 1B MARK TEIXEIRA and golfers K.J. CHOI and TODD HAMILTON. The smallest neighborhood to make Forbes' list was Popponesset Island, Mass. Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT owned a home there but “recently reportedly sold a big stake in the property to his son and daughter-in-law” (FORBES.com, 1/18)….Mets COO JEFF WILPON and four Mets players “participated in a series of drills” Thursday at the FDNY Training Academy on Randalls Island that included “forcibly entering a burning room, extinguishing a room fire and a car fire, climbing an aerial ladder, being rescued from a window” and dropping off a five-story building (MLB.com, 1/20)....UFC fighter GEORGES ST-PIERRE has “parted ways with manager SHARI SPENCER,” a split described as “amicable.” Spencer helped St-Pierre “to some landmark sponsorship deals, including Under Armour and Gatorade” (CP, 1/20)….The Arizona Sports HOF on March 31 will welcome its ’11 class, including PBR President TY MURRAY, former MLBer CURT SCHILLING, Pro Football HOFer RANDALL MCDANIEL and Olympic gymnast KERRI STRUG (AZCENTRAL.com, 1/20).

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
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