SBD/January 24, 2011/People and Pop Culture

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  • John Miller Returning To NBC To Lead New Sports Agency

    Miller (r) will oversee rebranding of Comcast's sports properties

    Former NBC CMO JOHN MILLER is "moving back east to join NBC's sports group," according to John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Miller "will lead a newly formed marketing and promotions group under the banner 'The NBC Sports Agency.'" He has been "quietly working in this role since November and will be tasked with making sure that Comcast’s sports properties work together with NBC’s." Miller said, "My goal is to immediately start pulling together the resources from all these groups. The real magic for us here is that we have not had cable sports channels as part of our portfolio in the past." Miller’s "immediate to-do list will be to develop cross-channel spots to promote shows and sports across all of NBC Sports’ and Comcast’s channels." He believes that a "steady stream of Versus and Golf Channel promos on NBC will help build ratings on those channels." NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Chair DICK EBERSOL said that Miller also "will oversee the marketing around the rebranding of Comcast’s sports channels, which will include new names and new logos for Versus and Golf Channel." There is "no word on what those channels will be called, but the changes will not happen immediately and could possibly be pushed into next year." Ebersol said that he "jumped at the chance to bring Miller over to sports when he became available." Ebersol: "We would have taken this and done a good job. Under John, we have the opportunity to take this and do a great job" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/24 issue). In N.Y., Brian Stelter noted the agency "will be modeled after the NBC Agency," which Miller "helped to start in 1999 and which markets all of NBC’s television properties." The company's individual units "will still promote themselves, but the agency will find areas for broader collaboration between units and with advertisers" (, 1/23). NBC Senior VP/Strategic Marketing, Promotions & Communications MIKE MCCARLEY presented the idea of building an agency to Ebersol last spring and helped recruit Miller. "We pursued John like the Hall of Famer he is. Who better to market our new collective assets and simultaneously serve our advertisers than Mr. Must See TV?" McCarley and Miller have quietly spent the past few months working together to build the agency (Ourand).

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  • Executive Transactions

    The NFL has promoted VP/Government Relations & Public Policy JEFF MILLER to Senior VP/Government Affairs (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/24 issue)....The LPGA has hired ED WILLETT to lead the tour's business development efforts, reporting to CMO JON PODANY. Willett previously spent nine years at ESPN before moving to Quick Hit Inc. in '09. He later moved to media and sponsorship consulting firm Kaleidoscope Sports & Entertainment, where he "led the sales efforts." Willett starts this week at LPGA HQs in Daytona Beach (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/24 issue)....Red Sox VP/Client Partnerships TROUP PARKINSON will now lead the team's sponsorship sales efforts following the departure of Senior VP/Corporate Sales JOE JANUSZEWSKI to the MLB Rangers. Fenway Sports Group Senior VP/National Sales FRANK HUCKABONE will assume additional responsibilities within that operation for New England Sports Ventures (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

    EXECS: The Dolphins have signed GM JEFF IRELAND to a multiyear contract extension (Dolphins)....ESPN Star Sports has hired COLIN SHERRIFF as VP/Operations & Technology, effective today. Sherriff will report to ESPN Star Sports Managing Dir MANU SAWHNEY (ESPN Star Sports)....The New Haven Open at Yale has promoted DANA CIALFI to Tournament Manager, ELIZA FOLSOM to Corporate Sales & Services Manager, SCOTT KURLANSKY to Corporate Partnerships Manager and MEGAN AXTELL to Consumer Sales & Marketing Manager (New Haven Open)....STR Marketplace has hired Hexagroup Senior Software Developer RAY ADAMS as Dir of Website Development & Technology. STR also hired JASON HENSLEY as Marketplace Coordinator (STR)....The Triple-A PCL Nashville Sounds have promoted Dir of Operations & Communications DOUG SCOPEL to Assistant GM and Senior Corporate Account Exec DARREN FELLER to Dir of Corporate Sales. The Sounds also have hired the following: CLIFF MCARDLE as Marketing & Advertising Manager, JANELL BULLOCK as Merchandise Manager, MICHAEL BIGLEY as Community Outreach Coordinator, MIKE SIMONSON as Stadium Operations Coordinator, C.J. RECHER as Account Exec, KEVIN SAMBORSKI as Account Exec and AMANDA ZUZIK as Account Exec (Sounds).

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  • Names In The News

    Leonsis praised as one of most competitive, accessible owners in NHL

    In Toronto, Damien Cox wrote there is "no other owner" in the NHL quite like the Capitals' TED LEONSIS. He is a "competitive, overly-involved, deep-pocketed hockey version of JERRY JONES or MARK CUBAN." In an "NFL-dominated market in which one of the two main newspapers stopped covering his NHL team, Leonsis decided he couldn't just sit around and wait for the 'mainstream media' to notice." So he "became the media himself" with his Ted's Take blog. Cox: "Got a beef with the Caps? Email Ted. He'll respond." Free speech is a "pricey commodity in the NHL these days." But in the "heavily corporate NHL, Leonsis is different, and therefore welcome" (TORONTO STAR, 1/22).

    REPPIN' THE PACK: In Milwaukee, Don Walker profiled Milwaukee-based Lammi Sports Management Founder & President BRIAN LAMMI, whose firm "represents athletes for endorsement and marketing opportunities." The company also "produces sports shows and sets up athletes for personal appearances." Lammi's firm "has exclusive agreements" with Packers WRs DONALD DRIVER and JAMES JONES and TE JERMICHAEL FINLEY, and he works with LB CLAY MATTHEWS "on Wisconsin-based projects." Lammi "also works with members" of the Brewers, and he said that "corporate interest in that team and some of their players, including RYAN BRAUN, has been growing." Lammi "does not actively recruit athletes and prefers to rely on recommendations and word of mouth" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/23).

    RELIEF EFFORTS: The Trail Blazers have partnered with G PATTY MILLS, an Australian native, "on a host of projects aimed at helping relief efforts" surrounding flooding in the country. The Blazers throughout January are donating 50% of the "proceeds from the sale of Mills' jersey and jersey shirts to the cause and the team will do the same with" RUDY FERNANDEZ jerseys. The team also has "placed donation canisters around the Rose Garden and will continue to collect the rest of the month." The Blazers on Wednesday, Australia Day, are "holding a fund-raiser with season ticket holders" (, 1/21).  

    WORKING OUT WITH HELIO: IndyCar driver HELIO CASTRONEVES detailed his workout routine in a Q&A with the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL's David Raterman. Castroneves noted he "just moved to Fort Lauderdale." Castroneves: "I come out of the elevator, go across the street to the beach and start working out on my own, on the equipment near the basketball course. You'll see me in the mornings. I really enjoy this atmosphere. ... I do CrossFit, which is incredible, twice a week; twice a week I lift weights; and once I do a long run." Castroneves noted for lifting he does "triceps, biceps, a little back and chest and shoulders -- not much different than any other guy doing exercise" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/24).

    NAMES: The Black Eyed Peas' WILL.I.AM said the group will not perform "My Humps" during the Super Bowl Halftime Show on Feb. 6. He said, "It's a club song. It's like when I get around my mom, all my cuss words are deleted from my vocabulary. Automatically, they just leave. Super Bowl, yes, the words are not going to exist in my vocabulary" (N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE, 1/23 issue)....The Nantz National Alzheimer Center at Methodist Hospital in Houston "will focus on the vascular and epidemiological risk factors associated with Alzheimer's, and the effect of concussions on dementia." CBS announcer JIM NANTZ said that he "would devote a part of his future earnings to the center," which is named after his late father (N.Y. TIMES, 1/23)....Comcast-Spectacor Chair ED SNIDER Friday received the Shining Star Lifetime Achievement Award at the Comcast SportsNet Shining Star Awards at The Westin Hotel in Philadelphia. The awards banquet benefited the March of Dimes (THE DAILY)....Former MLB managers BOBBY COX, JOE TORRE and LOU PINIELLA Saturday were the Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award from the Baseball Writers' Association of America's N.Y. chapter (AP, 1/22)....Former President BILL CLINTON recently "dined on the patio" at Prime One Twelve in Miami with Yankees 3B ALEX RODRIGUEZ and actress CAMERON DIAZ, while Bengals WRs TERRELL OWENS and CHAD OCHOCINCO "celebrated Ochocinco's birthday inside the restaurant" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/23)....Lakers G SHANNON BROWN confirmed that he "quietly married" singer MONICA late last year (, 1/21)....Ducks G JONAS HILLER bought a Newport Beach house late last year for $4M (, 1/20)....Red Sox Owner JOHN HENRY and his wife, LINDA PIZZUTTI HENRY, were among the attendees at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay's "Big Night" party Saturday (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/24).

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