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NASCAR CMO STEVE PHELPS yesterday presented the sanctioning body’s plan to overhaul its communications group, and said the organization expected to name a new Chief Communications Officer soon. The new communications group will concentrate on strengthening communication externally with not only the media but also with tracks, teams, drivers and other stakeholders in the sport. The Integrated Marketing & Communications team will be led by the CCO, with support from a Managing Dir who will oversee communications directors in competition, business communications, NASCAR Media Group, brand and consumer marketing, stakeholder communications and digital and social media strategy. Phelps: "We have built a foundationally solid communication operation that effectively performs the functional needs of the competition aspect of our sport. ... But we were not structured or resourced properly to address many current needs within the industry or meet the challenges of the sport in the future." Phelps expects the new group to do a better job of not only proactively selling the sport and its personalities, but also helping teams and tracks do the same. The new communications group was developed as a result of an outside survey conducted by Taylor.
Richard Petty Motorsports yesterday introduced LISA BROWN as the team's new CEO. Brown is a former Exec VP at AOL, where she served as the head of ad sales reporting to former AOL Vice Chair and President TED LEONSIS from ’02-04. The Wall Street Journal described her management style as "aggressive" and reported she left AOL following a questionable expense account charge of $40,000. Prior to working at AOL she worked at USA Interactive. At RPM, she will be charged with rebuilding the business operations of a team that faced intense media scrutiny last year after former owner GEORGE GILLETT stopped funding the team. The team was acquired by Medallion Financial President ANDREW MURSTEIN and DGB Investments' DOUG BERGERON late last year (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal). RICHARD PETTY said he again has “say-so” over his race team, and SCENEDAILY.com’s Bob Pockrass noted the “first sign that Petty has control is the hiring of Brown.” She interviewed for the CEO job “after the arrival of Boston Ventures” in June ’08 and was Petty’s “first choice” but did not get the job. However, Brown at the end of the ’10 season “worked to find the right investment group for Petty.” Petty said of Brown, “She’s come in and helped us put all this stuff together with the bankers. She’s had experience in those kind of fields. We brought her on board to coordinate with people that we didn’t know” (SCENEDAILY.com, 1/26).
In our continuing series, SportsBusiness Daily/SportsBusiness Journal asks top sports personalities for their thoughts, ideas, aspirations and likes. Today, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association Exec VP & Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer ANDREW JUDELSON.
What I like about an insight: Put the fan/consumer first and the rest will fall into place.
An influential person in my career: 1) ALEX NIEROTH (founder of Clarion Marketing & Communication and Velocity): Gave a kid (me) coming out of b-school a shot to break into this business 18 years ago; 2) TIM KELLY (CEO, Network Solutions) and MARK FORD (President, Time Inc. News & Sports Group): Tremendous professional success and they have never, ever changed who they are to conform to executive stereotype; 3) GARY BETTMAN and BILL DALY (commissioner/deputy commissioner, NHL): Laser focus and unwavering commitment to save the NHL (CBA negotiation) for the fans and the betterment of all the stakeholders, including the players.
An out-of-the-box idea: Trust, honesty and transparency in business.
A timeless idea: Hard work and leading by example. Nothing beats grinding it out and showing your team you're willing to commit and sacrifice.
A business deal: Comcast acquisition of NBC/Universal Sports. "The Worldwide Leader in Sports" will now have a formidable competitor. Will make everyone better.
A sports facility: "The World's Most Famous Arena!" -- Madison Square Garden (and the renovation isn't even done yet).
A sports event: World Cup (soccer, or should I say fútbol). It has the ability to stop Civil Wars, enough said. Audi Birds of Prey men's downhill. Opening round of the U.S. Open (tennis).
A strategy: NBC Sports' NFL flex schedule. Simply brilliant that NBC got this done.
A hire: Whoever hired GEORGE BODENHEIMER in 1981 to a fledging sports cable start-up in Bristol, Conn.
A brand: Nike: Defines a way of life. Disney: Defines childhood joy in an ageless way whether you're 7 or 70 years old. Google: It is a verb.
An innovation: Wi-Fi on airplanes. Ability to communicate real time and do business 37,000 feet over Iowa. Pretty cool. Then again, "Big Brother" can always find you.
A pro league or team business initiative: NHL Winter Classic. Not the idea, as it has been on paper for 15 years, but their ability to get it done and have it matter.
A story that bears watching: 1) IOC domestic broadcast rights negotiation; 2) Labor (NFL/NBA), pass the popcorn!
What I like about my job: The opportunity to call a chairlift my office.
Sports: It creates "community" and brings together people in a passionate manner and allows young, old, rich, poor, conservative and liberal to forget who they are and be one.
Sports business: The people and lifelong friendships I have made. While we compete like hell, we also come together as an industry to support important causes (i.e, March of Dimes).
Sports media: Our industry is at the forefront of what I call the "Fan First Manifesto." Giving consumers what they want, when they want it, where they want it and how they want it.
Sports technology: The technology that supports the challenge and instant replay in professional tennis. It is immediate, transparent, decisive (and the fan is involved).
The future (or direction) of sports business: So much opportunity for growth and innovation.
What I would like to change: Our country's response to Hurricane Katrina.
Change in what I do: Less travel. Not likely, but might as well throw it out there.
See: My two sons doing the "pizza pie" wedge this winter on our beautiful Utah ski mountains.
See more of in sports: Dynasties. Does not happen due to player movement, but something that we should strive for.
See more of in sports business: Giving back as an industry.
See less of in sports business: BS and rhetoric.
Eliminate: The DH in baseball. Why is it the pitcher shouldn't hit? Truly, it makes no sense.
What I don't like in general: Mayonnaise. It freaks me out.
In sports: Franchise free agency. I understand the economic reasons why (and the business realities), but from a fan, community goodwill and civic pride perspective, it hurts. No one wins in the long run.
In business: Rhetoric and spin.
About sports fans: Fair weather fans. You should need to sign a lifelong contract with your favorite clubs by sport. Also, it is illogical to have more than one favorite club by sport.
What I like in people: Loyalty and diversity.
That would surprise those who know me: Not a day goes by that I don't think about 9/11/01.
Above all else: My family and friends.
About myself: That I have built trusting, lifelong friendships with my former/current bosses (Alex Nieroth, GORDON KANE, MIKE GOFF, Tim Kelly, Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, ED HORNE, Mark Ford and now BILL MAROLT).
Heroes: All the men and women who serve (and have served) in our Armed Forces.
Players: MARK MESSIER, JOHN MCENROE, LARRY CSONKA, DAN MARINO, PHIL MAHRE.
Teams: Miami Dolphins (and yes, I pop a bottle of bubbly ever year when each of the 32 clubs in the NFL lose at least one game).
City: New Orleans. Went to graduate school at Tulane and just love that town!
Possession: My two beautiful little boys, WILDER (4) and DYLAN (2).
Memento: "Tombstones" from many of the high-yield deals my father (who is deceased) did during a very successful career at Morgan Stanley. A self-made man who came from a very modest economic background to help build an industry (high yield or "junk bonds") in the 1980s.
Books: "A Confederacy of Dunces," "Decision Points."
Authors: All over the place. ERNEST HEMINGWAY to STEPHEN AMBROSE to F. SCOTT FITZGERALD to whoever writes the headlines of the New York Post.
Magazines: Sports Illustrated.
Web sites: CNN.com, WSJ.com, ESPN.com, USSkiTeam.com/USSnowboarding.com.
Gadgets: My Garmin running watch. It keeps me honest.
Hobbies: Training, running, mountain biking and hockey (I'm horrible, but love it).
Trips: The Tram at Snowbird after 18 inches "dumped" the night before!
Movies: Wow, hard, big movie guy. Anything by ALFRED HITCHCOCK, WOODY ALLEN, JOHN HUGHES, Coen Brothers, PETER WEIR, MARTIN SCORSESE.
TV: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Twilight Zone" (original with ROD STERLING).
Concerts: Guns N' Roses in Budapest, Hungary (summer 1992).
Food: Anything on the right side of the menu at The Harrison in Tribeca.
Dessert: Emack & Bolio's ice cream.
Drink: Dark & Stormy (Memorial to Labor Day), and nothing beats a crisp, cold Budweiser after a long day on the mountain.
Vacation spots: The front porch of The Columns Hotel in New Orleans. Smooth jazz, friendly, interesting patrons, a Bloody Mary that is a meal and simply watching the street car pass by. A timeless experience as it could be 1910 or 2010.
Cars: Porsche 911 and my beautiful new Audi Q7.
Singer: JOHNNY CASH.
Quote: "Be strong!!!" -- Andrew Judelson.
MLS/SUM has promoted the following: JEN MAURILLO to VP/Special Events; SUSIE DEFRANCIS to Senior Dir of Human Resources & Administration; MARISABEL MUNOZ to Senior Dir of Int'l Communications; LARRY TISCORNIA to Senior Dir of Broadcasting; MARCO LICEAGA to Dir of Business Development for SUM Int'l; CHRIS BETTIN to Dir of Product Development & Club Services for MLS Digital; THIBAULT CHEVILLARD to Creative Dir; SEAN DENNISON to Dir of Corporate Communications; JASON SAGHINI to Dir of Video Content for MLS Digital; ALEXANDRA RIEBEN to Manager of Special Events; TIM RITCEY to Account Manager for MLS Digital Properties; JOHANNA ROJAS to Manager of Broadcasting; CASEY ROMANY to Manager of Partnership Marketing; LUIS RODRIGUEZ to Account Exec for Business Development; and EDWIN FERNANDEZ to Staff Accountant (MLS/SUM).
EXECS: The Orange Bowl Committee named JEFFREY ROBERTS Chair & President, succeeding ANTONIO ARGIZ as the 73rd President of the committee (Orange Bowl)....AEG has hired TODD SIMS as Senior VP/Digital, reporting to CMO SEAN DEE (AEG)....Las Vegas Motor Speedway has hired PBA Chief Partnership & Sales Officer KEVIN CAMPER as Senior VP/Sales & Marketing (LVMS)....4Sports & Entertainment has hired former NHLer CLAUDE LEMIEUX as its President of North America (4Sports)....Pfeiffer Univ. has promoted MARY ANN SUNBURY to AD, replacing BOBBY STEWART. The school also promoted MICKI THOMPSON to Assistant AD & Senior Woman Administrator and JASON SMITH to Assistant AD for Operations (Pfeiffer)....Rutgers Univ. has hired Fordham Univ. Assistant AD for Business Affairs BRIAN COLVIN as Associate AD for Finance & Administration (Rutgers)....College of Charleston has hired Univ. of Missouri-K.C. Associate AD for External Affairs STEVE STROUD for the same position (CofC)....Home Team Marketing has promoted DANNY CHALHOUB to Group Dir for Schools and MAURA MCGRATH to Senior Graphic Designer (Home Team Marketing).
Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONTINENTAL magazine's Bob Woods profiles Rockets Owner LESLIE ALEXANDER, who, when asked to "name his major accomplishments," said he has "done three things that are going to change sports." Alexander said the first was hiring Rockets GM DARYL MOREY, and the "second is the launch of Comcast SportsNet Houston with Astros owner DRAYTON MCLANE." The third is the "key role he played in the two most recent" CBAs. Woods also notes Alexander's Clutch City Foundation has "donated nearly $10 million to benefit children throughout the Houston area" since its establishment in '95. Alexander "shies away from touting the philanthropic efforts that have been a hallmark of his ownership." The Rockets "assisted thousands of New Orleanians who relocated to Houston in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and committed $100,000 to the Yao Ming Foundation" (CONTINENTAL, 1/ '11 issue).
AWARDS SEASON: In Indianapolis, David Woods notes WNBA Indiana Fever F TAMIKA CATCHINGS "recently was named one of five finalists for the inaugural United Nations non-governmental organization Positive Peace Award in the athlete category." She also is "one of 10 finalists for the Jefferson Awards, a kind of Nobel Prize for community service that will be announced in March." Catchings started the Catch the Stars foundation in Indianapolis in '04, and she "aims to expand to the Chicago and Dallas areas, where she played in high school, and Knoxville, Tenn., home of her alma mater, the University of Tennessee." Catchings also "wants to introduce camps in Poland and South Korea, where she has played in pro leagues during the WNBA offseason." Additionally, Catchings has "co-authored a 32-page children's book" titled "DREAMS ARE FOR CATCHING: DISCOVERING THE STAR IN YOU" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 1/27).
PROPOSED INVESTMENT: In Providence, W. Zachary Malinowski reported former NBAer CUTTINO MOBLEY is the "biggest-name investor" among the 18 accepted proposals "to open up to three compassion centers that will be licensed to sell marijuana to patients in the state's growing medical-marijuana program." Mobley is the "sole financier of the proposed Summitt Medical Compassion Center" in Warwick, R.I., and his proposal indicated he has made a "binding commitment" of $4M toward the center. The "lump sum includes a $3.5 million line of credit and a $500,000 equity contribution that does not have to be repaid" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 1/26).
NAMES: Late Yankees Chair GEORGE STEINBRENNER was honored Tuesday at the 22nd annual Baseball Assistance Team dinner. More than 30 former Yankees were on hand “paying their respects,” including BERNIE WILLIAMS, who “strummed his guitar to the mellow tunes” of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Yankees SS DEREK JETER “offered his thoughts via a recording” (MLB.com, 1/26)....A source said Knicks F WILSON CHANDLER is “leaning toward” hiring HAPPY WALTERS to represent him. Chandler “parted ways with his longtime agent, CHRIS LUCHEY, last week and in several days is expected to announce the hiring of Walters” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/27)....Former Univ. of Georgia AD DAMON EVANS “pleaded guilty last week to a DUI charge” stemming from a June 30 incident. Evans’ lawyer STEVE WEINER said that as a first-time offender, his client “will not serve jail time for the crime.” Evans was sentenced to 12 months of probation and 40 hours of community service. He also must pay a fine of $750 (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/27)….Former NBAer JAMAL MASHBURN yesterday called for Kentucky state lawmakers to “approve a proposal that would gradually raise the minimum dropout age from 16 to 18.” The legislation would increase the minimum age to 17 in ’15 and 18 a year later (AP, 1/26)….Fenway Park yesterday formally announced that New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys will perform at the ballpark on June 6, Fenway’s 11th summer show since ’03 (BOSTON HERALD, 1/27).