SBD/February 3, 2011/People and Pop Culture

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  • Roger Goodell's Communication Skills, Labor Battle Featured In SI Cover Story

    Goodell lauded for willingness to interact with fans, owners

    NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL "has become as much the face of the NFL" as Patriots QB TOM BRADY or Colts QB PEYTON MANNING, according to Peter King in a cover story for SI. Goodell "tweets, though stiffly; he's never met a talk show on which he couldn't impart his message;" and he "does fan chats on NFL.com." He "blind-calls fans who e-mail him, text-messages players and coaches daily, gives his cell number out generously, talks to tailgaters at most games he attends and sometimes just stops on the street for a quick chat with a fan about the game." Goodell "can schmooze like" late Commissioner PETE ROZELLE, and if he is "not as cerebral as" former Commissioner PAUL TAGLIABUE, he "more freely embraces the new." Goodell "has turned into a better communicator and listener than Tagliabue ever was." Several owners said that they "feel far more connected to the league office and to the commissioner himself than they did under the previous regime," and owners "feel Goodell allows them to state their case and speak their minds more freely." One ownership source said that Goodell's "level of trust among the owners is so high that if he recommends an agreement that passes muster with the players, it will easily get the three-quarters vote necessary for passage." During Goodell's tenure the "on-field product has been terrific, with success spread around," and when you factor in "soaring TV viewership ... the business of football obviously has been very, very good."

    LET'S MAKE A DEAL: King writes Goodell is a "proven deal-maker," but is also "quite good at drawing a line in the sand and letting nothing obliterate it." He "has a cold and confrontational side that serves him well in staring down miscreants and business adversaries alike." Unless a new CBA is reached in the coming weeks, the owners "will lock the players out of all team facilities on March 4, and the clock will start ticking on the 2011 season." NBC Sports Group Chair DICK EBERSOL said of the talks, "At his heart Roger can be a cold son of a bitch. I think the people on the other side of the negotiating table are going to hear that in the coming months. He's going to show mettle, and he's going to do what he thinks is best for the National Football League. It's what he's always done." King writes Goodell "will need all the boldness and problem-solving skills he's shown ... to resolve the myriad issues dividing the two sides." Panthers Owner JERRY RICHARDSON: "If Roger's in office for 25 years, this will be the toughest challenge he'll ever face. However it turns out, it's a resolution he'll have to live with for the rest of his career" (SI, 2/7 issue).

    Print | Tags: NFL, Football, People and Pop Culture
  • What I Like.... With New Era CEO Chris Koch

    Koch says he's a wine collector with around 4,000 bottles in his collection

    In our continuing series, SportsBusiness Daily/SportsBusiness Journal asks top sports personalities for their thoughts, ideas, aspirations and likes. Today, New Era CEO CHRIS KOCH.

    An influential person in my career: My father, because he was also my boss and my mentor. He always asked a lot of hard questions and taught me the value of being evenhanded and maintaining good relationships.

    What I like in a business deal: Our recent NFL rights deal. We were talking for about a year and now we'll be able to put product on a sideline where a lot of people can see it.

    A sports facility: Yankee Stadium for baseball; Cowboys Stadium for football.

    Sports event: The energy at a World Series stadium and around the cities that are involved is tough to match.

    A strategy: Diversification and taking the New Era brand around the globe.

    A hire: PETE AUGUSTINE (hired in 1990 as controller; became president in 2003). He was originally our (out-of-house) accountant who did our audits. He's that rare commodity: a numbers guy who understands sales and marketing, and he is also an incredible people person.

    A brand: Nike is tough to beat in sports. In fashion, Louis Vuitton has more in common with Nike than you'd think. They've both built great product and stayed relevant to their customers for a long time. It's all about staying fresh and reinventing.

    A league or team business initiative: MLB's strategy of best in class for their licensing model.

    A trend: Authentic sports headwear crossing over into fashion.

    An innovation: Bringing technical fabrics into sports for better performance.

    A timeless idea: Great customer service always wins.

    A story that bears watching: What becomes of the whole college bowl system and the search for a real college football championship playoff system. That was one of the reasons we wanted to get in on the ground floor as (title) sponsor of the Pinstripe Bowl. If we do get to a college playoff system, they will need three or four more cities, and I have to believe New York will be one of them.

    An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: Facebook. Or maybe the Internet overall. Of course, that was AL GORE's (laughs).

    An out-of-the-box idea: KNIGHT and BOWERMAN developing a running shoe with a waffle iron.

    Fantasy job: Professional golfer. I have a five handicap, which is good enough that I can make caps for a living!

    What I like about my job: It's ever-changing. There's always a new deal, a new country or a new product.

    Sports: Competition, whether it is sports or business.

    Sports business: I love seeing our products being worn by the best athletes in the world.

    Sports technology: The integration of technology with running apparel is really interesting. It allows more amateurs to enjoy the sport more.

    Sports fans: The passion they hold for their teams. Fortunately for us, buying team caps is a big part of that passion.

    What I'd like to change in what I do: Spend less time at work and more time with my family, but that is probably everyone's response.

    See more of in sports: Better sportsmanship. There's just not enough.

    See more of in sports business: Collaboration. There's room for the big brands to work together more.

    See less of in sports business: Competitors' headwear and apparel (laughs).

    What I like that would surprise those who know me: I am a closet chef. My favorite is Italian food, but my wife doesn't like it, so whenever I am out of town that's where I eat.

    Heroes: BABE RUTH. From my boyhood, it was JACK NICKLAUS, and my favorite teams were the Yankees, Bills and Sabres.

    Pet peeve: Waiting in line, especially if it's to pay for something in a retail store.

    Favorite city: New York. You can't turn it off.

    Favorite possession: My (2009) Yankees World Series ring.

    Favorite memento: A guitar signed by all of the Rolling Stones.

    Time of year: Summer in Buffalo.

    Music: Stones, Beatles and anything new/alternative.

    Books: Anything by JACK WELCH.

    Magazines: Anything about food and travel.

    Gadgets: I have an iPad, and it's great for movies on long flights, among other things.

    App: Urbanspoon. It tells you all the good restaurants before you get to your destination city.

    Hobbies: I'm a huge wine collector. I probably have 4,000 bottles, mostly California wines. I started out with a lot of Cabs, but more recently it has been Pinots.

    Vacation spots: For warm weather, I love Grand Cayman. For cold weather and skiing, it is either Vail, or Snowbird and Alta in Utah.

    Movies: "Apocalypse Now" and "Scarface."

    TV: "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and "SportsCenter." Someday I will find a way to combine my accumulated knowledge from both of those shows.

    Concert: Coldplay. I saw The Who when I was 16, so that might qualify also.

    Food: Anything that BOBBY FLAY has anything to do with.

    Dessert: A good port.

    Drink: Double Cross and soda.

    Car: Porsche Panamera Turbo.

    Singer: HARRY CONNICK JR.

    Quote: "Surround yourself with great people and learn how to listen."

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture, New Era
  • Executive Transactions

    adidas Group has promoted eCommerce COO HARM OHLMEYER to Chief eCommerce Officer, effective April 1. Ohlmeyer, who has been with the adidas Group since '98, will report directly to adidas Group Chair & CEO HERBERT HAINER (adidas)....Peter Jacobsen Sports named MIKE O'CONNELL COO. He will head up the firm's player relations efforts (PJS)....Watkins Glen Int'l has promoted Dir of Fan Experience BRETT POWELL to Senior Dir of Marketing & Fan Experience, PR Manager RYAN LAKE to Senior PR Manager and Corporate Sales Exec MIKE ECKERT to Senior Account Exec (WGI)....Palace Sports & Entertainment has promoted DEAN SEAVER to Marketing Manager (PSE)....Phoenix Suns Charities has named Delta Dental interim President & CEO GARY FELDMAN to its BOD (Suns)....Momentum Worldwide has hired Ogilvy Senior VP & Group Creative Dir JOSH TAVLIN as Exec Creative Dir, reporting to Global Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer JON HAMM (Momentum)....USA Swimming has hired FRANK BUSCH as National Team Dir. Busch has served as head coach at the Univ. of Arizona for the past 22 years (USA Swimming)....The U.S. Military Academy has hired Duke Senior Associate AD for External Affairs BOO CORRIGAN as AD (Army)....Colgate Univ. has promoted ANN-MARIE GUGLIERI to Associate AD for Compliance and JAMIE MITCHELL to Assistant AD (Colgate)....Home Team Marketing has hired ANDREA ESSIG as Administrative Assistant in the Cleveland office (Home Team).

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

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

    Green will start her day
    Sunday around 4:30am
    ESPNW.com's Amanda Rykoff conducted a Q&A with North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee VP & COO TARA GREEN, who is "probably the world's busiest woman this week" as she is "responsible for all operations involving the Super Bowl." Green: "The biggest challenge is figuring out your niche. Where does the NFL start and stop? Where does the host committee need to come in and exist? ... I think our greatest challenge is doing it for the first time, but that's a great opportunity too. We don't have any bad habits, I like to say." Green said her day "will start very early" on Sunday. Green: "Probably around 4:30 in the morning out here at Lone Star Park. The host committee has responsibilities to help get all of our volunteers credentialed, checked in and deployed on to their respective shuttles out to the Stadium. We'll assist with the NFL's employee check-in that goes on out here and then hopefully around 11:30 or 12 I can catch up with my family and head out to the stadium and enjoy the afternoon." She added on Monday, "I will meet up with the rest of our staff at noon that day and we will hopefully have a great staff photo taken somewhere out at the Stadium" (ESPNW.com, 2/2).

    TAKE IT TO THE COURTS: Redskins Owner DANIEL SNYDER "filed suit late Wednesday" in New York state court against the Washington City Paper and its parent company, Atalaya Capital Management, alleging that the paper "libeled and defamed him in a series of articles dating to 2009." Snyder is seeking $2M in "general damages plus unspecified punitive damages and court costs." Before the suit was filed, Snyder's spokesperson, TONY WYLLIE, said that "any damages won would be contributed to a fund for the homeless" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/3).

    BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER
    : Golfer TIGER WOODS' charity concert is "back on the calendar in Las Vegas this year." Woods said that his "2011 Tiger Jam" will be held April 30 at Mandalay Bay Events Center, featuring singers KEITH URBAN and JOHN MAYER in a concert that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. The concert was "not held last year," as Tiger Woods Foundation President GREG MCLAUGHLIN said that organizers "could not coordinate the schedules of artists and when Mandalay Bay was available" (AP, 2/2). The event will include "top-notch epicurean fare and exclusive live and silent auctions featuring one-of-a-kind luxury items." After the "private VIP donor dinner and auctions, the celebration moves to Mandalay Bay Events Center, where Tiger will be onstage to talk to fans and will welcome the music stars" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 2/3).

    JUMPING INTO THE POOL: U.S. Gold Medal-winning swimmer CULLEN JONES was featured on NBC's "Today" show this morning, with NBC's Meredith Vieira saying Jones is "spreading his love of the pool." NBC's Amy Robach reported statistics "show that black children are three times more likely to die from drowning than white children, something that motivated Cullen to become part of the Make A Splash initiative." Jones: "A large part of it is cultural. We have been kind of beaten into our heads that black people don't swim. There is a cure: swim lessons. And that's what Make A Splash is really trying to push." Robach said Jones is "making a difference in his community and hoping that his legacy will not only be as an Olympic Gold Medalist, but also as a mentor" ("Today," NBC, 2/3).

    FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
    : A CHARLOTTE OBSERVER editorial states NASCAR Chair & CEO BRIAN FRANCE "has a lot of money and a big job," but "unfortunately for him ... this is America, and so the laws that apply to regular people apply to him, too." The N.C. Court of Appeals Tuesday ruled that France's divorce case "should play out in open court," and the editorial defends the newspaper's efforts to "keep the case open." The editorial: "It's not about fishing for dirty laundry; it's about protecting the public's right to open courts, ones that are blind to the stature of a plaintiff or defendant. ... The appeals court judges rightly ruled that France's position would 'render meaningless provisions of the Public Records Act.' If they sided with France, the judges recognized, any civil case could be closed from public view if it involves a contract with a confidentiality clause similar to the Frances' agreement" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/3).

    NAMES: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Michael Rechtshaffen writes "DOWNHILL: THE BILL JOHNSON STORY," is a "lively and moving portrait of the former golden boy of alpine skiing." Johnson and his "dramatic rise-and-fall trajectory makes for compelling viewing." The 76-minute film was "produced for airing on The Ski Channel, complete with commercial break cues," but it "plays terrifically in front of a live audience, as demonstrated at its sold-out Santa Barbara International Film Festival premiere" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 2/3)....WNBA Seattle Storm President & CEO KAREN BRYANT and the team's Force 10 Hoops ownership group "will be honored as the Girl Scouts of Western Washington's 2011 Women of Distinction at a leadership luncheon" next Wednesday (SEATTLE TIMES, 2/3)....GMR Marketing has opened an office in Singapore, which "brings to 23 the number of offices the firm has worldwide" (JSONLINE.com, 2/2)....Nuggets G CHAUNCEY BILLUPS is teaming up with NBA Cares, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and Sanofi Pasteur as a spokesperson for the national "Vaccines for Teens" campaign. Billups will be featured in a new PSA that will air on NBA game broadcasts (NBA)....Procter & Gamble has partnered with NFL Play 60, and donated $300,000 to the campaign over the course of the season (P&G).

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
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