SBD/February 4, 2011/People and Pop Culture

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  • What's Up For The Weekend With UFC President Dana White

    Dana White says UFC 126 part of great sports weekend

    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, Staff Writer Theresa Manahan catches up with UFC President DANA WHITE .

    Q: What are your plans for this weekend?
    White: We have UFC 126 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Saturday. When you add in Sunday’s Super Bowl, this is the ultimate sports weekend. UFC 126 is an incredibly stacked card and the Super Bowl should be great. There couldn’t be a better weekend for sports fans.

    Q: What are you really looking forward to? Anything special planned?
    White: I’m really excited for the fights at UFC 126. We have three killer fights on Saturday that could easily be main events on other cards. I’m excited for the Super Bowl, too. I’m a diehard Patriots fan, but I’ve become a big AARON RODGERS fan. I want to see if this guy can pull it off and win on Sunday.

    Q: What do you like to watch and read during the weekend?
    White: I don’t watch a lot of TV, except during football season.

    Q: What workout routines or activities do you like to do?
    White: I work out during the week and spend every second of the weekend with my kids. They choose what they want to do and we do it. I love spending time with them.

    Q: The thing that our readers would be most surprised you love to do on your weekends is...
    White: They’d be surprised to know that I’m not in charge (laughs). My kids pick whatever they want to do and we do it. We went to the Lakers-Celtics game last Sunday and they had a blast. The Celtics beat the Lakers, by the way.

    Q: Best weekend ever?
    White: This weekend! We have a great UFC card and the Super Bowl. What could be better?

    Q: Favorite weekend getaway?
    White: I love taking my wife and kids to Cabo. It’s only two hours from Las Vegas and it’s the most beautiful place in the world. I love Cabo.

    Q: Guilty weekend pleasure?
    White: I try to spend every minute of my weekends with my kids. We do whatever they want and try to have a lot of fun. I also enjoy playing blackjack. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I play 3-4 nights a week.

    Q: Do you have any routine weekend chores?
    White: No chores. I am a slave to my kids (laughs). I’m at their beck and call. Whatever they want to do, we try to do it.

    Q: Favorite restaurant on the road?
    White: Scalinatella in New York has the best Italian food I’ve ever had. When I’m in L.A., I love Mr. Chows.

    Q: What do you usually do to pass time on a plane?
    White: Thank God for technology. With the iPad, I’ll take care of a lot of stuff on the production side of things here at UFC. I can review video and music packages for our events. If I’m not doing that, I watch a movie or listen to music.

    Print | Tags: UFC, People and Pop Culture, MMA
  • This Week's Newsmakers: Vinik Puts Stamp On Lightning With Changes

    Lightning's new uniforms and logo part of rebranding effort under Vinik

    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: JEFF VINIK -- The new Lightning Owner puts his stamp on the club this week with an array of brand and venue changes leading into next season. The team unveils a new logo and uniforms for the '11-12 campaign, and the NHL for the first time will allow some of the rebranding to take effect immediately at St. Pete Times Forum. The Lightning also announce they will proceed with $35M in renovations to the venue, which includes an outdoor party deck and enhancements to the in-game experience. In addition, Vinik reaffirms his commitment to the Tampa region with a pledge of more than $10M to local programs through the team's Lightning Foundation.

    LOSE: DALLAS WEATHER -- While nobody can control the weather, Mother Nature has certainly put a damper on the vibe in Dallas-Ft. Worth leading up to the region's first Super Bowl. The buzz normally associated with the big game is overshadowed by a rare winter storm that has caked the Metroplex in sheets of ice, putting a serious cramp in organizers' plans to showcase the area. While ROGER GOODELL and JERRY JONES both repeatedly say the weather will not have an impact on Cowboys Stadium landing future Super Bowls -- the record crowd expected Sunday will have a lot to say on that -- it is hard not to think of Atlanta, which is awaiting another championship game after bad weather marred the ’00 festivities.

    DRAW: NFL MEDIA DAY -- We get it, the NFL’s answer to Carnival gives members of the media that may not regularly cover the two Super Bowl teams availability to players, which can help grow the game throughout the globe. However, when was the last time a player said something even remotely controversial? Most of them just want to get through without sticking their foot in their mouth. And enough with the shenanigans that some “reporters” carry out during the event. MARIA MENOUNOS stroking CLAY MATTHEWS’ hair? Even ROSS THE INTERN thinks that’s going too far.

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
  • Executive Transactions

    Blackburn Chair JOHN WILLIAMS left the EPL club Thursday, "becoming the latest high-profile victim of the club's new Indian owners," poultry firm Venky's (London TELEGRAPH, 2/4)....La Salle Univ. has hired JARED SMITH as Assistant Dir of Athletic Communications & Video Coordinator. Smith previously served as Assistant Dir of Media Relations & Web Development at Florida Atlantic Univ. (La Salle)....The Triple-A PCL Oklahoma City RedHawks have hired J.P. SHADRICK as Dir of Media Relations & Broadcasting. Shadrick will serve as the lead play-by-play announcer on RedHawks radio broadcasts. He previously served as the voice of the Double-A Southern League Jacksonville Suns (RedHawks).

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

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

    Kentucky Derby favorite Uncle Mo has Facebook and Twitter feed

    In Louisville, Jennie Rees notes Kentucky Derby favorite Uncle Mo is a “social media savant.” The horse's owner, Glaceau co-Founder MIKE REPOLE, and marketing rep KELLY WIETSMA “actually do the Twitter and Facebook postings, which started in earnest after Mo won Belmont’s Grade I Champagne before his romping victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.” Repole said that he “was frustrated at the inability to find out more information about the great horses of the day.” He said that he “loved the public access and social networking surrounding Horse of the Year Zenyatta.” When Repole and Wietsma went to start an Uncle Mo Facebook page, they “found one already existed, started several weeks earlier” by 13-year-old BECCA CASE. Repole and Wietsma “teamed with the teen, who remains a page administrator and often posts photos” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 2/4).

    MAKING A CLEAN BREAK: In Buffalo, John Vogl reports when LARRY QUINN's minority ownership of the Sabres "is sold in the next couple of weeks, he will relinquish his role" as Vice Chair of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. as well. Quinn, who was appointed to the agency in '05, said that he is "tired of the 'screwed-up' politics of the community." He added, "I'm going to finish up here, and I'm going to kind of cut off my involvements with other things in Buffalo for now" (BUFFALO NEWS, 2/4).

    NAMES: F1 driver LEWIS HAMILTON "expects to name his new manager in the next two weeks with SIMON FULLER's 19 Entertainment company understood to be in the pole position" (London TELEGRAPH, 2/3)....Suns G STEVE NASH has launched a mobile giving campaign to benefit Educare Arizona, a platform of his foundation. The Suns have designated Friday, when the team plays host to the Thunder, "Educare -- Early Learning Night at the Phoenix Suns" (Suns)....The White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks are teaming to host the inaugural "Home Team Charity Run" on Sunday, April 3. A portion of the proceeds from the race, a 10K that starts at United Center and ends at U.S. Cellular Field, will be split among the teams' charities (White Sox)....ANDY RODDICK will miss next week's ATP World Tour SAP Open "for the first time" since '03 in order to accompany his wife, model BROOKLYN DECKER, to appearances for SI's Swimsuit Issue and her feature film debut, "JUST GO WITH IT" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/4)....Roark Capital has added Fox NFL analyst TROY AIKMAN to the Wingstop BOD. Aikman has been a national spokesperson for the restaurant chain since '03 (Wingstop).

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
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