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USA Synchro hired longtime Olympic sports agent EVAN MORGENSTEIN to handle its sponsorship opportunities, marketing rights, new business development and licensing. The organization, which only has five employees, has never hired an outside sales agency to manage so many different areas of its business before, said USA Synchro Business Development Dir JORDAN DILLON. Dillon: "Funding is much needed with next year being an Olympic year. We want more partnerships to provide exposure for a sport. We hope Evan can do that." Morgenstein, who represents Olympians such as DARA TORRES and CULLEN JONES, said, "The sport (synchro) is very homogenous to a female demographic, which makes it very easy for a brand looking to reach that demo. There's a whole list of products focused on women and girls that may be interested in this opportunity."
Former MLB President & COO BOB DUPUY is rejoining his former law firm, Foley & Lardner, serving as partner with its sports industry practice in N.Y. DuPuy is also joining Evolution Media Capital, CAA's investment banking affiliate, as a senior advisor working on "opportunities across the sports and media spectrum, particularly in the areas of content rights and mergers and acquisitions," according to a company announcement. DuPuy formerly was a partner with Foley & Lardner, serving as MLB's outside legal counsel beginning in '89 before joining the league in '98. DuPuy was promoted to President & COO with the league in '02, but resigned last fall amid a falling out with Commissioner BUD SELIG. In addition to his new professional duties, DuPuy is teaching as an adjunct professor at Cornell Univ. Law School, his alma mater. "Given my experience and the continued growth of Foley's New York office, this all made a lot of sense," DuPuy said last night. "And I'm looking forward to using my experience to help both the firm and EMC. Going back to Foley was always part of the plan. And EMC started out as a separate process -- they approached me right after I made my [resignation] announcement last fall. So it was about making sure that each place was comfortable with the other. ... I'll give each as much as time as necessary to accomplish our various goals."
STILL PART OF A'S TASK FORCE: DuPuy remains part of the Selig-appointed task force studying the A's ballpark situation in the Bay Area. Foley & Lardner also still provide outside legal counsel to MLB and MLBAM. But DuPuy said his personal, direct connection to the league, for now, will be mainly through the A's task force, and his work for the law firm will be primarily representing individual teams and ownership groups. He declined to outline his split with Selig and MLB in any detail. "It was time. When I first went to the league, I thought it might be for three to five years," DuPuy said. "I'm very proud of what we accomplished during my time there. But it was time to get this done." EMC, formed three years ago in a partnership between Merrill Lynch and CAA, has been involved in more than $2B worth of sports and media transactions in some fashion. Among its recent transactions has been to represent the CHUCK GREENBERG/NOLAN RYAN-led group as financial advisors in its purchase of the MLB Rangers and subsequent extension of the team's TV rights deal with FS Southwest. EMC's senior executive ranks also include principal and noted stadium finance expert MITCHELL ZIETS. EMC co-head BOB STANLEY in a statement said of DuPuy, "His track record speaks for itself and his expertise across every facet of the sports business is unsurpassed."
ZACK BOLNO, JEFFREY KAMIS and JACK HEILIG have formed Trifecta Team, LLC, a PR, marketing and event management company with offices in Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa and DC. Bolno most recently served as Dir of PR for the Redskins, while Kamis served in the same role for the Buccaneers. Heilig most recently headed his own Ft. Lauderdale-based agency (Trifecta)....Helios Partners, LLC has hired CORNEILLE BURT as VP/Client Servicing. Burt spent the last seven years as IOC Marketing & Television Services Senior Account Manager (Helios)....Miura Golf has hired Sundog Eyewear Midwest Sales Manager CHARLIE GERBER as VP/U.S. Distribution (Miura)....SMG appointed MIKE CERA as GM of Stockton Arena, Stockton Ballpark, the Bob Hope Theatre and the Oak Park Ice Arena. Cera, who joined SMG in '00, most recently served as GM of CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, La. (SMG)....The Aspire Group promoted AJ SMITH to Manager of the Georgia Tech Fan Relationship Management Center (The Aspire Group).
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Boston Spirit magazine named Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT its keynote speaker for the publication’s Fourth Annual LGBT Executive Networking Night on Feb. 23 (Boston Spirit). Boston Spirit Publisher DAVID ZIMMERMAN indicated that Kraft's address will be the "first time the owner of one of the city's premiere sports teams will headline a major event for gays." Zimmerman: “It’s groundbreaking, absolutely groundbreaking. ... I’ve always seen the Patriots as being pretty open-minded” (BOSTON HERALD, 2/8).
DOUBLE SWITCH: In L.A., Bill Shaikin reported with the possibility that Dodgers Owner FRANK MCCOURT “could blame Bingham McCutchen should he lose control of the team," the Boston-based law firm has retained the services of L.A.-based Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a "high-powered firm with expertise in defense against legal malpractice suits.” McCourt has hired N.Y.-based attorney JOSEPH SHENKER to replace Bingham as the Dodgers’ outside counsel. McCourt and Bingham “parted ways in December after a judge threw out a marital property agreement that would have granted him sole ownership of the Dodgers” (LATIMES.com, 2/7).
JAC OF ALL TRADES: In Minneapolis, Kent Youngblood profiled Hornets Chair JAC SPERLING, who has “has a reputation for excellence.” Sperling “made a career of facilitating major deals in big-league sports for nearly two decades, including helping land” the Wild for St. Paul in ’97. His latest and “most personal project, though -- helping the NBA Hornets become more financially viable and, therefore, more attractive to a potential buyer -- has taken him to New Orleans, his hometown.” Sperling also “helped lure” MLB to Colorado, then “helped get Coors Field built there.” He helped the Brewers “get Miller Park, and helped negotiate stadium or ballpark deals in Seattle and San Francisco” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/7).
HUSKY VOICE: In Connecticut, Chris Elsberry profiled UConn AD JEFF HATHAWAY and noted "interviews with athletic department insiders and prominent UConn supporters portray Hathaway as a hard-working administrator, knowledgeable about the changing and complex nature of big-time college sports but also a micromanager who sometimes has difficulty dealing with strong-willed personalities and coddling donors." For UConn's "success on the field and on court, donations from boosters have tailed off, as has attendance at basketball games" (CONNECTICUT POST, 2/6).
JOINING THE FIGHT: Three former NFLers -- KEN JOLLY, ISIAH ROBERTSON and NFLPA Senior Dir of Former Player Services NOLAN HARRISON -- “joined American Airlines mechanics and baggage handlers Monday as they conducted informational picketing at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, which included a scrimmage over location restrictions the airport placed on pickets.” Local strike coordinator MARK YORK said that the “last-minute timing of restrictions -- late Friday -- followed news that the union’s action was endorsed” by the NFLPA (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/8).
NAMES: Broadway play "LOMBARDI" Producers TONY PONTURO and FRAN KIRMSER estimated that "daily ticket sales for the show doubled Monday and they are seeing heightened activity on the show’s website” after the Packers won Super Bowl XLV on Sunday (AP, 2/7)...FX has renewed comedy series "THE LEAGUE" for a third season. The network "has ordered 13 episodes of the show, which is set against the backdrop of a fantasy football league." The show averaged 1.4 million total viewers and 1.1 million viewers in adults 18-49 for first-run episodes during season two, up 4% and 5%, respectively, from the first season (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 2/7)....Hartford Community Court Judge RAYMOND NORKO has dropped "public indecency and disorderly conduct charges against" former ESPN Senior Motorsports Producer NEIL GOLDBERG. The charges "stemmed from an October arrest following a peeping incident in which he was allegedly masturbating outside a neighbor's window while watching her get dressed." Goldberg, "who lost his job at ESPN following the arrest, never admitted guilt and there was no finding of any criminal wrongdoing" (SCENEDAILY.com, 2/7)....Nets G DEVIN HARRIS has hired JEFF SCHWARTZ for representation. Harris had been with HENRY THOMAS of CAA (Bergen RECORD, 2/7)....The Texas Sports HOF last night inducted Sports Management Resources President DONNA LOPIANO, who previously served as Women's Sports Foundation CEO and Univ. of Texas Women's AD (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/8)....Basketball HOFer JULIUS ERVING was "sued last week by a Manhattan woman who claims in a lawsuit that Doctor J swindled her out of $420,000" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/8)....The European Tour yesterday announced that the '10 Ryder Cup raised more than $2.4M for charity (REUTERS, 2/7)....Skateboarder TONY HAWK Friday "filed for divorce from his wife," LHOTSE MERRIAM. The two married "five years ago in Fiji" (PEOPLE.com, 2/7).