SBD/February 8, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

Bob Kraft will be keynote speaker at LGBT networking event in Boston
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).
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