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Yahoo Sports Exec Editor DAVE MORGAN is leaving the company after more than five years, effective in early June, representing another significant talent loss for the highly trafficked sports operation. Morgan played a key role in building Yahoo Sports from more of an aggregator and fantasy sports destination into a fully fledged destination with a strong voice in original editorial content. In part through his efforts, Yahoo Sports has led monthly sports third-party traffic rankings each month for more than three years straight. Morgan, who started as editor for Yahoo Sports and then eventually took more corporate responsibilities as well, is part of a larger series of management changes happening under ROSS LEVINSOHN, the new Exec VP for Yahoo's Americas region. "I'm extremely proud of what we built at Yahoo Sports and how we built it," Morgan said. "Working with the team we put together and directing them has been an incredible honor. At the same time, it's been more than five years now, and I'm looking for another challenge." Morgan follows other major executives from Yahoo Sports out the door there over the past two years, including JIMMY PITARO, SHANNON TERRY and KYLE LAUGHLIN. His departure already has not been well received among many Yahoo Sports writers who Friday changed their Twitter avatar pictures to ones of Morgan in tribute to him.
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, we catch up with Alli Sports President WADE MARTIN, who chatted with Staff Writer Theresa Manahan.
Q: What are your plans for this weekend?
Martin: This weekend is a typical spring weekend filled with my kids’ sports: soccer, baseball, tennis and a local charity 5k. I love these weekends. Nothing better than watching my kids enjoy all that's great about youth sports.
Q: What do you like to read and watch during the weekend?
Martin: I always have a book going (a random sampling of fiction, non fiction and business), and the weekend is good reading time. I love movies, old and new, so will usually try to watch a movie, too. And, of course, the featured sports game or event of that weekend.
Q: What workout routines or activities do you like to do on the weekend?
Martin: I'm completely addicted to platform tennis and play as much as I can. It's an obscure form of tennis that earns me zero credibility in the action sports world.
Q: Favorite weekend getaway?
Martin: Without question, our summer weekends at my wife's family lake house. No shoes, no driving, no e-mails and lots of water sports, fishing, relaxing and time with the family. Nothing better!
Q: Must see weekend game?
Martin: Featured Premier League game.
Q: Favorite restaurant on the road?
Martin: In-N-Out Burger in California and Virgil's BBQ in N.Y.
Q: What do you usually do to pass time on a plane?
Martin: Catch up on work and reading. When else do you get a couple hours with no calls or e-mails?
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: WIZARDS -- On the heels of another disappointing playoff exit for his Capitals, TED LEONSIS gets a very positive response to the old school rebrand of his NBA squad, bringing back the red, white and blue colors of yesteryear. The redesign of the Wizards' logo and uniforms had been a priority for Leonsis since purchasing the club, and syncs up the color scheme for all the DC clubs within Monumental Sports & Entertainment. While the throwback look is meant to give fans a greater connection to the team's past, Leonsis stops short of bringing back the Bullets moniker, a classy move that shows he still has the highest respect for former Owner ABE POLLIN.
LOSE: RORY SABBATINI -- It's not often that we call out athletes, but at a time when the PGA Tour needs its players to be as consumer/media friendly as possible, Sabbatini’s move to place restrictions on a potential post-round interview with rights holder CBS gets an immediate thumbs down. Kudos to the network for not playing Sabbatini’s game.
DRAW: KENTUCKY DERBY -- The 137th "Run for the Roses" set an attendance record at Churchill Downs last Saturday, besting a mark set in '74. All-sources handle for the race also sees a bump from last year and marks the third-best figure all-time. But on TV, NBC sees its audience drop significantly from last year's win by Super Saver. Without an NHL Stanley Cup Playoff game lead-in this year, the race segment draws 14.5 million viewers, down 12% from last year.
San Diego State Univ. has hired Washington State Univ. Associate AD for Events & Facility Operations JOHN DAVID WICKER "to fill the No. 2 job in the Aztecs athletics department" as Senior Associate AD (SIGNONSANDIEGO.com, 5/12)....Illinois State Univ. has hired Univ. of Louisville Senior Associate AD for Development GARY FRIEDMAN as AD, effective June 1 (ISU)....Lamar Univ. AD LARRY TIDWELL has relinquished his duties to focus on his role as the head coach of the women's basketball team. Lamar Associate AD for Compliance JASON HENDERSON will serve as interim AD (Lamar)....Univ. of Oregon Senior Associate AD for External Communication JOE GIANSANTE is leaving the school in June after four years (OREGONLIVE.com, 5/10).
EXECS: USA Hockey has hired CASEY JORGENSEN as the organization's first General Counsel. A member of USA Hockey's BOD, Jorgensen has worked for Seattle law firm Williams, Kastner & Gibbs, PLLC (USA Hockey)....FS Houston has promoted Coordinating Producer MURPHY BROWN to Exec Producer and JEFF MUCKELROY, the RSN's primary Producer for Rockets telecasts, to Coordinating Producer (FS Houston)....Monumental Sports & Entertainment has promoted MATT FOX and BEN SUGARMAN to Guest Service Specialists for the Capitals; TRAVIS EAGLESON and MEGAN VLASHO to Guest Service Specialists for the Wizards and Mystics; and JENNA ROSS to Manager of Partnership Marketing (MSE)....The 49ers promoted trainer JEFF FERGUSON to Dir of Football Operations & Sports Medicine (49ers)....The PGA of America has hired former Harlem Globetrotters VP/Business Development BRIAN CLEEK to work in corporate partnership sales (PGA of America)....IMG has hired Mandalay Baseball Properties Sales Intern BRAD MCDONOUGH as an Account Exec (THE DAILY).
Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The GUARDIAN's Paolo Bandini notes SEPP BLATTER has “warned that if he is not re-elected at the forthcoming FIFA presidential elections the decision could cause ‘irreversible damage’ to world football.” Blatter wrote an “open letter to the readers of the Italian newspaper, Gazzetta dello Sport, setting out the importance of the elections and why he believes it is crucial that he wins.” He wrote in part, “What is at stake is the very survival of FIFA. I am confident I will be able to win the elections with a clear majority of two-thirds of the votes. … However it is still worth considering what the alternative would be: nobody (in charge)" (GUARDIAN, 5/13).
LOOKING FOR ANSWERS: In California, Stephen Baxter reports around 200 billboards “sprung up in Los Angeles on Thursday with police sketches on the two men who beat Giants fan BRYAN STOW outside Dodger Stadium.” The billboards promote a $100,000 “reward for information leading to an arrest” and were “donated by the billboards’ owner, Lamar Advertising Co.” L.A. police detective P.J. MORRIS said that “another 100 billboards with the attackers’ sketches are expected to be put up this week” (SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL, 5/13).
ACTING UP: ESPN.com’s Alyssa Roenigk noted a handful of "ESPN the Magazine" writers and editors and group Friends of ESPN on Wednesday night performed the first “ESPN the Magazine + Pop-up Magazine Live Issue” at NYU. The magazine was “performed live on stage,” with “short performances like how-tos and graphic-aided pieces at the beginning of the show and longer, feature stories at the end.” The show lasted “two hours, was unrehearsed, spontaneous at times and meant for the sole consumption of the theater audience” (FRONTROW.ESPN.com, 5/12).
BOOKSHELF: In St. Louis, Harry Levins noted N.Y. Times sports writer GEORGE VECSEY's“STAN MUSIAL: AN AMERICAN LIFE” biography has a “shot at putting a new glow on the reputation” of the Baseball HOFer. Vecsey in the book “ranged far and wide, interviewing scores of people to pin down just how nice -- and how generous and gentlemanly -- Musial was, and is” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/7).The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Mark Lasswell wrote one of the book’s “many attractions is its evocation of baseball in an earlier era -- not simpler, necessarily, but certainly more modest and affecting” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/7)….Auburn Univ. football coach GENE CHIZIK is writing “ALL IN: WHAT IT TAKES TO BE THE BEST.” Ft. Worth Star-Telegram sports writer DAVID THOMAS is “collaborating on the book,” which will be published by Tyndale House Publishers and be available July 5 (AL.com, 5/11)….Broncos QB TIM TEBOW is “about to head out on a multi-city tour peddling ‘THROUGH MY EYES,’ his new inspirational tome hitting bookshelves and Internet sites on May 31” (DENVER POST, 5/13).
NAMES: The Univ. of Oklahoma Board of Regents on Thursday approved a seven-year, $16.6M contract for new basketball coach LON KRUGER. He will “earn $2 million next season, then an additional $100,000 every season through 2017-18, plus a $500,000 longevity bonus payable the summer of 2016.” Previous coach JEFF CAPEL was brought in at a starting salary of $650,000 in '06 (TULSA WORLD, 5/13)....BARRY IRWIN, owner of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, is “taking no chances in the days leading to the Preakness Stakes: He has hired around-the-clock security” for the horse and will be “at the barn that he and Team Valor International partners own in Maryland on Friday, eight days before the race”(N.Y. TIMES, 5/13)....California state Sen. KEVIN DE LEON Thursday held a hearing entitled "Protecting Student Athletes from Unscrupulous Athlete Agents" at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. De Leon is the sponsor of a bill "intended to toughen penalties for agents who violate state law." The bill "has passed the Senate and is moving to the state Assembly" (L.A. TIMES, 5/13)....Saints Owner TOM BENSON and his wife, GAYLE, took POPE BENEDICT XVI's hand, greeted him and kissed his ring at the Pope's weekly general audience on April 20. Benson said he told the Pope, "I'd like to show you my ring." The Pope bent "to examine the proffered Super Bowl ring" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 5/12)....Nike Chair PHIL KNIGHT will receive the National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation's '11 Court of Honor Award at the third annual Court of Honor Gala on Monday in N.Y. (NABC)....Manchester United Commercial Dir RICHARD ARNOLD, PA announcer ALAN KEEGAN and players RIO FERDINAND, NEMANJA VIDIC and EDWIN VAN DER SAR attended the grand opening of a new Manchester office for shirt sponsor Aon (INSURANCEJOURNAL.com, 5/12)....ECHL teams donated more than $3.6M to charitable and non-profit organizations during the '10-11 season (ECHL).