SBD/July 11, 2011/People and Pop Culture

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  • Woody Johnson Helping Raise Funds For Mitt Romney's Presidential Bid

    Johnson considers his role to be an "ombudsman" or a "facilitator"

    Jets Owner WOODY JOHNSON is “leading fundraising efforts in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut” for former Massachusetts Gov. MITT ROMNEY’s presidential campaign, and said that he “would not rule out running for public office” himself, according to Jenny Vrentas of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Johnson and Jets Exec VP/Business Operations MATT HIGGINS last summer “met with several would-be candidates coveting his support,” and “after a summer trip to Romney’s lake house in New Hampshire and dinner at Del Frisco’s steakhouse in New York, Johnson was on board.” Johnson “considers his role to be an ‘ombudsman’ or a ‘facilitator,’ bridging Romney and the voting public.” Johnson most weeks speaks with Romney “at least five times.” Johnson said of running for public office, "That kind of depends. I’m open to looking at it, but I haven’t set my sights on any specific avenue yet." MIKE DUHAIME, chief strategist for New Jersey Gov. CHRIS CHRISTIE’s gubernatorial campaign, said of Johnson, "Because of his high profile and because he’s so well-known, some think he could immediately run for U.S. Senate." Johnson said that “it would be possible” to still own the Jets and hold public office, but that another member of the family might have to “become more involved” with the team (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 7/10).

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  • Executive Transactions

    In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports JPMorgan Chase has hired NFL VP/Strategy & New Business Development STEVE PAMON as Senior VP, leading the bank's sports and entertainment marketing. Also, NFL Mobile GM PATRICK MCCORMICK, who was a "key man in Verizon's NFL sponsorship, is leaving for a position" with Comcast-owned The Weather Channel (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/11 issue).

    EXECS: The Pacers have hired former Trail Blazers GM KEVIN PRITCHARD as Dir of Player Personnel. Pritchard signed a one-year contract with the Pacers and will work under President of Basketball Operations LARRY BIRD and GM DAVID MORWAY (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 7/9)....Sources said that Savannah State Univ. has hired former Univ. of Georgia AD DAMON EVANS as a consultant to assess the school's athletics department. SSU AD MARILYNN SUGGS "was fired Wednesday after less than seven months on the job" (SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS, 7/8)....247Sports has hired CORY LOVELACE, formerly of Rivals.com, as its new Chief Technology Officer. Lovelace has worked with SHANNON TERRY, former Rivals.com CEO and current head of 247Sports, for more than a decade and will report to company COO NOAH STANLEY (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal)....The IOC on Saturday elected three new members: JOSE PERURENA, GERARDO WERTHEIN and BARBARA KENDALL (AROUNDTHERINGS.com, 7/9).

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

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  • Names In The News

    Andre Agassi was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame Saturday

    In Rhode Island, Mike Szostak noted former player ANDRE AGASSI and WTA Operations Exec Consultant FERN LEE “PEACHY” KELLMEYER were inducted into the Int'l Tennis HOF on Saturday in front of a crowd of 4,000. Agassi during his acceptance speech “spoke in a measured tone for 19½ minutes” (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 7/10). In Boston, Bud Collins noted Kellmeyer was “an original employee” of the WTA and “remains an exceptional administrator, problem-solver for many years, keeper of their history, guiding light of the WTA” (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/9).

    ROYAL BRUNCH: In N.Y., Todd Venezia noted PRINCE WILLIAM and KATE MIDDLETON were scheduled to have brunch this weekend at the Beverly Hills home of NFL Giants Chair & Exec VP STEVE TISCH. No one was invited "without pledging a massive donation to charity first" (N.Y. POST, 7/9).

    CUBAN REVOLUTION: Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN “has decided to keep Landmark Theatres and Magnolia Pictures after failing to attract bids for the assets.” Cuban: “We haven’t received any offers. For the right price we would still sell” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 7/8). Meanwhile, Cuban’s “college days have recently been posted on Deadspin.com, and they’re not safe for work.” Deadspin “emailed Cuban to see if they could post a few” pictures of his rugby years at Indiana Univ. Cuban “wrote back saying he had no idea the photos had been made public.” After “some time to think, Cuban gave the OK.” Cuban: “Did we do stupid (expletive) back then? Absolutely. Even then, we knew it was stupid. We also knew it was harmless” (DALLASNEWS.com, 7/7).

    FULL HOUSE: World Series of Poker officials yesterday said that “6,865 players -- 6.2 percent fewer than last year -- entered the no-limit Texas Hold 'em tournament between Thursday and Sunday, generating a $64.5 million total prize pool.” Each entry cost $10,000. WSOP Exec Dir TY STEWART said, “Let’s hope that once and for all, people stop underestimating poker” (AP, 7/10).

    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: In N.Y., Niall Stanage notes golfer RORY MCILROY enjoys a “cross-community appeal” in his native Northern Ireland, among Catholics and Protestants alike, and he “has acquired it without advertising his impartiality in blazing neon.” McIlroy has, “so far, dodged questions of political affiliation with a shoulder-shrugging casualness.” Civil rights activist EAMONN MCCANN said, “It is very, very unusual that someone comes to prominence in Northern Ireland without it being clear from the outset what religion they are” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/11).

    CLIMBING INTO THE CAVE: The MLB FanCave was profiled on ABC’s “World News” Saturday night, with ABC’s John Berman saying baseball fans MICHAEL O'HARA and RYAN WAGNER watch all the games from the FanCave. Berman said the FanCave in N.Y. is “one part publicity, one part shrine to the national pastime and one part outreach” to young fans. O'Hara and Wagner “are chatting and posting videos on Facebook and Twitter constantly because face it, kids aren’t cards in the schoolyard anymore.” MLB Exec VP/Business TIM BROSNAN: “Baseball needs to think about the fans of the future” (“World News,” ABC, 7/9).

    NAMES: In N.Y., Douglas Quenqua profiled LA LA ANTHONY, wife of Knicks F CARMELO ANTHONY, under the header, “The First Lady Of The NBA.” Since Carmelo joined the Knicks in February, the couple has “been popping up everywhere: ‘The View,’ ‘The Wendy Williams Show,’ the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.” In ’08, the couple “established Krossover Productions.” Quenqua wondered if they are “campaigning to be the next” DAVID and VICTORIA BECKHAM (N.Y. TIMES, 7/10)....Under Armour President, Chair & CEO KEVIN PLANK received a “huge boost in pay after the Baltimore apparel maker topped $1 billion in revenue for the first time.” The “bulk of Plank’s annual compensation last year was $1.28 million in cash incentive tied to performance.” He received $1.3M in total pay, up from $748,061 in ’09 (Baltimore SUN, 7/10).

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