SBD/October 14, 2011/People and Pop CulturePrint All
It is time to make your opinion known as the 7th annual SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily Reader Survey is underway. The survey features more than 100 questions across leagues, teams, facilities, sponsorship, media, labor and more.
■ Who is your favorite TV game broadcast analyst?
■ Which NFL team could end up in the Los Angeles market?
■ Should the NHL ban player fighting?
■ What does the future hold for sports sponsorship spending?
■ Did Comcast overpay for Olympic rights?
■ Which golf tour is best positioned for growth?
■ Which property/organization is the most likely to fold?
■ Which league will be the first to place a franchise overseas?
Those are some of the questions you'll find in this year's survey. Cast your votes and then see highlights of the results the week of Nov. 28. We want to hear from you. Vote now!
ESPN is closing its Content Development department, which will lead to the loss of around 20-25 jobs. Company officials say it was not a cost-cutting move; many of those employees will find other positions in the company. The department, which was headed by Senior VP/Content Development & Enterprise KEITH CLINKSCALES, was based in Bristol, L.A. and N.Y. The department's responsibilities will be taken over by the Bristol-based programming and studio and event production groups led by ESPN Exec VP/Programming & Acquisitions JOHN WILDHACK and Exec Senior VP/Production NORBY WILLIAMSON. "This is a more efficient and better model," said ESPN Exec VP/Content JOHN SKIPPER. "We're eliminating specific jobs. But we're not going to have a smaller workforce." It is hard to pin down exactly how many jobs are being cut since some of employees will have the opportunity to find other jobs at the company. Skipper told THE DAILY that he had been considering making this move for six to eight weeks, finally deciding to pull the trigger with the recent launch of studio shows like "NFL 32," "Numbers Never Lie" and "Dan LeBatard Is Highly Questionable." "That was the event that got me over the hump," Skipper said.
CLINKSCALES LAUNCHED GROUP IN '07: The highest profile exec to leave ESPN as a result of this move is Clinkscales, who launched the group in '07. He is leaving to become an independent producer; ESPN will be his first client. He plans to develop documentaries and Web-based shows for ESPN. His group developed shows like "SportsNation," "E:60" and RICK REILLY's "Homecoming." It also developed ESPN's acclaimed "30 for 30" documentary series, which will now be part of ESPN Films. Skipper said ESPN Films will not be affected by the moves. Clinkscales said he understood the move. He said, "What's best for the company is to consolidate and run this through Bristol. Norby's group has been able to develop shows, so the need for our group has changed." During his time overseeing the content development group, Clinkscales said he is most proud of being involved in the creation of ESPN Films, as well as developing event programming like the New Year's Eve shows and "The Decision." "It was interesting to see something like 'The Decision' come together," he said. "To see the whole world stop as an athlete makes a choice and watching it move across all our platforms was unique."
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: CITY OF DETROIT -- The Motor City has been getting a healthy dose of sports exposure lately. The week begins with the Lions winning their first home "MNF" game since '01 to remain undefeated, while the ALCS gives the city three games of network TV exposure during the Tigers-Rangers series. Finally, in a welcome sign for the city's auto image, ROGER PENSKE and IndyCar announces the revival of the Belle Isle Grand Prix next year. Seems like some very welcome exposure for a city that definitely needed it.
LOSE: JOHN HENRY/TOM WERNER -- Mishaps on two continents land the Red Sox/Liverpool owners in the loss column this week. The media spends the first half of the week excoriating Red Sox brass for the way former manager TERRY FRANCONA's personal issues were leaked. Former P CURT SCHILLING goes so far as to say ownership has "ruined 9-10 years of goodwill." Meanwhile, Henry and Werner announce they would like to change EPL rules and see overseas TV rights sold on a club-by-club basis. The news receives almost universal condemnation from fellow EPL owners, with the move seen as a threat to the future of smaller clubs in the 20-team league.
DRAW: ESPN.COM -- The site gets some big news with the release of September comScore unique visitor figures, setting a company record for any monthly period and passing Yahoo Sports for the top spot among all sports sites for the first time in 41 months. But the site loses a well-respected college sports writer in PAT FORDE, who will reportedly move over to Yahoo when his contract expires. The loss of Forde comes in the wake of the departure of another college writer, BRUCE FELDMAN, who left ESPN under acrimonious circumstances earlier this year.
Phoenix Suns Charities appointed Delta Dental of Arizona President & CEO ALLAN ALLFORD, Unisource Energy Corp. VP/Public Policy PHILIP DION and US Airways Dir of Financial Analysis HEATHER GARBODEN to its BOD (Suns).
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NBCSPORTS.com's Ryan Ballengee reported agent MARK STEINBERG, who reps TIGER WOODS, has signed golfer MATT KUCHAR to Excel Sports Management. Kuchar becomes ESM's third golf client since Steinberg joined the firm in July. Kuchar previously was with Peter Jacobsen Sports. Kuchar was the '10 PGA Tour money list winner and Ballengee noted he is "the biggest get for Steinberg in his four months with ESM." U.S. Women's Amateur champion DANIELLE KANG joined the agency last month (NBCSPORTS.com, 10/13).
CHARITY STRIPE: Penguins C EVGENI MALKIN and Capitals LW ALEX OVECHKIN organized a charity theme for Thursday's Capitals-Penguins game at Consol Energy Center "to benefit the families left behind when all members" of the KHL Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team died in a plane crash in Russia last month. The Penguins players' "wives and girlfriends sold silicone bracelets at the game," as part of an NHL-wide fundraising drive. Players wore "special patches on their jerseys and stickers on their helmets." NHL.com will auction off the game-worn jerseys (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/14)....MLB donated $1M to support the MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. National Memorial Project Foundation in DC. The memorial, located on the National Mall, will be dedicated Sunday (THE DAILY)....Nonprofit group Solutions for Change announced this week that it raised $1.3M at a black tie fundraiser last Saturday featuring former Secretary of State CONDOLEEZZA RICE as the keynote speaker. TaylorMade-adidas Golf President & CEO MARK KING emceed the event, and Padres Vice Chair & CEO JEFF MOORAD was also in attendance (SIGNONSANDIEGO.com, 10/12).
HITTING THE BOOKS: The Univ. of North Carolina announced contract extensions Thursday for men's basketball coach ROY WILLIAMS, women's basketball coach SYLVIA HATCHELL and baseball coach MIKE FOX. Williams will have a base salary of $325,000 and will "receive supplemental income" from the university ranging from $1.35-1.65M per year. He also will receive an expense allowance of $30,000 in '11-12, and $40,000 in each of the following six years. Williams' base salary will be $180,000 in '11-12, $220,000 in '12-13, $240,000 in '13-14, $250,000 in '14-15, and $260,000 in each of the following three seasons. Hatchell will receive a base salary of $360,000 and UNC will pay her supplemental compensation ranging from $70,000-130,000, in addition to an expense allowance of $40,000 (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/14).
BACK ON COURSE: DONALD TRUMP reportedly has agreed to purchase the Doral Golf Resort & Spa near Miami for $170M. The agreement, "expected to be filed in a New York bankruptcy court next week, is far from certain." The deal establishes Trump "as the lead, or 'stalking horse,' bidder in a future auction of the property, and Trump's is the bid to beat" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/12).
NAMES: Penguin Books has secured the Chinese language rights to tennis player LI NA’s memoir titled, “How To Go West And Win,” to be co-published with a Chinese partner early next year (IMG)....WNBA President LAUREL RICHIE will receive The Shot Caller Award, which honors those “forward thinking, visionary women who have courageously revolutionized her industry’s territory.” The award will be presented at the second annual “Black Girls Rock! 2011” (NBA)….Celtics co-Owner JIM PALLOTTA is “pouring money into” Florida-based SecurityPoint Media. The company “places ads in the bottom of the bins that carry passengers’ cell phones, watches, shoes and other personal items through airport security checkpoints” (BOSTON HERALD, 10/14)….Liberty Media Chair JOHN MALONE became “the largest private landowner in the U.S., wresting the top spot on The Land Report 100 from his friend and longtime business partner, TED TURNER.” The list also includes Rams and Arsenal Owner STAN KROENKE at No. 10, the Lions Owner the FORD Family at No. 11, AEG Chair PHIL ANSCHUTZ at No. 18 and Reebok founder PAUL FIREMAN at No. 37(LANDREPORT.com, 10/13)….BRAD PITT, who starred as A's GM BILLY BEANE in the film "Moneyball," “kicked off the 13th Mumbai Film Festival Thursday” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 10/14)….Hockey HOFer MARK MESSIER “plans to run next month’s New York City Marathon” (N.Y. POST, 10/14).
IN MEMORY: Palm Beach radio and TV pioneer ROME HARTMAN “died Wednesday at his home” at the age of 87. Hartman worked at WIRK-AM for 35 years and became known as "the sports voice of the Palm Beaches" (PALM BEACH POST, 10/13).