SBD/November 4, 2011/People and Pop Culture

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  • This Week's Newsmakers: Baltimore Grand Prix Plagued By Financial Issues

    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: BUD SELIG -- The MLB Commissioner had a great week on two fronts. First, Selig presides over one of the most exciting World Series in recent memory, with Game Seven marking the most-viewed baseball game of any sort since the Red Sox' clincher in '04. And after an exhaustive, drawn-out ordeal, he finally gets Dodgers Owner FRANK MCCOURT to relent and agree to sell the club -- without having to take the stand in any trial. 

    LOSE: BALTIMORE GRAND PRIX -- Organizers are under the microscope this week as lawsuits claim nearly $1.6M in unpaid bills. The event has also failed to pay back $470,000 owed on a $2M loan from the Maryland Stadium Authority. Not the best way to engender community support. After all the initial celebration that the event was a success, the financial missteps raise questions as to whether IndyCar will return to Baltimore next year and serve as a lesson for any markets looking to host future races.

    DRAW: MICKY ARISON -- The Heat owner posts some lockout-related Tweets and lands himself in hot water with NBA Commissioner DAVID STERN. The $500,000 fine amounts to five times what other owners have previously been fined for public comments about the ongoing labor situation. While Arison displays a growing rift between owners, his remarks could actually help him gain support among players, who might now see the club as a friendly locale to ply their trade in future years.

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  • Executive Transactions

    Turner/SI Digital has restructured its exec team for digital ad sales under Exec VP WALKER JACOBS. KEN SHAPIRO is now Senior VP/National Sales Manager, leading efforts for SI, Golf.com, PGA.com, PGATour.com, and NBA Digital, among other areas. SETH LADETSKY has been promoted Senior VP/N.Y. Sales Manager, leading efforts for the NCAA Digital and NASCAR partnerships and maintaining a more Northeast regional focus. ANDREA CHING will remain Senior VP/Promotions Marketing. LARRY GELFAND, who joined Turner/SI Digital late last year from the NHL as Senior VP/Digital Ad Sales, is no longer with the company (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

    EXECS: Quiksilver promoted Americas Region President CRAIG STEVENSON to Global Brand President & COO. Quiksilver Americas Region COO ROB COLBY will succeed Stevenson as President (Quiksilver)....The MLS Crew promoted ANDREW ARTHURS to Senior VP/Soccer Business Development (THE DAILY)....The Padres named Mets Amateur Scouting Dir CHAD MACDONALD VP & Assistant GM of Player Personnel (Padres)....N.Y.-based technology firm IOMEDIA named MLS Red Bulls VP/Marketing & Sales ANDREW LAFIOSCA Dir of Sales & Marketing for Sports & Entertainment (Fisher)....The National Basketball Retired Players Association named former Phoenix Int'l Raceway Dir of Communications PAUL CORLISS Senior Dir of Communications & Special Projects (THE DAILY)....The America East Conference named MARY MULVENNA Assistant Commissioner for Compliance (THE DAILY)....New York-based marketing firm Cenergy named COLLEEN SPERRY AUNGST Account Dir, LAUREN BRAUNSCHWEIGER Account Manager and MATTHEW GRECO Account Coordinator (Cenergy).

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

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  • Names In The News

    Attorney JUDD BURSTEIN said that former ESPN Senior VP/Content Development & Enterprise KEITH CLINKSCALES, who “filed a pre-emptive lawsuit denying he fondled himself on an airplane while sitting next to sports reporter ERIN ANDREWS -- hours before the website Deadspin actually reported the allegation -- had to move quickly to protect his reputation.” Burstein, who is representing Clinkscales in the case, said that he “filed the defamation suit against" ESPN VP/Content Development Production & Exec Producer JOAN LYNCH, "ensuring that the allegations would become public, because the fondling allegation is ‘ludicrous’ and, he said, because Deadspin is not a credible news source” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/4).

    A LEAGUE OF HER OWN: ESPNW's Elizabeth Merrill profiled Raiders Chief Exec AMY TRASK and called her the “most powerful woman in the NFL.” Trask grew up in Southern California, the youngest of what she calls "considerably older siblings." Her family was “not particularly interested in football outside of the Super Bowl, but Trask fell in love with it by junior high.” She said that she was drawn to the Raiders in part “because they believed in second chances and stood up for what was right, regardless of what others thought.” She was working for a law firm that late Raiders Owner AL DAVIS “had retained, and when they came out of a meeting, he said she was the brightest person in the room and that he had to hire her.” Former Raiders coach MIKE WHITE said, "He had a tremendous amount of respect for her. She's a very intelligent lady. And because of those reasons, she was given a lot of responsibility" (ESPNW.com, 11/3).

    BREAK ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE: Padres Vice Chair & COO JEFF MOORAD talked about transitioning from being a player agent to the owner of the franchise. He said, “After 20 years of playing the derivative role of the agent, I aspired to be a principle. I’m, frankly, one of the lucky guys that has an opportunity to have two careers in sports and I’m thrilled with my second one. As much as I enjoyed the first part, I must say, working on the management side is something that’s been extremely pleasing. Besides, as you get a little older it probably makes more sense on that side of the table” ("Sportfolio," Bloomberg TV, 11/2).

    COURT REPORT: ESPN DALLAS’ Jeff Caplan reported a judge last week “denied all claims” made by Mavericks investor ROSS PEROT JR., putting “an end to this latest round of lawsuits by Perot charging" Owner MARK CUBAN with "mismanaging the Mavericks' franchise.” Perot claimed in the lawsuit Cuban made "a litany of questionable business, financial and personal decisions" regarding the Mavs and that Cuban was "careless and reckless" in his decision-making. Perot alleged Cuban’s actions led his Hillwood Investment Properties III, Ltd., to "lose substantial investment value." Perot also “sought to have the team taken away from Cuban and handed over to a court-appointed receiver” (ESPNDALLAS.com, 11/3)….TNT NBA analyst SHAQUILLE O’NEAL is suing former IT employee SHAWN DARLING and claims that he “invaded his privacy by selling personal emails that damaged his reputation” (AP, 11/3).

    THE ACCUSED: In L.A., Pringle & Lin III report the L.A. Memorial Coliseum Commission Thursday “sued two former top managers, alleging that they enriched themselves through ‘corrupt efforts’ that siphoned more than $1 million in public money from the stadium.” The suit “accuses the companies, along with former general manager PATRICK LYNCH and ex-events manager TODD DESTEFANO, of depriving the commission and its nonprofit concessions arm of concert revenue” (L.A. TIMES, 11/4)….In S.F., Henry Lee cited court records as indicating that MLB Giants former payroll manager ROBIN O’CONNOR is “poised to plead guilty to charges that she embezzled more than $2.2 million from team accounts.” O'Connor had “originally been charged in July in U.S. District Court in San Francisco with stealing at least $1.5 million from June 2010 to June of this year.” But federal prosecutors said in court records filed Thursday that she “is now suspected of stealing an additional $700,000.” O'Connor has been “dismissed from the baseball team's staff” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/4).

    NAMES: Former NBA coach DON NELSON will graduate from college “almost 50 years after being” drafted in the ’62 NBA Draft. Nelson “plans to go through the University of Iowa commencement service in the spring of 2012, having fulfilled the necessary credits for his bachelor’s degree” (DALLASNEWS.com, 11/3)….NFL Jets coach REX RYAN will play a Patriots fan in “I Hate You, Dad,” a movie starring ADAM SANDLER (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/4)….Heat coach ERIK SPOELSTRA on Thursday spoke during Heat Day at W.R. Thomas Middle School in South Florida. The event was “designed to teach students about the business of basketball” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/4)….MLB Cardinals P CHRIS CARPENTER was invited to Blues practice on Thursday and “skated with the team” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 11/4)….Trick-or treaters who showed up at MLB Giants incoming CEO LARRY BAER’s house on Halloween “wearing Giants costumes were given Giants World Series 'Baer special edition' shoelaces” (SFGATE.com, 11/3).

    LET US KNOW! Are you or someone you know in the sports business industry running in Sunday’s ING N.Y. Marathon? If so, contact Theresa Manahan at tmanahan@sportsbusinessdaily.com and let her know. Then on Monday, send her your time, a photo and a quick note about the experience to share with our readers.

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