SBD/August 3, 2012/People and Pop Culture

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  • Red Bulls Part Ways With Chris Heck After Just Over One Year With Club

    Heck may have alienated Red Bulls fans by raising season-ticket prices

    MLS Red Bulls President of Business Operations CHRIS HECK is "no longer with the organization," according to Brian Lewis of the N.Y. POST. Heck "had come under fire among the Red Bulls' supporters, blamed for middling ticket sales and a continued disconnect with the fan base." Heck was hired by the Red Bulls in June '11 after having served as an NBA exec since '04, most recently as league Senior VP/Marketing Partnerships (, 8/2). In N.Y, Jack Bell wrote while Heck’s position had “been tenuous for several months, the final straw was the club’s midweek, midday game on July 25 that was played in stifling heat and drew critical comments" from the team’s star player.” Red Bulls F THIERRY HENRY said, “I don’t know who put the time of the game we’re going to play. Sorry, I’m not having a go; but playing at 4, playing at 1, are you thinking about the players? I don’t know.” Bell noted “thousands of season-ticket holders stayed away from the match, which was billed as Camp Day, to attract youngsters on a day away from camp.” Heck had “apparently blamed MLS for putting the midday game on its schedule, a game that was sandwiched between a match that began at 4 p.m. the previous Sunday and at 2:30 p.m. the next Saturday.” Heck also managed to “alienate many of the team’s most ardent fans by raising season-ticket prices and committing what seemed to be some relatively minor missteps, like barring a popular food truck from its regular spot outside the team’s stadium.” It seems “unlikely that Heck will be replaced immediately” (, 8/2).

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  • Executive Transactions

    The NBA promoted ANDY LUSTGARTEN to Senior VP/Business & Strategic Development, effective immediately. Lustgarten will work on strategic initiatives and new business and media ventures, reporting to NBA Exec VP/Business Affairs & General Counsel BILL KOENING. Lustgarten contributed to the NBA's recent CBA negotiations, was involved in the launch of NBA China and serves on the finance committee of the NBA-NCAA joint initiative iHoops. Lustgarten was previously Special Assistant to Commissioner DAVID STERN (NBA).

    IT'S ACADEMIC: Michigan State Univ. President LOU ANNA SIMON on Thursday “agreed to become the next chairwoman of the NCAA executive committee.” She replaces Oregon State Univ. President ED RAY, whose term expired. Simon will start immediately and her term will last through August '14. MSU AD MIKE HOLLIS said, “I think she’s going to do an amazing job in guiding on a national level” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/3). Simon’s NCAA appointment “comes at a time of possible sweeping changes in the organization” (, 7/2)....Meanwhile, the NCAA D-I BOD elected Wake Forest Univ. President NATHAN HATCH Chair. The position is a two-year term running through August ’14 (, 8/2). Hatch succeeds Univ. of South Florida President JUDY GENSHAFT, who served as Chair since August ’10 (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 8/3).

    EXECS: The NHL Jets promoted Assistant to the GM LARRY SIMMONS to Assistant GM. Last season, Simmons aided Exec VP & GM KEVIN CHEVELDAYOFF and Senior VP & Dir of Hockey Operations/Assistant GM CRAIG HEISINGER in various jobs (, 8/2)….NBC named ABC Exec VP/Planning, Scheduling & Distribution JEFF BADER to the newly-created position of President of Program Planning, Strategy & Research for NBC Entertainment. Bader also will serve as a liaison with NBC News and NBC Sports (, 8/2)….The Daily Racing Form named PHIL O'HARA Exec Dir of Racetrack Development (, 8/2)….Keeneland racetrack named CONNIE VAN ONSELDER CFO & VP. Van Onselder was previously CFO for Lexington-based Unified Trust Co. and Unified Financial Services (, 8/2)….Hampton Univ. named NOVELLE DICKENSON AD, replacing KESHIA CAMPBELL, who resigned in the spring. Dickenson was most recently the school’s Chair of the Political Science & History Department and Assistant Dean of the School of Liberal Arts (, 8/2)….The Univ. of Central Oklahoma named DAVID GARRETT Media Specialist. Garrett was most recently Sports Dir for KGHM-AM in Oklahoma City. He will continue to call UCO football games (OKLAHOMAN, 8/3).

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  • Names In The News

    Howard (r) visited IMS to get a close-up view of drivers' experience

    The AP’s Chris Jenkins wrote film dir RON HOWARD, who is “working on a motorsports-themed movie -- ‘RUSH,’ the story of the 1970s rivalry” between former F1 drivers JAMES HUNT and NIKI LAUDA, visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend during NASCAR’s annual stop at the track to get a “close look at what a driver experiences in a top racing series.” Howard said, “We’re done filming, but there’s still a lot to be done in the editing and sound work and visual effects. I’ve still got my director’s hat on, I’m not just promoting.” The film is “expected to be released in the fall of 2013” (AP, 8/1).

    TYSON SHOW ‘HAM-HANDED’: In N.Y., Neil Genzlinger reviews the one-man show, “MIKE TYSON: UNDISPUTED TRUTH,” which opened Thursday for a run through Aug. 12. Genzlinger writes the show is “among the odder spectacles Broadway has seen in a while.” Boxing HOFer MIKE TYSON “is doing little more than relating his well-publicized life story, and, under SPIKE LEE’s direction, he’s doing so with a clumsiness startling to see on a Broadway stage (and at a ticket price that tops out at $199).” The “incongruous, almost childlike Tyson charm pokes through occasionally and makes you momentarily forget how ham-handed and manipulative the show is” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/3)….The N.Y. TIMES' Mike Hale reviews Showtime’s “THE FRANCHISE” and writes while the Marlins have “floundered, stumbling to a losing record and trading away key members of its ‘family’ in a wait-till-next-year fire sale, ‘The Franchise’ has benefited.” In the show’s second season, “bad baseball has made for better television” and the show has “provided what looks like a surprisingly honest view of a team in crisis” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/3).

    NAMES: The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety & Security named MLB Senior VP/Investigations DAN MULLIN the recipient of the organization’s Distinguished Leadership Award (MLB)….Michigan Int’l Speedway named KID ROCK Grand Marshal for the Aug. 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 (MIS)….Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN has “invested an undisclosed amount” in Calgary-based eThor, “a software company that has developed technology to connect any local business's point of sale system to a website or mobile app” (CALGARY HERALD, 8/1)....Pittsburgh Ice Arena LP, a group that includes former NHLer ALAIN LEMIEUX, is buying the Valley Sports Complex in New Kensington, Pa. (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/3).

    IN MEMORY: CARL STEPHENS, a former host of the Auburn Football Review and the voice at Jordan-Hare Stadium for 27 years, passed away Wednesday at the age of 77 (, 8/1).

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
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