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BRAD MAYNE has been hired as MetLife Stadium President & CEO, and will begin his new duties in early September, confirmed Giants President & CEO JOHN MARA. Mayne has spent the past 14 years as President & CEO of Center Operating Co., the firm that manages American Airlines Center in Dallas on behalf of the Mavericks and Stars. Mayne will head a similar joint venture that runs the NFL stadium for the Giants and Jets. In that respect, Mayne was the best fit for the MetLife Stadium job with his experience balancing the interests of two major league teams sharing one facility, according to Mara. Working for multiple owners in Dallas, most recently the Mavericks’ MARK CUBAN and the Stars’ TOM GAGLARDI, Mayne has “seen everything, except maybe four Super Bowl [wins by the Giants],” Mara said. “He is the right guy at the right time.” Mayne replaces MARK LAMPING, who left in February to become the new Jaguars President. Before Dallas, Mayne managed Honda Center in Anaheim and arenas in Tacoma and Cedar Rapids. He also was assistant GM at the old Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. Turnkey Sports & Entertainment led the search to find Lamping’s successor.
Anyone who has watched CNBC's JIM CRAMER on either "Mad Money" or "Squawk on the Street" knows the man is a complete sports nut -- often dropping subtle references to various teams or players, particularly those who play for his beloved Philadelphia teams. While Cramer has now spent nearly 30 years in investing, his first job as a kid was as a vendor dishing out Coca-Cola in the 700 level at the old Veterans Stadium. Cramer took time recently to chat about some issues surrounding sports business, including investing in sports stocks, whether he would buy or sell NASCAR as an investment and his issues with an expanded NFL Thursday night schedule. Also see tomorrow's issue for Cramer's thoughts on all things Philly sports, including the Phillies' record contract for P COLE HAMELS, whether he would be amenable to an Eagles' home game in London and the job done by the new 76ers ownership.
Q: In this climate, should banks be in the business of paying mega millions to put their names on sports facilities?
Cramer: I’m of mixed emotions. Just when Lincoln Financial put their name (on the Eagles stadium), the stock started a hideous spiral down that was horrendous. Bank of America could have made better use of their capital. I know that Citi said it was a real good thing for the brand to be on the Mets’ stadium, but I look at these stocks and I would say, "Just go make money and you can put your name wherever you want. But if you don’t make money, I don’t really want to see your name anywhere."
Q: As a Harvard alum (both undergrad and law), do you feel it’s time for Ivy League schools to get in the arms race with the likes of other big spending universities?
Cramer: Not after JOE PATERNO and Penn State. I feel like this arms race is a bad one. And I think it was (Sports Illustrated’s) FRANK DEFORD who put this idea in my head. But if you play D-I, you should get class credit. ... They give kids a lot of credits for courses that shouldn’t be classes. This NCAA racket is really ugly. My daughter was a recruited athlete and I watched the whole thing unfold. Some D-III schools, some D-I. It’s just not a good world. ... I don’t want Harvard to step up. I think Harvard is fine.
Q: What sports stocks are worth watching going forward?
Cramer: I tend not to like the sports stocks. Except Nike and Under Armour -- I really like them, they’re great companies. Under Armour keeps surprising. And I really have to hand it to (Under Armour President, Chair & CEO KEVIN) PLANK. Periodically I doubt them and I realize how wrong I was to doubt them. Plank is very real. … I’m really blown away by how good Under Armour is. All I had to do was realize that when my daughter was playing at a high level in high school and that’s all they wanted to wear. That’s all you really needed to know.
Q: Do you get a lot of response for the sports tidbits you drop during “Mad Money”?
Cramer: There are so many guys at ESPN who love the show. If you ask me who I’m most proud of that like the show, it’s the ESPN guys. When I hear them refer to the show or when I’m involved with anything around ESPN, it sends me to the moon because ESPN is the greatest. ESPN becomes my home page during Eagles season. I worship them. They’re just unbelievably good. I’m a big subscriber to (ESPN NFL insider ADAM) SCHEFTER. Schefter is king. He is WOODWARD and BERNSTEIN rolled into one guy. I would not want to go against that guy.
Q: What other CNBC personalities share your passion for sports?
Cramer: Well (“Squawk on the Street” analyst DAVID) FABER is a big Mets fan. When they had a string of losses earlier this season, I encouraged him to go get that book by (Mets P R.A.) DICKEY, who’s a real intellectual. But we do nothing but joke with each other every day. He’s well aware of the collapse of my team and is not afraid to make "subtle" fun when we don’t do well. But he’s a huge Mets fan and I feel bad for him. … I also talk sports with (“Squawk on the Street” co-Anchor) CARL QUINTANILLA, who is from Colorado, but has an affinity for the Eagles. He and his wife have spent time in my box, and I hope they come back this fall. But he’s a great and knowledgeable sports fan and a delight to talk sports with. … My “Mad Money” stage director KYLE REMALY is the commissioner for our fantasy football league. Everyone has to participate in the fantasy football league if you’re going to be a part of “Mad Money.” But he’s a Cowboys fan, so as much as I like him, I despise him. He’s very misdirected. I have him in the box for Cowboys-Eagles games, but there are strict rules.
Q: What sports business story are you following for the rest of 2012?
Cramer: The story that I watch is a little odd. I always want to know jersey sales. I want to know whether the Eagles are going to sell more jerseys than the Steelers. I’ve got around 20 jerseys. … I was fascinated when (MICHAEL) VICK came to the Eagles and everyone wanted to buy his jersey. That showed forgiveness. I think jersey sales are a non-phony number that I count on to gauge real fan support.
A quick sports business version of the “Lightning Round.” Buy or sell the following:
Cramer: Huge buyer. I told (NFL Exec VP/Business Ventures ERIC) GRUBMAN the other day that I have to have the NFL on “Mad Money” before the season starts. I’m a monster buyer of the NFL.
Cramer: Between hold and buy. It’s better than I think. This past season was exciting. And in full disclosure, I’m trying to get a Nets (ticket) package because I have a place in Brooklyn that is like 10 blocks from the new arena.
Cramer: Sell, sell, sell. There’s nothing there. Sorry. It might offend some people, but sell, sell, sell. … I’ve been to the Coca-Cola 600. I was bored to tears. I’d rather watch I-95.
Q: Four-team college football playoff?
Cramer: Weak hold. These kids do go to school. This just makes a mockery of school.
Q: Sports gambling in New Jersey?
Cramer: Sell. We have enough ways to participate. Too many sucker bettors. Stick to fantasy leagues.
Q: Sports in 3D?
Cramer: Sell. Overrated. Don’t need it.
Q: Expanded schedule for NFL on Thursday nights?
Cramer: Sell. It’s a real pain in the butt for me to get to Monday night or Thursday night games coming from my set in Englewood Cliffs (N.J.). I mean, I don’t miss any home games, but the Thursday night games are a real stretch for me.
The media blitz by U.S. Olympians on the talk show circuit continued last night, with the five members of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team appearing on CBS’ “Late Show.” The five athletes sat down on a couch instead of chairs, prompting CBS’ David Letterman to say he “spent all day at IKEA.” MCKAYLA MARONEY said of breaking her toe at the Olympics, “When you’re at the Olympics, you can kind of ignore your pain.” Letterman asked about preparing for a competition, “You don’t drink coffee before?” Maroney, referencing USA Gymnastics sponsor Kellogg’s, said, “We eat Corn Flakes.” ALY RAISMAN added, “That is the secret to our success.” Letterman: “She’s figured something out, hasn’t she?” Letterman said, “I don’t get the (balance) beam. I think that should be outlawed.” Maroney: “I kind of agree with you.” Letterman asked, “There’s no trapeze involved here, is there?” Meanwhile, Maroney discussed a popular picture taken following her receiving the Silver Medal for the vault in which she looks less than pleased. She said, “It is pretty funny.” Letterman asked, “Is this an expression that comes to you frequently in life?” Maroney: “After I did it, the girls keep pointing it out, like, ‘You’re doing the face again’” (“Late Show,” CBS, 8/14).
THE GOLD STANDARD: Wrestler JORDAN BURROUGHS was on NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” and host Jay Leno introduced Burroughs by saying, “You always hear about swimming and gymnastics at the Olympics, but sometimes other sports get overlooked. But not tonight.” Leno asked, “Where’s your medal? Did you bring it?” Burroughs: “I keep it in my back pocket.” Leno replied, “That’s very cool, keeping it in your pocket.” Burroughs said his Twitter name is “@alliseeisgold” and Leno added, “That's very cool, but some people (say), ‘Oh, that seems kind of stuck up.’” Burroughs: “It’s just a confidence level. I hold myself to a high standard, so every time I compete, I expect to win.” Leno said, “Now you've won, did you splurge? We had GABBY DOUGLAS here last night. She splurged, she bought herself an Egg McMuffin right after she won. Did you do anything?” Burroughs: “I splurged. I bought myself a double cheeseburger from McDonald's … (and) used my Gold Medal to get to the front of the line at McDonald’s.” After hugging his mom in the stands after winning the Gold Medal, Leno said his “other favorite part (was when) you beat the Iranian guy.” Leno asked, “Do politics ever creep into it when you're wrestling Iran and Iran is an enemy of the United States?” Burroughs: “No. We're all from different countries but we're all athletes, so I had that level of respect for everyone that I competed against” (“The Tonight Show,” NBC, 8/14).
BEACH-FRONT PROPERTY: Beach volleyball player MISTY MAY-TREANOR appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and the studio audience began chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” as she walked on stage. May-Treanor said, “It doesn’t get old, believe me. I wish I could bottle that sound.” Host Jon Stewart said at the London Games, “the women drove us to victory.” May-Treanor said of the reasons for the women’s success, “Obviously, there’s Title IX that happened. I wouldn’t be doing what I am unless the women before me kind of gave us that foundation.” But another reason is “just the amount of young kids that are out there playing has grown tremendously.” Stewart said, “From what I saw of the male side (at the Olympics), it was a lot of like, ‘What time does the club close?’” (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Comedy Central, 8/14).
Under Armour Senior VP/Sourcing JANET FOX "plans to resign," effective Aug. 24. She is stepping down to "pursue other interests." UA Chief Supply Chain Officer JIM HARDY "will assume Fox's responsibilities" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/14)....Premier Sports Management named Sprint Nextel VP/Corporate Marketing MIKE GOFF CMO (Premier Sports Management)....The Bulls named Hornets Player Personnel Dir BRIAN HAGEN Assistant GM (Bulls)....AFL New Orleans VooDoo GM JON NORRIS "has been relieved of his duties" after two seasons (NOLA.com, 8/14)....Oregon State Univ. named DAVE MAGGARD Special Assistant to the AD (OSU)....Seton Hall Univ. named Iona College Assistant AD JAY JUDGE Assistant AD/Development. The school also promoted BRYAN FELT to Associate AD/Development & External Affairs and KELLY O'NEIL to Assistant AD/Marketing & Promotions (Seton Hall).
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In Phoenix, Sarah Eberspacher notes a five-person contingent of D'Backs officials, including President & CEO DERRICK HALL, GM KEVIN TOWERS and Special Assistant to the President & CEO LUIS GONZALEZ, "took on a goodwill tour" of Japan, "stopping to see a few games -- and scout some potential players -- along the way." The group "rounded out their trip with the inaugural Major League Baseball Road Show." They "stopped in the coastal town of Ishinomaki, where they answered questions, autographed memorabilia and hosted a clinic for Little Leaguers." Hall said that while an "in-season trip for players is difficult to fathom with MLB's schedule, creating some opportunity in the future, such as an international opener, is a venture the Diamondbacks would be open to exploring." Hall: "Any time we can increase exposure of the D-Backs internationally, I'm in favor of it. It's good for baseball, and it's definitely good for us" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/15).
CHEESE HEAD: In Green Bay, Mike Vandermause wrote, "It has only been 4 1/2 years since MARK MURPHY took over as president and chief executive officer of the Green Bay Packers, but he sounds more and more like someone who’s been here his entire life." Murphy "speaks often about preserving Packers tradition." He has "stressed the importance of maintaining the nature and structure of Lambeau Field," and has "gone out of his way to meet regularly with community groups and fans." Murphy also "has a clear understanding of his primary role as the leader of one of the most storied franchises in professional sports." He said, “In some ways I’ve got to just stay out of the way and not screw things up.” Packers GM TED THOMPSON said that he "gets along well with Murphy," who was hired by the Packers three years after Thompson (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 8/12).
GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE...: In Boston, Ron Borges notes a California auction house "will sell off most" of boxing HOFer EVANDER HOLYFIELD's "boxing memorabilia, household items, car collection, jewelry and other personal property on Nov. 30." Julien’s Auctions "will accept bids on items that include Holyfield’s 1984 Olympic bronze medal, the gloves he wore the night MIKE TYSON bit off a chunk of his ear, his many world title belts -- including his first." More than 25 "framed fight-worn robes and trunks will also be up for bid" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/15).
NAMES: The '12 PGA Honda Classic awarded $1.85M to South Florida children's charities, passing the previous high mark of $1.27M set in '11. The tournament in '10 raised $1.0M (Honda Classic)....Boxing HOFer MUHAMMAD ALI on Sept. 13 will be presented with the '12 Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Philadelphia (Constitution Center)....NASCAR driver DALE EARNHARDT JR., in partnership with Hendrick Automotive Group Chair and Hendrick Motorsports Owner RICK HENDRICK, has opened two car dealerships in Tallahassee, Fla. (Hendrick Automotive)....Baylor Univ. "has taken out a full page, RGIII themed ad in this year's Redskins yearbook" in honor of QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III. No other university "has paid for the chance to congratulate the Redskins on a draft pick" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/14)....The September issue of GQ magazine features either Panthers QB CAM NEWTON or Jets QB TIM TEBOW on the cover, depending on the geographic region in which the magazine is purchased (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/15)....The U.S. women's gymnastics team yesterday was at the Empire State Building to "light New York's tower red, white and blue in honor of their team gold medal performance" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/15)....Gold Medal-winning U.S. swimmer RYAN LOCHTE on Oct. 29 will guest star on CW's "90210" playing "a worthy character -- himself" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/15)....Knicks F AMAR'E STOUDEMIRE, free agent G BARON DAVIS and Pacers F DANNY GRANGER "will play themselves in the fourth episode" of Fox' "THE MINDY PROJECT" starring actress MINDY KALING (EW.com, 8/14).