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SBD/December 4, 2012/People and Pop CulturePrint All
N.Y. Road Runners Exec VP/Business Development & Strategy ANN WELLS CRANDALL is leaving the organization after 12 years to join Pac-12 Enterprises as Exec VP/Business Development & Strategic Partnerships. Her last day at the organization that runs the ING N.Y. Marathon will be Dec. 20. She will start in the Pac-12's S.F. offices in January. NYRR has not yet named a replacement. Crandall worked for Pac-12 Enterprises President GARY STEVENSON at the NBA in the mid '90s. She said the opportunities to work for Stevenson again and to build something new were irresistible. "This is a unique opportunity to build a unique property," said Crandall, "and working with Gary again is something I’m really looking forward to." Stevenson said, "Ann has a lot of creativity and she really understands how to package assets and fit a property to a client's needs." Pac-12 Enterprises VP/Corporate Partnerships STEVE KEREPESI, who has been handling sales, will now take more of a client service and marketing role, Stevenson said. Crandall's departure comes just weeks after the controversy surrounding this year's N.Y. Marathon, which was ultimately cancelled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy despite city and NYRR officials initially saying the race would be held. However, both Crandall and Stevenson insisted they had been talking about the job for months. “The timing is unfortunate, but this was a conversation (with the Pac-12) we’d been having for some time," Crandall said. “Twelve years is a very long run at any property and I am still very attached to the (NYRR) organization" (Terry Lefton, THE DAILY).
INSURANCE FIGHT: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman reported the NYRR and its insurers have been "waging a pitched battle the past four weeks over how much money race organizers will be able to reclaim in the wake of last month's canceled New York City Marathon." At stake in the negotiations "is the financial health of one of the country's foremost athletics clubs, as well as some $15 million in nonrefundable entry fees that runners paid when they registered for the race earlier in the year, plus millions more paid in ticket sales and sponsorships." New York Financial Services Superintendent BENJAMIN LAWSKY has "stepped in to try to mediate a settlement in recent days" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/3).
Rockets GM DARYL MOREY, by the standards of NBA GMs, is “remarkably unpretentious and open," according to Chris Ballard of SI. He “tweets regularly, will speak on your podcast if you ask nicely and recently asked his Facebook friends if any of them could offer babysitting opportunities for his 13-year-old daughter.” Morey in the Rockets’ office “jokes with interns, mocks his own geekiness and responds to most requests with the phrase, ‘Yeah, sure.’” He recently “spent the better part” of a Rockets home game “chatting with two fans seated behind him, answering questions about the team’s future.” Morey said, “I figure if I can’t explain the plan to a random fan, then I can’t explain it to anybody.” But there is “one area in which he is guarded.” All his mail “comes to the Toyota Center rather than to his home address.” Morey said, “I grew up in Cleveland, and when ART MODELL left the city (with the Browns), people were stalking his house. … I learned from that.” Ballard notes other NBA execs “respect Morey -- 'smartest G.M. in the league,' says one -- and many like him personally.” He nevertheless “represents a threat, especially because he’s so open with the media.” One exec said, “He has good intentions, but that’s not how I do business.” In managing the Rockets, the “best way to mitigate risk is with information, and in this regard Houston goes to extraordinary lengths." In addition to the team’s "proprietary databases and evaluation systems, which Morey is hesitant to discuss publicly, the Rockets were the first NBA team to install SportVU, which is based on Israeli missile-tracking technology and uses tiny webcams installed in an arena’s rafters to record the X/Y coordinates of each player 72,000 times a game" (SI, 12/3 issue).
GOLDEN TOUCH: In Toronto, Doug Smith writes what Nuggets Exec VP/Basketball Operations MASAI UJIRI has “gone through in just about two years running" the team shows “the magnitude -- and very public nature -- of his accomplishments.” Ujiri has had “more major events to deal with than some team bosses have in a lifetime.” Smith: “To say it’s been a whirlwind since he took the job after the 2009-10 season is a gross understatement.” Ujiri’s “ascension” to his current position is “the culmination of a decade of doing almost everything that can be done in an NBA front office” (TORONTO STAR, 12/4).
Late MLBPA Exec Dir MARVIN MILLER influenced agent SCOTT BORAS as he not only reaffirmed Boras' "belief that the agent's efforts serve as a counterbalance to the owners' considerable power" but he furthermore "helped Boras accept his villainous image," according to Michael Silverman of the BOSTON HERALD. Boras said, "He said something very profound to me. He said, 'It is time that will truly measure you. It is not the others of the moment who will vilify you. Don't worry about what's said in the moment. You worry about how you'll be viewed in time.'" Boras: "And that was so true. And ironically, in Marvin's passing -- the commissioner, everyone -- is saying he was one of the game's greatest threads in the fabric of the game. And when we talked about the Hall of Fame, we both agreed it would not happen until after his death." Boras said Miller told him, "Your job is to make sure the quid pro quo, the balance of the game, is kept, and in making sure the players' rights and values are appropriately preserved as revenues increase. There never is a popular explanation for work that you do because it's so easy to pull this arrow of greed from the quiver and fire it at the target. The moving target is the necessity because you're always running towards the balance of the game and talking about it globally while club officials and owners, it's easy for them to say they're the game." Boras said, "When he brought in free agency and rights advancements and all the other dynamics through collective bargaining, like revenue sharing, (it) allowed the game to grow." He added, "Ironically, it was those advancements that allowed franchise values and TV contracts, star development to evolve. We've seen owners make billions of dollars because of the platform Marvin built. I wanted to thank him for his work, his efforts because I told him, 'You've given me wings.' I get to walk on the stage he built. I'm very appreciative" (BOSTON HERALD, 12/2).
COOPERSTOWN BOUND? In N.Y., Benjamin Hoffman wrote in consideration for Cooperstown along with Miller, "another name also comes to mind: Scott Boras." In a way you can not "discuss Miller, who was largely responsible for the remarkable growth in player salaries, without also addressing Boras, who, as the sport's long-established super agent, has become the person most emphatically following through on Miller's masterly efforts." Why not an "eventual spot in Cooperstown, if he is indeed the best at his craft and has had a real effect on the game that has clearly benefited those who play it?" The first "obstacle for Boras on the path to Cooperstown is that under current guidelines, he is simply not eligible." Currently, the HOF is "open to only managers, players and league executives, which Miller was considered to be in his role as a union leader." One of the "biggest arguments in favor of Miller's induction is that one cannot tell the story of baseball's last 50 years without him" and the "same is true for Boras over the last 30" (N.Y. TIMES.com, 12/2).
LOOKING BACK: In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, NHLPA Exec Dir and former MLBPA Exec Dir DONALD FEHR's summary of Miller's "importance to sports business when he accepted the Champions of Sports Business honor on Miller's behalf at a March 2011 ceremony" is featured. Fehr that day said, "The central point of the entire enterprise was to make sure that players understood -- athletes much younger than he was, negotiating against individuals most often much older, more experienced and much more well-educated in the traditional sense than they were -- that the players could influence their own circumstances, they could have a large degree of control of their own future and that they could have confidence that they could accomplish that if they went about it in the right way." He added, "You have to be in constant communication with your membership. Obviously you always tell them the truth, but you tell it to them bluntly. And that's something that a lot of athletes and a lot of celebrities are not used to hearing. Second thing is you educate them." Fehr: "You have to make sure that the players are involved and that they participate in the activities of the organization. And most often that means being present and participating during negotiations" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/3 issue).
MLS DC United on Friday announced it was "severing ties with two officials who had been with the club since" its inaugural season in '96, parting ways with Exec VP STEPHEN ZACK and Senior Dir of Ticket Operations & Customer Service FRED MATTHES. Several marketing and media employees "also lost their jobs." DC United CFO MICHAEL WILLIAMSON and Senior VP/Marketing Communications DOUG HICKS "were retained and will now oversee business initiatives" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/2)....JOHAN CRUYFF, who "was hired as an adviser nine months ago" by MLS Chivas USA Owner JORGE VERGARA, "was dismissed Sunday" (LATIMES.com, 12/3).
EXECS: Comcast SportsNet Chicago named Assistant News Dir KEVIN CROSS News Dir (Comcast)....Penske Racing named Joe Gibbs Racing Media Relations Rep JEREMY TROIANO to the same position (THE DAILY)....Nike Golf named Cleveland Golf/Srixon Senior Development Manager NATE RADCLIFFE Dir of Engineering for Golf Clubs (Nike Golf).
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In Sacramento, Ryan Lillis notes the California Fair Political Practices Commission yesterday announced "it had fined Sacramento Mayor KEVIN JOHNSON $37,500 for failing to report millions of dollars in donations he solicited for various nonprofit organizations, including his task force charged with developing a financing plan for a new basketball arena." The commission said that it "found 25 cases in which Johnson failed to report what are called behest payments ... within the required 30 days of securing those donations" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 12/4).
UNITED THEY STAND: Silver Medal-winning U.S. shot putter and newly elected Track & Field Athletes Association President ADAM NELSON outlined the organization's mission on its blog. Nelson wrote, "We are a group of current, former, and aspiring professional athletes as well as loyal supporters who have come together to define and support the collective voice of our athlete members. Our association exists to serve the professional athlete and to ensure that we help define the vision of the future of professional track and field globally." Nelson: "We are not a union. ... Nor are we anti-Olympic or other international and national federation. But we are about the profession. And sometimes the needs of the profession will conflict with the ideals of our amateur sports models. ... We demand the change that only our athletes can create" (TRACKANDFIELDATHLETESASSOCIATION.org, 12/3).
NAMES: Three-time Tour de France winner GREG LEMOND "confirmed that he could run for the presidency of the sport's governing body, the UCI, after the newly formed anti-doping pressure group Change Cycling Now demanded the resignation of the incumbent, PAT MCQUAID" (GUARDIAN, 12/4)....MLB Giants Senior VP/Communications STACI SLAUGHTER has been named the recipient of the '12 Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations Excellence. The award was presented during last night's Baseball Winter Meetings (MLB)....Comcast-Spectacor President & COO PETER LUUKKO last Thursday visited Newmann Univ.'s Center for Community Leadership Development and Entrepreneurship" (DELAWARE COUNTY TIMES, 12/2)....Browns and former Univ. of Texas QB COLT MCCOY is “one of several investors planning to open 24 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Central Texas” (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/4)….The Wizards yesterday hosted members of the Walter Reed Hospital’s Wounded Warriors program at practice (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/3)….Gold Medal-winning U.S. swimmer MISSY FRANKLIN shot a scene “diving with dolphins” for Dir KURT MILLER’s upcoming movie “The Current” (DENVERPOST.com, 12/3)….Basketball HOFer ELGIN BAYLOR and wife ELAINE have placed their Beverly Crest, Calif., home on the market at $4.25M (LATIMES.com, 12/3).