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ESPN President JOHN SKIPPER tops SportsBusiness Journal's annual "50 Most Influential People In Sports Business" list. Skipper this year took over for GEORGE BODENHEIMER, and ESPN "hasn't skipped a beat." He has cut "huge rights deals" with the NFL, MLB, the BCS, the ACC and Big 12, and invested "more money in the content side of the business through the launch of Grantland, the hiring of two Pulitzer Prize winners and the expansion of '30 for 30.'" Below is the complete list of this year's honorees (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/10 issue).MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN SPORTS BUSINESSRANK
EXEC1 ESPN President John Skipper2 NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell3 MLB Commissioner Bud Selig4 NBA Commissioner David Stern5 AEG Chair Phil Anschutz and AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke6 Fox Sports co-Presidents & co-COOs Eric Shanks and Randy Freer7 The Kraft Group Founder, Chairman & CEO Robert Kraft8 Dodgers Chair and Guggenheim Partners Founder & CEO Mark Walter9 CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus10 Turner Broadcasting President of Sales, Distribution & Sports David Levy11 PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem12 NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus13 NASCAR CEO Brian France14 IMG Chair & CEO Mike Dolan and
IMG Sports & Entertainment President George Pyne15
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman16 Nike Brand President Charlie Denson and Nike Inc. President Mark Parker17 IOC President Jacques Rogge18 Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones19 NHLPA Exec Dir Don Fehr20 NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver21 F1 President & CEO Bernie Ecclestone22 Time Warner Cable Exec VP and
Chief Video & Content Officer Melinda Witmer23
Wasserman Media Group Chair & CEO Casey Wasserman24 MLB Exec VP/Economics & League Affairs Rob Manfred and
MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan25
NCAA President Mark Emmert26 Lakers Owner Jerry Buss and Exec VP/Business Operations Jeannie Buss27 SEC Commissioner Mike Slive28 MLS Commissioner Don Garber29 Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany30 A-B InBev CEO Carlos Brito and VP/Global Connections Maarten Albarda31 CAA Sports co-Heads Michael Levine and Howard Nuchow32 Under Armour CEO & Founder Kevin Plank33 USOC Chair Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun34 ESPN Exec VP/ Sales & Marketing Sean Bratches35 Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott36 NFL Exec VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash37 adidas Chair & CEO Herbert Hainer38 MLB Giants President & CEO Larry Baer39 Coca-Cola Senior VP/Marketing Alison Lewis and Senior VP/Sports & Marketing Partnerships Sharon Byers40 Fenway Sports Group Owner John Henry41 MillerCoors CMO Andy England and MillerCoors President & CCO Tom Long42 NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith43 Comcast-Spectacor Chair Ed Snider and President & COO Peter Luukko44 MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman45 StubHub CEO Chris Tsakalakis46 NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and Proskauer Partner Bob Batterman47 Octagon President & CEO Rick Dudley48 NFL Giants co-Owner, President & CEO John Mara49 Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard50 ATP World Tour Exec Chair & President Brad Drewett
The CFL Edmonton Eskimos promoted head scout ED HERVEY to GM. Hervey replaces ERIC TILLMAN, who was relieved of his duties in November (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 12/11)....WebStream Sports named NCAA Dir of Championships & Alliances, Media Services GREGORY WEITEKAMP President & Partner. Weitekamp begins his new role in February (WebStream)....Madd Gear Americas named EB Sport Group President BRIAN ANDERSON President & CEO (THE DAILY).
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The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Reed Albergotti reports the U.S. Department of Justice “may not be finished" with cyclist LANCE ARMSTRONG. DOJ officials are “still considering whether to join a whistleblower lawsuit filed by his former teammate, FLOYD LANDIS.” Court docs made public over the weekend show that Armstrong “has been subpoenaed for documents in the case, and suggest he has been fighting vigorously to control the flow of information.” Landis’ whistleblower lawsuit accused Armstrong of "defrauding the U.S. Postal Service because he allegedly used performance-enhancing drugs in violation of the team contract” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/11).
JIMMY HOLLYWOOD: Tennis HOFer JIMMY CONNORS “has signed with talent agency APA in all areas.” APA will “look to extend Connors’ brand across all platforms, from broadcast to endorsements and publishing.” Connor’s memoir, “The Outsider,” will be published by Harper on May 14. Connors is also represented by MICHAEL BLAKEY of Electra Star Management (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 12/10).
AWARDS & RECOGNITION: The Int’l Boxing HOF yesterday announced yesterday that referee MILLS LANE, ring announcer JIMMY LENNON JR. and journalist COLIN HART will be among the class enshrined June 9 (CP, 12/10)….Indians adviser JOHNNY GORYL has received the MiLB Mike Coolbaugh Award for “outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field” (PROVIDENCEJOURNAL.com, 12/7)….The Boys & Girls Club of Silicon Valley awarded 49ers Chief Sales Officer JOHN VIDALIN the Champion of Youth award for his fundraising work on the club’s board (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 12/11)….AD WEEK named Wieden + Kennedy its Agency of the Year. The agency’s “It’s Halftime in America” Super Bowl spot with actor and director CLINT EASTWOOD “was an instant classic." Other work from Wieden this year included a Nike ad called “Jogger,” which used a “chubby boy jogging on an open road” as its focal point, and a spot called “Shake on It” for ESPN (AD WEEK, 12/10 issue)….The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation will honor boxing HOFer MUHAMMAD ALI and Under Armour at its annual Aspire Gala on Feb. 22 (BALTIMORESUN.com, 12/10).
GONE COUNTRY: PBR co-Founder TY MURRAY, along with his wife and singer JEWEL, and Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s TREVOR BRAZILE each presented an American Country Award last night. Murray said, “I feel a lot of similarities between country musicians and cowboy athletes. Both spend a lot of time on the road pursuing a dream and entertaining crowds” (“American Country Awards,” Fox, 12/10). Meanwhile, Giants P BARRY ZITO and 1B BRANDON BELT also presented an award last night alongside comedian RODNEY CARRINGTON (SFGATE.com, 12/10).
NAMES: Jaguars coach MIKE MULARKEY yesterday fell ill and was “taken to Baptist Medical Center for tests and was released later in the day.” He is “expected back at work” today (JACKSONVILLE.com, 12/10)….Members of the Bruins’ front office and coaching staff participated in the franchise’s annual holiday toy shopping spree yesterday at a Target store in Woburn, Mass. The club will give presents to children at local hospitals next week. The Bruins Foundation, Delaware North and Garden Neighborhood Charities donated $22,500 for the event (BOSTON HERALD, 12/11)….Members of the Celtics “spread holiday cheer” yesterday while visiting children from Boston Medical Center’s Pediatric Hematology Program (BOSTON HERALD, 12/11).