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Veteran sports marketer WALLY HAYWARD is leaving his position as Cubs Exec VP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer to form W Partners, a joint venture with the RICKETTS family that owns the club. W Partners will represent various teams, leagues and athletes on the sell side for sponsorship sales. The Cubs will be the entity’s first client as team pursues an aggressive renovation of Wrigley Field and a new Spring Training facility in Mesa, Ariz., and the Ricketts family seeks to develop a boutique hotel next to Wrigley in partnership with Starwood Corp. Hayward joined the Cubs in November '09 shortly after the Ricketts family purchased the club following a stint as Relay Worldwide Chair & CEO. "I believe strongly in the Ricketts and their mission for the Cubs," Hayward said. "This allows me to continue to try to do great work on behalf of the Cubs but also have that entrepreneurial spirit." With an extensive series of expiring Cubs sponsorship deals following the '13 season, the shift will allow Hayward to focus more specifically on those matters without also having responsibility as he did for marketing, ticketing, broadcasting and other matters. W Partners, more than six months in development, will be based in the Wrigleyville neighborhood near the ballpark. Joining Hayward in the venture will be Cubs Managing Dir of Corporate Partnerships SAMANTHA COGHILL and Partnership Coordinator MEGAN CORNISH. Hayward's position with the Cubs will not be replaced, and the existing sponsorship sales group will now report to Cubs VP/Ticket Sales & Service COLIN FAULKNER.
In the run-up to the Super Bowl, the NFL has a new head of sponsorship sales. Wasserman Media Group President of Partnership & Business Development JOHN BRODY, who once ran sponsorship sales for MLB, is taking a similar job with the NFL. Brody's exact new title could not be learned. He replaces former Senior VP/Media Sales & Sponsorship KEITH TURNER, who left the league in August to join Univision as President of Ad Sales & Marketing. Numerous calls to Brody were not returned, nor was a call to WMG Chair & CEO CASEY WASSERMAN. NFL VP/Communications BRIAN MCCARTHY said he had no knowledge of the hiring. However, sources said Brody will be introduced to the NFL's largest sponsors and other business partners this week in New Orleans, where they are gathering for the Super Bowl. Brody is a three-time winner of the SportsBusiness Journal’s “Forty Under 40” award and has been with WMG since August ‘10. During two stints at MLB between ’98-‘10, he sold sponsorships, and later ran corporate sales, interrupted by a 19-month stint as Celtics CMO between ’02-04. Haymaker Founder & Principal KERN EGAN, who did not have knowledge of the hire, said, "John is a clear thinker, whose reputation is based on the fact that he delivers on the promises he makes during negotiations." Egan's agency reps NFL sponsor Bridgestone and negotiated Firestone's current MLB sponsorship deal with Brody when he was at MLB.
There is "little question" that STEVE BISCIOTTI is "relishing his first run to the Super Bowl as the Ravens' principal owner," according to a front-page piece by Childs Walker of the Baltimore SUN. Bisciotti in his 13 years with the team has "rarely granted more than a few interviews a year." As the "media glare turns toward him in the days leading up to the Super Bowl in New Orleans, those who know him say they would be shocked if the bright lights brought out a flashier, more self-aggrandizing Bisciotti." He has filled his box at M&T Bank Stadium "with family and close friends rather than starlets and tycoons, and he regularly asks television producers not to train their cameras on him during games." Bisciotti often is described as "one of the best owners in the NFL in large part because he doesn't assert his personality or opinions" over those of coach JOHN HARBAUGH or GM OZZIE NEWSOME. Ravens President DICK CASS said, "He just appreciates how hard they work and how hard it is to win even one game in the NFL. But he's enjoying this tremendously. It's really a validation of how he's run the team." Harbaugh said of Bisciotti after the AFC Championship game, "I think the words 'I love you,' came out of his mouth to a lot of different people. That's kind of who he is, the type of leader he is. He's the kind of guy that he wants you to know that he cares about you. He's proud of us. Like any boss ... They put their arm around you and tell you good job -- that means a lot" (Baltimore SUN, 1/31).
RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: Fox NFL analyst and former Ravens coach BRIAN BILLICK said of Bisciotti, "In a very positive way, he is engaged. He built his fortune on relationships and is very much about that. It's not a 'I'm in charge, do what I say' mentality. It's an 'I don't care if you're the ball boy or the head coach, we've got to create partnerships here.' He hires people he trusts and then keeps a purposefully, painfully low profile. He never wants to make it about him." In N.Y., Judy Battista notes those at the Ravens who have worked with Bisciotti said that he "has a similar gentle touch with his employees." Billick said that Bisciotti would "come to the team's training facility about once a week, but was just as apt to talk with the receptionist as he was with" Billick or Newsome. Bisciotti is "not active in league matters, sometimes skipping meetings" and sending Cass in his place. He also has "stepped out of owners' meetings, shutting the door behind him, to smoke one of his cigars" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/31).
New Orleans may be a town “famous for all-day carousing, but the Super Bowl party scene will have some noticeable absences this week,” according to Lefton & Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The NFL Commissioner’s Party, which “started as a media gathering at the first Super Bowl and eventually gave rise to the whole party scene, is scaling back to a VIP-only event this year with thousands fewer attending.” The league also is “downsizing the party annually hosted by its consumer products division to a luncheon.” NFL VP/Communications BRIAN MCCARTHY said that teams also have “opted to stage their own smaller gatherings.” Penthouse is “not reprising its annual Super Bowl party.” But Playboy will be “back in full force with its annual offering, presented by Crown Royal, this Friday night at the Jackson Brewery Bistro Bar.” Maxim President BEN MADDEN said that the publication’s annual bash is “at the Second Line Stages studio Saturday night, and it expects a crowd of between 2,000 and 3,000.” This year’s seventh consecutive DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl Tailgate Experience “will be Saturday next to Mardi Gras World, with a crowd of 4,500 expected for the daytime event.” An invitation-only night party “will host around the same number of people, with JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE performing.” This year’s ESPN Next affair is Friday night “inside a 50,000-square-foot tent at Tad Gormley Stadium; between 2,000 and 2,500 are expected” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/28 issue). ESPN.com’s Kelley Carter noted the “price tag to host these affairs is astronomical, with some parties costing more than a million dollars.” Bud Light VP MIKE SUNDET said, “It’s something that has built up gradually over time. Even prior to our NFL sponsorship, we’ve thrown parties and concerts in the Super Bowl host city. The demand for those events became more coveted.” Playboy Senior VP & Publisher JOHN LUMPKIN said, “I think that it’s fair to say that what the Playboy party is to the Super Bowl weekend is the equivalent to what Vanity Fair is to the Oscars. It’s a must-attend.” Maxim Chief Content Officer DAN BOVA said, “It’s insane. I swear the day after the party, people start asking if they can get on the list for next year. You tend to feel like you’re Willy Wonka with these golden tickets that everyone is clamoring for” (ESPN.com, 1/30).
ON TAP FOR TONIGHT: The annual NFL owners’ party hosted by Saints’ Owner TOM BENSON and his wife, GAYLE is tonight with a “seated dinner for 300” (N.Y. POST, 1/29)….Verizon Super Bowl Boulevard kicks off tonight at 6:30pm CT with the arrival of the Super Bowl XLVII Roman Numerals. The new event features a lineup of local music artists, food and beverage offerings and will remain open through Sunday (Verizon)….NFL Network’s MICHAEL IRVIN will host the first Society Bowl at the Eiffel Society tonight (THE DAILY)….Pro Football HOFer MARSHALL FAULK will team with Africa For The Future and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts students for a benefit and jazz concert with all proceeds going to the three groups (THE DAILY). The event will be held at The Columns Hotel with Pro Football HOFer ERIC DICKERSON, as well as fellow HOFer Irvin and SNOOP DOGG, expected to attend (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 1/30)....ESPN’s RON JAWORSKI is hosting his annual Super Bowl Cigar Party with proceeds to “benefit Louisiana victims of Hurricane Isaac.” The party also raises funds for the Jaws Youth Playbook, which “aims to improve the lives of youth in Philadelphia.” Johnnie Walker Scotch is among the party sponsors. This will be the “fourth year in a row” Jaworski has hosted the event (CIGARAFICIONADO.com, 1/25). The event is co-sponsored by the AFL New Orleans VooDoo. ESPN’s JON GRUDEN, MIKE TIRICO, MIKE DITKA and SUZY KOLBER are expected to attend (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 1/30).
The Buccaneers yesterday promoted VP/Business Administration BRIAN FORD to COO (Bucs)....Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group yesterday named CFL Montreal Alouettes Assistant GM MARCEL DESJARDINS GM of Ottawa's CFL expansion franchise (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 1/31)....F1 team Red Bull Principal CHRISTIAN HORNER received a multiyear contract extension (AP, 1/31)....The NASL N.Y. Cosmos named Islanders Corporate Communications Coordinator DAVID HOCHMAN Media Relations & Marketing Manager (THE DAILY)....YES Network promoted National Sales Manager JOE CAPOBIANCO to National Sales Dir (THE DAILY)....The Single-A South Atlantic League Lakewood BlueClaws promoted Assistant GM/Operations BRANDON MARANO to GM. Marano replaces GEOFF BROWN, who left the team last week (BlueClaws)....The Single-A New York-Penn League Tri-City ValleyCats named JASON LECUYER Business Development Manager (ValleyCats).
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YAHOO SPORTS' Getlin & Cole reported NFLPA Exec Dir DEMAURICE SMITH "referred long-time former colleagues to defend" agent DREW ROSENHAUS during an NFLPA arbitration. That action has "ruffled the feathers of multiple prominent agents." They expressed "frustration at what they termed a significant conflict of interest." The agents have alleged that Smith’s referral is a "clear example" of him protecting an agent "rather than impartially governing." The paramount issue at hand is that the NFLPA "may eventually have to sanction Rosenhaus in his case, which involves a dispute between the well-known agent" and former Rosenhaus Sports VP DANNY MARTOE. Martoe was a longtime employee "before being fired" in '12. He is now seeking more than $1M in "commissions and damages stemming from his work with Rosenhaus" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/30).
PRIVATE MATTERS: In N.Y., Ian Mohr cites sources as saying that Pro Football HOFer and CBS analyst DAN MARINO "sired a love child with a network underling and then paid her millions to keep quiet." Marino reportedly "knocked up DONNA SAVATTERE, a then-35-year-old production assistant at CBS Sports' Manhattan studio." She "gave birth to their daughter, CHLOE, in June 2005." Marino yesterday in a statement said, "This is a personal and private matter. I take full responsibility both personally and financially for my actions now as I did then" (N.Y. POST, 1/31).
TO THE VICTIM GOES THE SPOILS? Ticketmaster CEO NATHAN HUBBARD reached out to Bay-area resident and 49ers fan SHARON OSGOOD to "offer four free tickets for her, her boyfriend and other family members who got scammed" after wiring $5,900 to a Ravens fan for Super Bowl XLVII tickets. Osgood in return for the payment received a FedEx package with a note that read, "Go Ravens! LOL!" and no tickets. Hubbard also arranged for the couple "to have breakfast" with Pro Footbal HOFer and Fox analyst TROY AIKMAN. Before word of Ticketmaster's gift to Osgood "got out," the 49ers front office "called with its own free-ticket offer." Osgood is "still out the $5,900 she and her family gave to a scammer they met on Craigslist, though she has filed a police report in an attempt to catch whoever did it" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/31).
COURT REPORT: Former Bill Davis Racing employee ANNE WINNER, accused of "embezzling more than $300,000" from the NASCAR racing team, yesterday in Guilford County, N.C., Superior Court "pleaded guilty to six counts of embezzlement and one count of obtaining property under false pretenses." Winner received a sentence of "four to five months in prison for one of the embezzlement counts and six consecutive suspended sentences of six to eight months each for the other charges" (NEWS-RECORD.com, 1/30)....Former NHLer MATTHEW BARNABY this week "filed suit" in New York State Supreme Court in Niagara County against AMBER LINDKE, charging that she "refused to give him back" an engagement ring after the couple split in September (BUFFALO NEWS, 1/31).
AWARDS & HONORS: MLB Giants P BARRY ZITO yesterday received the 48th Hutch Award, presented by the Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Former Mariners manager LOU PINIELLA was the keynote speaker at the event, which was held at Safeco Field (MLB.com, 1/30)....Golf HOFer LEE TREVINO will receive the PGA Distinguished Service Award Aug. 7 at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y., the site of this year's PGA Championship (JACKSONVILLE.com, 1/30).…UCLA last night honored basketball HOFer REGGIE MILLER by hanging his No. 31 jersey in the rafters at Pauley Pavilion (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/31).
NAMES: ESPN’s “Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research” set a fundraising record by amassing nearly $1.6M. The V Foundation for Cancer Research in December surpassed the previous record of over $1.3M set in ’11 (ESPN)….Illinois State Sen. and former NFLer NAPOLEON HARRIS is “expected to drop out of the race” for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd Congressional District (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 1/30)….New Jersey State Sens. DIANE ALLEN and DAWN MARIE ADDIEGO yesterday announced that they will introduce on Monday a resolution honoring late NFL Films President STEVE SABOL. The resolution designates Oct. 2 each year as “Steve Sabol Day” (NFL)….49ers WR RANDY MOSS said that he is “going to write a book” (USA TODAY, 1/31)….Basketball HOFer DENNIS RODMAN's children's book entitled “Dennis The Wild Bull” was released yesterday (AP, 1/30).