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Top Rank Chair BOB ARUM has the lucky position to find himself home in Las Vegas this weekend. As he tells it, “At least 50 percent of the weekends I’m doing a fight or I’m out of town, or I’m in Vegas but I’m working. So the 50 percent of the weekends where I’m not doing a fight, those I treasure and I kick back and relax.” But after living in the city for 27 years, his idea of relaxing is thoroughly Vegas-style.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! On Friday is my wife’s birthday, and the family is giving her a birthday party dinner at one of the hotels in Las Vegas. Don’t ask me how old she is because she would kill me if I told you. I generally buy her a nice gift, but if I’ve been very successful in my playoff and Super Bowl bets, she’d rather take the chips that I’ve won because she can spend it herself. This year I had Baltimore for the whole playoffs and Super Bowl and the year before I had my New York Giants for the whole playoffs and the Super Bowl. And I keep just rolling over the money so it ends up to be a very substantial sum.
CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR: I have friends that come in from all over the world and they always know that the gift that I like them to bring the most of anything are the Cuban cigars, which I can’t bring in myself because of the embargo against Cuba. I have humidors filled with Cuban cigars 'cause they’re the best cigars in the world. We have a pool house at our home and it’s really got nice here now. The spring comes early in Las Vegas, so you open the whole pool house. I smoke in the pool house because my wife won’t let me smoke in the house, which I don’t blame her. But I have a big television set in the pool house.
LET’S TAKE A STROLL: I’ll probably take a nice walk on Saturday. I love to walk. It’s Saturday and the weather is good, so it probably won’t be til 9:00am. We have great paths where I live, so I generally take about a 3-mile walk; takes me about an hour.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s a big weekend this weekend because it celebrates the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Snake. My wife LOVEE and I will be attending the celebration dinner at the Venetian Hotel, which has a big, big event to celebrate Chinese New Year. They brought in hundreds and hundreds of customs from China and we have brought in to train at the Venetian the No. 1 Chinese fighter, whose name is ZOU SHIMING. This young man has won two Olympic boxing Gold Medals for China, one at the Beijing Olympics and the other at the London Olympics. He’s a major, major sports star in China and he’s now turning professional on April 6 at the Venetian Resort in Macau. So we thought we would bring him here to train him as a professional in the United States and he’s training now at the Venetian and he will be attending this New Year’s celebration, he and his wife with my wife and myself. It’s an unbelievable celebration, it’s old-style Chinese entertainment. It’s really something special.
INK ON THE NOSE: I love to read the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times. There are lengthy articles in both papers and unfortunately, because of my schedule during the week, I just don’t have time to read them. … Sunday night, because no matter how late we’re going to be entertaining, we tape “Downton Abbey,” which is on PBS and “Girls,” which is on HBO.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: I’m a tremendous movie buff, so we watch all the movies. We have friends who are in the Academy who get these DVDs. So they send us -- I don’t know if they’re supposed to so I’m not going to mention names -- but we get the DVDs from them and we watch movies or we go to the movie theater. So we’re tremendous movie goers. I love movies.
SWEET SIXTEEN: On Sunday we have a dinner at my home with the guest of honor, Zou. The co-guest of honor will be SHELDON ADELSON, who is the chairman of Las Vegas Sands, which owns the Venetian Hotel & Resort in Macau. There’ll be sixteen people at the dinner and it’s going to be a very, very nice affair. … When we entertain we bring in a chef from one of our favorite restaurants. Sunday’s dinner will be cooked by Mac, who’s the chief chef at CUT restaurant at the Venetian.
IMG named WWE Exec VP ANDREW JUDELSON Senior VP. He will serve as senior vice president at IMG, leading the sales team in the college division, while also overseeing business development across the company’s North American business (THE DAILY)....Octagon promoted ANNE SULLIVAN to Senior VP, responsible for direct promotions and hosting initiatives within its newly-structured Events & Hospitality group (Octagon)....The NFL promoted Officiating Dir DEAN BLANDINO to VP/Officiating. He takes over for CARL JOHNSON, who announced in December that he accepted a new role and would become the NFL's first full-time game official (NFL)....ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter cited a source as saying that the NFL promoted TROY VINCENT to Senior VP, one of the “highest ranking jobs in the league office” (ESPN.com, 2/7)….Virgin Media CEO NEIL BERKETT on Wednesday said that he plans to leave when Liberty Global concludes its planned $23.3B takeover of the U.K. cable operator. Liberty Global CEO MIKE FRIES said that he would "quickly begin the search for a successor to Berkett" (VARIETY.com, 2/7)....Northwestern Univ. named Univ. of Delaware Associate AD/Compliance BRIAN BAPTISTE to the same position (NU)....Univ. of Maryland-Baltimore County Dir of Athletics, Physical Education & Recreation CHARLES BROWN announced he will retire as of June 30, completing a 24-year tenure (UMBC)....Billy Casper Golf promoted JESSE SEGUIN to Regional Dir of Agronomy covering the western U.S. (Billy Casper Golf)....AstroTurf named SoccerPlus Cos. CEO ANTHONY DICICCO to the newly-created position of Business Development Dir for Soccer (AstroTurf)....Univision named Soccer United Marketing Int'l Senior Dir MARCO LICEAGA Univision Deportes VP/Marketing & Promotions, reporting to Univision Deportes President JUAN CARLOS RODRIGUEZ (Univision).
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USA TODAY's Brent Schrotenboer reports Dallas-based SCA Promotions has "filed suit" against former cyclist LANCE ARMSTRONG seeking the return of $12M in bonuses and fees he was paid for winning the Tour de France. The suit also could "force Armstrong to make an uncomfortable choice: return the money or risk further damage to his reputation by fighting the case" (USA TODAY, 2/8). In N.Y., Juliet Macur notes the suit also "asserted that Armstrong had committed fraud against SCA when he said under oath that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/8).
COURT REPORT: In N.Y., Babcock & Mangan cites court reports as saying that Yankees GM BRIAN CASHMAN will "fork over a whopping $1 million a year in alimony and child support to his now-ex-wife, MARY BRESNAN, under the divorce settlement they signed off on this week." Bresnan will receive payments "until Halloween 2025, or until she remarries." Cashman also "agreed to keep Bresnan as the beneficiary of a life-insurance policy on him in the amount of $2.25 million until her remarriage, death or Oct. 31, 2025, whichever comes first." Bresnan also "gets ownership" of their $3.7M house in Darien, Conn. (N.Y. POST, 2/8)....Former N.Y./N.J. Super Bowl Host Committee General Counsel ANDREW LEE filed a $1.95M lawsuit against T-Mobile after he said that it "hounded him for five years ... after his wife lost her cellphone and someone else rang up $1,500 in charges." His credit rating has "dropped 60 points over the disputed debt" which caused him to "fail to get approval for a mortgage" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/7).....U.S. District Court Judge DAVID PROCTOR ruled that former Birmingham-area WJOX-FM Program Dir RYAN HANEY “cannot work for rival sports-talk station ESPN 97.3 The Zone until more evidence is heard in a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by former employer, Citadel Broadcasting” (AL.com, 2/7).
NFL MUSINGS: In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw wrote of Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES, “I'm not big on owners getting into the Hall of Fame. I can't think of any fans that go to Canton or Cooperstown and say, ‘Oh, let's go read about some of the game's wealthiest owners.’ Jerry has made contributions along TV revenue lines that might be worthy. I don't think I have to enumerate his shortcomings to this audience” (DALLASNEWS.com, 2/7)….The Cleveland Clinic named Browns Owner JIMMY HASLAM III to its BOD (CRAINSCLEVELAND.com, 2/7)….NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL was “front-row” at designer KIMBERLY OVITZ’s Fashion Week show on Thursday, sitting “right next” to Vogue Editor ANNA WINTOUR. Goodell reportedly is “a longtime friend of Ovitz” (N.Y. POST, 2/8).
CHARITY STRIPE: Lightning Owner JEFF VINIK and wife PENNY have pledged more than $10M over five years in donations through the team's foundation to honor local community heroes and their chosen charities. The Viniks award $50,000 at each Lightning home game. The Viniks during the lockout kept their commitment, presenting grants at the location of nonprofit charities until the season began (Christopher Botta, Staff Writer).
NAMES: The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA named Pro Football HOFer MARCUS ALLEN and sports executive recruiter CATHY GRIFFIN to its BOD (Laureus USA)….Penn State announced that Board of Trustees Vice Chair JOHN SURMA, who “fired football coach JOE PATERNO over the phone will leave the board when his term ends in June” (AP, 2/7)....Former U.S. Olympian SHAWN JOHNSON will "appear on a poster distributed by the Iowa Girls High Schools Athletic Union." The boys’ Iowa High School Athletic Association has "printed annual school sportsmanship posters since 1995." It has featured athletes such as former NFLer KURT WARNER, Iowa State men's basketball coach FRED HOIBERG and Warriors F HARRISON BARNES. This is the "first such poster produced by the Union" (DESMOINESREGISTER.com, 2/7)....Iowa State AD JAMIE POLLARD was “thrown out of a high school basketball game on Tuesday night” while watching his son THOMAS play. Pollard reportedly was “escorted out after disagreeing with a referee’s call on the court” (USATODAY.com, 2/6)….The Univ. of Illinois-Chicago will “name its new baseball stadium after Yankees center fielder and UIC alum CURTIS GRANDERSON, who provided what is expected to be the largest-ever contribution to the school’s athletic department” (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 2/7)….Former MLBers TIM RAINES, GEORGE BELL and ROB DUCEY, as well as “former announcer TOM CHEEK and longtime minor league owner NAT BAILEY” were inducted into the Canadian Baseball HOF (AP, 2/7).
IN MEMORY: Former Hofstra AD JIM GARVEY died at the age of 70. He was on a waiting list for a heart transplant at a facility in Kentucky. Garvey was a "three-sport NCAA official who worked four football bowl games, five men's basketball tournaments and seven men's lacrosse championships, including the inaugural NCAA title game in 1971" (NEWSDAY, 2/8).