SBD/April 3, 2013/People and Pop Culture

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  • Minding My Business With Valero Texas Open Exec Dir Larson Segerdahl

    Segerdahl says building relationships with players throughout the year is key

    Valero Texas Open Exec Dir LARSON SEGERDAHL took the reins of the venerable PGA Tour event in San Antonio for Greg Norman Production Co. following a six-year stint running the Mayakoba Golf Classic, the Tour's only stop in Mexico. Segerdahl said of GREG NORMAN's business style, "There’s nothing in Greg’s business, or that occurs in his businesses, that he’s not aware of. He’s very in tune with everything that’s going on, but he’s not a micro-manager." The Valero Texas Open gets underway tomorrow with a field including RORY MCILROY, and Segerdahl recently spoke with THE DAILY about how he pursues players, his favorite technology, and savoring the business lunch south of the border.

    Most of my work time is spent thinking about... 
    What can we do from a sponsorship standpoint to bring in new business, increase the sponsorships with our corporate partners that we currently have, and how can we creatively come up with new inventory. The players are sort of a year-round process. It’s developing and maintaining those personal relationships. Whether it’s at crunch time the week before the tournament trying to get guys that commit at the last minute, or if it’s sending them a text message saying, "Hey, happy birthday," or "Congratulations on your new baby," or whatever it happens to be, that’s always very much on the forefront of my mind.

    Best advice I've ever received...
    Don’t be afraid of opportunity. A lot of people would've been extremely nervous to pick up and leave everything they knew and move to Mexico and start a new event that hadn't been done before in a new market that didn't know about golf. By taking that job, I was the youngest tournament director on the PGA Tour at 24 years old. Sheesh, I would've been a dummy not to take that. But a lot of people would've turned it down.

    Our industry needs more...
    Job opportunities. There are lines of students coming out of school with sports management degrees now, and unfortunately there are not many places for them to go. Also, with golf, oftentimes you try to cater to a niche market. I try to think a little more broadly in terms of what your fanbase can be. I would think that sports needs a little bit more open-mindedness to what sports offer and what sporting events experiences are like.

    Reaching new fans...
    If you’re not looking at the Hispanic market, then you’re behind the times. If you look at how fast that population is growing here in the country as well as abroad, Latin and South America...so many people are focusing on China, and the growth of China, and their economy. That’s fantastic, but Latin and South America are the low-hanging fruit. You don’t have to fly over an ocean to attract them, they’re right here in our backyard.

    Business lunches in Mexico...
    Everybody goes out for these extravagant two-hour lunches, and it’s the whole deal. When we would go out for a business lunch and it was that two-hour time frame, it’s glasses of wine, break out the cigars, and it’s a networking lunch at its finest. It’s unbelievable. When I first got there, there was a part of me that was feeling guilty. I’m like, "Jeez, I got to go back to the office. Am I really going to drink a glass of wine right now? Am I really going to smoke a cigar with these guys?" But that’s the culture, that’s the way they do things, and I was happy to partake.

    First media I consume each day…
    The Golf Channel’s "MORNING DRIVE," and while I’m watching that I’ll flip through Twitter, because Twitter is basically as much of a news feed as anything else these days.

    Apps I'm using...
    When I’m travelling a lot I use TripIt, which is a great app. Whenever you get your e-mail confirmations on your travel itinerary, whether it’s plane tickets, a rental car or hotel or whatever it is, you sort of forward it on to this generic e-mail address and it automatically uploads into this app with all your confirmations. It consolidates all of your travel itinerary into this one app. So I love using that when I’m travelling a lot.

    Guilty pleasure...
    My fiancée has a tendency to leave the TV on some of these ridiculous shows, whether it’s "KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS" or "HOUSEWIVES" of whatever city and all that. It doesn't take too much to rope me into those shows. Next thing I know, I’ll be watching some marathon they’re playing.


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  • Executive Transactions

    Austin Peay Univ. AD and men's basketball coach DAVE LOOS will step down from the AD role. Numerous facility improvements have been "overseen by Loos, most notably with Morgan Brothers Soccer Field and Cheryl Holt Field, the school's first on-campus softball venue." He also "played a critical role" in the proposed $16.9M renovation of Governors Stadium, which is "set to begin" following the '13 season (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/2).

    EXECS: Suns President of Basketball Operations LON BABBY "agreed to a two-year contract extension" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/3)....Sportsman Channel named former NBC Sports Network Exec VP/Programming, Production & Business Operations MARC FEIN Exec VP/Programming & Production (CABLEFAX DAILY, 4/2)....Engine Shop named NFL Giants Premium Services Dir BETH ACCARDI Account Exec, primarily focusing on Corona's sponsorship of the ATP Tour (THE DAILY)....Boston-based sporting goods retailer City Sports named Eastern Mountain Sports Exec VP TED MANNING Chief Merchandising Officer (City Sports)....True Capital Management named LISA BARRINGER Business Management Dir and JOSEPH LUM Client Relations Associate (True Capital Management).

    Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to: editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

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  • Names In The News

    Benson stepped down to concentrate on other business interests

    Saints and Hornets Owner TOM BENSON "stepped down" as NFL Finance Committee Chair during last month's owners' meeting after serving on the committee for "more than two decades." Benson also "exited his positions on the NFL's Audit and Compensation committees." He said that he "decided to leave the committees because he wants to concentrate on his other local business interests" (NOLA.com, 4/1).

    HERE'S TO YOU, MR. ROBINSON: First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA "welcomed 80 high school and college students to the White House" for a screening of the upcoming JACKIE ROBINSON biopic, "42." The screening was followed by a Q&A session with actors HARRISON FORD, CHADWICK BOSEMAN and director/screenwriter BRIAN HELGELAND (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 4/2). Mrs. Obama jokingly said she was "tripped out" by having the movie's cast at her place of residence (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/3). Capitals RW JOEL WARD will host and introduce an advanced screening of the film tonight in DC (Warner Bros.)

    CALLED IN FOR THE SAVE: In Baltimore, Childs Walker reported Towson Univ.'s baseball team could "live to fight another year after Gov. MARTIN O'MALLEY included an additional $300,000 in his 2014 budget to help the university sort through difficulties with its athletic funding." The baseball and men's soccer programs had been "slated for elimination after this season" until O'Malley became "interested" in the decision. However, the soccer program "will not be saved by O'Malley's budget supplement." School President MARAVENE LOESCHKE said that even with the additional funds, the school would "have to raise its student fee 1 percent, or about $8 a year, and raise $100,000 a year in donations to keep the baseball program operating" (Baltimore SUN, 4/2).

    AWARDS & HONORS: Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT and his family came in at No. 9 in Boston Magazine's power list of the 25 most influential people in the city's philanthropic efforts. Meanwhile, Celtics Managing Partner & CEO WYC GROUSBECK and his wife, CORINNE, made the list of ten people/groups ranked just outside of the Top 25 (BOSTON MAGAZINE, 4/'13 issue)....The SportsOneSource Group announced candidates for the sixth annual Sporting Goods Business 40 Under 40 awards, and among the honorees were Reebok Int'l Head of Classics SCOTT DALEY, Dick's Sporting Goods Chief Strategy Officer & General Counsel DAVID MOSSE, NHL Consumer Products Licensing Dir DANIEL NEAR and Mizuno Business Unit Manager for Running Footwear DOUG SMILEY (SportsOneSource)....Texas Motor Speedway officials announced that NASCAR team Owner JACK ROUSH will "become the 15th member to be inducted" into the Texas Motorsports HOF on April 11 (MYSANANTONIO.com, 3/31)....Longtime college basketball coaches GENE KEADY, ROLLIE MASSIMINO and former U.S. Congress member TOM MCMILLEN are among the '13 College Basketball HOF class to be inducted Nov. 23 in K.C. (AP, 4/1)....Former LPGAer ANNIKA SORENSTAM's ANNIKA Foundation announced that it has created the ANNIKA Award in conjunction with the Haskins Commission as a yearly honor given to the most outstanding NCAA D-I women's golfer (ANNIKA Foundation).

    NAMES: Former MLBer MIKE PIAZZA will “make his ballet debut” on May 3 playing the role of the gangster in the Miami City Ballet’s production of “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/2)....Virginia Tech football coach FRANK BEAMER will drive the pace car to start Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 4/2)....The Canadian women’s hockey team will “proudly wear black and yellow Livestrong jerseys in its first game of the world championships.” Coach DAN CHURCH said, “There are going to be comments and people who are going to associate it with LANCE ARMSTRONG. I asked those same questions. I wanted to know about where the money was going. I wanted to know about that relationship” (AP, 4/1)....TD Five Boro Bike Tour organizers on Monday filed a lawsuit against N.Y. “after being told to reimburse police for more than $900,000 in traffic-control costs that will be incurred along the 40-mile route” (WSJ.com, 4/1)....Several Bruins players on Monday participated in “Cuts for a Cause,” the annual fundraiser for the Shawn Thornton Foundation, the Boston Bruins Foundation and the Floating Hospital For Children at Tufts Medical Center (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/2)....Steelers WR PLAXICO BURRESS is having his Virginia Beach home auctioned “by order of a circuit court, to satisfy liens against the property due from a judgment stemming from a 2008 traffic incident.” The property is valued at $460,000 (NYPOST.com, 4/2).

    IN MEMORY: Former Patriots coach and GM CHUCK FAIRBANKS died yesterday in Scottsdale at the age of 79 after a battle with brain cancer. Fairbanks was credited as “helping to bring legitimacy to a woebegone franchise when he took over” the Patriots in ’73 (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/3). Fairbanks drafted some “historic talent” (BOSTON HERALD, 4/3)....Former WGN-TV anchor and WGN-AM co-host MARTY MCNEELEY died March 10 at the age of 86 from “complications from Alzheimer’s disease" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/3).

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