SBD/May 1, 2013/People and Pop Culture

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  • MLPBA Exec Dir Michael Weiner Pens SI Column, Offers Lessons Of Medical Hardship

    Weiner has been able to work mostly full-time since his diagnosis in August

    MLBPA Exec Dir MICHAEL WEINER writes a first-person account of his battle with an inoperable brain tumor in this week's SI, noting, "I honestly don't fear what may come of my medical condition." Weiner: "Why have I been lucky enough to work my entire career for the MLBPA but unlucky enough to come down with a potentially fatal condition? I don't even try to answer such questions." He continues, "I will fight as hard as I can, for as long as I can -- and, hopefully, that’s a good, long fight. Most important, though, as corny as it sounds, I try to live each day to the fullest. I don’t take for granted what tomorrow may bring." Weiner: "What I’ve learned recently about the players, though, is how generous and gracious they are. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know so many players over my career, and I’ve always known they are great guys." Weiner writes he has "learned a few things about being in a tough spot since I’ve been diagnosed: Don't go into a shell. ... Help others, even if you're hurting. ... Don't lose your sense of humor. ... Keep living your life" (SI, 5/6 issue).

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  • Minding My Business With NTRA Senior VP Bryan Pettigrew

    Pettigrew looks to restore horse racing to the prominence it enjoyed in the '70s

    National Thoroughbred Racing Association Senior VP BRYAN PETTIGREW stays close to his Kentucky home in the springtime, with the eyes of the horse racing world on Churchill Downs for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. But as head of NTRA Advantage, the Lexington-based organization’s purchasing and sponsorship program, he travels throughout the year across the U.S. and Canada to develop new partnerships. That has been tougher in recent years, as the industry is recovering from a combination of economic woes and management turnover. "We are definitely in rebuilding mode,” Pettigrew said. In a recent interview with THE DAILY, Pettigrew talked about racing’s past and future, the vast array of media options available to the sports viewer, and The Masters’ old-school approach to staging an event.

    Most of my work time is spent thinking about…
    How to bring horse racing back front and center as a sport and entertainment option. How to get back onto ESPN and updates in the sports sections, and how to make it as popular again as it was at its height.

    A job candidate should be…
    Someone that is adaptable. There’s so many times, so many people you come across, they just like one little job, and they don’t want to stray from that. That’s probably the thing I look at, is someone that’s adaptable that can do multiple jobs and has good awareness of different sports.

    The sports industry needs…
    More money and less viewing options. There’s just so many things you can watch now from your iPad to iPhone, satellite to cable, there’s so many devices now you feel like you’re walking around with a TV in your pocket sometimes.

    Visiting The Masters…
    It’s more than just a bucket list, it’s a must see in person, to just take it all in. How there’s no commercial advertising there, it’s really like sports used to be, 50 or 60 years ago. When you walk up and it says “soft drink” or “diet soft drink,” or “beer” or “light beer” and they’re not promoting it, there’s no labels or anything, you know you’re in a very special and different place.

    Best business lunch spot in Lexington…

    Malone’s. It’s a sports bar, sushi restaurant and steakhouse all in one. Three different menus and three different seating areas.

    Guilty pleasure…
    I’m watching more of "The Voice" lately. I used to be a diehard "American Idol" fan, but my kids have starting swaying me to watch "The Voice."

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  • Executive Transactions

    Sports Authority named RadioShack VP/Marketing PAUL OKIMOTO CMO (Sports Authority)....Respect Your Universe named Imaginarium Toy Centers Founder CRAIG BROD CEO, its third in "less than a year." Brod replaces Chair & CEO DAVID CAMPISI, who resigned. Meanwhile, Meriwether Group Founder & CEO DAVID HOWITT resigned from the RYU BOD (Portland OREGONIAN, 5/1)....Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway named Vivid Seats Dir of Partnerships GREG ROGERS Dir of Partnership Sales & Marketing (Chicagoland Speedway)....Sacramento Professional Soccer named former EPL club Chelsea BOD member GRAHAM SMITH Technical Dir (THE DAILY)....Western Oregon Univ. named Portland State Univ. Associate AD/Business & Financial Operations and Senior Woman Administrator BARBARA DEARING Exec AD (WOU).

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

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  • Names In The News

    Alford offered UCLA $200,000 per the terms of his previous contract

    The Univ. of New Mexico said that former men's basketball coach STEVE ALFORD owes the school a $1M buyout as part of a "contract extension that was to take effect April 1," two days after UCLA hired him. Alford in a letter to the school "has offered $200,000 under the terms of his previous contract." But he was "required to give 30 days' notice," so UNM officials "believe he is therefore bound by the terms of what would have been his new contract." Alford wrote the new contract "never became effective because UNM and I never reached agreement on a final written employment contract including those terms" (L.A. TIMES, 5/1).

    TRUST THE MIDAS TOUCH: REUTERS' Bill Rigby wrote Trail Blazers and Seahawks Owner PAUL ALLEN's "ventures in decidedly low-tech sectors -- sports teams, commercial real estate and energy pipelines" in recent years "have come to look prescient." Together with a "new round of tech investments and an ambitious philanthropy program, they may yet establish Allen as much more" than Microsoft Founder BILL GATES' "lucky junior partner." The Blazers and Seahawks are "now worth many times what he paid for them." Even Allen's partial ownership of the MLS Sounders "is looking like a good bet." Allen has "all but single-handedly transformed the once-shabby South Lake Union district near downtown Seattle into the Pacific Northwest's hippest tech outpost, anchored" by Amazon. A recent "foray into the energy business yielded" a $2.25B return from a $200M investment in Plains All American Pipeline (REUTERS, 4/30).

    PLAYING H-O-R-S-E: Louisville basketball coach RICK PITINO has "had the habit of naming his horses after his Cardinal players," and has named two of his horses Dieng and Siva after C GORGUI DIENG and G PEYTON SIVA. Last summer Pitino "went more creative" and named a horse Russdiculous after G RUSS SMITH. Pitino on Monday announced the name of his new 2-year-old horse would be Three Point Luke, in honor of F LUKE HANCOCK (NBCSPORTS.com, 4/30).

    CHARITY STRIPE: Patriots QB TOM BRADY yesterday announced that a "portion of the proceeds from this summer's Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port is being earmarked for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings." Brady is "again the honorary chairman of the 100-mile charity ride and walk benefiting Best Buddies International, the nonprofit devoted to helping people with intellectual disabilities" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/1)....Former Univ. of North Carolina baseball player CHASE JONES has “created a nonprofit, Vs. Cancer, and has 40 events scheduled this year.” Jones, a cancer survivor himself, this year has “raised about $250,000” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 4/26).

    NAMES: In DC, Dan Steinberg wrote the Library of Congress’ recent acquisition of broadcaster BOB WOLFF’s “massive collection of audiovisual recordings is so significant.” Wolff “preserved thousands of audio recordings from his 74 years (and counting) in the industry.” The Library’s acquisition included “more than 1,600 items and an estimated 1,500 hours of footage” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 4/29)....Ravens RB RAY RICE will be "featured in the new AOL web series called ‘My Ink.’” The show is "produced by MIKE TOLLIN and is focused on professional athletes’ body art." Rice said, “I get to show off my tattoos a little bit, and they all have sentimental value to me” (BALTIMORESUN.com, 4/30)....Saints coach SEAN PAYTON yesterday visited the Louisiana Legislature and had lunch with Congress members (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 5/1)….Portland State Univ.’s Center for Retail Leadership is “launching a certificate program aimed at preparing students to work in Oregon’s athletic and outdoor industries,” with enrollment to begin this fall (OREGONLIVE.com, 4/26)….Alabama QB A.J. MCCARRON will serve as the honorary pace car driver for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway (Talladega)….Korean rapper PSY attended the Rockies-Dodgers game last night and met with Dodgers P and Korean native HYUN-JIN RYU (Dodgers).

    IN MEMORY: Former Oakland Tribune Sports Editor STEVE HERENDEEN died of cancer last Thursday at the age of 61 (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 4/30).

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