SBD/May 22, 2013/People and Pop Culture

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  • Minding My Business With RSE Ventures General Counsel Jennifer O'Sullivan

    O'Sullivan stresses the importance of networking and relationship building

    It has been just over a year since Women's Professional Soccer shut down, and former Commissioner & CEO JENNIFER O'SULLIVAN has returned to her legal roots as she settles into her new role as General Counsel for RSE Ventures. She said of the transition, "There's definitely a lot of juggling here, but there was a lot of juggling at WPS too. Both are very similar in that they are start-up environments. So you're not always operating with a ton of resources at hand." O'Sullivan was intrigued by the opportunity to help build a business from the ground up. "That was one of the things that was attractive to me about WPS, and certainly something that was attractive here at RSE," she said. O'Sullivan spoke to THE DAILY this week about the future of women's professional sports, why she can never let go of her iPhone, and the importance of staying true to one's self.

    The sports industry needs more of...
    Maybe it’s because it’s something I was intimately involved with in women’s sports, but I really feel like the industry needs a little bit more support of, or more professional opportunities for, women in sports. Right now, we have the WNBA and the new women’s professional (soccer) league, but I would love to see more opportunities for young women to be able to play sports professionally. That may be decades and decades away, but I’m convinced that we’ll get there.

    Keeping an eye on the National Women's Soccer League...
    I’ve been following it pretty closely, because it’s something that is pretty near and dear to my heart. The WPS was an unfortunate ending, and a path that I wish we had not had to go down. But for the sake of the players and all of the young women that are playing the sport now, either as kids or high school players or college players, who aspire to something more, I truly hope that it does succeed for them, and that it blossoms into something even greater. I think U.S. Soccer getting behind it is a great thing, and providing that financial support is something that the owners at a team level desperately need.

    Most of my time at work is spent thinking about...
    What we need to focus on in terms of value to the company -- looking at potential risks, liabilities, figuring out the best strategies moving forward. Since I’ve come on board a lot of it has been going through a daily task sheet of what do we need to button up. ... Kind of helping (RSE President & CEO) MATT HIGGINS and (RSE Chair and Dolphins Owner) STEVE ROSS and the rest of our folks evaluate future investments and future plans for the company and growth and strategizing.

    Best advice I've ever received...
    To really be yourself, because I think in this industry it’s easy to get lost. It’s easy to get caught up in the sort of fanfare of the industry, the excitement of it, and people become a little bit too big for the britches sometimes. I think it’s important to remember where we all started from and where we all came from, and just know where you are and be a genuine person. There’s a lot of networking that goes on in this industry, and networking can be a dirty word, but I think it’s really all about building relationships. And if you are true to who you are, and you’re a good person and have a good reputation and realize that your name in this industry sort of means everything -- that carries you a long way.

    First media I consume each day...
    Facebook. I go on to kind of check in and keep tabs on family and friends who live further away that I don’t necessarily get to see or talk to all the time. So I check those updates, and then as far as news, MSNBC, Yahoo. I’ll check in just to kind of see what’s going on during the day. I probably should pay more attention to Twitter and things like that, but I find that I don’t really have the time, so it’s just getting quick snippets of the news and seeing what’s going on.

    iPhone vs. BlackBerry...
    I used to be a heavy, heavy BlackBerry user and I never thought I could make the change. But it was like a whole new world when I switched over to the iPhone. I just feel like if I didn’t have that on me, I would not be connected to the real world at all.

    Best business lunch in the Big Apple...
    DB Bistro is always good. Two other spots that come to mind are Landmarc and Gotham Bar & Grill. I love to order fish for business lunches or meetings because it’s not something I normally cook at home and I feel like it’s a good, healthy meal. I love to cook and my husband is just not a big fish eater, and my three-year-old certainly is not a fish eater. So it’s not something I get to cook at home often so when I’m out I try to take advantage of the opportunity.

    Best way to relax...
    Yoga. I would like to say that I go all the time, but I’m currently nine months pregnant so I have not, other than prenatal yoga once a week, I have not a whole lot of time to go. But normally I try to go at least twice a week.

    Latest music download...
    I think it was ADELE, her last album, "21." Which you’re probably thinking, 'That came out so long ago, what have you been doing?' But I have a three-year-old, so it actually was probably some sort of "SESAME STREET" soundtrack.

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  • Executive Transactions

    Universal Sports Network named Comcast Cable Communications Regional Content Dir and Comcast Entertainment Television GM ROBERT JAMES to the newly created position of VP/Programming (Universal)....NBCUniversal named ESPN VP/Multimedia Sales CHERIE COHEN Senior VP/Cable Advertising Sales (NBC)....Horizon Media named former NBC broadcast sales exec MARIANNE GAMBELLI Exec VP & Chief Investment Officer (VARIETY.com, 5/21)....Syracuse Univ. named BRADY ROURKE Associate Dir for the Stevenson Academic Center for Student-Athlete Development (Syracuse)....The Univ. of Virginia named STEVE PRITZKER Associate AD/Business Operations (UVa)....Mississippi State Univ. named East Carolina Univ. Assistant AD/Marketing & Ticket Operations SCOTT WETHERBEE Senior Associate AD/External Affairs (MSU)....Southeast Missouri Univ. named RACHEL BLUNT Assistant AD/Compliance (Southeast Missouri)....Arkansas State Univ. named MICKEY RYAN Associate AD/External Relations (ASU)....UConn President SUSAN HERBST was appointed Vice Chair of the American Athletic Conference Exec Committee. USF President JUDY GENSHAFT's two-year term as Chair of the committee "ends next month" and she will be replaced by SMU President R. GERALD TURNER (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/22)....Northern Arizona Univ. named MARK URICK and RYAN WEIGAND Development Dirs (NAU).

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

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  • Names In The News

    Cohen's proposed deal would shut his fund to outside investors

    BLOOMBERG NEWS' Burton, Farrell & Kishan cite a source as saying that Mets investor STEVEN COHEN, after five years under investigation for insider trading, is "considering proposing a deal to prosecutors" that would shut his $15B hedge-fund firm to outside investors. The source said that Cohen has "discussed an agreement under which his SAC Capital Advisors LP would admit wrongdoing but wouldn't be prosecuted unless it broke the law again." Investors as of Q1 "asked to pull" $1.68B from the firm. Cohen accounts for $7B "of the money invested in SAC funds" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/20).

    DIRTY DISHWATER? Concessionaire Centerplate yesterday filed a dynamic lawsuit against the Local 2 Unite Here union for violations of nation labor laws and for attempting to block charity groups and nonprofits from raising money at AT&T Park. Centerplate said Local 2 is attempting to illegally force the MLB Giants into signing a "successor addendum" that would bind the baseball team, and any future concessionaire at AT&T Park, to the same terms Local 2 negotiates with Centerplate (Centerplate).

    BOOKSHELF & BIG SCREEN: Late journalist and editor GEORGE PLIMPTON is the focus of a documentary titled "PLIMPTON!" The film is a "skilled portrait of a literary light shadowed by his public profile." His work was "eclipsed by his signature participatory journalism, often for Sports Illustrated" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/22)....A new documentary titled "DOIN' IT IN THE PARK" is a "loving ode to the blacktop world" of basketball in N.Y. The project is co-directed by BOBBITO GARCIA and KEVIN COULIAU. Nike is "sponsoring them on a world tour through August that will bring the film to many different -- but also similar -- international cultures of pick-up basketball" (AP, 5/20).

    NAMES
    : 49ers coach JIM HARBAUGH will be the ceremonial pace car driver for Sunday's Indianapolis 500 (INDYSTAR.com, 5/21)....HLN anchor ROBIN MEADE will sing the national anthem before Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 5/20)....Late Baseball HOFer GARY CARTER yesterday was “immortalized” when a Montreal street close to where he played with the Expos “was renamed in his honour.” Fallon St. W. was “christened Gary Carter St. in a ceremony” near Uniprix Stadium, formerly Jarry Park, the first home of the Expos (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 5/22)....Bruins RW JAROMIR JAGR made a $50,000 contribution to Boston-area Boys and Girls Clubs “after hosting 20 Club kids” for Sunday's Bruins-Rangers NHL Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 2  (BOSTON HERALD, 5/22)….Golf HOFer NICK FALDO will be the speaker for the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club in Charlotte during the ’14 PGA Tour Wells Fargo Championship (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/17 issue)....The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation named former MLBer BILLY BEAN Vice Chair (StandUp Foundation)....Stars Exec Adviser & Alternate Governor MIKE MODANO is selling his six-bedroom, 7,250-square-foot house in North Dallas for just under $2.5M (DALLASNEWS.com, 5/21).

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