SBD/May 23, 2013/Events and Attractions

Scott Blackmun, USOC The Big Winners From Last Night's Sports Business Awards

The sixth annual Sports Business Awards had a decided Olympic feel to them, as the USOC was named Sports League of the Year, beating the NFL, NBA, MLB and PGA Tour, while USOC CEO Scott Blackmun took home the award for Sports Exec of the Year. The recognition was the culmination of a remarkable turnaround that began after the USOC hired Blackmun in '10 and began rebuilding an image badly damaged by Chicago’s failed bid to host the '16 Games and a revolt among NGB leaders. In '12, the organization added a host of new sponsors, negotiated a landmark revenue-sharing agreement with the IOC and fielded a U.S. Olympic team that won the Gold Medal count at the London Games. Blackmun said, “I’m shocked. It all stems from the fact that we’re rowing in the same direction. (USOC CMO) Lisa Baird’s job on rebranding was nothing short of phenomenal. (USOC Chief of Sports Performance) Alan (Ashley’s) job in gaining credibility with the NGBs has been amazing. He’s making tough decisions about funding for them and they trust him to do what’s best for the USOC.” Blackmun bested a field of nominees for the individual award that included Time Warner Cable Exec VP and Chief Video & Content Officer Melinda Witmer, NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus, ESPN President John Skipper and Dodgers Chair Mark Walter. Blackmun negotiated the organization’s long-term revenue-sharing agreement with the IOC, a deal that ended a decades-long dispute, and he developed the first joint sales effort with NBC, which resulted in new sponsorships with Citi and TD Ameritrade. Blackmun did not prepare a speech, saying, “I think everyone in this room understands the power of sport. At the (USOC), we try to use sport to make the world a better place. Sport has had a huge influence on my family and has a huge influence on how we connect with each other. We’re grateful you recognize and support our U.S. Olympic athletes. It’s the real America’s team, with all due respect to the Cowboys, and I really appreciate it.”

CATEGORY WINNER
Sports Executive of the Year USOC CEO Scott Blackmun
Sports League of the Year USOC
Best in Sports Media NBC Sports Group
Best in Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services Legends
Sponsor of the Year Anheuser-Busch
Sports Team of the Year Oklahoma City Thunder
Best in Sports Television ESPN
Best in Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Service Octagon
Athletic Director of the Year Alabama's Mal Moore (posthumous)
Sports Event of the Year '12 U.S. Grand Prix
Best in Digital Sports Media ESPN Digital Media
Sports Facility of the Year Barclays Center
Best in Talent Representation and Management CAA Sports
Best in Sports Technology MLB Advanced Media
Best in Sports Event and Experiential Marketing Momentum Worldwide

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: White Sox and Bulls Chair Jerry Reinsdorf, accepting the '13 Lifetime Achievement Award, peppered his speech with lots of jokes and a significant emphasis on the value of service and community involvement in sports. After a retrospective video that detailed his long career in the industry, Reinsdorf quipped, “My funeral can't be any better than this." Reinsdorf chronicled his more than three-decade journey in sports, one that included seven team championships, an extensive legacy in social causes, critical roles in the formation of many initiatives, including MLBAM, and a few dark periods in which he was among the most hated owners in sports. But Reinsdorf gave credit to the staffs of his teams, many of whom have been with him for most or all of his tenure. "I am blessed to have the greatest people working for me," he said.
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