SBD/July 12, 2013/People and Pop Culture

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  • IndyCar Exec VP Greg Gruning Leaves Series For Job Outside Sports World

    IndyCar Exec VP/Corporate Business Development GREG GRUNING has left the series and taken a position with a technology company. He is now the Chief Revenue Officer at Segmint, which collects data from financial institutions and retailers and analyzes it on their behalf to identify consumer-buying behavior. Gruning said, “This was a great opportunity for me and my family. I say this as an outsider now, but the base of sponsorship for IndyCar is solid. Our renewal rate was phenomenal. We extended our core (sponsors). 'Turbo' is kicking in now. I still remain as positive as I have been about IndyCar." He believes the opportunity still exists "to leverage Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar together better than has ever been done in the past to truly put Hulman & Company out there," and he notes Hulman & Co. CEO MARK MILES "is on this” (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer).

    THE PERFECT PAIRING? In San Diego, Bill Center wrote the position of Hulman Motorsports President "would seem to be a perfect fit" for former Padres President & CEO TOM GARFINKEL. IndyCar's current marketing "is a joke," the TV package is "terrible," and "national driver awareness is weak." Garfinkel could be "the perfect person to address the woes of IndyCar -- were IndyCar to give him control to make dynamic decisions." But that is "the potential major rub." IndyCar has been "its own worst enemy when it comes to marketing." It has "long been a sport run by the individual teams rather than a central authority." Were IndyCar to "give Garfinkel autonomy, it would be interesting to see where he might take the sport" (UTSANDIEGO.com, 7/11).

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  • Weekend Plans With Fox' Ed Delaney: Family Time in L.A. Before Flying To MLB ASG

    Delaney likes to spend at least an hour at the gym on typical Saturdays and Sundays

    Fox Sports Exec VP/Operations ED DELANEY has not had much downtime since moving from N.Y. to L.A. for his new position just a few weeks ago. Next week he will continue the hectic schedule, heading back east for the MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field. But the Philadelphia native and longtime YES Network exec always tries to find time for his six children (yes, six!), and this weekend is no different.

    CALM BEFORE THE STORM
    : I’ll have some time at home on Saturday and Sunday before heading out to the All-Star Game in N.Y. The typical weekend for me is all about the six kids. We’re always doing something -- boating, water sports, swimming, anything outdoors is kind of our thing. … With the kids, there are always parties and things to go to. My wife tells me where to go and points me in that direction, and I just say yes.

    WEEKEND WARRIOR: I think I’m actually pretty boring -- I might catch up on “GAME OF THRONES” or something like that. I’m into music, so I always have something playing around the house. My wife bought me a lawn mower, but that lasted for about a month and I said enough with that. You would think an operations guy would be really handy, but I’m not. She’s better with a hammer and nails than I am. I also do a lot of catching up with my reading on the weekends. I might be reading three days worth on the weekend. I’m a junkie for the industry. … Pretty much anything in the industry. On the technology side, too. I wish I spent more time reading novels, but I find myself reading a lot of trades. The last book I read was "KILLING KENNEDY" -- it was very good -- I was surprised.

    DINING OUT
    : I haven’t found a place out here in L.A. to eat yet just because we’ve been so busy getting ready for the launch of Fox Sports 1 in August. But in N.Y., we like to go to a lot of nice restaurants in town -- Harvest on Hudson is one. There are a lot of good restaurants right around the river.

    BEACH BUMS
    : We like being out of the house on weekends, a lot of times near a beach. For July 4th, we were down at my parents’ house down on the Jersey Shore near Atlantic City. It’s a big, old house that’s on the bay. It’s a meeting place for all the kids, cousins and everyone. It’s wonderful. That’s why we think we’re going to love California. I think the kids are going to love it here. We’re moving to Manhattan Beach, which is perfect because we’re big beach people.

    GYM RAT
    : Since I got out here I haven’t been very good about working out, but when I get back in a routine, I’m sure I’ll get back in there. Before I was working out about four days of the week, especially on the weekend. I’ll spend at least an hour in there each day on the weekend.

    PHILLY FOR LIFE
    : I’m a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan -- one of my proudest achievements is raising my kids as Eagles fans in N.Y. So I rarely miss a game on Sundays. I’ve had NFL Sunday Ticket since it came out. It’s funny. What they found out was that people weren’t buying Sunday Ticket for the tonnage of games -- they were buying it so they could watch one specific team -- and that was certainly the case with me.

    FLIGHT PLANS
    : I just went through literally every mobile unit contract that Fox has on a flight back from N.Y. To me it’s great to get five to six solid hours of good work done on a plane. But if I have time, I’ll read some newspapers -- the Wall Street Journal, N.Y. Times and N.Y. Post every day.

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  • Executive Transactions

    RSE-owned Insignia Sports & Entertainment named IMG College Senior Dir of National Sales MATT GRANDIS VP/Corporate Partnerships & Media Sales and IMG College National Program Dir KATIE GROSSMAN Dir of Partnership Marketing (ISE)….GMR Marketing has hired JULIE YENICHEK as VP/Client Management. The former Lowe's Dir of PR will work on GMR's Lowe's business. SARAH DAVIS, the former IndyCar exec who joined GMR as VP/Client Management a year ago, has left the agency. She is talking to several Charlotte-based businesses about what she plans to do next (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer)....Lagardère Unlimited promoted VP/Golf BEN HARRISON to Senior VP/Golf (Lagardère)….The Univ. of Wisconsin-Green Bay named Senior Associate AD DAN MCIVER interim AD as the school “prepares to conduct a national search to replace KEN BOTHOF, who took the same position” at Northern Kentucky Univ. last month (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 7/11)….The Red Wings named Blue Jackets Dir of Amateur Scouting TYLER WRIGHT to the same position (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/11)….The Packers named former NFLer TONY FISHER Player/Alumni Senior Coordinator in the team’s community outreach department (Packers).

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

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  • Names In The News

    Yankees players met with 25 homeless children as part of HOPE Week

    The Yankees' fifth installment of the "HOPE Week" initiative was profiled on NBC's "Today" on Friday morning, with NBC's MATT LAUER appearing on-site at Yankee Stadium for Thursday’s charity event organized by the group Birthday Wishes. Footage showed aspects of the entire day for a group of 25 homeless children celebrating their birthday at the stadium, with Yankees P MARIANO RIVERA telling Lauer, "The smile that we see on their faces when we interact and have fun with them … is a moment they will never forget." Lauer: "It's clear Hope Week isn't about how much you can gather, but how much you can give." Following the in-studio report, Lauer said, “It was such a nice day at the stadium yesterday, it really was. You could see the players were smiling as much as the kids and that made me feel good” ("Today," NBC, 7/12). Yankees Ps CC SABATHIA and PHIL HUGHES also took part in the event. Birthday Wishes co-Founder and Exec Dir LISA BASILOFF said, "I'm completely blown away by everything the Yankees have done for the kids" (N.Y. POST, 7/12).

    UNDER THE HAMMER: The family of the late SAM SNEAD "put items on the block" for an auction of some of the Golf HOFer's "most valued major championship trophies and medals." The items include "his 1954 Masters trophy, his 1946 Claret Jug for winning the Open Championship at St. Andrews and the gold medal for his 1942 PGA Championship." An online auction began Wednesday and the live auction will be Aug. 1-2 in Rosemont, Ill. (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 7/12).

    AROUND THE BASKET: Basketball HOFer SCOTTIE PIPPEN is “being sued over a fight last month at an upscale Southern California restaurant that left an autograph-seeker hospitalized with a head injury.” The $4M lawsuit filed Thursday in L.A. Superior Court said that 49-year-old plaintiff CAMRAN SHAFIGHI “simply asked Pippen for a photograph for his girlfriend’s 12-year-old son” (AP, 7/11)….Heat G DWYANE WADE’s ex-wife SIOHVAUGHN WADE on Thursday “dropped a lawsuit she filed Tuesday" alleging she was owed at least $1M million from her ex-husband (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 7/11)

    NAMES
    : Attorneys for former Penn State President GRAHAM SPANIER on Thursday "filed notice of their intent to bring a defamation lawsuit against" former FBI Dir LOUIS FREEH, who penned the report on the JERRY SANDUSKY scandal at the school (CENTRE DAILY TIMES, 7/12)....NBA free agent G MONTA ELLIS on Wednesday left his “longtime agent, JEFF FRIED.” Ellis is “frustrated that he has yet to receive a high-paying contract offer.” Sources said that he is expected to “sign with agent DAN FEGAN” (ESPN.com, 7/10)….WNBA Fever F TAMIKA CATCHINGS has “joined the fight against diabetes,” as she is “advocating for Dribble to Stop Diabetes,” a national campaign (INDYSTAR.com, 7/11)….Patriots TE ROB GRONKOWSKI and his family on Thursday signed copies of their book, “GROWING UP GRONK: A FAMILY'S STORY OF RAISING CHAMPIONS,” at a Barnes & Noble (BOSTON HERALD, 7/12)….Musical act MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS will perform July 29 at K.C. Live as part of the MLS All-Star Game festivities. The show is “part of the five-day pregame fan festival” (K.C. STAR, 7/12)….The first nonstop flight from Beijing to Houston with more than 300 passengers landed Thursday afternoon with former NBAer YAO MING aboard (CHRON.com, 7/11)....The NHL and NHLPA announced that the two organizations will “donate $100,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to assist with flood relief in Alberta.” The donation will “come from the NHL foundation and the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund” (CP, 7/11).

    IN MEMORY: Former Emerson College AD and ECAC Commissioner RUDY KEELING, the first African-American commissioner of that conference, “died of cancer Saturday in his Londonderry, N.H., home” at the age of 66. He became Emerson AD in ’02 and was named ECAC Commissioner in ’07 (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/9).

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