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SBD/September 9, 2013/People and Pop CulturePrint All
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment COO TOM ANSELMI on Friday "ended an eventful 17 years" with the company by announcing his resignation, a move made in part because MLSE Owners Bell Media and Rogers Communications hired TIM LEIWEKE to "fill the big CEO chair" instead of him, according to Lance Hornby of the TORONTO SUN. Anselmi starting in '96 "oversaw the delicate arena merger" with the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre, was MLSE COO, "point man for landing and later running [MLS Toronto FC] and, most recently, succeeding RICHARD PEDDIE as the growing sports and business empire’s president." Anselmi on Friday said of not being named MLSE's President & CEO in April, "Of course I was disappointed. But sometimes organizations need change and new owners get to decide it." He said that his decision "was not linked to Leiweke's major revamping" of MLS Toronto FC last week. Anselmi: "There were some highs and lows, but it was a privilege for a poor kid from West End Toronto to be president of a company like this" (TORONTO SUN, 9/7). The GLOBE & MAIL's Jeff Blair wrote, "There is no doubting Anselmi’s popularity both within the MLSE framework and within the local media community." He was an "accessible, thoughtful sports executive and did good work for the company in the area of facilities development and management." But "for most fans," Anselmi has "remained scarred by his experiences atop TFC" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/7).
NOT ENOUGH ROOM FOR THE BOTH OF US: Anselmi said, "There's only space for one president." In Toronto, Dave Feschuk cites sources as saying that Anselmi's departure was a "finishing touch to a Leiweke-led restructuring designed to eliminate what some have called a 'country-club' atmosphere at a money machine of a company." For all of Anselmi's "public failures" with Toronto FC, his "career has otherwise been a string of quieter successes" (TORONTO STAR, 9/7). Anselmi on Friday said, "When Tim came on board, he and I agreed to try and figure out whether (Anselmi and Leiweke could work together) while we worked through a transition. I wanted to make sure I was helpful and supportive in his transition. At the same time, let’s see if this can work. Let’s see if there’s a role (for me). Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that there wasn’t. ... Once you’ve done the (top) job, you want to keep doing that job." The NATIONAL POST's Eric Koreen noted Anselmi was the company’s president from September '12 through June, but while he "received Peddie’s president title, but he was not named CEO." Though he was a "significant player in the building of the Air Canada Centre and the formation of the company’s television stations and broadcast deals, the on-field failure of Toronto FC perhaps prevented him from a more permanent ascension." Toronto FC "was largely Anselmi's responsibility." Peddie said, "In Tom’s case, he has to wear TFC. It goes with the turf. I’m being fairly critical, just as I’ve been publicly critical of my job." Anselmi: "That’s one of the big disappointments. ... We didn’t get it right there, a couple of times." He said that "travelling, snowmobiling and renewing his TFC season tickets are on his immediate agenda." He added, "Who works anywhere for 17 years? Certainly not senior executives" (NATIONAL POST, 9/7).
Former NBA Deputy Commissioner RUSS GRANIK was one of 12 honorees at yesterday's Basketball HOF Enshrinement Ceremony, and he "did a solid job with his remarks, which began by poking fun at the duty that both" he and NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO ADAM SILVER are most known for, according to Jason Remillard of the Springfield REPUBLICAN. Granik said, "I checked my entry on Wikipedia. At first I thought it was cool, being with all those historical figures, until I saw the brief bio, which starts something like this: Russ Granik, American sports executive, best known as the announcer for second-round picks at the NBA Draft" (MASSLIVE.com, 9/8). In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence wrote Granik's election "as a contributor raised some eyebrows, but not to the people who remember how DAVID STERN's former right-hand man worked behind the scenes in the 1980's to ensure that international players would be able to play in the NBA, without facing repercussions back home." Granik had "a major say in getting international rules changed to allow players to return to their countries and keep their eligibility for Olympic competition" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/8). Granik said of the biggest challenge getting the Dream Team off the ground, "I think the hardest part turned out to be dealing with all the sponsor issues. You had a structure in the Olympics where, basically, players were expected to cede all their likeness rights at that time. And yet here we had a group of players that had contracted many of those rights to very substantial companies. That turned out to be very tricky, to get all of that worked out." NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper noted Granik chose USA Basketball Chair JERRY COLANGELO "to be his presenter" (NBA.com, 9/8).
Ripken Baseball Inc., the business arm of HOFer CAL RIPKEN JR. and his brother BILL, has struck a corporate alliance with Georgia-based sports general contractor Fields Inc. to create a new sports field development entity, Ripken Sports. The newly formed Ripken Sports will replace Ripken Design, which had aided operators at all levels of sports in the planning and development of athletic complexes, particularly scholastic and collegiate clients. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Fields Inc. President & CEO BRIAN STORM will lead Ripken Sports. Fields Inc. has held a long relationship with Ripken Baseball, primarily through consulting on youth field construction efforts carried out by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. Ripken Jr. said, "We're trying to figure out how we can get better together, and this is an opportunity to move this business forward. This really adds to what we have and expands our capabilities." Among the areas of field development Ripken Sports will work in are feasibility studies, design, project management and construction. Storm: "The Ripken brand carries a tremendous amount of weight, even outside of baseball. We think our combined capabilities, the ability to offer a one-stop shop to clients, and the Ripken name will open a lot of doors for us."
IOC Marketing Commission Chair GERHARD HEIBERG announced he is stepping down from his position at the end of the year. He has served in the role for 12 years, the entirety of President JACQUES ROGGE's leadership of the IOC. Rogge said, "Thank you for your excellent job" (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer)...The T'Wolves named Wizards VP/Player Personnel MILT NEWTON GM (AP, 9/6)....Premier Partnerships named former Genesco Sports Enterprises co-Founder & Partner CHARLIE TURANO Exec VP. Turano, who sold his half of Genesco in '05, will relocate to California (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/9 issue)....Marist College promoted TRAVIS TELLITOCCI to Senior Associate AD/Internal Affairs (Marist).
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In Ft. Worth, Clarence Hill Jr. profiled Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES, noting while he is "pleased with his accomplishments as he enters his 25th season, he is not satisfied in the least." The failures have "eaten at him more and more each year, while the noise from the critics has grown louder." It has Jones heading into the season "obsessed more than ever with making the Cowboys winners again." Jones said that his health is "fine." Jones: "I don't have any compromising health issues that would not allow me to stay involved for a long time." Hill noted Cowboys COO & Exec VP STEPHEN JONES is "taking on more and more" in the role (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/8). Jones had "plenty of diverse company in his suite" last night for the Giants-Cowboys game. Jones' guests included New Jersey Gov. CHRIS CHRISTIE and singer GEORGE STRAIT. Wrestler HULK HOGAN and Heat F LEBRON JAMES "have also been sighted at Jerry World" (DALLASNEWS.com, 9/8).
FOLLOW THE LEADER: FORBES.com's Alana Glass profiled ESPN Exec VP & CFO CHRISTINE DRIESSEN, who is also a member of the ESPN BOD. Driessen began her career at the net in '85 as its controller. She said of her greatest professional accomplishments, "I've developed an executive women's forum where the top 50 women in the company meet quarterly to raise issues that are unique to the females in this company, as well as develop next-generation of leadership and mentoring" (FORBES.com, 9/5).
REVED UP: Angels P C.J. WILSON owns CJ Wilson Racing, a "four-to-five-car team" that last weekend ran "a pair of race-prepped Mazda Miatas" in the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, a spec series that features only Miatas. Wilson "owns a Mazda dealership just outside of Chicago" (LATIMES.com, 9/7).
AWARDS & RECOGNITION: The Reds unveiled a statue of Baseball HOFer JOE MORGAN on Saturday "in front of a crowd of roughly 3,000 fans, with family and friends also in attendance." Morgan joined JOHNNY BENCH, TED KLUSZEWSKI, ERNIE LOMBARDI, JOE NUXHALL and FRANK ROBINSON as Reds greats honored with a statue at Crosley Terrace (MLB.com, 9/7)....The IOC yesterday "awarded its highest honor" to Dutch King WILLEM-ALEXANDER "after he relinquished his membership to focus on matters at home." IOC President JACQUES ROGGE "presented the Olympic gold order" to Willem-Alexander during a session in Buenos Aires (AP, 9/8).
NAMES: Jaguars Owner SHAHID KHAN met with Florida Gov. RICK SCOTT last night to discuss "economic development opportunities" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 9/8)...IOC presidential candidate RICHARD CARRION "has tapped" political consultant JAMES CARVILLE "to assist with his campaign" (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer)....The federal government issued an indictment against financial manager JOSEPH ZADA, who "allegedly swindled" former NHLer SERGEI FEDEROV out of $43M. Zada is "charged with scamming 28 investors" in all (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/7)....U.S. Commerce Secretary PENNY PRITZKER took a trip to Nike HQs on Friday (OREGONLIVE.com, 9/6)….Lakers G KOBE BRYANT “will make one last long-distance trip” to Abu Dhabi and Dubai on Sept. 26-27 for the Kobe Bryant Health & Fitness Weekend in support of Diabetes Awareness (LATIMES.com, 9/6)….Hockey HOFer RAY BOURQUE, along with current Bruins BRAD MARCHAND, DENNIS SEIDENBERG and GREGORY CAMPBELL participated in Bruins C MILAN LUCIC’s Rock & Jock Softball Game fundraiser on Friday (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/8)….NASCAR driver JIMMIE JOHNSON’s wife CHANDRA on Friday gave birth to a daughter, LYDIA NORRISS, in Charlotte (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/7).
IN MEMORY: Salt Lake City-based AP sports writer LYNN DEBRUIN died Saturday at the age of 51 after a battle with cancer. DeBruin “spent 10 years as an NFL beat writer, first in Arizona, then with the Broncos for JOHN ELWAY’s final Super Bowl” (AP, 9/7).