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NFL Senior VP/Business Affairs & General Counsel GARY GERTZOG, who has been with the league since '94, is leaving the NFL to join Fanatics as Exec VP/Business Affairs. Gertzog will be based at Fanatics' Jacksonville HQs, which administers e-commerce for the NFL, along with almost every other major sports property in the U.S. He will report to Fanatics Founder & CEO ALAN TRAGER, and will be responsible for business affairs, government affairs, legal and corporate development. Gertzog joined the NFL as VP & General Counsel of NFL Properties. Prior to joining the league, he was a partner at the N.Y. law firm Townley & Updike. His duties at the NFL will be split between ANASTASIA DANIAS, recently promoted to Senior VP & Chief Litigation Officer, and DOUG PAOLETTI, recently promoted to Senior VP/Legal & Business Affairs. Gertzog, who will start his new job later this month, said, “There are very few places I would leave the NFL for, but this is a unique opportunity with a company I really believe is reshaping the licensed product business."
From bike rides in the Santa Monica Mountains at sunset, to pre-dawn phone calls overseas, it seems Universal Sports Network VP/Programming ROBERT JAMES is not content just coasting. James, in his new position since May, recently caught up with THE DAILY and discussed his approach to rights negotiations, what he finds so appealing about a nice hotel lobby, and his endless use of Google Maps.
Most of my time at work is spent thinking about...
I’m in charge of all content acquisitions for the network so it’s just nonstop negotiations. Early morning, daily calls to Europe, interacting with all the rights holders. It’s really nonstop. Also, I’m constantly thinking about the Boston Marathon. As the national rights-holder, we’re eyeballing 2014 and we’re trying to be cognizant of 2013 and all those affected, from the victims to the runners, the families and spectators. We’re thinking about how we can bring the story to light.
The art of negotiating...
I tell people all the time that the art of the phone call, it’s a lost art in this business. You’ve got to have the pedal down all the time in this business. You can’t let up. There’s a lot of competition out there for rights, so you have to consistently communicate with the rights holder. If you’re not, another network might sneak up on you and undermine your efforts and try to take the rights away from you.
Best advice I've ever received...
JIM BATES, back at Sports Channel New York, told me we only have one thing to rely on and that’s our reputation. I take that to heart, whether it’s in business or personal life. You’ve got your reputation, it stands out in front of you, it’s your calling card. The people you deal with have to be able to trust you.
Putting miles on my smartphone...
I use Google Maps religiously no matter what city I’m in. Also, foreign language apps, you can’t underestimate pleasantries in a foreign language. I think texting clients, vendors and partners has become almost as prevalent as e-mails in this industry, too.
Can't beat it for a business lunch...
Any hotel lobby, any restaurant that’s quiet. The ideal place is where you can hear the person sitting across the table from you. Find me a hotel lobby and I’ll be very satisfied, there’s a lot of business that goes on there.
Getting back in gear...
I’m a big road cyclist, so I’ll do 30 or 40 miles in the Santa Monica Mountains and try to unwind that way. Just getting those endorphins going puts me in a good frame of mind. I try to do that if I’m not traveling, two to three times a week. I’ll cut out of work at night and do it as the sun sets, or on a Saturday morning I’ll be up at the crack of dawn.
SMG promoted GREGG CAREN to Exec VP/Convention & Exhibition Centers and DOUG THORNTON to Exec VP/Stadiums & Arenas. Both will report to President & CEO WES WESTLEY. SMG also promoted BOB MCCLINTOCK to COO/Convention Centers, HARRY CANN and JOE ROMANO to Senior VPs/Stadiums & Arenas and GARY MCANENEY to Senior VP/Finance (SMG)....Iowa Speedway CEO DOUG FRITZ resigned after two years. The track announced the move yesterday and said that Fritz "left to pursue another opportunity." Track President STAN CLEMENT will add the CEO's duties to his job description (AP, 9/10)....Rice Univ. named Stanford Univ. Senior Associate AD/Development JOE KARLGAARD AD (Rice)....SMU named KURT POTTKOTTER Senior Associate AD/Development. Pottkotter has led the school's National Major Giving team since '10 (SMU)....Former Ontario Premier DAVID PETERSON was named '15 Pan Am Games Organizing Committee Chair, replacing ROGER GARLAND, who has held the post since '09 (CP, 9/9)....The Marketing Arm named ALYSON BRESLIN to head its recruiting efforts (The Marketing Arm)....The First Tee of Greater Houston named DOUG EARLE Exec Dir (First Tee).
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DEADLINE.com's Nellie Andreeva reported Showtime is developing a "one-hour scripted drama set behind the scenes of a pro basketball team and the family that runs it." Writer/Director RON SHELTON is "set to pen, helm and executive produce the project" Street Reason Entertainment, which is run by Lakers Exec VP/Business Operations JEANIE BUSS and LINDA RAMBIS, the wife of Lakers Assistant coach KURT RAMBIS. Basketball HOFer PHIL JACKSON also will produce (DEADLINE.com, 9/10).
BAY MAN: SportsMark Management Group President KEITH BRUCE will "take over as the first CEO of the Bay Area Super Bowl Host Committee." Bruce is the "first staff hire announced since NFL owners in May awarded the committee with the February 2016 title game." Bruce and his firm were "in charge of selling hospitality packages for the America's Cup this summer" in S.F. (MERCURYNEWS.com, 9/10). Bruce has worked on the Olympic Games, the Super Bowl, the FIFA World Cup and NCAA Final Four. He will be responsible for "managing the region's efforts to deliver on the elements of its bid to the NFL, including event operations and logistics, fan experiences, marketing, fundraising partnerships, hospitality and security." Another thing that "needs to be done is to set up a philanthropic giving committee to give some of the money raised to local charities." The committee also named several advisers, including former Secretary of State CONDOLEEZZA RICE, Yahoo CEO MARISSA MAYER, Pro Football HOFer STEVE YOUNG, 49ers President GIDEON YU and former 49ers coach GEORGE SEIFERT (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/10).
CHARITY STRIPE: The Univ. of Kentucky men’s basketball team on Monday night held the ’13 UK Alumni Charity Game at Rupp Arena and “raised $1,005,000 for 17 charities” (KENTUCKY.com, 9/10)….The Manulife Financial LPGA Classic generated $309,000 in donations to the St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation (Manulife)….The Ottawa Senators Foundation on Monday raised C$138,000 during the Bell/Ottawa Senators Charity Golf Classic (Senators).
NAMES: Golden Boy Promotions President OSCAR DE LA HOYA yesterday announced his would not be at the FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.-CANELO ALVAREZ fight on Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena. De La Hoya, who has battled alcohol and drug addiction, said that he "voluntarily" checked himself into a treatment center (USA TODAY, 9/11)....U.K.-based retailer Tesco is selling a "majority of its struggling Fresh & Easy stores" to Penguins co-Owner RON BURKLE (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 9/11)....Former NFLer BOOMER ESIASON will be the subject of the next Friars Club Roast on Jan. 30 at a luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in N.Y. (THE DAILY).
IN MEMORY: Construction worker JOHNNY VALEK was killed yesterday at the site of the new independent American Association St. Paul Saints' ballpark “when a concrete portion of the two-story building that he was helping to demolish crashed down on the cab of his backhoe” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/11).