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SBD/October 22, 2013/People and Pop CulturePrint All
It’s time to make your opinion known as the 9th annual SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily Reader Survey is underway. The survey features more than 100 questions across leagues, teams, facilities, sponsorship, media, and more.
*What is the biggest threat to sports?
*Which of the following is the most marketable athlete?
*Who is the most influential person in sports business?
*What is the biggest sports business story of the year?
*Which of the following events would you put on your "bucket list" to attend in person?
*Grade the NCAA's effectiveness in dealing with rules enforcement.
Those are some of the questions you'll find in this year’s survey. Cast your votes and then see highlights of the results the week of Dec. 2. We want to hear from you.
Titans Owner BUD ADAMS, who "brought professional football to Houston in 1960 and, three decades later, spirited it away to Tennessee," died yesterday at his home in Houston at the age of 90, according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Adams "lived alone and was found in the office at his River Oaks home." Houston police said that Adams "had not been seen since Saturday." Adams will be remembered as "one of the city’s earliest sports magnates as owner of the Oilers and a member of the so-called 'Foolish Club'" that, along with late Chiefs Founder LAMAR HUNT, "created the upstart American Football League, and as one of the early investors in the Houston Sports Association group that brought the Colt .45s to Houston" in '62. Adams also became "in the minds of many a controversial, divisive figure who battled with city officials and fellow owners from the 1960s through the 1990s and, eventually, took his team and left town." Adams in the '80s threatened to move the Oilers to Jacksonville "unless Harris County officials increased seating in the Astrodome," and in the '90s "campaigned for a city-funded stadium but was opposed" by Houston Mayor BOB LANIER. Nashville Mayor PHIL BREDESON then "crafted a city-supported stadium plan that led to the Oilers’ departure from Houston" after the '96 season (CHRON.com, 10/21). In N.Y., Richard Goldstein noted Hunt "enlisted" Adams to join him in creating the AFL. They announced plans for the league at a news conference in Adams' board room. Adams' death leaves Bills Owner RALPH WILSON "as the last NFL owner whose football roots go back to the AFL’s creation" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/22).
TITANIC FIGURE: NFL.com's Elliot Harrison wrote about Adams under the header, "A Complex Individual Who Significantly Shaped NFL." Harrison wrote Adams led an NFL franchise "for over 50 years, logging more wins (409) than any other current NFL owner at the time of his passing." He also partnered with Hunt "to form the most successful 'other' league in pro football history." Between the AFL's founding and the Titans' Super Bowl appearance in '00, Adams was "a staying power, with a wit to keep league meetings real and a business mind to hasten the NFL's shift to the super stadium game" (NFL.com, 10/21). In Houston, John McClain writes "no matter what you thought" about Adams, there is "no denying his impact on pro football." The history of the NFL "can't be written without Adams" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/22). NFL Network's Mark Kriegel said of Adams and his fellow "Foolish Club" members, "They understood that as much as they were into the football business, they were also in the television business. They didn't just change pro football, they didn't just change sports, I don't think it's too much to say that they changed American popular culture" ("NFL AM," NFL Network, 10/22). ESPN's Bill Polian said "without him and Ralph Wilson Jr., there's probably not the NFL that we know today." ESPN's Chris Mortensen said Adams "really did want that Super Bowl, that elusive Super Bowl, but at the same time it doesn't diminish his accomplishments as an owner." Moretensen added, "He was very generous with his time and always a gentleman" ("NFL Insiders," ESPN, 10/21). NFL.com's Gil Brandt wrote Adams was a "league-minded person" who "put the NFL first." He "cared more about the welfare of his team and the league than he did about the bottom line." That is "not to say he threw his money away like some other wealthy guys." He would "spend money, but you had to show him it was worth it" (NFL.com, 10/21).
PROGRESSIVE OWNER: In Nashville, Jim Wyatt notes Adams "provided a platform for diversity in African-American quarterbacks," including WARREN MOON, STEVE MCNAIR and VINCE YOUNG. Moon said, "Mr. Adams wasn't doing it because he was trying to make a statement. He was doing it because he felt like those players were the best players at the time and he didn't care about the color of their skin. We just happened to be African-American." Moon added, "More than anything, Bud was a football guy who wanted to win." Wyatt noted Adams last month was nominated for the Pro Football HOF, and Adams said that he would "like to be considered" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 10/22).
TENNESSEE PRIDE: In Nashville, John Glennon writes Adams' commitment to to the city "would eventually produce the first major league sports team to call Tennessee home, and the Titans have since become a fixture -- selling out 144 consecutive games in Nashville, going to the playoffs six times and making one memorable run to the Super Bowl." Adams' decision to move the team "produced other benefits for Nashville as well, including his many charitable contributions to the city." Adams was "generous with his money," with the Titans "estimating -- prior to the 2012 season -- that since the team moved to Tennessee, local charities had seen 'approximately $20 million flow into their organizations as a direct result of the Titans and the NFL'" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 10/22). ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky wrote Nashville is "booming," and there are "a lot of reasons." Adams is "probably the biggest" (ESPN.com, 10/21). Titans coach MIKE MUNCHAK said, "People think he wasn’t here, so maybe he wasn’t an active owner being here all the time. But he was. ... He was here all the time, you could see him, you could feel him, it’s just his body, he wasn’t here. I think he’ll always be here" (ESPN.com, 10/21). However, in Memphis, David Williams writes Adams "will be best remembered locally for his NFL team’s ill-fated temporary stay at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in 1997 while awaiting its new stadium in Nashville." The stay was "perhaps doomed to fail." The team "raised ticket prices ... did little to market the team in Memphis and had scant presence here beyond game days." Memphis residents "stayed away from the games in droves." The only crowd "to top 40,000 was the season finale" (COMMERCIALAPPEAL.com, 10/21).
WALKING TO HIS OWN BEAT: SPORTS ON EARTH's Dan Pompei writes Adams "set his own course with little regard for convention." He "could be a handful for his administrators," he could "fly off the handle and react harshly, and his patience thinned as he aged." Adams at various points of his career was "portrayed as a micromanager and skinflint." He "slugged a sportswriter and flipped off some fans." But he was "earthy and real." Pompei: "For better or worse, he always seemed to know what he wanted, and he wasn't shy about seizing control of his destiny" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 10/22). To read about what lies ahead for the Titans' ownership situation, see "Titans' Future In Nashville Appears Stable, With Bud Adams' Grandson Likely To Take Reins."
BUM STEER? USA TODAY's Jim Wyatt writes Adams was a "trendsetter with a lifelong love of sports and a fondness for Houston." Adams "kept his office and residence in Houston until his death." He "sometimes created controversy when the Oilers were still in Houston, in part because of his willingness to part ways with successful coaches who fell short of his Super Bowl goal," including former Oilers coach & GM BUM PHILLIPS, who died on Friday (USA TODAY, 10/22). SPORTING NEWS' David Steele noted Adams and Phillips are "the two biggest names in the history of pro football in Houston." Phillips' death "brought heartbreak," while Adams' death "brings mostly heartache." Adams' firing of Phillips "will never be forgiven" in Houston (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 10/21).
adidas Group yesterday announced it is uniting the Reebok and adidas brands under one management team in North America. adidas North America President PATRICK NILSSON has been promoted to adidas Group North America President and will lead the newly united organization. He also will assume global responsibility for Reebok-CCM Hockey. Portland will remain the home of the adidas brand in the U.S. and the Reebok brand will continue to be based in Canton, Mass. (adidas). In Boston, Taryn Luna reports Reebok North America President ULI BECKER yesterday left the company "after his job was eliminated in an executive reorganization." adidas said that Becker "departed to pursue other opportunities" and added that "no other executives left the company as a result of the reorganization." Becker spent 23 years at Reebok, and was promoted from CMO to President & Chief Exec in '08. But the chief exec position "was cut last year." The company also said that it plans to "add a new position" next year, with current Reebok Brand Dir for South Korea CHRIS WALDECK to take on the role of U.S. Brand Dir (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/22).
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sara Germano noted Reebok in recent years has "begun to reposition itself to place more focus on the fitness and lifestyle businesses." SportsOneSource analyst MATT POWELL said that the Reebok acquisition "has been a sore spot" for adidas. Powell: "The acquisition has to be a huge embarrassment for Adidas every day" (WSJ.com, 10/21). In Portland, Allan Brettman wrote the move, while "reaffirming Nilsson's valued status within Adidas' organization, raises numerous questions." Top of the list is "whether one of the two entities would be shuttered in a cost-savings move and combined at the other's location." But the company yesterday "reaffirmed its commitment to Adidas in Portland" (OREGONLIVE.com, 10/21). adidas spokesperson LAUREN LAMKIN in an e-mail wrote, "Each location has a unique and powerful culture grounded in the values and goals of each brand." In Portland, Matthew Kish noted adidas employs "roughly 850" at its HQs, while Reebok employs "roughly 1,000 in Canton." The change in management structure "is not expected to affect the location of those employees" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 10/21).
Coca-Cola Senior VP/North America Strategic Marketing ALISON LEWIS "is leaving the company at the end of this month," according to an internal announcement. Lewis, who oversaw the sports group, "has accepted a senior leadership role with another global organization." A Coca-Cola spokesperson "declined to name the company." Lewis "has been with the company for nearly 18 years" and assumed her present role in July '11, replacing BEA PEREZ (ADAGE.com, 10/21).
EXECS: The 49ers promoted VP/Corporate Sales ETHAN CASSON to Chief Sales Officer (THE DAILY)....IOC President THOMAS BACH named Germany Olympic Training Center for Fencing Managing Dir JOCHEN FÄRBER head of his exec office (IOC)....The Mets named Devils Marketing Dir WILL CARAFELLO to the newly created position of Social Media Dir (ESPN.com, 10/21)....Dodgers trainer SUE FALSONE "will not return" for the '14 season. Falsone was the "first female head trainer of a major American pro sports team" when she took the position two years ago. She said that she stepped down to "pursue other opportunities." Dodgers strength & conditioning coach STEPHEN DOWNEY also "will not return after two years with the team" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/22).
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Comcast-Spectacor President & COO PETER LUUKKO was featured in a Q&A today about his businesses. He said of Wells Fargo Center and the changing arena business, "When I first started, if a show grossed $100,000, that was a big gig. We had the Rolling Stones here recently and grossed over $4 million per show." Luukko said the allure of hockey is "the speed and pace." He added of a regular 7:15am ET hockey game that he plays in with team employees at the arena, "What I like is the camaraderie on the bench and in the locker room" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/21).
BEANTOWN'S BEST: R&B artist MARY J. BLIGE will "sing the national anthem before Game 1 of the World Series" tomorrow at Fenway Park (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/22). Meanwhile, celebs spotted at the Red Sox' series-clinching ALCS Game 6 against the Tigers on Saturday night included actor JON HAMM, comedian DANE COOK, writer BEN MEZRICH, U.S. Secretary of State JOHN KERRY, former NFLer DREW BLEDSOE, Celtics President of Basketball Operations DANNY AINGE, Mayor TOM MENINO and Indiana Gov. MIKE PENCE (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/21).
BUCK UP: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's "What's Your Workout" feature today highlights Professional Bull Rider LUKE SNYDER, who said that he relies on "a mix of yoga, low-impact cardio and body-weight-based strength exercises to keep him in shape." He added his strategy is to stay "thin to win." Snyder works out "two to three times a week, as long as his muscles aren't too sore from a competition" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/22).
THE MORE THE MERRIER? Yankees 3B ALEX RODRIGUEZ has added attorney LANNY DAVIS to his "already expansive legal team." Davis has previously worked with Penn State and is still retained by Redskins Owner DAN SNYDER (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/22). Davis said that he has been “acting as an adviser to the legal team for the past six weeks.” He also previously served as White House Special Counsel to President BILL CLINTON (ESPN.com, 10/21).
NAMES: The IOC named golfer MICHELLE WIE Youth Olympics ambassador, joining retired U.S. swimmer MICHAEL PHELPS and Russian pole vaulter YELENA ISINBAYEVA. Wie will advise golfers during the '14 Nanjing Youth Games (REUTERS, 10/21)....Toronto Sun columnist STEVE SIMMONS yesterday received the ’13 Sports Media Canada George Gross Award for Outstanding Sportswriting (TORONTO SUN, 10/22). Sportsnet's BOB MCCOWN was presented the Career Achievement award at the same ceremony (Sportsnet)….Former NBAer MALIK ALLEN and Penn.-based attorney JOSEPH ROCCO have launched inRecruit, a sports social media site “that links high school basketball players with college coaches” (PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/18 issue)….Former Padres Owner JOHN MOORES this weekend will wed DR. DIANNE ROSENBERG (UTSANDIEGO.com, 10/21)....IndyCar driver DARIO FRANCHITTI and his estranged wife, actress ASHLEY JUDD, are reportedly "back together" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 10/21)....Basketball HOFer BILL SHARMAN on Saturday "had a mild stroke" (L.A. TIMES, 10/21).