SBD/November 13, 2013/People and Pop Culture

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  • As American As Apple Pie: Several U.S. Congress Members Form First Baseball Caucus

    Democrats and Republicans on the '13 game roster developed a bit of camaraderie

    U.S. Congress members ROGER WILLIAMS (R-Texas) and MIKE DOYLE (D-Penn.) are forming the first Congressional Baseball Caucus, something Williams said he hopes can “take the edge off the tension that we have every day” by talking sports and sharing baseball stories, according to Hannah Hess of ROLL CALL. Williams, who played in the Braves' minor-league system for three years, brought up the idea to Doyle “after reflecting on how baseball lightened the mood of the body even in the midst of budget bickering and assorted scandals.” Doyle said the 23 Democrats and 38 Republicans on the roster for the '13 Congressional Baseball Game in June “developed a little bit of a camaraderie through the game.” Hall reported the group, approved by the House Administration Committee on Oct. 24, “already has commitments from many of the members who were on the diamond in June and some of the players who compete in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game.” Doyle said, “When you know somebody personally and know a little bit about them and their family, I think it leads to a little more civility. I think we could use a little more civility in the House, so I’m for anything that helps do that” (ROLLCALL.com, 11/12).

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  • Minding My Business: Major League Gaming Co-Founder & CEO Sundance DiGiovanni

    DiGiovanni said everything MLG does sounds and feels like a sport

    Major League Gaming co-Founder & CEO SUNDANCE DIGIOVANNI has been around the video game circuit for a while now, having started the company in '02. But ahead of this month's MLG Championship event in Columbus, even he is impressed by its growth. DiGiovanni said he expects the event to bring in record ticket sales, breaking the previous mark set this spring at the Anaheim Convention Center. He chatted with THE DAILY this week about pushing MLG to new audiences, how Rockets GM DARYL MOREY has contributed as a BOD member, and how he uses bacon as a bargaining tactic.

    Gaming is growing...
    One of the big things we're working on with Relativity Media is how we mainstream the brand, bring in new people, expose folks to what we're all about. And that's to broaden it out -- to bring in the secondary audiences that we're starting to see a little bit of growth in, and some real traction. Everybody plays games now; it’s not just guys 18-34, although they're always going to be the core of it. There's a lot of overlap there. We're seeing girlfriends, we're seeing sisters, sometimes even moms. We're also kind of taking a page from ESPN's book. You might see us start to go to some events that you wouldn't necessarily associate with videogames, as well as the usual E3s and what not. The Relativity relationship allows us to get people like DWIGHT HOWARD out to events, and you're going to see us leaning on some of their abilities to attract stars. 

    Game vs. Sport...
    If you look at the way we've started to present and broadcast what we do, it all sounds and feels like a sport. The energy is very similar to a sports broadcast. More importantly, when you get in the room, when you're sitting in that room, it sounds like, feels like, has the energy of a sporting event.

    The Rocket man...
    Daryl Morey is an awesome fan of E-sports in general. He's just somebody I spoke to and immediately had a connection with. He just has so much experience in the traditional sports world and what works and what doesn't, and understanding the entertainment factors that it was a great opportunity. He's out there banging the drum for us with folks who are a little hesitant, as you might expect, in the traditional sports world. It’s helping and making a real difference. He is a Moneyball type of a guy, and that's really how we operate our business. We're very data-driven.

    Negotiations go awry when...
    We've had bad experiences with people who are a little young, you could say. They had big expectations but hadn't necessarily delivered enough value, because everybody wants to be a pro and everybody thinks they're good, or better than what they are. Our industry needs more self-reflection, because everybody comes at this thinking they have all the answers when, in fact, that's not the case. This is still a growing business, a growing industry. There's a lot of opportunity, but you can't force it. 

    Daily media diet...
    ESPN Radio. Getting coffee and getting ready to go to work, it’s usually "MIKE & MIKE." I love it. Having that on in the morning is very comforting and kind of sets me up for my initial conversations in the office just in case I miss some scores. Other mainstays are TechCrunch, BusinessInsider, The Verge. I kind of have a shifting consumption habit where I get articles sent to me, and I stockpile them and read them later.

    Favorite apps...
    Probably HipChat. We use that to communicate in the office, so when I’m on the road, to kind of stay up to date with what’s going on with the engineering team or the advertising team or the executive team. Evernote is a big one for me because I like to keep my notes synched across everything. I went from someone who had notebooks all over the place and was constantly trying to remember what was written in one I couldn't find and Evernote fixed that. 

    On the playlist...
    "Black Elvis/Lost In Space" by COOL KEITH. It’s a classic -- hard to find, it came out in ’99 -- but I’m a big Cool Keith fan. When I was a younger man, I used to go to his shows and listen to him a lot, and it's a really funky and interesting album.

    Big Apple bites...
    Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, across the street from our office on Park Avenue, it’s great and the bacon’s fantastic. You can always tell what you're dealing with in a business meeting if you open up with a big slab of bacon. How people react to that -- you know right away.

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  • Executive Transactions

    Competitor Group named AEG Senior VP/Partnership Sales BILL PEDIGO Chief Revenue Officer. Pedigo will head Competitor Group's sales and sponsorship division, effective immediately. He will report to CEO SCOTT DICKEY. Pedigo spent eight years with AEG (CGI).

    EXECS: The IOC named Rugby World Cup Head KIT MCCONNELL Sports Dir (AP, 11/12)....Atlanta Motor Speedway promoted DUSTIN BIXBY to Dir of Marketing & Promotion, filling the position MARCY SCOTT held before passing away earlier this month following a battle with cancer (AMS)....Learfield Sports named ADAM FROIDL Badger Sports Properties Account Exec, JOSH PELL Mizzou Sports Properties Account Exec and JON IHRIG Saluki Sports Properties Account Exec (Learfield)....The L.A. Sports Council named Pacific Sports LLC President & CEO JACK CARESS to its BOD (LASC).

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

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  • Names In The News

    Patterson will be eligible for two annual bonuses of $100,000 each

    In Austin, Ralph Haurwitz reported incoming Univ. of Texas men's AD STEVE PATTERSON under a contract running through August '19 will receive an annual salary of $1.4M and "annual increases of at least" 2.5%. Patterson will be "eligible for two annual bonuses of $100,000 each if the intercollegiate athletics program is financially solvent and if neither the NCAA nor the Big 12 Conference finds major infractions in men's athletics." His compensation package also includes "use of two courtesy cars from a local dealership and memberships including monthly dues in three clubs" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/12).

    COMING TO TERMS: College Football Playoff selection committee members MIKE GOULD, PAT HADEN, TOM OSBORNE and MIKE TRANGHESE "will have terms that expire" in February '16. BARRY ALVAREZ, OLIVER LUCK, ARCHIE MANNING and CONDOLEEZZA RICE will serve through February '17, while TOM JERNSTEDT, JEFF LONG, DAN RADAKOVICH, STEVE WIEBERG and TYRONE WILLINGHAM will serve through February '18 (ESPN.com, 11/12).

    EASY DOES IT: The New Orleans NBA All-Star Host Committee and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation yesterday officially named ESPN's AVERY JOHNSON and Pelicans & Saints Vice Chair RITA BENSON LEBLANC co-Chairs for the 63rd NBA All-Star Game in February (New Orleans NBA All-Star Host Committee). In Baton Rouge, Ted Lewis notes while LeBlanc and Johnson's responsibilities are "largely ceremonial beyond serving as goodwill ambassadors," the announcement ceremony was "one sign that the extent of local involvement will be much more" than in '08, the last time the NBA All-Star Game was played in New Orleans (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 11/13).

    NAMES: Oneida Indian Nation CEO RAY HALBRITTER and other Native American leaders yesterday used a meeting at the White House "to thank" PRESIDENT OBAMA for "wading into the controversy over the Washington Redskins team name and voicing his concern that the nickname was offensive." The meeting was closed to reporters (AP, 11/12)....Rockies SS TROY TULOWITZKI was inducted into the Long Beach State Univ. HOF last night and announced a $1M donation to assist with the renovation of Blair Field (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/13)….Boxer MANNY PACQUIAO is “dedicating his comeback fight” on Nov. 24 against BRANDON RIOS to the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines last week (AP, 11/13)….Former NFLer BRETT FAVRE and his wife DEANNA’s foundation, Favre 4 Hope, has “supported charities in Mississippi and Wisconsin with $180,000 in grants” for ’13 (AP, 11/12)….WNBA Sparks F CANDACE PARKER and her husband, former NBAer SHELDEN WILLIAMS, “have listed their home” in the Playa Vista neighborhood of L.A. for $1.499M (LATIMES.com, 11/12).

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