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SBD/January 16, 2014/People and Pop CulturePrint All
In the 20 years since Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT purchased the team, it has been "near the top of nearly every category associated with sustained success," according to a profile by Jackie MacMullan of ESPN BOSTON. Kraft said, "After the love of my family, there's nothing more important to me than winning football games. And I will do whatever I have to do to put this team in position to do that." Next week will "mark the 20th anniversary" of Kraft buying the team for $172M. He has "deftly molded" the Patriots brand into an "empire that includes the open-air shopping center Patriot Place, and he has done it with private funds." Kraft is one of the "most powerful men in football, viewed as both a tender philanthropist and a ruthless businessman." In the past 20 years he has been "lauded as the man who saved the NFL and denigrated as the man who eviscerated the city of Hartford." Kraft's name "will forever be mud" in the city after he brokered a deal to move the Patriots there in '99. The deal included a $374M waterfront stadium that "would leave him debt free." But he later "extricated himself from" the agreement, and the "backlash was venomous." Kraft said, "I've learned not to be surprised when unexpected negative things come along. Everyone is there for the good times. It's how you handle the difficult times that will separate you. It's like keeping a family together. Let's be honest: This is a sick business. (The NFL) is going for parity. Your games get scheduled in terms of how well you did. You draft according to how well you did. You're punished for excellence, in a sense." He added, "Sustaining success is so hard, and the one thing I learned you can't have is division from within." Kraft's son and Patriots President JONATHAN KRAFT is the "heir apparent to this NFL jewel, but the father is not quite ready to abdicate his football throne" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 1/14).
GOOD FOR BUSINESS: Jonathan Kraft appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" this morning, with CNBC's Joe Kernen noting Sunday's Patriots-Broncos AFC Championship Game is "so much more expensive than any other recent game" because it is "such a dream game." Kernen noted tickets were going for up to $800. Kraft said, "For the NFL, if ... we couldn't be in it, this would be the matchup that I would want to see because it's the right thing for the business" ("Squawk Box, CNBC, 1/16).
The LPGA named TV sports consultant MIKE TRAGER BOD Chair (LPGA)....Seahawks & MLS Sounders Chief Commercial Officer ERIC MASTALIR has stepped down from his position to pursue other opportunities (THE DAILY)....Petty Holdings CMO MIKE BARTELLI will leave his position with the company Feb. 14. The former President of Motorsports at Millsport has been with Petty Holdings since '08, working on the company's driving experience, licensing and other businesses. He is looking for his next opportunity (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer)....Turner Scott Motorsports named Red Horse Racing NASCAR Camping Truck Series Manager KEVIN RAY Dir of Business Operations (FOXSPORTS.com, 1/15)....One World Sports named former Outdoor Channel Senior VP/Affiliate Sales & Marketing RANDY BROWN Exec VP/Distribution (CABLEFAX DAILY, 1/16)....The MLB Rangers promoted GIL KIM to Dir of Int'l Scouting and RAFIC SAAB to Dir of Latin America Scouting (Rangers)....Former Phillies manager CHARLIE MANUEL will join the team as "a senior adviser" to GM RUBEN AMARO JR. (CSNPHILLY.com, 1/15).
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L.A. Superior Court Judge HUEY COTTON yesterday "denied a motion to dismiss BILLY HUNTER's wrongful termination lawsuit" against the NBPA "on the basis of a dispute over his contract, but threw out most allegations against DEREK FISHER and all actions against his former business manager, JAMIE WIOR." Hunter will "be allowed to continue his action against" the union, in which he disputes the argument that "his contract was invalid as a basis for firing him" in February '13. Hunter had alleged that the two "conspired to oust him and seize control of the NBPA during and after the 2011 lockout" (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/15).
HONORING WEINER: The Baseball Assistance Team charity next week will honor late MLBPA Exec Dir MICHAEL WEINER at its annual "Going to Bat for BAT" dinner in N.Y. on Jan. 21. Weiner will be honored posthumously with the BAT Lifetime Achievement Award. BAT at the dinner also will recognize Phillies SS JIMMY ROLLINS and free agent MICHAEL YOUNG for their contributions to the community. MLB Commissioner BUD SELIG, as previously announced, will receive the inaugural Commissioner Selig Leadership Award (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
MASTERPIECE THEATRE: Last night's edition of NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” featured the Audience Suggestion Box segment in which Fallon read a suggestion that said, “Hey Jimmy, I just heard that there is now a play on Broadway about some of the most famous players on the New York Yankees called ‘BRONX BOMBERS,’ and that got me wondering what it would be like to see actual Yankees players act out a dramatic scene. Anyway, you could make that happen?’" Fallon said, "I’ve often wondered the same thing. So now here to perform a scene from ‘AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY' are Yankees All-Stars CC SABATHIA and MARK TEIXEIRA.” Sabathia and Teixeira appeared on stage in wigs to act out a scene from the film ("Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," NBC, 1/15).
NAMES: Yankees SS DEREK JETER has joined Luvo, a company that "makes healthy prepared foods," as Partner & Brand Development Officer (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/15)....The original McKeever Place street sign "that marked the location of Brooklyn's fabled Ebbets Field sold for $58,852" during a Lelands.com auction on Monday (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/16)....DirecTV yesterday announced that JAY Z will perform at its Feb. 1 Super Bowl party (NJ.com, 1/15)....NHL Rangers LW DANIEL CARCILLO last week listed his "two-bedroom, 2,500-square foot loft condominium unit" in Lincoln Park, Ill., for $649,000 (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 1/15).