SBD/March 13, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

Murdoch's impact on the TV industry is vast, but his legacy is complicated
VARIETY's Brian Lowry wrote inducting News Corp. Chair & CEO RUPERT MURDOCH into the Television Academy HOF on Tuesday "sounds like a no-brainer," as "few have done more in the past 30 years to reshape the TV business, from the launch of the Fox broadcasting network to the fledgling outfit’s poaching of rights to the NFL." Lowry: "On closer inspection, though, Murdoch’s legacy is more complicated than that, inviting questions about what a Hall of Fame is intended to do." While News Corp.'s "contributions have been significant under [Murdoch's] stewardship, they have also done much to divide the public -- and frequently led TV down a path of dubious standards and questionable taste." If the "goal is strictly to recognize influence, Murdoch sails into TV’s Hall of Fame on the first ballot." Lowry: "Held in the balance, Murdoch probably deserves the accolade. His footprint is simply too overwhelming to ignore" (VARIETY.com, 3/11).

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS: In Winston-Salem, Owen Covington profiles IMG College President BEN SUTTON JR. as an exec who competes with the “biggest marketing revenue generators in the country” -- like the NFL, MLB and ESPN -- to “help bring to colleges and universities what he believes is their fair share of the billions spent by companies and retailers trying to reach sports fans.” Sutton has the “broadest and most direct line to a college sports fan base numbering more than 190 million,” with relationships with more than 200 schools. He guides a company with 1,000 employees that generated $483M in revenue last year. Sutton believes that figure “will double in the next decade.” And “all of this is happening in downtown Winston-Salem, where Sutton fashioned a headquarters that’s a sports fan’s dream.” Sutton “expects IMG College to remain firmly rooted in the Triad” following William Morris Endeavor’s purchase of IMG (TRIAD BUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/7 issue).

HOMECOMING DANCE: NASCAR President MIKE HELTON "had a rare dinner date with Tri-Cities media representatives" last night at Bristol Motor Speedway in the personal suite of SMI Chair BRUTON SMITH. Helton, a native of Bristol, Tenn., said, "The Tri-Cities market, collectively, is a significant player. I know this area has its challenges economically with business, but there also are a lot of positives around here that still make Bristol a pretty neat place, so I am always going to be pro-Bristol no matter where I'm at" (BRISTOL HERALD COURIER, 3/13).

NAMES: ABC's ROBIN ROBERTS will be honored by the Hawks during their game against the Pelicans on March 21, as Hawks F AL HORFORD will present her with the “Be Greater” award. The Hawks will "play a video tribute narrated by Roberts’ friend" WSB-TV anchor emeritus MONICA PEARSON (AJC.com, 3/12)....PHIT America, a non-profit education and advocacy organization designed to combat inactivity and obesity, has announced Golf HOFer GARY PLAYER as a celebrity ambassador (PHIT)....ESPN's NEIL EVERETT hosted the 62nd annual Oregon Sports Awards on Sunday (PORTLANDTRIBUNE.com, 3/13)....Retired U.S. gymnast ALICIA SACRAMONE and free agent QB BRADY QUINN got married over the weekend (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/13)....NASCAR driver MATT KENSETH has put his Charlotte-area home on Lake Norman up for sale for $2.799M (NBCSPORTS.com, 3/12).

IN MEMORY: Former MLS player SHAWN KUYKENDALL died yesterday at the age of 32 "after a yearlong battle with thymic cancer" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 3/12). 
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