SBD/March 19, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

In DC, Kent Hoover wrote the White House is "putting on a full-court press to boost Obamacare enrollment this year by the insurance exchanges' March 31 deadline," and this week it has "turned to the basketball world in hopes of capitalizing on March Madness." A commercial featuring Heat F LEBRON JAMES "encouraging people to sign up for health insurance coverage" recently began airing, and Heat F SHANE BATTIER yesterday participated in a White House call "talking about sports injuries and why it's important to have health insurance to cover their cost." A video was released Monday featuring UNC men's basketball coach ROY WILLIAMS as "part of a '16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered' promotion" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/18). UConn women's basketball coach GENO AURIEMMA also appears in the ad. The White House "created its own bracket in which people can vote on Facebook or Twitter for their favorite funny promotion of Healthcare.gov" (COURANT.com, 3/18).

CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS: In Alabama, Joel Erickson reported Auburn signed new men's basketball coach BRUCE PEARL to a six-year deal worth $2.2M per year in the first year. The contract "has a $100,000 escalator in each succeeding year" after the first. Pearl's contract "also includes a hefty buyout if he decides to leave Auburn early." If Pearl leaves Auburn in the first two seasons, he "owes the school" $5M, then it is reduces to $4M in the season after that and down to $1M. His new contract is an increase from the $1.9M he made at Tennessee before being fired in '11 for lying to NCAA investigators (AL.com, 3/18).

ON THE DOCKET: Super Bowl XLV worker SEVERIN SAMPSON, who was "seriously injured by falling ice and snow" before the game, "has settled for an undisclosed amount" with the NFL, Cowboys and Super Bowl contractors Populous and SAFE Management. AT&T Stadium architect HKS "did not settle and was cleared of negligence" yesterday by a Dallas County jury. The trial started in late February but was on break last week (DALLASNEWS.com, 3/18).

AWARDS & HONORS: Broadcaster TIM BRANDO "has been selected as the winner of the annual Lindsey Nelson Award, awarded by the Knoxville Quarterback Club." The honor "is given to a distinguished sportscaster who has promoted the game of college football" (SHREVEPORTTIMES.com, 3/18)....Late Penn State Associate SID MARY JO HAVERBECK is being posthumously awarded with the '14 Women's Basketball Coaches Association's Mel Greenberg Media Award (WBCA).

NAMES: The Aquilini Group, which owns the Canucks, announced the purchase yesterday of Toptable Restaurant Group, “which comprises five well-reviewed luxury outlets” (Vancouver PROVINCE, 3/19)….ESPN’s BRIAN GRIESE earlier this month was the host for the Carnivor Insider’s Dinner, an “invitation-only event” at the Ocean Prime restaurant in Denver to “celebrate the arrival of Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon” (DENVERPOST.com, 3/18)….Spurs G MARCO BELINELLI put up for auction “the personalized Nike Hyperdunks he wore during his victory in the 3-Point Contest" at the NBA All-Star Game, raising $11,832 for CharityStars.com (MYSANANTONIO.com, 3/18)….Singer SAMMY HAGAR “will play the annual Carb Day concert” on May 23 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (INDYSTAR.com, 3/18)….Bears coach MARC TRESTMAN “listed his six-bedroom mansion” in Winnetka, Ill., for $3.495M (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 3/18)….ESPN’s RAY LEWIS “has again placed” his Owings Mills, Md. home on the market, with the price set at $950,000 after being listed for $1.1M last summer (BALTIMORESUN.com, 3/18)….Jets WR ERIC DECKER and his wife, singer JESSIE JAMES, yesterday “welcomed their first baby, VIVIANNE ROSE” (N.Y. POST, 3/19).
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