SBJ/20100517/Sports Business Awards

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  • '10 Sports Business Awards

    The industry’s best descend on New York City’s Times Square as SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily present the third annual Sports Business Awards. Seventy-one nominees across 15 categories will find out who walks away with a coveted trophy as the ceremony pays tribute to their achievements in the business of sports. Before the spotlight shines on the event, we introduce you to this year’s stellar field of finalists.
    Welcome to the
    Sports Business Awards
    May 20, 2010
    Marriott Marquis
    New York City
    The Finalists
    Sports Event Marketing Firm of the Year Professional Sports League of the Year Best in Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services
    Sports Facility of the Year Best in Sports Television Best in Sports Media
    Best in Digital Sports Media Best in Sports Technology Professional Sports Team of the Year
    Athletic Director of the Year Best in Talent Representation and Management Sports Event of the Year
    Best in Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services Sports Sponsor of the Year Sports Executive of the Year

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  • Athletic Director of the Year

    Dick Baddour
    University of North Carolina

    Highlights
    National championships in men’s basketball, women’s soccer and field hockey
    Renovations to key facilities, including an $80 million project at Kenan Stadium
    Contract extensions with Nike and Learfield Sports; new deal with Aramark

    When Dick Baddour signed off on an $80 million project to improve Kenan Stadium, he was doing more than helping the University of North Carolina’s football program. Baddour, UNC’s athletic director of 13 years, was setting in motion a plan to improve the strength and conditioning and academic support facilities, which will be housed within the football stadium and serve as a resource for most of UNC’s 28 teams.

    “I’ve been at the university for 43 years and serving a broad-based program is who I am,” Baddour said. “Sustaining that model is difficult to do in these (economic) times, but it’s something we’re committed to.”

    The improvements to Kenan will have immediate benefits, in terms of increasing the square footage for strength training and academics, as well as future benefits for the budget, which sits at $64 million for 2009-10. Kenan seats 60,000, well below the 80,000 to 90,000 seats found at many of the top football programs, so increased revenue must come from new premium seating, both in the suites that will be added and the club seats that will be created.

    “The concept we’ve created will provide a revenue base that doesn’t exist today and help maintain our 28-sport program,” Baddour said.

    The focus on a broad-based program resulted in a No. 2 finish last year in the Learfield Directors Cup, which measures all-sports excellence. UNC was the first school in ACC history to play in the men’s basketball Final Four, the College World Series and a football bowl game in the same year.


    Gene Bleymaier
    Boise State University

    Highlights
    Contract extension with football coach Chris Petersen; strong pay structure for assistant coaches
    Tapped Learfield Sports as marketing partner and school’s first multimedia rights holder
    Influential voice in the call for a playoff system for college football

    As Boise State enters the 2010 football season, seven of its 12 games are already scheduled to be on television. Stock in the Broncos’ football program and athletics overall is at an all-time high, especially on the heels of Boise State’s Fiesta Bowl victory over TCU.

    And when the Broncos talk about stock, they mean stock. Actual Bronco Stock. For the first time last year, Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier created stock in Boise State athletics, making it the first school to offer such a program. So far, the athletic department has sold 2,300 shares of Bronco Stock to 560 shareholders in 35 states. Close to $250,000 has been raised, which will help build new men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms adjacent to Taco Bell Arena.

    “It’s been a fun project and very well-received,” Bleymaier said.

    That’s the kind of innovation and creativity that’s often required of schools that don’t generate the massive revenue of the schools in the big six conferences. Under Bleymaier’s leadership, Boise State’s annual budget has grown from $16 million five years ago to its current $26 million. The athletic department just bought 15.5 acres that was an old junior high and intends to turn the land into a state-of-the-art track facility. A $2.5 million naming-rights gift has already been secured.

    “We’re not limited to football success, but that’s obviously what we’ve been known for,” Bleymaier said. “The impact of football has been significant. We’re on national TV now, and with that kind of exposure comes benefits.”


    Dan Guerrero
    UCLA

    Highlights
    Moved plans forward to renovate Pauley Pavilion
    Agreed to cut his pay to help with shortfalls in the athletic department budget
    New agreement with the Rose Bowl that includes stadium renovations
    Before he could take the dramatic step of bringing iconic, but fallen, son Rick Neuheisel back to UCLA football, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero had to feel comfortable selling it to his boss, the university chancellor. And before he could feel comfortable selling it, he had to get an answer from Neuheisel. Not only why, but why now?

    “I had to look Rick in the eye and get a good understanding of what was making him tick — not only in the past, but why it was important to him to get back in the saddle now,” said Guerrero, who understood that the hire would register high in both risk and reward for the school. “I was convinced it was the right time for Rick to get back into college athletics, but more importantly it was the right place. Rick has been embraced by the UCLA family … and I believe good things, and maybe great things, are in store for the football program at UCLA in the future.”

    It was the sort of bold move that has become Guerrero’s trademark in eight years at the school. In his first year on campus, he replaced head coaches in football and basketball. Three years in, he pushed forward a project that had simmered at the school for years, the renovation of fabled Pauley Pavilion, a $135 million project on which UCLA broke ground earlier this month.

    During his time at UCLA, the Bruins have won 18 NCAA team titles, the most of any school during that span. UCLA also made three consecutive Final Four appearances in men’s basketball.

    The Neuheisel decision appears to be paying off, albeit slowly. The Bruins went 7-6 and won the Emerald Bowl last season, elevating the profile of a program that has struggled in the shadow of its neighbor and rival, Southern Cal.

    “We were looking for someone who could bring not only the image but also the substance and close the gap that needed to be closed,” Guerrero said. “We truly believe we are getting there.”


    Mal Moore
    University of Alabama

    Highlights
    National championship in football
    Hired the school’s first African-American head coach for a major sport
    $65 million expansion under way at the university’s football stadium
    Mal Moore’s corner office overlooks the football practice field at the University of Alabama. It’s a fitting place for the man still called “Coach” by so many of those who come in and out of the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility.

    But in his 11 years as Alabama’s athletic director, Moore has become so much more than a coach. He’s the central figure that has held together an athletic department through periods of scandal and untimely coaching vacancies.

    If there was a cherry on top of the sundae for Moore and all of his persistence, it came in the form of the 2009 athletics year. Moore’s coveted football hire, Nick Saban, led the Crimson Tide to the BCS national championship, which was the eighth that Moore has been associated with at the school. He won a title as a player for Bear Bryant and won six as an assistant coach at the school.

    But Moore’s year wasn’t all about football. He also made a statement by hiring the school’s first African-American head coach for a major sport, bringing in Anthony Grant to run men’s basketball.

    Moore has been a leader in fundraising, the latest example being a $65 million expansion under way at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The football stadium will seat more than 100,000 fans by the time it reopens prior to the 2010 season, making it the fourth-largest in the nation, including 160 luxury boxes.

    Said Moore, “For me, personally, to see all this come out of the ground and maybe turn out better than what you had envisioned in your mind, I’m certainly very proud.”


    Gene Smith
    Ohio State University

    Highlights
    $110 million rights agreement with IMG College is the nation’s biggest
    Initiated cost-cutting measures following a rare loss for the department
    Nominated to serve as chairman of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee

    When it became apparent late in 2008 that the recession was about to nudge the nation’s largest, and most expensive, college athletic program into a $2 million glob of red ink, Athletic Director Gene Smith used the projected shortfall to make a point.

    “Most people would say that you don’t want to talk about that publicly,” Smith said. “But having had meetings and conversations with my colleagues across the country, I felt it was important for the Ohio State University to say, ‘Hey, we’re all having challenges. Us, too.’”

    “I needed to help all my colleagues, some of whom receive a great amount of money from (their school’s) general fund. Sending that message helped them. It’s not just them. It’s all of us.”

    With an annual budget of about $115 million, Ohio State plays at a level reserved for only a handful of U.S. college programs. It addressed its shortfall through a relatively painless series of expense cuts, such as reducing per diems for coaches and administrators. With tuition costs rising and revenue from merchandise and concessions continuing to lag, it will follow that with a football ticket price increase that will raise about $8 million, again allowing for a budget that is balanced, or close to it.

    Smith knows most programs can’t make ends meet so easily. So when he found his budget pinched, he took his story to those who needed to hear it, speaking up in front of his peers at national AD meetings and addressing the Knight Commission, which in the last two years has turned its attention to the financial state of college sports.

    “I always come at things from a national perspective, because I’ve been at Iowa State University and Eastern Michigan, and I know what they’re dealing with,” Smith said. “So, for me, it’s not just about Ohio State.”

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  • Best in Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services

    Genesco Sports Enterprises
    Highlights
    Expanded client roster to include five new partners
    Negotiated more than 120 team and league contracts
    Awarded strategic consulting business for MillerCoors’ NFL business
    IMG
    Highlights
    Global reach extended into Saudi Arabia, Singapore and India
    Added more blue-chip clients than any of the past five years
    Key renewals included GE and RBS
    The Marketing Arm
    Highlights
    Posted double-digit year-on-year growth for its sports marketing business
    Added 26 people to its staff of more than 400 employees
    Added HP, Hilton, Izod, Van Heusen and Monster.com to client roster
    GMR Marketing
    Highlights
    Added Comcast, Ask.com, Hershey’s, Procter & Gamble and Royal Bank of Canada to client roster
    Led Procter & Gamble’s active sponsorship year by developing strategy and support for its NFL and USOC investments
    Posted a 15 percent increase in consulting services versus the prior year
    Momentum Worldwide
    Highlights
    Retained by ExxonMobil to evaluate global sponsorship opportunities in motorsports
    Other key clients that include American Express, Coca-Cola, UPS and the U.S. Army
    Outfits all staffers with video cameras to document everything in the field for use in improving programs
    Octagon
    Highlights
    Best year in company’s 26-year history
    Six big business wins, including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Chick-fil-A and Puma
    Manages more than 5,000 events each year throughout the world

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  • Best in Digital Sports Media

    CBS Sports — March Madness on Demand
    Highlights
    Improved video player
    New mobile and user-friendly applications
    Successful business model — huge advertising sales and record revenue
    ESPN Digital Media
    Highlights
    Launch of local online initiatives in Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York extends its reach
    Introduced new sleek site design, which included enhancements to video quality
    A leader in the broadband and mobile sports space, including the launch of numerous successful apps
    MLB Advanced Media
    Highlights
    Start of live, in-market streaming of games
    Growth in all key paid-content subscriptions
    Improved mobile apps
    NHL
    Highlights
    Redesigned NHL GameCenter Live brought expanded capabilities
    All-in approach to social networking
    Continues push to be on cutting edge of digital applications
    Turner Sports
    Highlights
    Innovations to its NBA Digital portfolio
    Extensive portfolio also includes NASCAR, the PGA Tour and PGA of America
    Online tools enhance the user experience

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  • Best in Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services

    IMG
    Highlights
    Record-setting media rights deal for Ohio State University
    Signed new NCAA sponsors and secured a renewal, resulting in millions in rights fees and media
    Motorsports stable that includes the NHRA and Joe Gibbs Racing
    Leverage Agency
    Highlights
    Secured seven exclusive retainer properties, including the LPGA and AVP
    Secured major sponsorships for the AVP including KFC, Malibu Rum and Lumber Liquidators
    Added longtime sports veterans to organizational staff, gaining key industry expertise
    Premier Partnerships
    Highlights
    Handled naming-rights deals for PPL Park and Viejas Arena
    Served as key property consultant on naming-rights deal at Bridgestone Arena
    Added properties including the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Raiders and Super Bowl XLV Host Committee
    Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment
    Highlights
    More than doubled the number of UFC sponsors and advertisers
    Delivered blue-chip sponsors and advertisers to the U.S. Figure Skating Association
    Became the Heisman Trophy Trust’s first agency of record for media rights management
    Wasserman Media Group
    Highlights
    Completed cornerstone partnerships for New Meadowlands Stadium
    In less than five months, sold title and second-tier sponsorships for Lance Armstrong’s return to competitive cycling
    Sold naming rights to Aviva for the new Lansdowne Road stadium in Ireland

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  • Best in Sports Media

    CBS Sports
    Highlights
    Super Bowl XLIV passes “M*A*S*H” series finale in 1983 to become the most-watched TV program in U.S. history
    Deep roots with major properties including the NFL (50 years) and professional golf (60 years)
    Growth and success of March Madness on Demand
    mlb
    Highlights
    Launch and success of MLB Network
    New network accumulates impressive talent pool
    Sustained success and advances at MLB Advanced Media
    nfl
    Highlights
    NFL RedZone gets off to a successful start
    Deal with Comcast expands NFL Network distribution
    Redevelopment of NFL.com extends the league’s digital presence
    DirecTV Sports
    Highlights
    Most interactive television experience available
    Original programming with the Red Zone Channel
    Technology pioneer; continually enhances programming
    ESPN
    Highlights
    Local news initiatives by launching five local sports websites in the U.S.
    Opened three major facilities, including a West Coast production facility in Los Angeles
    ESPN and ESPN2 each enjoyed most-viewed year
    Turner Sports
    Highlights
    New agreement with PGA of America for broadcasting and interactive rights
    Significant enhancements to NBA Digital portfolio
    Added technology for use during broadcasts — PitchTrax in baseball and RaceBuddy for NASCAR

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  • Best in Sports Technology

    3ality Digital
    Highlights
    Brought viewers live events, including the BCS championship, in 3-D
    Global reach includes partnership with BSkyB, which will launch a 3-D channel in the U.K. this year
    Well-positioned to take advantage of the availability of 3-D consumer televisions
    Mitsubishi Electric — Diamond Vision
    Highlights
    Massive, center-hung scoreboard at Cowboys Stadium revolutionized the in-venue experience
    Built the 101-foot by 59-foot video scoreboard at Yankee Stadium, featuring full 1080p HD clarity
    Developed the HD display system at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre
    Brand Affinity Technologies
    Highlights
    Struck partnership to gain access to portions of Getty Images’ extensive editorial library
    Partnered with Microsoft Advertising to embed the B.A.T. platform within the software giant’s online ad platform
    Expanded significantly the roster of athletes and celebrities available for use in the digital advertising platform
    NeuLion
    Highlights
    Aided the NHL in a total redevelopment of its online video offerings
    Struck partnership with Dish Network to use IPTV infrastructure to bring international TV channels to U.S. customers unable to use a satellite dish
    Expanded the online video offerings for numerous league, team and media clients

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  • Best in Sports Television

    CBS Sports
    Highlights
    Super Bowl broadcast most-viewed television program of all time in the U.S.
    SEC package provides strong football windows on Saturdays
    Extensive program roster that also includes March Madness and the Masters
    MLB Network
    Highlights
    Successful launch won immediate industry praise
    Recruited some of the best on-air talent in baseball
    Quality original programming
    NBC Sports
    Highlights
    Continued to excel in producing big events, including the Vancouver Winter Games
    Compelling “Football Night in America ” warms up viewers for “Sunday Night Football”
    All-encompassing promotion strategy led to most-watched Kentucky Derby in 20 years
    ESPN Networks
    Highlights
    Dominates sports television with sheer tonnage of programming
    Strong ratings growth month over month, and “Monday Night Football” recorded significant increase
    Innovator with new technologies, including 3-D
    Fox Sports
    Highlights
    Strong NFL package anchors Fox’s top-shelf rights
    Broadcaster for successful MLB playoffs, culminating with the New York Yankees’ 27th World Series win
    Compelling programming around MLB All-Star Game

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  • Best in Talent Representation and Management

    BEST
    Highlights
    NFL clients include rookie standout Percy Harvin and Super Bowl hero Darren Sharper
    Also delivers top talent in the NBA, tennis, boxing and mixed martial arts
    More than $250 million in client salaries and endorsements in 2009
    CAA Sports
    Highlights
    Hit the jackpot at the 2009 NFL draft, representing nine of the first 19 picks
    Negotiated largest rookie contract in NFL history for No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford
    Represents more than 500 athletes in football, baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf and Olympic sports
    IMG
    Highlights
    Added more than 50 clients to its sports talent roster
    Negotiated Danica Patrick’s move to the NASCAR Nationwide Series
    Represents more than 1,000 athletes, models and celebrities in total
    Boras Corp.
    Highlights
    Lands the contracts that move the market for the top players in Major League Baseball
    Negotiated the largest contract in MLB draft history for first overall pick Stephen Strasburg
    Represented six first-round picks in the 2009 MLB draft
    Octagon
    Highlights
    Broad client list that includes top Olympians, NBA standout rookies, free agent baseball stars and top NFL coaches
    First-round draft picks in all four of the major U.S. team sports
    Added Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno to its roster in the run-up to the Vancouver Winter Games
    Wasserman Media Group
    Highlights
    Features a roster of all-star and global talent in a range of sports, including major growth in action sports and golf
    Represented five first-round picks in the 2009 NBA draft
    Represents more than 700 athletes across 20 sports

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  • Professional Sports League of the Year

    mlb
    Highlights
    Healthy attendance despite economic downturn
    Successful launch of MLB Network
    Strong postseason ratings
    pbr
    Highlights
    Most successful year ever, with growth in attendance and ticket revenue
    Aggressive content distribution strategy
    Increased fan accessibility to events and competitors
    nba
    Highlights
    Gains in attendance and ratings
    Leadership in social responsibility, including inaugural Green Week
    Continued push for international growth
    nfl
    Highlights
    Huge ratings, capped by a record-setting Super Bowl
    Successful launch of NFL RedZone channel
    Added four new sponsors and three new promotional partners

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  • Professional Sports Team of the Year

    Cleveland Cavaliers
    Highlights
    A powerhouse in NBA business metrics with the team sitting at or near the top in average attendance, overall revenue and local television ratings
    Innovation at the heart of its business strategy with increased fan adoption of the team’s paperless ticket product
    An increased global presence with a multi-year, multimillion-dollar sponsorship with China ’s largest beer maker, Tsingtao
    Seattle Sounders FC
    Highlights
    Spectacular success in inaugural year has team establishing a model for future franchises
    Led the league in average attendance last season
    Innovative “March to the Match” and supporters groups fuel fan passion
    New Orleans Saints
    Highlights
    Sold out every home game en route to Super Bowl-winning season
    Deal with the Superdome cemented the team’s future in New Orleans
    Maintained a respectable sponsorship base in a challenging market
    Philadelphia Phillies
    Highlights
    Recognized as one of the “best in class” franchises in all of MLB
    Set attendance record with 3.6 million total fans during the 2009 season
    Saw big increases in local ratings and market share
    Washington Capitals
    Highlights
    Frenzied fan base one of the most passionate in the NHL
    Ticketing strategies kept seats in demand at Verizon Center
    Added 33 new sponsors in 2009

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  • Sports Event Marketing Firm of the Year

    BeCore Promotions
    Highlights
    A leader in the action sports space, adept at hitting the youth market
    Revenue has increased tenfold over the last five years
    Counts Red Bull, Toyota and Live Nation among its clients
    Vivid Marketing
    Highlights
    Three-time nominee continued to impress
    Added six new clients; renewed five, including ConAgra Foods, Toyota and Pepsi
    Produced the largest concert in NASCAR history at Talladega
    SportsMark
    Highlights
    Leader in national and international hospitality with the Olympics, Super Bowl, Final Four, the Masters and the upcoming FIFA World Cup
    Added eight new clients and expanded the staff by 20 percent
    Counts Bank of America, The Hartford, P&G, Sony and Visa among its clients

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  • Sports Event of the Year

    Breeders’ Cup World Championships
    Highlights
    Efforts to improve the fan experience, from online ticket sales to increased social media outreach
    11 percent gain in attendance despite challenging economy
    Enhancements for wagering, from the novice to the expert
    MLB All-Star Game
    Highlights
    Emphasized community service, generating more than $7 million in donations
    Had all five living presidents appear in a video tribute to community service
    Record-setting attendance for FanFest
    U.S. Open
    Highlights
    Records for attendance, television viewership and website traffic
    Second-highest revenue ($203 million) in event’s history
    Record levels of sponsor activation,including two new partners
    Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic
    Highlights
    Huge ticket demand, with attendance of 38,112
    66 percent increase in spending by corporate partners
    Extended the event by improving accessibility to the ice for the community
    Super Bowl XLIV
    Highlights
    Most-watched television showof all time in the U.S.
    Incredible game that kept audiences connected to the end
    High-end sponsor activation and marquee entertainment

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  • Sports Executive of the Year

    Roger Goodell
    NFL

    Highlights
    Redefined the commissioner’s role with more fan contact
    Continued league’s focus of building big events throughout the year to drive fan interest
    Led talks with Comcast for distribution of NFL Network and oversaw other significant business gains for the league

    Late last year, suspended wide receiver DontéStallworth received an unsolicited breakfast invitation. It came from the man who took his playing rights away, Commissioner Roger Goodell.

    Scheduled to be in Miami in December, where Stallworth resides, Goodell picked up the phone and arranged the breakfast.

    “It’s hard to describe, it’s almost street cred,” said lawyer David Cornwell, of Goodell’s reputation among players. Cornwell represented Stallworth, who was reinstated earlier this year by Goodell. Stallworth, while driving impaired, had struck a pedestrian, who died of the injuries.

    Whether it’s connecting with players, mingling with fans during the draft or jovially bantering with reporters, Goodell has redefined the role of the commissioner. While his predecessors, Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue, were respected no doubt, Goodell is working hard to be more than just the commissioner of the owners, but the commissioner of all of the NFL, as he put it during Super Bowl week. And he is busy overseeing the continued economic and popular growth of the sport.

    Goodell will need to tap that reservoir of good will as the league enters a contentious period with the players union. The CBA expires in March 2011, and many players worry the owners are readying to lock them out.

    If that comes, then maybe next time Goodell’s breakfast invitations will be turned down.


    Jerry Jones
    Dallas Cowboys

    Highlights
    Cowboys Stadium one of the most talked-about stories of the year
    Drove venue’s aggressive push to host major events
    Further strengthened the brand power of “ America ’s Team”

    No one would have blamed Jerry Jones if he had some sleepless nights in the last two years. Few stadiums opened under the duress confronted by Jones’ Cowboys Stadium. Costs had ballooned to more than $1 billion, leaving Jones on the dime for more than half a billion dollars.

    Final financing for the venue, which opened in June 2009, had to be secured amid the great credit crisis of late 2008. The economy battered ticket holders and corporate patrons, and still leaves the stadium without a title sponsor. Even the Cowboys’ concessionaire, Legends Hospitality, a joint venture with the New York Yankees, went to market with financing during the credit implosion.

    And yet, the stadium is hailed as one of the great wonders of the NFL, one that redefines the customer experience and will perhaps alter the economics of the game even further.

    “Jerry is a ‘one-man economic stimulus,’” said John Tatum, CEO of Genesco Sports Enterprises, a sports marketing firm that does work with the Cowboys. “During the worst economic period since the Great Depression, Jerry created value for his business partners (corporate sponsors, broadcast partners, fellow NFL owners) and built the world’s most impressive sports venue.”

    Jones continues to play leading roles, too, at the NFL on committees ranging from broadcast to labor. His team performed well on the field and, as always, dominates press coverage as one of the leading brands in sports.

    With the economy easing up a bit, perhaps he’s even sleeping better.


    Tod Leiweke
    Vulcan Sports & Entertainment

    Highlights
    Seattle Sounders led MLS in average attendance during the team’s inaugural season in 2009
    Lured coach Pete Carroll from USC to coach the Seattle Seahawks
    Led strategy to revive the Portland Trail Blazers

    As chief executive officer of Paul Allen-owned Vulcan Sports, TodLeiweke oversees three professional franchises in the Seattle Sounders, Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, but it is the phenomenal success of the Sounders that cements Leiweke’s reputation as one of the industry’s most effective operators.

    The Sounders took Major League Soccer by storm during its 2009 inaugural season, leading the league in average attendance and in merchandise sales. The Sounders landed Microsoft as the team’s jersey sponsor and each home game attracts rousing local fan interest. Ticket demand increased so much this year (the team now counts more than 32,000 season-ticket holders) that the franchise boosted seating at Qwest Field to 35,500.

    “His staff has worked around him for a long time so he engenders loyalty,” said movie executive Joe Roth, an investor in the Sounders. “Tod is a fair-minded guy who also likes to have fun, but at the same time he is all business. He is totally involved in the specifics and the numbers and I would not have [invested in the Sounders] if not for him.”

    In addition to the Sounders’ success, Leiweke stunned the football world by prying Pete Carroll out of USC to coach the Seahawks, demonstrating his ability to make the big hire when needed. And let’s not forget the Blazers, where Leiweke oversees the NBA franchise that this year sold out Rose Garden Arena, drawing 20,493 fans per game, the third-highest gate in the NBA.


    Sean McManus
    CBS News and Sports

    Highlights
    Coverage of Super Bowl breaks TV’s all-time ratings record in the U.S.
    Found way to partner with cable networks to hold onto key sports rights
    Solidified CBS’s desire to continue as a major player in sports

    Last fall, when Sean McManus first crunched the numbers for keeping the NCAA Tournament, the outlook looked bleak for his network, CBS. The broadcast network faced the prospect of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in the final three years of its existing deal, and deep-pocketed ESPN was lying in wait, looking to scoop up the rights.

    But McManus had a plan, looking back to CBS’s experiences with the SEC as a blueprint for keeping the tournament. In 2008, CBS fashioned a deal to split the SEC’s broadcast and cable rights with ESPN, enabling the broadcaster to keep some of the conference’s highly rated college football games.

    For the NCAA Tournament, McManus helped structure a deal to share rights with Turner Sports and keep tournament basketball on CBS until at least 2024.

    The idea of a network-cable model isn’t new, but such deals have been difficult to pull off. However, McManus has proved to be pragmatic about with whom CBS will partner.

    “The network-cable model made perfect sense,” McManus said. “Rather than view it as a negative, we tried to look at it as a positive. It’s a good way to keep the events that you don’t want to lose.”

    CBS colleagues credit McManus for keeping the sports division afloat, especially considering the rumors flying around when McManus took over, after the network lost its long-standing NFL package.

    “Everyone was demoralized after we lost the NFL,” said Mike Aresco, executive vice president of programming at CBS Sports. “But Sean infused the place with confidence. … We don’t enter deals lightly, and we don’t leave them lightly.”

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  • Sports Facility of the Year

    Citi Field
    Highlights
    Intimate design puts fans close to the action
    Tribute to baseball’s history with  Jackie Robinson Rotunda and Ebbets Field facade
    Expanded food offerings, including  partnerships with local restaurants
    Staples Center
    Highlights
    More than 200 events in arena’s latest fiscal year brought more than 2.8 million spectators
    Flexibility allows for high-profile events, including the Grammys
    Extensive renovations at the club and suite levels kept the venue fresh and hip
    Cowboys Stadium
    Highlights
    Distinctive architecture that incorporates cutting-edge technology
    $40 million, center-hung scoreboard in a league of its own
    Aggressive approach to hosting events
    Yankee Stadium
    Highlights
    Mixture of modern and nostalgia
    Re-creates the design of the original Yankee Stadium and its famous gothic exterior
    Legends Club serves the prime real estate closest to the field

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  • Sports Sponsor of the Year

    Bridgestone
    Highlights
    Major mileage from its sponsorship of the highly successful NHL Winter Classic
    Key partnerships include the NFL, NHL, PGA Tour and Izod IndyCar Series
    Sponsorship of Super Bowl Halftime Show further highlighted the world’s largest tire company
    T-Mobile
    Highlights
    Smart creative around its NBA sponsorship
    One of the best in the business with on-site activation at sports events
    NBA-themed advertising drew upon the star power of hoops players, current and retired
    Procter & Gamble
    Highlights
    Went straight to the top in U.S. sports marketing in signing deals with the NFL and USOC
    Marketing alliances with more than a dozen Olympic athletes during the Winter Games highlighted P&G’s diverse brand lineup
    P&G Family Home at the Olympics attracted U.S. athletes and media attention
    Visa
    Highlights
    “Go World” campaign built anticipation for the Vancouver Winter Games
    Renewed partnership with the NFL for five more seasons
    Deep global ties to soccer, anchored by FIFA sponsorship

    Print | Tags: Sports Business Awards
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