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SBJ/December 13-18, 2010/In-Depth
The 50 most influential list, 41-50
Published December 13, 2010
Bea Perez, a 14-year Coke veteran, was elevated to North American CMO in March. While it's tough to say she has put her imprint on the planet's most recognized brand yet, the possibility is certainly there. Perez has some of the top sports marketing weapons at her disposal, including sponsorships with FIFA, the Olympics, NBA and NCAA, along with one of the biggest budgets in consumer marketing.
As the world of college athletics teetered toward radical realignment in June, DeLoss Dodds held the key to the future. Plenty of college administrators and media executives played parts in the drama, but Dodds, as the University of Texas men’s athletic director, heads the program whose decision to stay in the Big 12 Conference kept most of the jigsaw pieces in their present places, for now.
While he has not made headlines like his counterparts, DeMaurice Smith and Billy Hunter, Michael Weiner also will be negotiating a new labor deal as the MLB collective-bargaining agreement expires next December. Weiner took over as head of the union in December 2009, but he is not new to labor negotiations, having been instrumental in negotiating the last few MLB labor deals.
President & Chief
Chief Marketing Officer
Tom Long and Andy England lead the charge for MillerCoors' 30 percent combined share of the beer market against Anheuser-Busch InBev's 50 percent. Long gets kudos for helping execute a merger that the company says has already realized $560 million of the $750 million in synergy savings promised by the end of 2012. England preaches "the three R's: retail activation, relationships and reach." But both must find the answer to a declining market, and a national platform to replace the NFL, which goes to A-B in 2011.
Where there's pro sports in person or on TV, there's usually a Pepsi brand, whether it's Pepsi, Gatorade or one from the company's market-leading Frito-Lay snacks division. Pepsi has league rights with the NFL, MLB and NHL, and has athletes such as NASCAR stalwarts Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. under contract. Gatorade has league sponsorship rights with the NFL, MLB and NBA. Most of those are up or have pending renewals in the next year, so as one Pepsi insider put it, "Indra will be involved."
Melinda Witmer's year started with days of marathon negotiating sessions with Fox executives, as Time Warner's top programming executive set the market for Fox's retransmission consent deals. Eight months later, Witmer was locked in a boardroom with ESPN executives, crafting the year's most significant media deal, encompassing video-on-demand, broadband, mobile and television rights. The deal officially kicks off cable's "TV Everywhere" concept, granting TWC rights to stream ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU to broadband and mobile customers. And Witmer made perhaps the strongest play yet to make sports tiers more relevant by securing reams of ESPN content for TWC's sports tiers.
Sal Galatioto put his firm and his career on the line in 2010, and MLB owners thanked him for it. When a midnight deal was hatched to sell the Texas Rangers on the verge of bankruptcy auction, lender and investment banker Galatioto risked legal action against him and his firm for blocking it. When the price the next day came in far higher, MLB owners happily lit up his cell phone to thank him for likely boosting MLB team values.
One of the top spenders in sports, Verizon has a sponsorship portfolio that's diverse both geographically and from a programming standpoint, and it comes under the oversight of Suzy Deering, a nine-year veteran with Verizon. Whether you believe the brand has gathered valuable assets like NFL wireless rights as a sponsorship or content play isn't important, since the marketplace is heading toward amalgams in both areas. The well-regarded Deering is guiding that transformation with a comprehensive understanding of the power of media and sponsorships.
President of Athletes
President Octagon Marketing
Under Rick Dudley's steady leadership, Octagon remains a quiet leader with an international presence. It's best known for its corporate consulting practice, which falls under Jeff Shifrin's leadership, but it also has a strong seat at the table in athlete and personality management under Phil de Picciotto. While it may lack the relentless PR machine of others, Octagon is routinely cited by peers for its intelligence and execution — which is the best PR one can get.
The head of HBO Sports serves as de facto banker to boxing, a sport that lacks a governing structure. With about $60 million to spend on rights fees in 2010, Ross Greenburg and staff often determine which fights get made and which fighters get U.S. exposure. The payoff for the network: Subscriber fees, plus lucrative pay-per-views like Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley ($78 million in U.S. sales) and Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito ($64 million). The last year also brought the extension of HBO's signature "24/7" series into NASCAR and the NHL, along with another solid ratings year for the network's behind-the-scenes NFL camp show, "Hard Knocks."