SBJ/Jan. 17-23, 2011/People and Pop Culture

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  • Faces & Places: BCS game, D.C. owners

    Sun Life teams up with Celtics

    Boston Celtics President Rich Gotham (left) and Sun Life Financial Distributors President Terry Mullen mark the Jan. 12 announcement of Sun Life's new sponsorship deal at TD Garden. The deal designates Sun Life as's first presenting sponsor.

    Big names at BCS big game

    At the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 10 at University of Phoenix Stadium (from left): John Wildhack, ESPN EVP of programming; John Skipper, ESPN EVP of content; Under Armour CEO, Chairman and founder Kevin Plank; and ESPN President George Bodenheimer. It was ESPN’s first time to broadcast college football’s national title game, and Under Armour outfits national champion Auburn.

    Fishing with Altitude

    Altitude Sports and Entertainment
    Mark Rubinstein (left), president/CEO of World Fishing Network, and Matt Hutchings, president/CEO of Altitude Sports & Entertainment, seal the deal for Altitude to acquire 50 percent of World Fishing Network. The announcement was made Jan. 10.

    Sports marketers kick off North Texas chapter

    North Texas chapter board members for National Sports Marketing Network celebrated the opening of their new chapter Jan. 5 at the American Airlines Center with guest speaker Chuck Greenberg, CEO of the Texas Rangers. From left: Pete Dits, ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth VP/GM; Greenberg; NSMN founder/director Jennifer Karpf; Center Operating Co. President/CEO Brad Mayne; and Dallas Mavericks President/CEO Terdema Ussery.

    Sports' state of the union in D.C.

    Washington, D.C., team owners gather for “Scoring Big: The Business of Sports,” presented by Washington Post Live and Capital Business, on Jan. 11. Washington Post Live editor Mary Jordan (left) moderated a panel of (from left) the Redskins’ Dan Snyder; Ted Leonsis of the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics; Robert Tanenbaum and Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, of the Nationals; and Will Chang, of D.C. United.

    Out and about for 'Lights Out'

    Lights out
    Attending the premiere of the new FX boxing-centered series “Lights Out” on Jan. 5 at the Hudson Theatre in New York City (from left): Former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier, series star Holt McCallany, former light welterweight champ Micky Ward and series co-star Pablo Schreiber.

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  • In the Office — Michael McCullough

    Michael McCullough
    Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Miami Heat

    With more than 12,000 songs on his iPod, Michael McCullough decided to deck out his office in Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena with everything he's about: music, family, books and pop culture. His favorite décor is his wall of fame, where he arranges his vast collection of albums by theme and has visitors attempt to unscramble the puzzle. On this particular visit, his chosen collection was his all-time favorites. McCullough's collection is always expanding as he picks up albums when he travels and rummages through garage sales to find the best bargains. His favorite record store is The Beat in his hometown of Sacramento, where he's picked up about half of his collection.

    1. A Gold ADDY Award; 2. CD covers with McCullough's face Photoshopped into images of Prince and Bootsy Collins; 3. A "Pee Wee's Playhouse" VHS collection.

    4. Holding an album by Sade, McCullough's "celebrity crush"; 5. His 2006 NBA championship ring; 6. The "Keep Ideas Alive" interoffice award, patterned after team sponsor Kia.

    McCullough stands in front of his album display, which he rotates among various themes for his employees to guess.
    McCullough often references albums for producers and guest musicians to learn about possible new music.

    An Obama election campaign shirt with McCullough's face for the artwork (left); the book/invitation that McCullough and his team created for Pat Riley's Basketball Hall of Fame induction. McCullough stands next to a life-sized cutout of himself from the Heat's Family Festival western-themed fundraiser (left); a clock with photos of his family on it.
    This Al Green album is the first record he ever bought with his own money, for $7, when he was 10 (left); McCullough calls Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" the "greatest jazz record ever."

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  • People: New hires and promotions

    Twins Sports President Jerry Bell retired after 23 years with the organization. Twins Sports is the parent company of the Minnesota Twins.

    The Class A South Atlantic League’s Hagerstown (Md.) Suns hired Sara Grasmon and Rechelle Bischoff to head its marketing campaign; Tony Iovieno for stadium operations and food and beverage operations; and Josh Mastin, Ben Scheffel and Chris Vierling to lead the sales department.

    The NCAA hired Donald Remy as general counsel and vice president of legal affairs and Cari Klecka as director of educational support programs. Remy was a partner at the law firm Latham & Watkins LLP, and Klecka was an associate professor in the department of curriculum and instruction at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

    The University of Cincinnati hired Doug Mosley as associate athletic director for external and media communications. Mosley was senior associate athletic director at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

    Saint Mary’s College hired Richard Kilwien as assistant athletic director for communications. Kilwien was associate athletic director for communications at the University of Washington.

    Cannon Design promoted Robert Claiborne to associate principal.

    Kentucky Speedway hired David Martin as director of marketing and sales. Martin was an account director for GMR Marketing.

    Daytona International Speedway promoted Andrew Booth to senior manager of media relations and Joann Mantovani to senior manager of advertising and promotions. Ryan Tolley was hired as director of sales.


    Palace Sports and Entertainment hired Nick Bartolone as a marketing specialist. Bartolone was promotions director for Clear Channel Detroit’s 106.7 FM The Beat and WDFN-AM in Farmington Hills, Mich.

    The Denver Broncos promoted Joe Ellis to president and named Pro Football hall of famer John Elway executive vice president of football operations.

    Detroit Lions senior director of community affairs Tim Pendell will retire, effective Feb. 1.

    The San Francisco 49ers promoted Trent Baalke to general manager.

    The Players Championship named Michele McManamon, co-owner and operator of Sandler Training, a vice chair for the tournament.

    Horse Racing

    Arlington Park named Howard Sudberry senior director of marketing and communications. Sudberry was director and chief executive officer for Sudberry Media Group.

    Keeneland hired Walt Robertson as vice president of sales. Robertson was chairman and lead auctioneer for Fasig-Tipton.

    Home Team Marketing announced the opening of its Los Angeles office and hired Adrienne Biehl as vice president of California Interscholastic Federation sales.

    Bob Broderick launched public relations and marketing firm RTB Media.

    Shamrock Sports Group named Jim Tucker executive vice president. Tucker was senior director of marketing partnerships for MTV Games.

    Gannett named Tom Beusse president of USA Today Sports Media Group. Beusse was president and chief executive officer for Westwood One.

    News Corp. announced a restructuring of the Fox Networks Group with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tony Vinciquerra stepping down, effective Feb. 11. Fox International Channels Chief Executive Officer David Haslingden will take over as president and chief operating officer of Fox Networks Group. Fox Sports President Eric Shanks and FSN President Randy Freer will serve as co-president and chief operating officers of Fox Sports Media Group.


    The Columbus Crew hired Trisha McCarthy as fan development coordinator, Brandie Pifer as a season-ticket account executive and Leeana Russell as a group sales account executive.

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  • Cycling team chief sees lesson in NYC Marathon

    As manager of Garmin-Cervelo, the United States’ premier cycling team, and a former professional rider himself, Jonathan Vaughters has seen the sport of pro cycling endure a decade of doping controversies and political infighting. The turbulence has created a challenging environment for marketing around the sport, but Vaughters believes in cycling’s future, especially in the U.S., where the Amgen Tour of California and the new Quiznos Pro Challenge in Colorado have given the country two major international events. He recently spoke with staff writer Fred Dreier.

    Cycling has seen its reputation tarnished by doping, but what are the other issues affecting the business end of the sport?
    Vaughters: To me, the biggest hurdle in cycling is bringing clarity and transparency to exactly which teams have the right to do which events. There are only 20 spots in the Tour de France, and [the race organizer] decides who gets in. Right now, anyone can start pitching Fortune 500 companies saying they will have a team in the Tour de France in 2012, and there is really nothing to say they can’t. That is how sponsors get alienated, because they think they are buying a ticket to the big races, and there is no guarantee they will be invited. If they get burned, they leave the sport and take their marketing dollars with them. There needs to be a determined number of members in the top tier of cycling that can say, “Yes, we have earned a space, we can guarantee you the [Tour de France].” Sponsors can realize who is legitimate, they know what they are buying and that their marketing objectives will be met.

    Jonathan Vaughters
    Would a salary cap benefit the sport?
    Vaughters: I think so. For total budgets, I’ve heard the largest teams are around 17 to 18 million euro [$22 million to $23 million] and bottom of the barrel is about [$10.5 million]. If you put a salary cap in that says no less than [$13 million] and no more than [$16 million], then there is no confusion for a sponsor about the price of entry into the sport. Teams can spend that on wind tunnel testing or salaries or whatever they choose, and it forces teams to be more competitive to attract the riders.

    How can professional cycling grow in the United States?
    The Tour of California and Quiznos Pro Challenge are good examples of American races that have brand identity and major sponsorship. Growth is not going to come from the European model of fans standing on the side of the road, it’s going to come from recreational cyclists. I think cycling can learn a lot from an event like the New York City Marathon, where you have an elite event and then thousands of participants. That is attractive to a sponsor. A cycling event in America should try to have a major recreational tie-in, like a Gran Fondo [Big Ride] event, where afterward the participants watch the pro race.

    From a business perspective, how can cycling fight doping?
    The amount of money flowing into anti-doping has to be much larger than it is right now. It costs [Garmin-Cervelo] half a million bucks to run our own anti-doping program, on top of the $165,000 for the UCI Biological Passport [anti-doping program], so you’re looking at between $800,000 to $1 million a year per team. There are 20 major teams, so if there was $20 million invested, you’d start making headway really fast. But when teams are in an environment where they are in year-to-year survival and fighting each other for signature athletes and a spot in the big events, then collaborative efforts like that just don’t occur. If you put the onus on the team to fight to get into the event, you will have fewer resources to fight doping with.

    With so many problems, how do you attract companies to sponsor cycling?
    The good part is that if you put together a team that does well on the world calendar, the marketing metrics you can provide are second to none. When we talk to [title sponsor] Garmin, we almost have to tone down our numbers because they seem unrealistic. When you talk about logo exposure, it’s like a 20-to-1 return on investment. The sport should be able to sell itself so easily, but it’s those stupid little hurdles — the doping issues and clarity — that hurt. If we could get those out of the way it would be phenomenal. There isn’t another advertising avenue in sports that can come close to matching cycling.

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