50 Most Influential: Introduction 50 Most Influential: No. 34 Ditching ’burbs for Detroit NHL brings doughnuts, signs Dunkin’ deal 50 Most Influential: No. 16 ‘Suite’ gifts, and even a few ugly ones Group builds platform for hockey award 50 Most Influential: No. 38 Alabama scores some serious bling Sports Media: NFL steps into esports
SBJ/March 28-April 3, 2011/People and Pop CulturePrint All
The Class A Midwest League’s Wisconsin Timber Rattlers hired Seth Merrill as a group sales representative.
The Oakland Athletics hired Scott Hatteberg as special assistant to baseball operations.
The New Jersey Nets promoted Josh Pruss to vice president of partnership marketing and Dan Lefton to executive director of ticket sales at the Barclays Center, and hired Andrew Schwartz as vice president of partnership sales.
The New Orleans Hornets hired Ed Lang as chief financial officer. Lang was president of business operations for the Nashville Predators.
The Philadelphia Eagles named Derron Harris manager of football administration.
The Canadian Professional Golf Tour hired Scott Pritchard as director of business development.
Next Marketing hired Michael Gover as director of experiential marketing. Gover was previously vice president of operations for The Marketing Arm.
Rising Star Management Group named Jim Thomas vice president of business development.
Unilever hired Marc Mathieu as senior vice president of marketing.
ESPN promoted Amy Rosenfeld to coordinating producer for global soccer.
Inside Triathlon named Jennifer Purdie senior editor.
Comcast Sports Group promoted Marsha Perez to research and marketing solutions senior analyst.
Comcast/NBC Universal hired Kyle McSlarrow as president. McSlarrow will lead its lobbying and government affairs office in Washington, D.C.
Learfield Sports promoted Greg Schwartz to account executive and hired Nate Silverman as associate general manager for Aztec Sports Properties at San Diego State University. Rick Mouser was promoted to account executive and Bob Guptill was hired as manager of business development for Purdue Sports Properties at Purdue University. Joe Druten was promoted to account executive for Sooner Sports Properties at the University of Oklahoma. Chris Brister was promoted to account executive for LA Tech Sports Properties at Louisiana Tech University.
Brister Guptill Mouser
Sportsman Channel promoted Ben Lines to vice president of marketing.
Traction hired Ronny Young as a graphic designer.
HRTV hired Constance Marshall as marketing manager. Marshall was station relations coordinator at MGM.
NESN hired Louis Rivera as a local account executive. Rivera held senior sales positions at WFNX, WBZ-TV and Boston.com.
Root Sports promoted Jamie McIntosh to vice president and general sales manager.
Univision President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Uva will step down.
USA Weightlifting hired John Duff as chief executive officer. Duff was the marketing managing director for Throttle Motorsports.
The North American Soccer League hired Darren McCartney as director of operations.
Carolina RailHawks FC hired Evan Morris as director of ticket sales, and Chris Vurnakes and Ben Adler as managers of ticket sales and fan development.
Sporting Goods and Apparel
Modell’s Sporting Goods President Seth Horowitz stepped down.
The Nike Foundation named Dean Stoyer global communications director.
Global Entertainment Ticketing hired Mike Sawyer as regional sales director for Tempe, Ariz., and Stephanie Pocina as regional sales director in Houston.
Enterprising Women magazine named Kristi Atkins one of its 2011 Enterprising Women of the Year. Atkins is chief executive officer of Aim Marketing Solutions and president of Women in Sports and Entertainment Atlanta.
The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl elected Tyrone Willingham to the board of directors.
The International Association of Venue Managers named John Bolton second vice chair of the board of directors.
Former U.S. Rep. Martin Sabo was appointed to serve on the Minnesota Ballpark Authority.
The Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers named David Asper and Phil Sheegl to their board of directors.
Empire Sports & Entertainment Holdings named Bob Gutkowski to its board of directors. Gutkowski is a partner in Innovative Strategic Management
The Oregon Sports Authority elected Len Bergstein, president; Linda Williams, president-elect; Robert Gregg, vice president; Doug Obletz, secretary; Pat Egan, treasurer; and Terry Shanley, chair. University of Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens was named a director.
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President welcomes champion Blackhawks
President Barack Obama is presented with a jersey by Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz (left) and team President John McDonough at the White House on March 11, when Obama honored the Blackhawks for their 2010 Stanley Cup championship victory.
Help for hockey program
Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis (right) and Neal Henderson, founder of the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, attend the third annual Congressional Hockey Challenge charity hockey game March 10 at Verizon Center in Washington. The game benefits the Fort Dupont club, which provides inner-city youths the chance to participate in organized ice hockey.
MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference
New York Giants Pro Bowl defensive end and Octagon client Justin Tuck (left) and Octagon President Phil de Picciotto attend a reception before the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference earlier this month. Both Tuck and de Picciotto were speakers at the conference.
Bulls’ 1990-91 championship team reunites
BILL SMITH / CHICAGO BULLS
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of their first NBA championship, the Chicago Bulls welcomed back former players and coaches from the 1990-91 season for a recognition ceremony during halftime at their March 12 game. From left: Scott Williams, assistant coach Johnny Bach, Dennis Hopson, John Paxson, Horace Grant, Craig Hodges, Stacey King, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Will Perdue and Cliff Levingston. Former Bulls broadcaster Jim Durham emceed the halftime ceremony.
San Antonio looks forward to All-Star Game
D. CLARKE EVANS / NBAE
At a March 3 announcement, the San Antonio Silver Stars and the WNBA revealed that the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game would be played at San Antonio’s AT&T Center on July 23. Unveiling the game’s logo are (from left) Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff; Silver Stars GM and coach Dan Hughes; Russell Warren, Silver Stars director of business operations; Renee Brown, WNBA chief of basketball operations and player relations; and Spurs Sports & Entertainment SVP of sales and marketing Frank Miceli.
USOC meets D.C.
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun (center) and D.C. United President Kevin Payne (left) and owner Will Chang attend a USOC fundraiser hosted by Peter Ackerman at The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., on March 16.
Honoring some Good Guys
Sports figures were among those presented with the Halligan-McGuire Irish American Good Guy Award at Gallagher’s Steakhouse in New York City on March 22. From left: Honorees William Burke of Wells Fargo Advisors, New York Times sports columnist Dave Anderson, NBA communications exec Brian McIntyre and MSG analyst and former NHL coach Mike Keenan.
Athletes First bash
ORANGEWOOD CHILDREN'S FOUNDATION
At the Athletes First Classic Gala on March 11 at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, Calif., benefiting Orangewood Children’s Foundation (from left): Eric Olsen of the Denver Broncos, Athletes First President Brian Murphy, John Sullivan of the Minnesota Vikings and Ashley Tarutis.
Greg Busch can barely remember a time when he wasn't strapping on skates, grabbing a stick and chasing a puck.
Busch started playing hockey when he was 5. Thirty-seven years later, the GMR Marketing executive is still going at it, playing a couple of games a week in an adult league in Milwaukee as well as coaching his son's Mini-Mites team.
Having played youth and high school hockey growing up in Michigan and club hockey at Western Michigan, Busch now plays for the Chmill Insurance team in the Pettit National Ice Center "A" League. The team also includes three other GMR execs — Blake Rosekrans, John Steinlage and Kyle Tendick. "We really built this team because there were five of us from the office playing at a pretty high level," Busch says. "I really enjoy playing with guys I work with. It's a nice change of pace from the office."
Despite being an adult league, it's not exactly for casual players. The league also includes former NHL player Mike Watt and Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej, a member of Team USA's silver-medal women's squad at the Vancouver Olympics. Earlier this month, Busch and his teammates won the Milwaukee City Hockey Championship, and they've won three USA Hockey Adult Classic regional tournaments in the last four years.
"It's kind of a weekly mental and physical checkup," says Busch, 42. "It really just keeps the competitive juices going. It's kind of like what we do with business. I love the competition and the team aspect of it."
Busch also is a USA Hockey-certified coach and coaches his 7-year-old son Gunnar's team, the Elmbrook Eagles. "I didn't push him into it at all, but he's really, really taken to it," Busch says. "So it's a lot of fun. It's a good time for us to spend together."
He figures he'll hang up his skates someday, moving more into the coaching side of the sport. But for now, he doesn't see anything changing, other than that the winter season just ended and the summer season starts in May.
"There's certainly less competitive leagues as you get older," he says. "But hopefully I can hold off on those for a while."
Seliece Caldwell has joined The Eden Club as the vice president of business development for the Texas region. Earlier in her career she was with the Houston Rockets for four years, and before that got her start in hospitality as senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Eden Club is a private members club that provides a high-end golf experience in Scotland and elsewhere abroad. Caldwell spoke with staff writer Molly Hogan about what she describes as her fantasy job.
• Previous titles: Vice president of sales, marketing and public relations, Houston Oaks Country Club; vice president of ticket sales and business communications, Houston Rockets
• First job: Bread girl at Piccadilly Cafeteria; sang and danced in the Southern Palace show at Six Flags Over Texas.
• College education: Communications, Baylor University (1983)
• Resides: Houston, with children Ali, 23, and Kirk, 20
• Grew up: Euless, Texas
• Brand most admired: CBS Sports. Great production of the games, but they also bring in the human elements of the players and teams.
• Favorite vacation spot: Italy
• Last book read: “Spoken From the Heart,” by Laura Bush
• Favorite musician/band: Southern rock, Los Lonely Boys and Tim McGraw
• What is the biggest challenge in your new position?
To me it’s selling a club that instead of it having a home course, it really has this worldwide attraction. So it’s just making a transition from a domestic or even local sale to something that is truly for people who have an international interest.
• What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
It might have been my foray into basketball, although I was hired because of my Rolodex with high-end people. The Rockets were really looking for someone that could take their premium inventory and their luxury inventory to the next level. It was a risk because I didn’t know the industry as well as, of course, I knew the hospitality and club industry. It was a risk because that knowledge wasn’t there of just simple things like yielding inventory in an arena compared to yielding inventory in a hotel.
• What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Best Practice Award by the NBA for a premium sales process that we put together, I was very proud of that.
• What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
The entry point is usually in sales. So if you’re good at something and have a passion for it, it’ll translate to sports. … However you go into it, make sure that passion you have for it is something that’s genuine.
• What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
Final Four is coming up and it’s in Houston, so we’re going to have a hundred thousand people and that’s huge for our economy.