SBJ/April 11-17, 2011/People and Pop Culture

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  • People: Tumminia named executive of the year

    The Cape Cod League’s Bourne Braves named Daniel Kroening assistant to the executive board.

    The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum hired Bob Kendrick as president.

    The Minnesota Timberwolves hired Alecia Rose as director of human resources. Rose was human resources administrator at the University of Chicago.

    Bowie State University named women’s basketball coach Donna Polk associate athletic director for compliance.

    The University of Maine named Steve Abbott athletic director. Abbott has been the interim athletic director since August.

    Oregon State University promoted Marianne Vydra, Bob Clifford and Mark Spencer to senior associate athletic directors; John Cheney, Steve Fenk and Linda Hurd to associate athletic directors; and Jacque Bruns, Cecil Hairston and Nikki Pruett to assistant athletic directors.

    Charlotte Collegiate Football hired Angela Butler as director of ticket operations. Butler was a ticket operations executive at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

    The Philadelphia Eagles hired Carla Caceres as a tour guide and sales associate.

    Momentum Worldwide hired Adrienne Scordato as vice president and director of global communications. Scordato was previously the public relations and corporate communications manager for T3.

    GMR Marketing promoted Dave Mullins to director of client development and hired Jackie Adkins as account coordinator for the Lowe’s account.

    BooneOakley hired Greg Johnson as chief marketing officer and senior vice president.

    Strategic hired Dan Conti as account executive. Conti worked as a junior agent at Vision Sports Group.

    Greg Cohen, president, chief operating officer and director of The Empire Sports and Entertainment, is stepping down.

    Jay Marciano was hired as CEO of AEG Europe. Marciano was president of Madison Square Garden Entertainment.

    James Murdoch was promoted to deputy chief operating officer and chairman and chief executive officer international of News Corp.


    USA Swimming hired Talia Mark as marketing manager, Emily Silver as athlete relations manager, Amanda Rost as marketing manager of corporate services and Matt Whewell as public relations and digital communications coordinator.

    The Philadelphia Union expanded manager Peter Nowak’s title to executive vice president of soccer operations.

    The Columbus Crew hired Tom Bowden as director of fan retention and Bobby Camilleri as season-ticket account executive.

    Major League Soccer hired former player Jeff Agoos as technical director of competition. Agoos was most recently technical director and sporting director for the New York Red Bulls.

    Women’s Professional Soccer named Crystal Fukumoto as communications and social media specialist. Fukumoto was director of communications for FC Gold Pride.

    Sporting Goods and Apparel
    Volcom hired Dougall Walker as chief executive officer of Volcom Australia. Walker was co-founder and director of Firewire Surfboards Ltd.

    iSportsConnect named 2MB Sports Management Chief Executive Officer Mark Blundell to the advisory board.

    Robert Penner was named head of global TV distribution and U.S. media relations for 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.

    Awards and Boards
    Tyler Tumminia, vice president of marketing and operations for Goldklang Group, was named NYU’s Sports Business Society’s 2011 Executive of the Year.

    Art Matin was elected chairman of the board of directors for Minor League Baseball’s Baseball Internet Rights Co. Matin is chief executive officer of Mandalay Baseball Properties.

    Ken Schofield was named to the board of directors of the Asian Tour. Schofield was the executive director of the European Tour.

    People news
    Send information and photos to Brandon McClung at 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202, or e-mail them to Electronic photos must be a jpg or tiff file for Macintosh, 2.25 inches wide at 300 dpi. Color only, please. News items may also be sent via fax to (704) 973-1401. If you have questions, call (704) 973-1425.

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  • Faces & Places: NHL teams with Autism Speaks

    NHL teams with Autism Speaks, school for charity event

    Autism Speaks and The Gillen Brewer School teamed with the NHL for the first Face-Off for a Cure dinner gala March 21 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. Top photo, from left: Event co-chairs Henry Schacht and Paul Tagliabue, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, MC Peter Alexander and Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr. Bottom photo, from left: Roithmayr; Larry Cancro, Boston Red Sox SVP of Fenway Affairs; Colgate women’s hockey coach Scott Wiley; ECAC Hockey Commissioner Steve Hagwell; Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke.

    McManus speaks at McCormack event

    Sports executives, athletes, academics and members of the Mark McCormack family gathered at the New York Athletic Club on March 1 to celebrate the new partnership between the McCormack family, the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management and the UMass Amherst Libraries. From left: Todd McCormack; Sean McManus, CBS Sports chairman and the keynote speaker; and Howard Katz, SVP of NFL media and operations and COO of NFL Films.

    This party's been Jimmered

    Learfield Sports and IMG were co-hosts for the 2011 Men’s College Basketball Championship Tip-Off Party at The Corinthian in Houston on April 1. From left: Clyde Lear, chairman and founder of Learfield; AP’s player of the year Jimmer Fredette of BYU; and IMG College President Ben Sutton.

    Wharton program on college hoops biz

    At the Wharton Sports Business Initiative’s “State of the Business of College Basketball” on April 2 in Houston (from left): Greg Byrne of Arizona,  Joe Potter of IMG College, Jerome Allen of Penn, Scott Rosner and Derrick Heggans of Wharton, Burke Magnus of ESPN and Karl Hicks of the ACC.

    Norman pitches apparel

    Golfer and sports executive Greg Norman made an appearance March 26 at the Macy’s at the Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., to promote his clothing line Greg Norman for Tasso Elba.

    D-Backs collect UN award

    Arizona Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick (left) and President and CEO Derrick Hall (right) accept the United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award from Celebrate Positive’s Scott Pederson for the club’s work in the community at the organization’s annual Evening on the Diamond fundraising event at Chase Field on March 26 to benefit the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation..

    SEME and heard in D.C.

    At the eighth annual Sports Events Marketing Experience in Washington, D.C., March 25-26 (from left): Jimmy Lynn, JLynn Associates managing partner; Jon Achar, ESPN VP of creative marketing services, a keynote speaker at the event; and Matt Winkler, SEME executive director and Georgetown associate dean, Sports Industry Management graduate program.

    Please submit photos for review of industry conferences, parties, product launches and openings showcasing the people and personalities at the event. Include the event date, location, names/titles of those featured along with credit information. The photo specifications are as follows: 300dpi, tiff, jpeg or eps color images. Submit digital photos for review at: or send color prints to: Faces & Places, c/o Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202.

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  • Rubin brings her style sense to ESPN The Magazine

    ESPN The Magazine has hired Samantha Rubin as the magazine’s first fashion editor. Previously the associate fashion editor for Men’s Health, Rubin will be put in charge of carrying out the traditional ESPN The Magazine sports journalism with an increased style and fashion sense. She spoke with staff writer Brandon McClung.

    Age: 31

    New title: Fashion editor, ESPN The Magazine

    Previous job: Associate fashion editor, Men’s Health

    First job: Worked for my father’s laundry and dry cleaning store

    Education: Bachelor of arts, art history, University of Colorado (2002)

    Resides: Manhattan

    Grew up: Short Hills, N.J.

    Executives most admired: David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief, and Brian Boye, fashion editor, Men’s Health

    Brand most admired: Apple

    Favorite vacation spot: Florence, Italy

    Last book read: “Outliers: The Story of Success,” by Malcolm Gladwell

    Last movie seen: “The Adjustment Bureau”

    Favorite movie: I really like John Hughes movies …“The Breakfast Club”

    Favorite musician/band: The Beatles

    How does working with athletes compare with working with models and actors?

    They are pretty easy to work with. The biggest challenge is always time. Not that they aren’t willing but sometimes they don’t have a lot of time on their hands and since they don’t have the normal body type as a model, sometimes you need that time with them. I have always enjoyed working with athletes because I have always looked up to them in a way. Some athletes are more into fashion than actors are, so it’s a good mix. They aren’t afraid to push it a little more than an actor may be.

    What is the biggest challenge in your new position?

    Finding the right fit and the right story for every issue that is coming up, so it’s really me thinking about the right angles to bring fashion into a story. Also bringing in a style element relevant to the fashion world.

    What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?

    Jumping into journalism without having a journalism background. I was working in PR and knew I wanted to do editorial. I think jumping in and starting down that road was the biggest risk I have taken and it worked out.

    What is your biggest professional accomplishment in your career?

    Coming here. This has been a really big jump for me. I’m really excited to be doing this. This might be my big steppingstone and is something I am really proud of and really excited about.

    What is your biggest professional disappointment in your career?

    I feel like I have been pretty lucky not to have too many. There were times that I didn’t get a job but it actually turned out in my favor.

    What career advice do you have for people wanting into this industry?

    Try to start as early as possible as an intern and be really eager to do anything and ask a lot of questions. I really think interning is the best way to get started. Don’t say no to anything. It might be a lot of closet work and grunt work, but it’s something you can learn from and can really help you get a job.

    What is one story you are continuing to watch in sports today?

    The NFL labor story — even in talking about our NFL preview issue and thinking about how to approach this issue if the season doesn’t happen.

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  • Meet Mr. Fix-It

    It was during an 8 a.m. staff meeting after a night game in Washington, D.C., in the Nationals’ first season that Tony Tavares showed his cards. As the caretaker president for a team that had abandoned Montreal and was owned by Major League Baseball, his primary assignment was to keep costs low. Increasing revenue was not important, as MLB officials knew that would happen when new ownership and a new ballpark were in place. Tavares’ focus was to watch expenses.

    Tony Tavares' latest stop is as interim president of the Dallas Stars.
    “Tony was our bottom-line guy there,’’ recalled Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president of business.

    Still, Tavares wanted to keep tabs on the lifeblood of any team: ticket sales. So he started the early-morning meeting by asking his staffers for the prior night’s attendance figure. The team’s heads of PR, ticketing and sponsorship sales each gave different numbers – maybe because of fatigue, maybe due to all having different numbers. Never known for reticence during his years in sports, Tavares left the meeting, telling the group, “Suppose I come back to this ----ing room after a few minutes. You guys figure out the right answer. Then I’ll come back and well restart the meeting.”

    Tavares calls that method “management by challenge,” a way to make his people acutely aware of the value of consistency.

    “Tony’s the ultimate straightforward manager,” said Joe Hickey, Genesco Sports Enterprises director, who worked in sales with Tavares during his tenure with the Nationals. “He’s a quick study and there was never any question about where you stood with him. He will press you if he senses you’re weak. But if he sees there is talent within an organization, he lets it flourish. He’ll give you the tools and make sure that you do something with them. And he cuts through BS very quickly.”

    Perhaps that is why Tavares has so easily adapted to his role as the “Mr. Fix-It of Pro Sports.” He helped MLB get through its painful years of owning the Expos/Nationals, and, since January, he has been interim president of the Dallas Stars, who were without anyone in that role after Jeff Cogen departed for the Nashville Predators in August. The Stars have also been without an owner since last April, when Hicks Sports Group defaulted on bank loans that were guaranteed by the Stars and a 50 percent interest in their home arena, American Airlines Center. A group of lenders and the NHL now administer the team and are looking to sell it.

    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman knew Tavares from his years running the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for Disney Sports throughout the 1990s. So when the Stars’ financial fortunes dimmed, Mr. Fix-It got the call. “When we felt a need to stabilize that franchise and put a public face on it and make sure the club was in an optimum condition for a sale, he was the first name that came to mind,” Bettman said. “He has tremendous experience, good judgment and is great at motivating an organization. Obviously, the banks involved have an important role and they were extremely comfortable with Tony, both by reputation and after having met him.”

    Still, when Bettman offered Tavares the job late last year, he balked. At 61, with a home in Lake Tahoe, he was less than eager. “I’m getting fussy,” said Tavares, in a spartan office at the Stars practice rink in Frisco, Texas, “and my wife reminded me that my years with the Expos and Nationals [2002-06] started as a six-month commitment.”

    But Bettman was persistent, eventually convincing Tavares that it was a challenge worth taking. Both Bettman and Tavares said there are now six active groups or individuals in various stages of due diligence concerning a purchase of the Stars and arena interest. Still, Tavares sounds like he will play Mr. Fix-It for quite a while, for whatever team.

    “I like fixing, building and the challenges associated with that,” he said. “Once things become sundry and day-to-day, I really don’t have a lot of interest anymore.”
    Remember that Tavares launched the Ducks and won the World Series with the Anaheim Angels for Disney Sports. But he says sincerely that he can have more fun fixing franchises in disrepair.

    “You see these kinds of guys in corporate circles a lot with companies in trouble,” said American Airlines Center President Brad Mayne, on the floor of his arena. “They are the workout guys. But they aren’t so common in sports.”

    Those who worked with him say Tavares is the perfect workout guy because he knows the business and won’t hesitate to reach a conclusion.

    “Tony’s right for where he is because he isn’t someone who will take a week to make a decision,” said Devils Arena Entertainment President Rich Krezwick, who worked with Tavares when Tavares was the first general manager of the Worcester, Mass., Centrum in the early 1980s. “A lot of people have great ideas. Tony gets things done.

    “He also taught me how to throw a telephone across a room,” Krezwick added, with a chuckle. “We replaced dozens for him.”

    Turnaround specialists like Tavares, shown here during his time with the Washington Nationals, are relatively rare in sports.
    “Tony isn’t afraid to cut his losses quickly on any person or project, but that’s another reason he is right for fixing a broken franchise,” said Len Perna, president and CEO of Turnkey Sports and Entertainment, who recalls drawing up the organizational chart for the Nationals on a breakfast napkin during Tavares’ first day in Washington, and subsequently hiring a 50-person front office in 90 days. “That saves time and energy, which you need in a turnaround person.”

    Since coming to Dallas in January, Tavares has assisted on sales calls and telephoned lapsed season-ticket holders, some of whom he brought back. One of his earliest policy changes was reducing the number of discounted and complimentary tickets at the Stars. “Tickets were too easy to come by,” he said. Beyond that, it’s just a morale fix until the right ownership group surfaces. He says ticket and corporate sales are even with, or better than, last season.

    “Staying positive in a negative environment is important,” Tavares said. “I can tell people here that I’ve been through this before, so don’t worry about your job, relax and have fun.”

    There is no timetable for selling the Stars, but given the size of the Dallas market, neither Bettman nor Tavares seem overly concerned.

    “It’s not going to be an issue to find a quality guy or group to buy this franchise,” insisted Tavares.

    What it will take is someone, or some group, with a net worth of $400 million to $500 million, and perhaps some more on-ice success for the Stars, who were just out of the playoff race in the league’s final week at press time.

    “You look at what people in this market spend on suites and seats at Cowboys Stadium and you have to think they will spend here if we give them a decent product,” Tavares said. “If I’m able to do this successfully, then maybe the Mr. Fix-It title will really stick. There are enough franchises with problems across sports that I know I’ll never be bored.”

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  • What I Like: Nathan Grube, Tournament Director, The Travelers Championship


    What I Like

    An insight: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

    An influential person in my career: Eric Eshleman. My first real boss at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. He trained me to serve our clients with an amazing blend of customer service, creative marketing and old-fashioned blood, sweat and tears.

    A timeless idea: Face-to-face meetings. Nothing is more important, or effective, than seeing your clients face to face.

    A business deal: Cowboys Stadium. The deal between Arlington, Jerry Jones, the NFL and the Cowboys fans to get that done was amazing.

    A sports facility: If the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale can be called a “facility,” then that is it. It is an amazing marriage of PGA Tour golf, a fraternity party, a Monster Truck event, a nightclub, a protest rally and spring break in Cancun that somehow combine to make great theater.

    A strategy: Toms shoes. A simple, straightforward message about giving back.

    A hire: Gene Chizik.

    A brand: Coke.

    An innovation: Disposable DVDs that will only play for 24 hours after opening them. I am still trying to figure out the science.

    A fantasy job: Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    What I Like About

    Sports: I think sports are a microcosm of life. You learn how to interact with people, how to win, how to lose, how to work as a team.

    Sports business: Transforming passion into business is exciting.

    Sports technology: The slow-motion replay in HD.

    Competing: Eighty percent of our staff either competed in college athletics or played professionally in some sport. I believe the mentality of competition that an athlete brings to the table is an incredible advantage in business.

    The future (or direction) of sports business: The sharing of ideas. I have seen more references to “best practices” across the sports landscape lately than ever before. This needs to continue.

    Sports fans: Passion. The fan that is willing to cover their body in green paint on a Wednesday night in February for a game and then wash all that off, get up and go to work the next day … that kind of passion is inspiring.

    What I Would Like To

    See: A pro athlete donate 100 percent of his/her next big endorsement deal to charity.

    Change: Online ticket convenience fees.

    Eliminate: Commercial breaks. With the latest technology we now have other ways to advertise. Break away from the competition less and build advertising into the broadcast.

    See more of in sports business: Fan appreciation. The stadiums, the contracts, the endorsements … they are all generated from the fans. I think more fan appreciation events, access to athletes, signed memorabilia, giveaways, etc., would go a long way to having the fans invest even more.

    See more of in sports: Compensation based on performance. Reduce the guarantees and increase incentive compensation. I think we would see the records begin to be broken across the board.

    See less of in sports: Fights in hockey being allowed to run their course.

    See different: Owners having their earnings capped.

    What I Don’t Like

    In general: Egos not checked at the door.

    Pet peeve: People chewing with their mouths open.

    In sports: The lack of acknowledgement of a genetic gift.

    In business: Always trying to upsell.


    What I Like …

    People: Justin Rose. He may be the most gracious person I have ever met.

    That would surprise those who know me: I cry every time I see “Les Miserables.”

    Above all else: My wife. I seriously think she is the coolest person I know. She still makes me nervous.

    About myself: I can shoot either 68 or 86 on the golf course. That kind of diversity keeps the game fun.

    Player: Tony Gwynn. Stay true to your team and don’t chase the money.

    Possession: My first set of Mizuno T-Zoid irons.

    Memento: My dad’s intramural football championship pin from Ohio State in ’62.

    Time of year (because): Fall in New England … just come once and you will know.

    Book: “The Devil in the White City.”

    Gadgets: Microsoft Sync on my Ford Explorer.

    IPad app: “Angry Birds” … when I can pull it away from my son.

    Hobbies: Playing catch with my son and tea parties with my daughter.

    Trips: A three-day hike around the Tetons.

    Movie: “The Shawshank Redemption.”

    TV: “The Daily Show.”

    Concert: U2 in Memphis in ’97.

    Food: Mongolian Chicken from P.F. Chang’s (make sure they caramelize the sauce).

    Drink: Venti Peppermint Mocha.

    Scent: Eucalyptus.

    Vacation spot: Nantucket.

    Car: Chevy Tahoe Z71.

    Quote: Whatever you are, be a good one.

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