SBJ/September 12-18, 2011/People and Pop Culture

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  • People: Executive transactions

    The Southeastern Conference named Sean Cartell and Chevonne Mansfield assistant directors of media relations. Cartell was assistant director of communications at the University of Florida, and Mansfield was assistant director of communications at the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

    The Fresno State Bulldog Foundation promoted Dan McLean to assistant athletic director for development, Tyler Mariucci to director of major gifts and Jennifer Jory to assistant director of major gifts.

    Georgia State University hired Jamie Boggs as senior associate athletic director for compliance and sports services and senior woman administrator. Boggs was assistant athletic director for compliance at Duke University.

    Purdue University hired Chris Peludat as assistant athletic director for marketing and ticketing and Calvin Williams as assistant athletic director for sport administration. Peludat was associate athletic director for ticket sales and operations at the Air Force Academy, and Williams was athletic director at Bluford Drew Jemison Academy.

    The Rochester Institute of Technology promoted Scott McVean to associate athletic director.

    AEG promoted Ignacio Guerra to vice president of parking operations and Joe Herrera to senior director of human resources; Devon Murray to senior production manager at Staples Center; and Cara Vanderhook to director of communications
    and social media and Wendy Funes to senior manager of booking and special services for both Staples Center and Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.

    Racecourse Media Group named Ed Gretton director of racing. Gretton was clerk of the Course at Chester and Bangor-on-Dee racecourses.

    The Aspire Group promoted Michael Meitin to managing director for the U.K. and Europe.

    The Marketing Arm named Stephanie Cohen vice president of business development for its Davie Brown Entertainment practice. Cohen was vice president of Universal Studios Partnerships.

    Shamrock Sports and Entertainment hired Nicolle Meyer as an account director. Meyer was director of marketing, sponsorship and community relations for the Class A Midwest League’s South Bend (Ind.) Silver Hawks.

    World Fishing Network named Carlos Baez senior director of affiliate sales.

    NBC named Jim Bell, “Today Show” executive producer, executive producer for the 2012 Olympic Games. Former NBC Sports Chair Dick Ebersol will serve as a senior adviser to Mark Lazarus on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and 2012 Olympics coverage.

    Thebus Entertainment hired Shawn Bouley as chief executive officer and Chris Hayden as chief operating officer. Co-founder Eric Winston will serve as chief sports officer.

    Multiteam Companies
    Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment named Jamie Spencer executive vice president of sales. Spencer was vice president of customer sales and service for the Minnesota Wild.

    Diamond Sports & Entertainment promoted Brian MacInnes to chief executive officer.

    Palace Sports & Entertainment hired Dennis Mannion as president. Mannion was previously president of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Bob Condron, U.S. Olympic Committee director of media services, will retire at the end of the year.

    USA Hockey named Peter Ward director of player personnel for its national team development program.

    The Canadian Olympic Committee named Chris Overholt chief executive officer and secretary general, Derek Kent chief marketing officer, Caroline Assalian chief sports officer and Jolan Storch general counsel and business development adviser.

    The Columbus Crew hired Kait Harnish as a season-ticket account executive and Ben Wang as database marketing coordinator.

    The Barclays Premier League’s Queens Park Rangers named Philip Beard chief executive officer. Beard was the director of marketing and sponsorship for the London Olympic Games organizing committee and chief executive officer for the O2 Arena.

    The Barclays Premier League’s Sunderland AFC hired Mike Farnan as international and national marketing director. Farnan was director of RedStrike Marketing.

    Sporting Goods and Apparel
    Easton Sports hired John Graham as senior vice president of commerce. Graham was commercial director of action sports for Nike.

    Holden named Ben Pruess chief executive officer. Pruess was global vice president of Adidas Originals.

    Bite Tech hired Mark Mastalir as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Mastalir was formerly chief executive officer for OptionIt.

    The Coleman Co. named Robert Marcovitch president and chief executive officer. Marcovitch was president and chief executive officer for K2 Sports.

    Global Turf Equipment named Larry Willis regional account manager. Willis was director of sales and marketing for United Turf Care.

    The Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy named David Lewis director of instruction.

    USA Field Hockey promoted Katelyn Nerbonne to senior and junior national teams manager and hired Simone Attles as marketing coordinator.

    Awards and Boards
    Rick Welts, Phoenix Suns president and chief executive officer, was named a U.S. Tennis Association 2011 Icon Award honoree.

    The Finish Line named Torrence Boone, Google managing director of agency business development, to its board of directors.

    Easton-Bell Sports named David Perdue, Aquila Group chief executive officer, and Michael Wilskey, former Nike vice president of brand management, to its board of directors.

    USA Volleyball named Kenneth Shropshire, director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Sue Mailhot, commissioner of the Great Plains Region Volleyball Association, to its board of directors.

    People news
    To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information and photos to Brandon McClung at 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202, or email 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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  • PGA of America celebrates 95 years

  • MLB helps ‘Moneyball’ get the baseball right

    As MLB’s regular season winds down, the league is teaming with Sony Pictures to launch and market the film “Moneyball,” which opens Sept. 23.

    Based on the 2003 best-seller by Michael Lewis, “Moneyball” chronicles the travails of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, who uses sabermetrics to build a winning team on a shoestring budget.

    Lewis also wrote “The Blind Side,” which was turned into a hit movie in 2009 and grossed more than $300 million worldwide.

    The studio is hoping the combination of Brad Pitt’s star power and meticulous attention to authenticity and detail in the baseball scenes will help deliver a hit to mainstream movie audiences. To ensure accuracy, the studio used a combination of re-enactments and archival footage of MLB action, often editing them together. The result, says one MLBer working with the studio, is a new standard for realism within the baseball film genre.

    Brad Pitt stars as Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane in the movie, set to open Sept. 23.
    “Because of that insistence on authenticity by the studio and on our part, we really think everyone will agree that this raises the bar to a new level of credibility and accuracy,” said Nick Trotta, senior library and licensing manager at MLB Productions, who worked with the studio over the past two years.

    Marketing of the film is a joint effort. Sony Pictures has purchased ad inventory on MLB television rights holders, including behind-the-plate electronic signage. MLB websites carried a sweepstakes offering a trip and tickets to the movie’s Sept. 19 Oakland premiere, which will be followed by a benefit dinner. The A’s specifically are offering “Moneyball” tickets as a gift-with-purchase to anyone who bought a field-level ticket to the team’s game this Sunday, at which the first 10,000 fans will get a Pepsi Max “Moneyball” T-shirt. A handful of other MLB clubs will promote the film within their ballparks, with ads and “lucky row” promotions. In addition, MLB’s “This Week In Baseball” is doing a segment on the film.


    Early buzz  about the film, with its high-profile cast of Pitt as Beane, Philip Seymour Hoffman as manager Art Howe and Jonah Hill as one of Beane’s statisticians, is solid. At a screening for the A’s, the reviews were mostly positive, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “They gussied it up some,” A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich said. “But that’s Hollywood, and that’s OK. For the most part, it was pretty true.”  The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Someone who doesn’t even like the sport may care about Billy Beane and the 2002 Oakland Athletics.”

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  • Conrad Smith, COO, Minnesota Lynx

    Smith’s Minnesota Lynx return to the WNBA playoffs this week for the first time since 2004 as the top seed in the Western Conference.


    What I Like …

    An insight: In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends.

    An influential person in my career: My parents and all the talented educators along the way who unselfishly imparted their wisdom.

    An out-of-the-box idea: Whether a part-time ticket taker or a courtside seat holder, treat everyone with the same level of attention and respect.

    A timeless idea: Service before all else; handwritten thank-you notes.
    COO, Minnesota Lynx

    Where I'm From: Born in Winchester, Mass., grew up in nearby Woburn and now reside in Eagan, Minn.

    Where I Went to School: Graduated with a speech and communications degree from Emerson College (other alums include Jay Leno, Steven Wright, Henry Winkler, Denis Leary and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Sam Presti) in Boston.

    My First Job:
    Mowed lawns, worked in a greenhouse and was a Scotts Lawn Counselor at a local gardening store.

    A sports facility: Camp Randall, Fenway Park, Target Field.

    A sports event: The Masters is the traditional classic sports event, but one of the best events I have ever witnessed was the highest-scoring game in WNBA history, a Phoenix Mercury 127 - Minnesota Lynx 124 double-overtime game on July 24, 2010.

    A brand: Mayo Hospitals and Clinics, Best Buy.

    A trend: Social media is now the easiest and most powerful tool to communicate with current and future fans.

    An innovation: The Charlotte Bobcats’ smart-card program; personal relationships; sense of humor.

    A pro league or team business initiative: Coming from the world of soccer, seeing the MLS’s expansion and innovation around its National Sales Center initiative.

    An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: Bing.

    A fantasy job: Press secretary for the
    Smith at a fundraiser for the Lynx Foundation in August

    president of the United States.

    What I Like About …

    Sports: Being in a business that provides live, unique, anything-can-happen entertainment.

    Sports business: The opportunity to create new processes and methods of improving our business operation.

    Sports media: You can get detailed coverage of your favorite teams 24 hours a day, including LiveAccess Internet coverage of WNBA games.

    Sports technology: Has allowed us to connect with our loyal fan base and attract new fans on a 24/7 basis.

    The future of sports business: Combining the in-person experience with the comforts of watching a game on television at home.

    What I Would Like To …

    See: A live taping of “Saturday Night Live.”

    See more of in sports business: Although many strides have been made, increase teams’ involvement in the nonprofit/cause-related community.

    See less of in sports business: “We’ll try it and see how it goes” sponsorship deals. Commit dollars and embrace the brand.

    See different: Limit the number of timeouts in the fourth quarter.

    Change: The overall perception that women’s sports are not as entertaining as men’s sports.

    Change in what I do: Enjoy the small wins along the way.

    What I Don’t Like ...

    In general: People who drive too slow in the passing lanes.
    Pet peeve: Excessive commercial breaks on television and radio.

    In business: Poor customer service.

    About sports fans: Fair-weather fans. Let’s all be fans like those of the Cubs and Packers.


    What I Like …

    That would surprise those who know me: Refereeing soccer games.

    Heroes: All the military servicemen and women who protect and serve our country.

    Players: Kirby Puckett, Carl Yastrzemski, John Havlicek and Bobby Orr.

    Memento: A signed Kirby Puckett 1993 All-Star Game MVP baseball (black and orange stitching).

    Music: The E Street Band, Tom Waits, NRBQ and Dave Bromberg.

    Books: “Lone Survivor,” by Marcus Luttrell; “Hunting Eichmann,” by Neal Bascomb; and “The Brothers Bulger,” by Howie Carr.

    Authors: Thomas Friedman, Khaled Hosseini, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Welch.

    IPad app: Flixster.

    Trips: Alaska, Hawaii, Japan, Dominican Republic.

    Movies: “The Wizard of Oz,” “Caddyshack,” “Back to School,” “No Country for Old Men” and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

    TV: “Cheers,” “In Living Color,” “Weeds,” “Mad Men,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

    Concerts: Talking Heads at the University of Miami; the last performance by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons (Conseco Field House).

    Artists: Norman Rockwell, Bill Mack.

    Dessert: Chocolate éclairs and my mother’s applesauce cake.

    Drink: Arnie Palmer and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

    Scent: Smell of fresh-cut grass in the morning and an ocean breeze.

    Vacation spots: Several spots in Maine, including York Beach, Ogunquit and Bar Harbor; Key West, Fla.

    Car: Lexus.

    Quote: I have been writing quotes on my kids’ plastic lunch bags for the past several years. Favorites are “Live, Laugh and Love”; “Energy and Persistence Conquer All Things”; and “Leave the Gift of Kindness and Courage.”

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