SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Game Changers

Game Changers: Jeanie Buss

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COURTESY OF JEANIE BUSS
Buss, at the Lakers’ 2010 ring ceremony, is well-acquainted with the O’Brien Trophy.
Jeanie Buss
Los Angeles Lakers
EVP, Business Operations

Jeanie Buss, the longtime executive vice president of business operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, had a leading role earlier this year in pulling off one of the biggest local TV deals in sports: the Lakers’ reported 20-year, $3 billion deal with Time Warner. Buss has said one of the things she’s most proud of from the deal is that it’s creating two regional sports networks — one in English and one in Spanish — each of which will have original content. The daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, she has worked for her father’s companies since 1981 and has attended the NBA board of governors meetings as an alternate governor since 1995. She also is a member of the NBA’s labor committee, giving her a key role in the negotiations for the league in the ongoing NBA lockout.

— Liz Mullen
  • What is the best advice you've ever received?: 1) My dad stressed that there is no substitute for education; 2) Tommy Lasorda said never complain about your problems because “half the people don’t care and the other half are happy you have them”; and 3) I met Jane Fonda when I was 18. I weakly shook her hand, and she grabbed it and said, “Give people a strong handshake so they will remember you.”
  • What keeps you awake at night?: Safety of all sports fans when gathering for a live event. No fan should ever be put at risk or danger when they buy a ticket to enjoy a game.
  • Woman in sports business you'd most like to meet: Laila Ali.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is : Keeping balance when so much is about winning and losing.
  • One attribute I look for when hiring is …: Integrity; have to be able to trust the people I work with.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Her commitment to Lakers fans and to the NBA is second to none. In all of my dealings with her, I found her to be a savvy and creative business partner with a keen focus on innovating to better engage and entertain our viewers.”

  • Melinda Witmer, Time Warner Cable EVP, chief video and content officer
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