SBJ/October 17-23, 2011/Franchises

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  • 3 from Cavs join Phizzle

    Three members of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ digital business staff are leaving the organization to join mobile marketing company Phizzle.

    Mike Maleski, Cavs director of new media sales; Jeff Ryznar, director of strategic marketing; and Jeff Lillibridge, director of website operations, will open a newly created Cleveland office for the San Francisco-based Phizzle beginning next month.

    Phizzle develops mobile marketing products for team, league, media and facility clients, including the Cavaliers, Madison Square Garden, Fox Sports Net, MASN, the Philadelphia 76ers and Wells Fargo Center.

    Ben Davis, Phizzle chief executive officer, said the trio will lead a newly formed client-services group for the company.

    “We’ve learned quite a lot from these guys in our three-plus years working together thus far, and we’re looking to take all those learnings and successes from the Cavaliers, particularly with regard to generating incremental revenue from mobile, and transfer that knowledge to our other clients,” Davis said.

    The Cavaliers will remain a key Phizzle client.

    Though Davis acknowledged recruiting the three executives to join his company was “a very delicate matter,” he said the shift was cleared with Cavaliers senior management.

    Maleski and Ryznar have worked for the Cavs for four years, and Lillibridge spent the past seven years with the team.

    The team has not yet filled any of the positions.

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  • New Suns president has brand, promotion experience

    The Phoenix Suns are turning to former Henkel Consumer Goods CEO Brad Casper to run the team’s business operations.

    Suns owner Robert Sarver hired Casper as the club’s new team president of business operations.

    JIM POULIN / PHOENIX
    BUSINESS JOURNAL

    Brad Casper was CEO of Henkel Consumer Goods.
    Casper replaces Rick Welts, who resigned from the Suns in early September and was recently hired as Golden State Warriors president and COO.

    Casper left Henkel in August of last year after leading the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based unit since 2005. Henkel’s brands include Dial soap and Right Guard.

    Sarver said he liked Casper’s experience with brand management and promotion. He also said Casper has experience doing business in Asia, a key NBA growth market.

    Suns Vice Chairman Sam Garvin suggested Casper for the post, Sarver said.

    With Casper’s hiring, Jason Rowley, who had been serving as interim president, was promoted to chief operating officer. He remains the team’s legal counsel.

    Casper’s résumé also includes stints with Procter & Gamble and serving on the boards of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and Greater Phoenix Leadership. He does not have previous professional sports experience.

    Mike Sunnucks writes for the Phoenix Business Journal, an affiliated publication.

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