SBJ/December 12-18, 2011/Most Influential

50 Most Influential: 11-20

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11
TIM
LEIWEKE

President and CEO

AEG

CHANGE FROM 2010: +1

The phrase “Tim Leiweke” comes up nearly 110 times during a search of SportsBusiness Journal/Daily archives for 2011 alone. But it’s not just the frequency, it’s the diversity that shows Leiweke’s authority. From the staggering Farmers Field deal and bid for the NFL in Los Angeles, to shaking up the ticketing business, to an MLS championship for the Galaxy, to international arena projects — Leiweke is always in the middle of big stories, and the focus of everyone’s attention.

12
DAVID
LEVY

President of Sales, Distribution and Sports

Turner Broadcasting

CHANGE FROM 2010: +1

Levy has been at the table for every major sports rights negotiation over the past several years. Under his guidance, Turner has amassed an enviable bucket of rights, including MLB postseason, NBA postseason, the NCAA tournament and NASCAR. Expect Levy to be in the mix when the NFL shops its planned Thursday night package next year.

13
SEAN
MCMANUS

Chairman

CBS Sports

CHANGE FROM 2010: -5

In February, McManus shed his CBS News responsibilities to focus exclusively on sports. The result was an NCAA tournament that went off without a hitch, even though competing networks shared the event. McManus quietly renewed CBS’s PGA Tour deal at the end of the summer. And he’s been negotiating to renew the network’s NFL deal.

14
TIM
FINCHEM

Commissioner

PGA Tour

CHANGE FROM 2010: +5

Despite a down economy and Tiger Woods’ continued playing woes, Finchem came through by working at the CEO level to bring millions of new sponsorship dollars into the sport. He also generated raises in new nine-year TV contracts with CBS and NBC, while embracing the tour’s youth movement, which helped shift the conversation away from Woods.



15
MARK
PARKER

CEO

Nike Inc.

CHARLIE
DENSON

President

Nike Brand

CHANGE FROM 2010: -1

The only argument concerning the extent of Nike’s influence across sports is whether Nike or ESPN is more influential. Each could lay claim to rivaling Coca-Cola in appeal with the under-25 set that advertisers covet. Even 39 years in and at nearly $21 billion in revenue, Nike remains remarkably relevant to that fickle demo.

16
MARK
LAZARUS

Chairman

NBC Sports Group

CHANGE FROM 2010: NEWCOMER

When industry icon Dick Ebersol resigned from NBC Sports in May, Lazarus was picked to guide the merger of Comcast and NBC Sports’ corporate cultures. The network did not miss a beat, renewing Olympic and PGA Tour rights and preparing for Versus’ rebrand into NBC Sports Network.

17
BRIAN
FRANCE

CEO

NASCAR

CHANGE FROM 2010: +1

No sport was punished more by the recent recession than NASCAR. Attendance, TV numbers and sponsorship declined. But France is charting the way forward with a five-year plan designed to build the sport’s young and multicultural fan base, improve its digital and social media offerings, raise its driver profiles and enhance the race-day experience.

18
GEORGE
PYNE

President

IMG Sports & Entertainment

CHANGE FROM 2010: -1

Despite the tragic loss of Ted Forstmann in November, the company now controlled by Pyne and new Chairman and CEO Mike Dolan continues to be the biggest kid on the block. Under the direction of Pyne, IMG recently placed most of its chips on a huge bet across college marketing. Whether that bet will pay off is one of the most asked questions across the industry.

19
SEPP
BLATTER

President

FIFA

CHANGE FROM 2010: +2

FIFA again posted impressive television metrics this year, with the Women’s World Cup final between the U.S. and Japan becoming the second-highest-rated women’s soccer match ever in the U.S. Then, in October, Blatter helped FIFA secure $1.85 billion in television revenue for the 2018 and 2022 men’s World Cups, with the lion’s share coming from Fox and Telemundo.



20
JERRY
BUSS

JEANIE
BUSS

Owners

Los Angeles Lakers

CHANGE FROM 2010: NEWCOMERS

The Lakers have changed the local television rights landscape with their new 25-year blockbuster deal with Time Warner Cable reportedly worth nearly $200 million a year. Here’s more proof of the Lakers’ influence: The NBA’s plan to dramatically alter team economics by siphoning local revenue from the big-market teams to small-market teams is more easily done with the Lakers’ support.

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