SBJ/December 12-18, 2011/Most Influential

50 Most Influential: 41-50



41
LORENZO
FERTITTA

Chairman

Ultimate Fighting Championship

DANA
WHITE

President

Ultimate Fighting Championship

CHANGE FROM 2010: NEWCOMERS

In the last decade, the Las Vegas billionaire and his bombastic front man have taken the UFC from outlawed to in thing. A move to the Fox family of networks, coupled with expansion into South America and Asia, made 2011 a watershed year.

42
MICHAEL
WEINER

Executive Director

MLB Players Association

CHANGE FROM 2010: +1

In a year dominated by labor strife, Weiner was able to negotiate his first collective-bargaining agreement as head of the MLBPA, not only avoiding a work stoppage but also maintaining a system that leaves baseball as the only major U.S. sports league without a salary cap. Weiner has been called less militant than past MLBPA leaders, but those who know him say he is as tough as he is smart.
43
ALISON
LEWIS

Senior Vice President
of Marketing, North America

Coca-Cola Co.

CHANGE FROM 2010: NEWCOMER

Anyone at the world’s most indelible brand has more influence than most. With the Olympics and FIFA World Cup rights in their marketing portfolio, Coke and Lewis have two of the most powerful global sports sponsorships in their pocket, backed by one of the biggest ad budgets for any brand. Oh, and did we mention they continue to kick butt in the ongoing cola wars?

44
BOB
BOWMAN

President & CEO

MLB Advanced Media

CHANGE FROM 2010: -11

It is virtually impossible to discuss any key emerging digital trend, from tablets and social media to analytics and ticketing, without mentioning MLBAM’s trailblazing efforts, again proving the organization’s restless spirit under Bowman.

45
MARK
CUBAN

Owner

Dallas Mavericks

CHANGE FROM 2010: NOT RANKED

Cuban has moved past his reputation as a free-wheeling owner willing to take on the establishment. Now, he’s earned respect that comes from his consistent approach in running the Mavericks. His team not only boasts an NBA title, but also is considered one of the best-run operations in sports.

46
JEREMY
JACOBS SR.

Owner, Boston Bruins

Chairman & CEO,
Delaware North Cos.

CHANGE FROM 2010: NOT RANKED

After waiting 36 years, Jacobs finally saw his Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup this year. Jacobs bought the franchise in 1975, and has become one of the most influential owners in the NHL, sitting on the executive committee of the board of governors. As chairman and CEO of Delaware North, he also oversees one of the most important venue management and concessions firms in the industry.

47
DON
FEHR

Executive Director

NHL Players' Association

CHANGE FROM 2010: NOT RANKED

Since taking over the NHLPA in December 2010, Fehr has brought calm and order to a union that was in chaos. Since the last collective-bargaining agreement was reached in 2005, players have fired three union chiefs. But all has been quiet since Fehr took over. The league’s CBA expires in September, and the big question is whether there will be a peaceful settlement or another work stoppage.



48
ERIC
GRUBMAN

Executive Vice President,
Business Ventures

NFL

CHANGE FROM 2010: NEWCOMER

JEFF
PASH

Executive Vice President
& General Counsel

NFL

CHANGE FROM 2010: NOT RANKED

Pash, the league’s chief labor negotiator, helped bargain a new labor pact that gives the NFL great incentive to generate more local and non-media revenue, while Grubman is charged with helping make it work by increasing revenue toward the commissioner’s goal of $25 billion, from around $9.5 billion now.

49
RICK
DUDLEY

President & CEO

Octagon Worldwide

CHANGE FROM 2010: NO CHANGE

Dudley leads a company that touches various sports — and platforms — around the world, and it’s that global reach and multiple offerings that differentiates this agency from many of its competitors. Dudley touts diversification — representation across multiple sports under Phil de Picciotto, a heritage with top Olympic athletes, corporate consulting and activation for major brands around the globe, and deep roots in global soccer on the brand and property side — all while he makes new business plays in the digital and hospitality business. He also has positioned the company well in the emerging sports market of Brazil.

50
CHRIS
TSAKALAKIS

CEO

StubHub

CHANGE FROM 2010: NEWCOMER

Friends of StubHub say the company helps them sell season tickets to buyers who fear getting stuck with those they don’t use. Foes see it as a competitor that has torched their pricing models. Like it or loathe it, Tsakalakis’ company has become part of the ticket sales discussion for every front office in sports.

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