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SBJ/April 2-8, 2012/People and Pop CulturePrint All
Sorenstam recently talked about her new life juggling business and family with SportsBusiness Journal’s Michael Smith.
The retired golfer is finding the success she enjoyed on the links in a variety of ventures.
Photo by:CHRIS STANFORD
SORENSTAM: It depends on the time of year. In the spring and fall, it’s course design. In the fall, a lot of it is the academy. Fall is for the wine — harvest time is very important. And my foundation, that’s really all year ’round. I’m working on something almost every day. The course-design business is overseas, mostly in Asia, so that takes a great deal of time and travel.
■ How much of this were you doing while you were still playing competitively?
SORENSTAM: I planted the seed for a lot of this at the end of my playing career. Most of the things I’m working on started when my playing days ended. The one exception was the clothing line [with Cutter & Buck]. That started in 2004, 2005, and I was playing in my own collection.
■ Do you own these businesses or are they mostly licensing deals?
Sorenstam’s foundation is a year-round effort.
Photo by:ANNIKA FOUNDATION
■ Is there a golfer who’s been an especially good role model for you in business life after golf?
SORENSTAM: Oh, sure. If you look at Palmer, Nicklaus, Norman, they’ve all been very successful. When you look at them and what they’re doing, that kind of thing — being competitive from a business standpoint — is what excites me now. … The competitive part of you doesn’t ever go away. When you put your name on something, you’re building a brand. You want everything you touch to be first class because it represents me and I want to make sure we’re delivering something very promising and very inspirational. When people come to the academy, I want them to say, “Wow, this is the best academy out there.” When they drink the wine, I want them to think it’s top notch. … I’m competitive, I want to succeed, and that comes from being the best in something at one time, working hard and setting goals. That’s how I get my competitive fix, and it’s one reason I don’t miss being out there competing anymore.
■ Come on. Really? You don’t miss playing competitively at all?
■ You and Jack Nicklaus both have very successful course-design operations, but the two of you weren’t selected to build the course in Rio for the 2016 Olympics. How did you take that news?
SORENSTAM: I’m not going to pretend that I wasn’t disappointed. I was very disappointed. I thought we had something really good to offer. Jack and I were both very involved in getting golf into the Olympics and for us, this felt like the natural next step. We thought it was a wonderful match. … But after it’s all over, I look back and really enjoyed working with Jack. His knowledge and what he has done is so impressive. It was still a great experience and it’ll be the memory of a lifetime, even though the result was not what we wanted.
■ You’ve become very active on social media with your blog and Twitter, including posting updates on baby Will after he was born prematurely. How do you try to use those media?
SORENSTAM: The blog [annikasorenstam.com/blog] is a great way to communicate with everybody — my sponsors, supporters, fans, and keeping the media updated. … I’m learning about new media and social media and the best way to use that as communication. But the blog is something I really value and put a lot of time and effort into to make sure it’s updated.
■ How often do you tweet?
SORENSTAM: Every day, anywhere from two to 20 times a day, depending on what’s going on and the things I want to share. It could be very different from one day to another. I might be at a photo shoot with a sponsor, or we might have the family at Disney. But I do want the followers to get a feel for who I am.
■ One of the developments in your post-playing career has been more air time on Golf Channel, where you fill in as a host once a week on “Morning Drive.” Are you interested in doing more TV?
SORENSTAM: I don’t do a lot of TV, but I enjoy my short visits on Thursdays to “Morning Drive.” We talk about current topics and players. I have not done any commentating, tournament-wise. I might enjoy working some of the bigger events, maybe the majors, but not as a full-time job.
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association named Margaret Bellville executive director.
The Southeastern Conference promoted Greg Sankey to executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer.
Slippery Rock University hired Torry Rollins as associate athletic director. Rollins was assistant athletic director for business affairs at Southeast Missouri State University.
St. Cloud State University hired Heather Weems as athletic director, effective July 1. Weems was associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at Drake University.
The Stronach Group named Mark Verge chief executive officer. Verge replaces Greg Avioli, who stepped down.
U/S Sports Advisors promoted Krissi Edgington to vice president of marketing.
Team Epic promoted Casey Lambersky to associate and Brad Burns to manager in its Atlanta office.
Turner Broadcasting promoted Jenn Toner to vice president of Turner Broadcasting ad sales and sports business communications and hired Nate Smeltz as vice president of Turner sports content communications. Smeltz was director of communications for ESPN.
Competitor Group named Scott Dickey president and chief executive officer, and Chief Financial Officer Steve Gintowt added the role of chief operating officer. Peter Englehart will continue as the company’s chairman and in his role as an operating partner of Falconhead Capital.
NBC Sports Group promoted Brian Nyemchek to vice president of NBC Sports Vertical.
IndyCar promoted Tony George Jr. to director of the Firestone Indy Lights series.
Salvi Sports Enterprises hired Beth Heffernan as general counsel and vice president.
Madison Square Garden Co. promoted Beth Collins to corporate senior vice president of business development.
Mario Vazquez Rana of Mexico resigned from his positions as an IOC member, IOC executive board member, Olympic Solidarity president and Association of the National Olympic Committees president.
Sporting Goods and Apparel
Dancin’ Dogg Golf named Joe Moses vice president of international sales.
Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards
Fanatics hired Thomas Baumlin as chief financial officer. Baumlin was a managing director for venture capital firm Two Rivers Capital.
Stats LLC hired Christopher McNally as vice president of strategic activation. McNally was vice president of business development for Queue Marketing Communications Group.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hired Chuck Finder as media relations manager to oversee, among other schools/facilities, its Center for Sports Medicine and Concussion Program.
Executive placement firm Witt/Kieffer opened a sports practice, which consultants Greg Santore and Scott Sette will head up.
Awards and Boards
Hulman and Co. named to its board of directors John Ackerman, Cardinal Equity Partners co-founder and managing director; Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief executive officer; Mark Miles, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership chief executive officer; and Jim Morris, Pacers Sports & Entertainment president.
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PROFESSIONAL■ A timeless idea: Handwritten thank-you notes.
Photo by: SUSAN FALZONE
■ An insight: The most powerful question to ask yourself every day: What would you do if you had no fear?
■ An influential person in my career: Father Hurley: inspiring high school priest who forced me to decide between debating team and newspaper, which led me to forget the law and dive into journalism.
■ An out-of-the-box idea: How about a game that takes 150 acres, five hours a day and thousands of dollars a year to play. You’ll never get any good, kids and old women will beat you, and once you play, you’ll think it’s the greatest game ever.
■ A business deal: Signing Tiger Woods as a Golf Digest playing editor 1997-2011; not a bad run.
■ A sports facility: Augusta National, where chicken sandwiches are still $1.50.
■ A sports event: Open Championship at St. Andrews, where golf has been played for 500 years.
■ A strategy: Make your mistakes from moving too fast, not too slow.
■ A hire: Dan Jenkins in 1984, when Sports Illustrated thought he was done. It turned out, he was only getting started.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
■ A trend: Unleashing magazines on tablets: print goes Hollywood.
■ A pro league or team business initiative: Golf in the Olympics, Rio 2016.
■ A story that bears watching: Donald Trump buying golf courses.
What I Like About …
■ Competing: Is 100 percent preparation.
■ Sports: The rule of law.
■ Sports technology: NBC Golf simulcast on Golf Channel.
■ The future of sports business: Interactive cable programming.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
What I’d Like To …
■ Change: Making everything more affordable.
■ Change in what I do: Not have to go through airport security.
■ See: Tiger win and lose gracefully.
■ See more of in sports: Famous athletes signing autographs for kids.
■ See different: Athletes saying what they really mean and not being pilloried by the media who asked the question.
■ Eliminate: Knee-jerk criticism of golf by pandering politicians.
What I Don’t Like …
■ In general: Having to park in a state other than the one in which the sporting event is being played.
■ Pet peeve: Golf commentators named “Sir Nick.”
■ In sports: Repeating the same TV commercials — except for the ones with the baby who talks like an adult.
■ In business: Agents who tell you they’ve asked their player when you know they didn’t.
■ About sports fans: Accepting rudeness and mediocrity.
What I Like …
■ People: Stealing a Dan Jenkins line, I like people who like me.
■ That would surprise those who know me: Roulette — I have a system!
■ Above all else: Fealty … or in the absence of that, chicken scarpariello, which is my electric-chair meal.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
■ Player: Arnold Palmer, because he unfailingly treats everyone with grace and humility.
■ Teams: Wake Forest Deacons, New York Yankees, American Ryder Cup team.
■ City: Clementon, N.J.
■ Memento: Merion wicker basket. Believe me, it’s really cool.
■ Time of year: The Masters through British Open, because outdoors is better than indoors.
■ Music: Jazz.
■ Magazines: The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Hemmings.
■ IPad apps: Instagram, Rue La La, GolfLogix.
■ Hobbies: Fly-fishing, horse racing.
■ Artist: Anthony Ravielli, the scratchboard genius who drew Ben Hogan.
■ Food: Snapper soup at Pine Valley.
■ Dessert: Macaroons at the Links Club.
■ Drink: Sam’s Special at Cypress Point.
■ Car: 1952 Ford F-1 pickup
■ Aftershave: My father’s “Man About Town” cologne. He’d put it on in the upstairs bathroom, and you could smell it down in the cellar.
■ Singer: Ella.
■ Quote: “In crisis management, there’s just four rules: Get it right, get it fast, get it out, get it over. … If you try and eliminate one of those steps, you’ve got troubles.” — Warren Buffett