50 Most Influential: Introduction 50 Most Influential: No. 34 Ditching ’burbs for Detroit NHL brings doughnuts, signs Dunkin’ deal 50 Most Influential: No. 16 ‘Suite’ gifts, and even a few ugly ones Group builds platform for hockey award 50 Most Influential: No. 38 Alabama scores some serious bling Sports Media: NFL steps into esports
SBJ/May 21-27, 2012/People and Pop CulturePrint All
Los Angeles Dodgers Chief Financial Officer Peter Wilhelm resigned.
The Houston Astros hired Samir Mayur as director of business development.
John Marinatto resigned as commissioner of the Big East Conference.
Cowley College hired Richard Speas as athletic director. Speas was athletic director at Blinn Junior College.
Kennesaw State University hired Erin Kerr as director of athletic development. Kerr was assistant director of athletic development at Wake Forest University.
Oakland University promoted Adrian Kowal to assistant athletic director for compliance, Gordie Lindsay to assistant athletic director for development, Scott MacDonald to assistant athletic director for communications and Elisabeth Putnam to assistant athletic director for facilities and operations.
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference named Joe Novak director of hockey operations. Novak was assistant athletic director for events management at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Central Methodist University hired Kenneth Oliver as vice president for institutional growth and student engagement. Oliver will remain athletic director at Texas A&M University-Kingsville through June 15.
The University at Buffalo hired Danny White as athletic director. White was senior associate athletic director at the University of Mississippi.
The University of Central Florida hired Andy Seeley as assistant athletic director for communications. Seeley was associate director of athletic communications at the University of Minnesota.
The University of Portland hired Scott Leykam as athletic director. Leykam was senior associate commissioner for external relations for the West Coast Conference.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee named Andy Geiger athletic director. Geiger was formerly athletic director at Ohio State University.
Western Kentucky University promoted Todd Stewart to athletic director. Stewart was senior associate athletic director.
St. Bonaventure University promoted Jason MacBain to sports information director.
George Martin resigned as NFL Alumni Association executive director and NFL Alumni Foundation chief executive officer.
The Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers organization hired Ronny Henderson as director of marketing. Henderson was chairman and vice president of development for Arizona’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.
The Chicago Blackhawks promoted Norm Maciver to assistant general manager.
The American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch hired Amanda Johnston as sponsorship services manager. Johnston was marketing and sales coordinator for Venture Sales Group.
Breeders’ Cup Ltd. named Robert Elliston chief operating officer. Elliston was president and chief executive officer for Turfway Park.
CBS Sports Network named Greg Trager vice president of programming. Trager was vice president of programming and production for the Sportsman Channel.
The American Le Mans Series named Jamie Kimbrough director of public relations.
Aramark named Eric Foss chief executive officer and president, replacing Joseph Neubauer, who will remain the chairman of the company. Foss was chief executive officer for Pepsi Beverages Co.
Awards and Boards
United Way Worldwide named Marc Bluestein, Aquarius Sports and Entertainment founder and president, to its U.S. board of trustees.
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Rucker's a hit with PGA Tour
Country music performer and avid golfer Darius Rucker hands a check to PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem representing the money Rucker’s song, “Together, Anything’s Possible,” has raised for tour charities. Rucker’s song generated $63,886.22 from iTunes downloads in 2011. Funds will be used to support charities such as The First Tee.
Photo by:CHRIS CONDON / PGA TOUR
ESPN upfront in New York
Broadcaster Trey Wingo (left) and Sean Bratches, executive vice president of sales and marketing, were among those onstage for the ESPN upfront presentation on May 15 at Best Buy Theater in New York City.
Photo by:RICH ARDEN / ESPN
Class in session with Dolich
Alan Ledford, Pat Gallagher and Brett Fuller took part in a panel discussion on facilities during Andy Dolich’s Current Business Issues in Sports class at Stanford University on May 8. From left: Ledford, former president and CEO of the Sacramento River Cats and now owner of four minor league baseball teams; Gallagher, former executive of the San Francisco Giants; Dolich, adjunct faculty member at Stanford and longtime professional sports executive; and Fuller, director of business development for AECOM.
Announcing college football inductees
Steve Bartkowski (left) and Jimmy Johnson (second from left) join National Football Foundation President and CEO Steve Hatchell (second from right) and Burke Magnus, ESPN SVP for college sports programming, at the announcement of the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame class. Former Cal quarterback Bartkowski and former Miami and Oklahoma State coach Johnson represented the class of 14 players and three coaches at the event May 15 at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City.
Photo by:GENE BOYARS
TWC media upfront in Los Angeles
At the Time Warner Cable Media “Cabletime” upfront May 10 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles (from left): host Andy Adler; Los Angeles Lakers TV broadcaster Francisco Pinto; TWC Deportes VP Pablo Urquiza; Joan Hogan Gillman, TWC EVP and TWC Media president; Mark Shuken, SVP and GM of TWC Sports Regional Networks; Scott Pruitt, TWC VP of marketing and communications; and Lakers TV broadcaster Adrian Garcia Marquez.
Photo by:EDWIN JIMENEZ
P&G says 'Thank you, Mom'
Jodi Allen, Procter & Gamble VP of North America operations and marketing, speaks at a press event announcing P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” gifts to mothers of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes for the 2012 London Games. The event was May 8 in New York City.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
Big anniversary for Texas bowl game
On May 10, ESPN Regional Television played host for a 10th anniversary event marking the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl game’s return to TCU’s newly renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium. From left: Brant Ringler, the bowl game’s executive director; Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price; Pete Riley, Bell Helicopter EVP of integrated operations; Pete Derzis, ESPN Regional Television SVP and GM; and Bill Thornton, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, and co-chairman of the bowl game’s executive council.
Photo by:RICK DALTON
Stakeholders were ready for some soccer as the Houston Dynamo played its first game at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12. From left: Dynamo President Chris Canetti (left) and MLS Commissioner Don Garber
Photos by:DON MURET / STAFF
AEG Facilities COO Bob Newman (left) and AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke
Manolo Sanchez (left), CEO of BBVA Compass, and Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions founder and Dynamo co-owner
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Dario Brignole came to the U.S. from Argentina, where he had worked for Nike and Head, and made what he considers his official entry into the industry as an intern at IMG’s office in Washington, D.C. He spent 13 years with IMG before starting his own marketing company.
FINGERS DO THE WALKING: I went to the Yellow Pages. … There were three companies: One was IMG, the other was SFX, and the other I think was [ProServ] … I sent a letter to all of them and started calling, and no one answered. I realized that IMG was literally three blocks from where I used to live. Pretty much, I started to show up and make friends in this really small IMG office. … I don’t know if I really ever got an offer like, “Yes, please come on Monday.” It was more like me showing up, all dressed up with a full suit.
Brignole (left) working for IMG in Bolivia at Copa America in 1997, with former Argentine rugby player Matias Corral. Below: Brignole and Roger Federer at this year’s Sony Ericsson Open.
Photos:COURTESY OF DARIO BRIGNOLE
OVERQUALIFIED: In Argentina, when you go to school, when you finish high school, you start working, and you are 18, 19 years old, and you go to school at night. Which means when you graduate, you are 22 years old or 23, but you already have five years of experience. … When they put me at the front
AHEAD OF HIS TIME: I presented a marketing plan, how to either bring IMG talent to Latin America, or try to find Argentinian talent to try to sell it overseas. … It’s funny that a lot of things that I wrote there materialized [later]. … That’s one of the things about our business is maybe it’s the right idea, but the timing is not right.
SUITING UP: I forget my belt [on a trip for a job interview within IMG]. … I say, “OK, I will buy a belt tomorrow morning in New York when I’m close to the office.” What happened is close to the office what you have is Gucci, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana. Anyway, I went there [and] the cheapest belt I could get was $170. I think it was more expensive than my suit. … I still have that belt, and it’s a great belt.
BUILDING A STRUCTURE: I have a whole system that I explain to [Shine’s] interns. … Why? Because when I did my internship with IMG, honestly, it was really bad (laughs). They were really nice people, but they didn’t have any structure. It was like, “Oh, gosh, the intern showed up, what are we going to do with him? Whatever. Could he grab my cleaning?” You know what I mean, or “Could he grab a couple of Subway sandwiches?”
‘TRY TO KEEP POSITIVE’: There are ups and downs. You have to try to keep positive, but the truth is, Who is going to give you a break? Who is going to give you a meeting? I only want a meeting. I want to be in front of someone that gave me 15 minutes. You work really hard for that.
See also: Chris Wright, President: Minnesota Timberwolves, Lynx
Chris Wright, a former soccer player and coach, made his debut as an executive in that sport before moving to basketball. “You come in and learn,” Wright says. “You have to be prepared to change and to be nimble.”
Wright’s a longtime basketball exec, but he hasn’t forgotten his soccer moves.
Photos:COURTESY OF MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
PATH TO GM: I was a soccer player in England and I got into the coaching side very quickly. I kept coming over to the U.S. to soccer camps and got to know a lot of people in Pittsburgh.
FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS: What I realized very early was that I needed to find people who were passionate about the game and knew the business functions. That seemed like it would be difficult.
HOT ROD: As an English guy, I loved the singer Rod Stewart so I decided that our theme would be “Hot Legs” after his music. The player introductions were to the “Hot Legs” music and we had a Miss Hot Legs contest. At halftime, I used to drive around the arena with Miss Hot Legs in the car, much to the chagrin of my family.