Coast to Coast PBR positions Vegas event as a ‘major’ MLB Turnstile Tracker MASN case returns to the courtroom Ebersol stands by critique of Conan Pac-12 presents new model to ADs In rebranding, the Bucks aren’t stopping here New NYRR chief puts focus on running Bums get their bleachers back RTA gets access to NASCAR data
SBJ/October 8-14, 2012/People and Pop CulturePrint All
The Class A Midwest League’s Wisconsin Timber Rattlers hired Kevin Ross as entertainment coordinator.
Minor League Baseball hired Sean Brown as director of finance and accounting. Brown was lead auditor for MiLB and its affiliated companies at Gregory, Sharer & Stuart.
The Washington Wizards and the Washington Mystics named Patrick Rees director of basketball communications. Rees was public relations manager for the Brooklyn Nets.
The Los Angeles Clippers hired Gerald Madkins as director of basketball operations. Madkins was director of player personnel for the New Orleans Hornets.
The Orlando Magic named Michael Arcieri director of basketball operations, George Rodman basketball operations manager and Harold Ellis head of pro scouting.
Le Moyne College named Kasha Godleski associate director for athletic advancement. Godleski was director of regional programs and alumni relations at Syracuse University.
Fayetteville State University hired Kevin Wilson as assistant athletic director for development and marketing. Wilson was assistant director for development at North Carolina Central University.
Todd Millar stepped down as president of Hockey Calgary.
Blake Sports Group named Craig Whaley director of business development and event services and Faith Richards athlete and business development coordinator. Whaley was an event and communications specialist for Lowe’s.
IMG College named Stephen Barry general manager of Virginia Tech IMG Sports Marketing, Brian George general manager of Baylor IMG Sports Marketing, Kevin Levy associate general manager of Villanova IMG Sports Marketing and Deanay Marie Morris apparel marketing manager for The Collegiate Licensing Co. IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions named Nicholas Bidese general manager at the University of Texas at El Paso, Phillip Wesley England general manager at Auburn University and Andrew Simon general manager of the University of Oklahoma.
Comcast SportsNet Houston named Bill Worrel play-by-play announcer and Matt Bullard and Clyde Drexler analysts for Houston Rockets broadcasts.
WCNC-TV in Charlotte hired Chris Clark as sports director. Clark was an anchor, reporter and producer for WAGA-TV in Atlanta.
Sporting Goods and Apparel
Scott Plank stepped down as executive vice president of business development at Under Armour to start War Horse, a real estate development firm.
Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards
The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission hired Justin Balich as vice president and director of events.
Black Coaches and Administrators named Carol Owens president. Owens is associate head coach for the Notre Dame women’s basketball team.
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PHOTOS BY MARC BRYAN-BROWN
Steve Flatow of Bloomberg Sports, Glenn Laumeister of Thuzio, Edward Willett of the LPGA and Paul Smith of Repucom International
Beth Hirschhorn of MetLife offered her view of “Marketing From the C-Suite.”
Ragan Rector of SCA Promotions and Alejandro Pabon of Lincoln Road Productions
Daniel O’Leary of IEG and Alex Leiter of WWE
Meredith McCurdy of IMG Consulting and Neal Finkler of Chobani
Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones, Steven Weinreb of Premier Management Group, and Kyle Deery and Rob Butcher of U.S. Masters Swimming
Grey New York’s Tor Myhren opened the conference with a discussion of the importance of creativity in leadership.
Molly Arbogast of Learfield Sports, Steve Flatow of Bloomberg Sports and Stuart Heifetz of Learfield Sports
Len Perna of Turnkey Sports & Entertainment, Michael Hand of IMG College and Todd Fischer of State Farm
Women + Sports Summit
Hannah Storm hosted the panel “Immediate Challenges and Opportunities for Women in the Sports Marketplace” during the espnW Women + Sports Summit on Oct. 2 in Tucson, Ariz. From left: ESPN’s Ed Erhardt, TV analyst and reporter and former soccer player Julie Foudy, Gatorade’s Andrea Fairchild, Storm, Procter & Gamble’s Julie Eddleman, former WNBA president Val Ackerman, Saatchi & Saatchi’s John Lisko, and espnW’s Laura Gentile.
Photo by:ALLEN KEE / ESPN
Launching a new RSN
At the Time Warner Cable SportsNet launch event Oct. 1 in Los Angeles (from left): David Rone, TWC Sports president; Melinda Witmer, TWC EVP and chief video and content officer; Jeanie Buss, Los Angeles Lakers EVP; and Mark Shuken, TWC Sports Regional Networks SVP and GM.
Photo by:JORDAN STRAUSS / INVISION FOR TIME WARNER CABLE / AP IMAGES
Golf Digest introduced Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts as a national sponsor Sept. 27. Gathered in front of Crowne Plaza’s Tartan Art on the Avenue golf ball sculpture in Chicago (from left): Peter Hunsinger, Golf Digest Cos. president/publisher; Luan Pham, Golf Digest Cos. executive director / integrated marketing; Laura Sequenzia, Golf World publisher; Patty Stafford, Golf Digest Cos. Southeastern sales manager; Jennifer Gribble, Crowne Plaza director of Americas brand management; and Jim Robertson, Crowne Plaza manager of Americas brand management. Tartan Art on the Avenue is part of Magnificent Moments, a fundraising campaign for the 2012 Ryder Cup benefiting local Ronald McDonald Houses and the Illinois PGA Foundation.
Photo by:JEFF SCHEAR / GETTY IMAGES
Live from Downers Grove
Golf Channel produced a one-hour special, “Feherty Live,” from the Tivoli Theater in Downers Grove, Ill., that aired Sept. 26, highlighted by the first meeting between Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps. From left: former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Lanny Wadkins, Golf Channel’s Molly Solomon, former European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance, former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger and Golf Channel’s Tom Knapp.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
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Kevin Buckler started Adobe Road Winery as a hobby, but he always believed in its business potential.
The former NASCAR team owner and longtime owner of the sports-car team The Racer’s Group opened the winery with friends in 1995. They bought grapes from local growers and made a barrel of cabernet sauvignon, a barrel of pinot noir and a barrel of zinfandel. It was a total of just 75 cases of wine.
But Buckler was convinced that the wine they were making was good enough to sell, and he spent the next five years developing a business plan and buying out his friends. He hired a winemaker and began producing wines in Sonoma County using grapes grown in the Russian River Valley, Napa Valley, Dry Creek, the Sonoma coast and Knights Valley. He named the winery Adobe Road after a road near the first pinot noir grapes he bought.
“I really liked the architecture of the adobe mission period and thought we could put that into the winery if we ever built one,” Buckler says.
In 2008, he completed construction on the winery. The 8,000-square-foot, mission-style building sits directly behind TRG’s facility in Petaluma, Calif. It employs six people and will bottle about 5,000 cases this year.
Adobe Road already has won critical acclaim. Wine Spectator, which rates wine on a 100-point system, recently gave its 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III ($95) a 94 score, its 2009 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley, Kemp Vineyard ($45) a 93 score and its 2009 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Bacigalupi ($39) a 92 score.
Buckler says that most of the credit for the wine’s success belongs to his winemaker, Michael Scorsone, but the winery owner says he has a good palate and enough knowledge of current wine trends to influence what flavors punctuate Adobe Road’s wines.
“The old days of a Burgundian-style pinot, a very acidic one, no one likes those styles any more,” Buckler says. “Syrah’s the same way. I want people to say, ‘Wow, that’s great. That’s really interesting.’”
His goal is to turn Adobe Road into a boutique national brand. He’s managed to get the wine distributed in Morton’s restaurants nationwide and other high-end restaurants. The rest of it goes exclusively to members of Adobe Road’s wine club.
The venture has been successful enough that Buckler now splits his time evenly between Adobe Road and The Racer’s Group. He’s also begun cross-marketing the winery and the team. He does wine pairings at restaurants across the country and intermingles talk about the wine with conversation about his race team’s success with Porsche at Le Mans and the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
“Bringing a professional sports team to its potential and boutique winery to its potential is a challenge, but doing it together is a fun challenge,” Buckler says. “It’s like individual chess.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ADOBE ROAD WINERY
Steve Patterson, who was named athletic director and a vice president at Arizona State University six months ago, has worked for multiple pro sports teams and consulted on several facility renovations. Now, as he puts that expertise to work at ASU, he talks about the Sun Devils’ future and the trends in the college space.
Photo:SUN DEVIL ATHLETICS
On current football stadium renovations: We just finished our MidFirst Club, which meant converting seven suites into 150 all-inclusive club seats. Like the pros, you’re seeing less emphasis on suites and more on loge box seating, club seating, all-inclusive with food and beverage. Those upscale amenities are more prevalent in the college space now and there’s a good market out there for that.
You’re developing hundreds of acres around your stadium to pay for renovations. What will that look like eventually? It will be developed with office, commercial, residential and some retail. It’ll be a transformation of what Tempe looks like. ... Our ability to lease property will be a tremendous revenue source for our facilities here. The build-out of the district is a generational time frame, but it will take care of a portion of the stadium costs and a portion of the costs for our other facilities.
On playing in a pro sports town: It makes you be a bit more on your game because here in the Valley of the Sun, we’ve got some particularly good sports facilities where fans have a history of attending at facilities with great amenities. Customers understand what the best facilities are about, so we’ve got to continually work to improve our facilities and do things like work with the Disney Institute to improve our service, think about our marketing and PR. We can’t just open the doors and expect people to just show up. People who come here also go to other facilities, and they expect a high level of customer service.
On the new Pac-12 Networks: It’s tremendous exposure for all of our sports teams. It’s particularly helpful for women’s sports: Half of the programming is men’s sports, half is women’s sports. It allows us to tell our story nationwide. It helps recruiting and it will help the universities as a whole and help with exposure in the Eastern media markets. The first few years, it will take an investment to get it off the ground, but in the long run it will be a very helpful revenue stream. I’m just pleased with the exposure it’s bringing us.
Do you get it at home? Yes, I’ve got Cox cable.
Mike Goff recently joined Premier Sports Management as chief marketing officer after serving as vice president of marketing for Sprint, where he was instrumental in the rebranding of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He spoke with SportsBusiness Journal staff writer Anna Hrushka.
■ New title: Chief marketing officer, Premier Sports Management.
■ Previous title: Vice president of marketing, Sprint.
■ First job: Waiter at a hamburger joint.
■ Education: Bachelor of science in journalism, University of Kansas.
■ Resides: Leawood, Kan.
■ Grew up: Leavenworth, Kan.
■ Executive most admired: John Wooden, for his common-sense approach to leadership, and Peyton Manning, for his preparation and how he handles himself on the field and off.
■ Brand most admired: Dos Equis and UPS. I have great admiration for brands who successfully reposition themselves and then turn that into market-share gain.
■ Last book read: “Walter Cronkite: His Life and Times.”
■ Last movie seen: “Arbitrage.”
■ Favorite movie: “The Godfather.” One and two are tied.
■ Favorite musician/band: My current favorite is U2. The Rolling Stones are my all-time favorite.
■ What led you to pursue a career in marketing after graduating with a journalism degree?
I was always intrigued by consumer behavior. As I got into business, I realized that I enjoyed coming up with an idea that impacted consumer behavior. And ultimately I’ve always been sort of a fanatic of sports and also the business of sports.
■ What’s the biggest challenge in your new position?
I came here because there’s great opportunity to be a part of helping a small business take the next step in its growth path. Having worked for a big Fortune 100 company, the challenge will be the shift in working for a smaller business. But that’s also the reason why I wanted to make the move.
■ What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
When I was at Sprint, I was early in my career there when I was approached about taking on leadership in our investment in World Cup 1994 and U.S. soccer. There was no certainty that after that event was done that I would have a job. So I took it both as a growth opportunity and as a challenge. … We succeeded in a big way and never looked back. After that we did major deals with the NFL, NCAA and the PGA Tour.
■ What’s your biggest professional accomplishment?
The naming-rights agreement for Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Mo. That not only was a big deal for the company, but it was a huge deal for this city and region as it was, in many ways, the impetus for downtown rehabilitation and growth. And, the cool thing is to be downtown now and see what that arena, and the dream of a group of people committed to the arena, meant to this city.
■ What’s your biggest professional disappointment?
This was a disappointment and a crisis. When Sprint was the title sponsor for Adam Petty’s NASCAR race team. When he died in a racing accident in practice, that shook me both professionally and personally. It was dealing with the disappointment of what might have been.
■ What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Network, network, network, whether you’re trying to get into sports, marketing or anything else.