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/October 29-November 4, 2012/People and Pop CulturePrint All
The Atlanta Braves promoted Bruce Manno to vice president and assistant general manager of player development, John Coppolella to assistant general manager, Paul Adams to vice president of ticket sales, Jim Allen to vice president of corporate partnerships, Gus Eurton to vice president of marketing and Eric Perestuk to vice president of facility operations.
The independent Atlantic League’s Camden (N.J.) Riversharks promoted Adam Lorber to president and general manager and Lindsay Rosenberg to assistant general manager.
The Milwaukee Brewers promoted Eduardo Brizuela to director of Latin America operations/scouting and Manny Batista to director of Latin America scouting.
The Los Angeles Dodgers named Gerry Hunsicker senior adviser for baseball operations. Hunsicker was senior vice president of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays.
The WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks named Vincent Malcolm team president and gave general manager Penny Toler the title of executive vice president. Malcolm was the managing director of The Malcolm Group.
The Harlem Globetrotters promoted Brett Meister to senior vice president of communications.
The University of Delaware named Eric Ziady director of athletics and recreation services. Ziady was senior associate athletic director for business operations at Boston College.
The University of Detroit Mercy promoted Drew Westrick to director of athletic facilities.
Clark Davis is stepping down as vice chairman of HOK, effective Nov. 1.
C&S Family Sports named Wade Welsh president of its yet-to-be-named Chicago-area ECHL hockey team. Welsh was vice president and general manager of the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Wings.
Learfield Sports named Lance Gerlach manager of business development for its Buffalo Sports Properties at the University of Colorado.
Premier Partnerships promoted Stephanie Cheng to vice president of marketing services.
Rogers Media promoted Dale Hooper to senior vice president of marketing and consumer insights and named Jack Tomik chief sales officer, effective Nov. 1.
CONCACAF named Jurgen Mainka director of communications and marketing. Mainka was vice president of communications and community relations for the New York Red Bulls.
Sporting Goods and Apparel
New Balance hired Lamar Lee as team uniform brand manager. Lee was the owner and founder of Star Custom Uniforms.
Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards
The Delaware Sports Commission named Matthew Robinson chairman of the commission and Jerry DuPhily treasurer. Michael Petit de Mange, Terry Rubritz, Andrew Bero, Robert Cilento and Samantha Huge were named to the commission’s board of directors and Kim Gomes, Jason Anderson, Victor Schimp, Jeffrey Robinson and Amy Colbourn were appointed as committee chairs.
The Topps Co. promoted Michael Brandstaedter to chief operational officer.
Glory Sports International hired Graeme White as chief operating officer of the kickboxing league Glory World Series.
USA Swimming hired Geri Woessner as business development manager. Woessner was group sales manager at the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
New York Road Runners promoted Peter Ciaccia to executive vice president of event development and broadcast production; Michael Capiraso to executive vice president of operations, administration and strategy; Kerin Hempel to vice president of strategy and planning; and Thomasin Bentley to director of new business development and media sales.
Awards and Boards
XOS Digital named Rear Adm. Thomas Lynch to its board of directors.
The Football Association named David Gill vice chairman. Gill is chief executive of Manchester United.
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Earthquakes break ground
At the San Jose Earthquakes’ groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 21 for a new San Jose stadium, thousands of fans claimed shovels and dug in at the stadium site. In attendance were, left to right: Earthquakes managing director Michael Crowley; head coach Frank Yallop; John Doyle, Earthquakes general manager of soccer operations; Earthquakes managing partner Keith Wolff; John Fisher and Lew Wolff, Earthquakes co-owners; and MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
Photo by:SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Aldean and ivy
Jason Aldean attended a press conference at Wrigley Field on Oct. 18 announcing his 2013 concert in Chicago. Aldean will perform at the stadium on July 20, 2013. With Aldean is Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
Drive for Autism event
Blake Sports Group clients Mark Messier (left) and Mike Keenan (right) pose with New York Stock Exchange CEO Duncan Niederauer at the Drive for Autism golf tournament on Oct. 15 at Somerset Hills Golf Club in Bernardsville, N.J. The event raised money for the Newmark School, a state-approved, private school for children with learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. Niederauer spearheaded the event and worked with Blake Sports Group on the execution.
Louisville students visit Indianapolis
Graduate and undergraduate students in the University of Louisville Sport Administration program met with representatives from the NCAA and Indiana Sports Corp. before touring Lucas Oil Stadium on Oct. 23. Students posed in front of the NCAA National Headquarters after touring the Hall of Champions and meeting with various members of the NCAA.
Photo by:DR. MEG HANCOCK / UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (left) and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson talk before their teams’ game at Bank of America Stadium on Oct. 21 in Charlotte.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
Welcome to This House, Mr. Commish
Kevin Plank (left), Under Armour chairman and CEO, and NBA Commissioner David Stern participate in the UA Speaker Series on Oct. 18 at Under Armour’s Baltimore campus.
Photo by:SAM GORDON
Rising Stars gather in Chicago
The inaugural Partnership Activation Rising Star retreat took place Oct. 12-14 in Chicago. The Rising Stars initiative is designed to recognize the future leaders of the sports business industry. At Gatorade headquarters (from left): Tom Prochaska, Gatorade; Sean O’Hara, Fighting Illini Sports Properties; Nathan Zimmerman, Sheplers; Sydney Golden, Washington Kastles; Justin Kadis, FanBridge; Andres Lares, Shapiro Negotiations Institute; Jason Belzer, Game Inc.; Chris Farrell, Leverage Agency; and Brian Gainor, Freshwire.
Photo by:FIGHTING ILLINI SPORTS PROPERTIES
The Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2012 was inducted Oct. 18 in the university’s Low Library Rotunda. Inductee Robert Kraft poses with M. Dianne Murphy, director of intercollegiate athletics and physical education at Columbia University.
Photo by:COLUMBIA ATHLETICS / MIKE MCLAUGHLIN
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Julie Perlish is senior director of advertising analytics for ESPN. She talks here about the challenges of working with data in today’s era of technology, but also the opportunities that are newly available, including one medium that is still relatively untapped..
Photo by:MARC BRYAN BROWN
Speed vs. synthesis: [Consider] the amount of data that we all have now because there is such a plethora of devices and different ways that you can analyze that. It becomes that much more challenging. And even though we’re able to provide data, and we get requests for data at times on a more real-time basis, you still need to have that lead time to step back and analyze it, because having more data isn’t always better. It’s really being able to put it in perspective and be able to do something with it.
The need for a blended strategy: It’s not just about always having more media; it’s about activating smartly across the combinations that you choose to be in.
Sharing data with clients: We don’t have problems sharing “bad news.” There’s reality; some things don’t work as well as others, and we want to make sure that we learn from any of those missteps and that we can pass that along as well as capitalize on some of the things that we see as strengths.
How social media ties in: We’re looking to see whether or not there’s any cause or effect between the amount of social media and things such as TV ratings, and we’re looking to really understand the demographics of people that are exploring that. It affects our programming; we try to integrate social into that as well, and we try and see how social can help to feed other kinds of involvement with our media.
Challenges ahead: There are so many new things … that are the “shiny objects” that people are putting a lot of energy into understanding now. But I don’t know that we’ve yet really unlocked things such as mobile, which has been around a couple of years longer, and there’s still so many new ways that’s evolving that we really need to crack the code on to understand all the different ways that you can activate there and the different uses that you can have for it.
U.S. Bank recently named Steve Vogel vice president of its professional sports group. Vogel, a native of Boston, joins U.S. Bank after serving as director of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s sports and advisory group. He spoke with SportsBusiness Journal staff writer Anna Hrushka.
■ New title: Vice president, professional sports group at U.S. Bank.
■ Previous title: Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch sports and advisory group.
■ First job: Children’s tennis instructor.
■ Education: Finance, Boston College, 2001.
■ Resides: Charlotte.
■ Grew up: Boston.
■ Executive most admired: “The commissioners for the major leagues here in the U.S. Their job is extremely dynamic and I think a lot of their position. They’re great people and I look up to them in a lot of ways.”
■ Brand most admired: Apple.
■ Favorite vacation spot: “Lima, Peru, which is where my wife is from.”
■ Last book read: “No Easy Day,” by Mark Owen.
■ Last movie seen: “Argo.”
■ Favorite movies: “Forrest Gump,” “Good Will Hunting” and “The Shawshank Redemption.”
■ Favorite musician/band: U2.
■ What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
I think about all the great opportunities that we see across all of the four major sports in the U.S. and globally. I don’t really think about the challenges. I think about what’s exciting and what’s growing in this industry.
■ What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
When I decided to move from Boston, where I grew up and started my career, to Charlotte. … For me, it was a change in lifestyle and business and, personally, it was difficult to leave what I had known for a long time.
■ What’s your biggest professional accomplishment?
I think there’s been a lot. I’ve had the opportunity to work on really interesting financing transactions in the industry, some high-profile transactions. I’ve had the chance to meet remarkable people. People that I probably wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to meet. And they’ve taught me a lot and shaped who I am today and given me that perspective.
■ What’s your biggest professional disappointment?
I’ve been very lucky. I think that I’m lucky at this point in my career to have fought through challenges, but I don’t think I’ve had any major disappointments.
■ What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
What I’ve found over the years to be a huge benefit is to find people in many different industries who are successful in what they do and learn about their best practices. Getting into this business isn’t always about coming from a cookie-cutter background. I think there’s so much to be said for just plain-old hard work and building a network of people who can teach you to be well-rounded.
■ What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
We’re obviously watching what’s going on with the NHL, the negotiations going on right now, and how that’s going to play out. We’re seeing how the value of Major League Baseball and their national TV contracts have grown remarkably, and those contracts were just recut very recently. We’re watching the globalization of United States sports.
■ What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
From the consumer perspective, in this economy, it’s challenging for a lot of fans out there to be able to see their favorite teams live very frequently. … I think it would be great if it could be more affordable, especially in the big cities, for families to get in front of their teams more often.
NBA Commissioner David Stern will step down as NBA Commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, which will mark his 30th anniversary as the league’s top executive. Since taking over for Larry O’Brien in 1984, Stern has overseen a star-driven league and led the development of the NBA brand around the globe. He will be succeeded by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. Click on the photo to begin slide show.
As a fixture seated behind home plate at Yankee Stadium and an indelible presence at most industry events, Mitchell Modell is one of the most familiar figures in the business of sports. So when “Undercover Boss” called in May to ask if the recognizable Modell, CEO of the sporting-goods chain that carries his name, would star in an episode of the popular series, he initially refused.
He figured some of the 3,800 employees in the 150-store chain would recognize him instantly.
Do you recognize this man? More important, did Modell’s employees recognize him?
Photo by:CRAIG BLANKENHORN / CBS
With a shaved head and the addition of an oversized horseshoe moustache, Modell became “Joey Glick” and worked undercover inside a warehouse and at Modell’s Sporting Goods locations in Washington, D.C., and Connecticut. The resulting tale is the season premiere of “Undercover Boss” airing Friday on CBS.
Modell told co-workers that he was off to the Olympics but instead sneaked away to spend a week filming the show in July.
“We knew right away we wanted to do an episode with him because he’s such a big personality,” said Scott Cooper, co-executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning show. “We look for someone with energy and passion. I’ve been doing this for three seasons, and he’s one of the most passionate bosses we’ve had — because it’s his family business.”
To say that “Undercover Boss” had a cathartic effect on the CEO is like saying the Yankees wear pinstripes. The week after shooting “Undercover Boss,” Modell had his direct reports (undisguised) working in the same warehouse/distribution center in which he labored.
“This has already helped us change the company,” said Modell. “As CEO, one of the things you always wonder about is what your associates [employees] are really thinking and what their days are like. It was a great education.”
During his week as Joey Glick, Modell drove forklifts in the warehouse, ran a cash register, and was a stock boy, sales associate and shipping clerk. No employee guessed that they were working alongside the boss, though Modell’s fake mustache had some problems during a 100-degree day in the warehouse.
“My body was aching,” Modell said. “That physical labor — I had no idea how good a shape you had to be in to do that every day.”
Modell joins a sizable list of sports executives who have appeared on “Undercover Boss” since it debuted in 2010, after Super Bowl XLIV. The others are GSI Commerce CEO Michael Rubin; NASCAR CMO Steve Phelps; Churchill Downs COO Bill Carstanjen; Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts; TaylorMade Golf CEO Mark King; and Lucky Strike Lanes CEO and co-founder Steven Foster.
As dependable as the sunrise is the conclusion of “Undercover Boss,” with the “co-worker” being revealed to be the boss, after which the most devoted and deserving employees are rewarded. While loath to discuss any show specifics, the hard-boiled Modell admits he was touched.
“Seeing our associates’ dedication, despite some of their hardships, that was a real eye-opener,” he said. “The fact you can make a difference in an individual’s life who is so caring about the company and make a difference in how we run the company was priceless.”
After the CEO’s stint on “Undercover Boss,” Modell’s Sporting Goods has installed a bevy of reforms. They include better processes for recognizing and promoting talented employees; streamlining shipping and distribution to stores; adding workers during peak warehouse hours; reducing tasks for sales associates, which allows them to spend more time with customers; and taking some of the workload off store managers and assistant managers to prevent burnout.
Thankful for the lessons learned, Modell is helping to market the show by having his sales associates wear “Undercover Boss” T-shirts and by posting ads in stores and on 115 trucks. “I feel like we owe them,” he said.
Modell’s is opening new stores this month in the Bronx, Long Island and downtown Manhattan. If they are run more efficiently, perhaps it’s because a reality show served as their McKinsey & Co.
“I’ve told my friends who run businesses that they need to find a way to do this,” Modell said. “As CEO, everything gets filtered. You never see the frustrations at different levels of your organization. Being a family business, we say that we want to treat our people like family, but were we? This showed us.”