SBJ/March 18-24, 2013/People and Pop Culture

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  • People: Executive transactions

    Colleges
    The University of Delaware hired Rick Stumpf as associate athletic director for compliance. Stumpf was assistant athletic director for compliance at the University of South Florida.

    Indiana University of Pennsylvania hired Steve Roach as associate athletic director of compliance. Roach was an associate athletic director at Millersville University.

    California State University, Northridge hired Brandon Martin as athletic director. Martin was senior associate athletic director for administration at the University of Oklahoma.

    Georgetown University promoted Dan O’Neil to senior associate athletic director for external affairs and hired Dan Trump as senior associate athletic director for internal operations. Trump was senior associate athletic director for compliance at the University of Maryland.

    American University hired Billy Walker as director of athletics and recreation. Walker was deputy athletic director at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

    Stanford University hired Kurt Svoboda as senior assistant athletic director of media relations and communications. Svoboda was an assistant athletic director at Harvard University.

    The University of Miami (Fla.) hired Craig Anderson as associate athletic director for compliance. Anderson was assistant athletic director for compliance at North Carolina State University.

    John Blanchard, University of North Carolina senior associate athletic director, retired after 25 years at the university.

    Valparaiso University hired John Kuka as an associate athletic director and Matt LaBarbera as the associate director of annual giving for athletics. Kuka was director of athletics development at DePauw University, and LaBarbera worked with ticketing, donor management and email marketing solutions at NeuLion.

    Fran Ganter, Penn State associate athletic director for football administration, retired after 46 years with program as a player, coach and administrator.    

    Wheelock College hired Dwight Datcher as athletic director. Datcher was director of marketing for RBK Construction, and previously served as athletic director at Howard University.

    Facilities
    Centerplate promoted Ashley Brown to vice president of specialty retail and David Winarski to vice president of human resources and hired Lila Kahn as director of marketing for the Centerplate Restaurant Group and John Johnson III as purchasing manager for facility management and design.

    Football
    The Cleveland Browns hired Ray Farmer as assistant general manager, and named Michael Lombardi general manager. Farmer was director of pro personnel for the Kansas City Chiefs.

    The Washington Redskins hired A.J. Smith as a senior executive. Smith was executive vice president and general manager for the San Diego Chargers.

    Golf
    The PGA Tour named Rick Anderson executive vice president of television and new media, David Pillsbury executive vice president of championship management and tournament business, Ty Votaw executive vice president and chief global communications officer and Allison Keller senior vice president of human resources and corporate affairs.

    Hockey
    The Boston Bruins promoted Kate Green to human resources manager and hired Richard Yutkins as a fan relations representative. Yutkins was an inside sales representative for the Boston Celtics.

    BARTOSHYK
    The Alberta Junior Hockey League promoted Ryan Bartoshyk to commissioner.

    The Central Hockey League’s Denver Cutthroats hired Ben Rifkin as president. Rifkin was senior vice president of marketing and operations for the USA Pro Challenge cycling race.

    Marketing
    IMG College promoted Matt Almond to general manager for Washington State IMG Sports Marketing and named Mike Kohler general manager for Cal IMG Sports Marketing at the University of California.

    Engine Shop hired Jennifer Carper as a partner and chief client officer. Carper managed her own consulting practice, Eclipse Marketing.

    SPEAR
    Home Team Marketing promoted Christopher Spear to executive vice president of sales.

    Media
    Turner Broadcasting named Justin Williams vice president of digital for TNT and TBS. Williams was senior director and general manager of NASCAR.com for Turner Sports.

    People news
    To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information and photos to Brandon McClung at 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202, or email them to careers@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Electronic photos must be a jpg or tiff file for Macintosh, 2.25 inches wide at 300 dpi. Color only, please. News items may also be sent via fax to (704) 973-1401. If you have questions, call (704) 973-1425.


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  • Spotlight: John Wentzell, president, Sportservice

       

    Wentzell is traveling around the country to talk with Sportservice clients.
    Photo by: DELAWARE NORTH COS.
    John Wentzell spent his first 16 years with Delaware North Cos. as an arena management executive at TD Garden, where he was also president of DNC Boston for six years.
        In January, Wentzell took over as president of Sportservice, the company’s food and hospitality division. In MLB alone, Wentzell now oversees accounts with the Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. He spoke  recently with staff writer Don Muret.

    As you meet with clients, what are there concerns?
    There are common, underlying themes [with] product differentiation they look to provide. It’s about establishing a value proposition as they sell ticketing products, wherever they may be. They’re looking for our participation and integration in creating those new products and making them work.

    How has your facility operations experience helped address the needs of Sportservice clients?
    It’s great to be able to sit across from our clients and say I understand specifically the issues you’re thinking about and how the experience around food and beverage fits into various seating products.

    One of your clients, the Cleveland Indians, made news by reducing food prices for the 2013 baseball season. Is this something other teams are talking about?
    I wouldn’t say it’s a huge issue in terms of pricing sensitivity. Across baseball, the majority of our clients have gone up in pricing across the board. That’s not to say there aren’t certain prices that were either held constant or were repackaged, whether it’s beer, hot dogs or pizza.

    How has your hockey business been during the shortened NHL season?
    It’s been very good. … There have been some ups and downs in a few places. Nashville has been tremendous with fan reaction and attendance, with spending terrific across food and beverage and retail. That’s been a particularly bright spot.

    Bringing local brands to the ballpark continues to be a strong trend for all food providers. What’s new on that front for Sportservice?
    We will be rolling out one to two food trucks [in MLB] to complement our existing operations. There are diverse uses for those trucks, both on game day but also non-game day, working directly with our clients to bring part of the ballpark food experience directly to community events.

    Do you see the mobile piece of concessions finally gaining some traction?
    Adoption has been very low … hampered by technology restrictions in stadiums as far as being able to get a signal. We need to catch up as an industry.

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  • Adam Barrett, tournament director, Sony Open

    Adam Barrett was a 20-something CPA in south Florida in the late 1980s, bored with his job. One of his clients was in the same office building that housed the administrative home of the Lipton Championships tennis event. The young tournament, then just a few years old, was moving its accounting function to Florida from Lipton’s New Jersey corporate headquarters. The tournament planned to hire someone to handle the function, and Barrett won the job, starting in 1990. In 2003, he became director for the tournament, which is now known as the Sony Open and is one of America’s premier tennis events.  

     — Compiled by Daniel Kaplan

    Photo by: SONY OPEN TENNIS

    I fell in love with the event business.


    On this year’s event, which starts this week:
    Ticket sales are strong, sponsors are strong, we have local and global sponsors, governmental support has been great. … We continue to grow and crowds continue to grow.

    Any concerns about the potential sale of event owner IMG?: My philosophy on life is just continue doing the best job you can. … These are things I cannot control. I will run the best event I can, and hopefully it will work for the event, it will work out for myself, and it will work out for my staff. I tell my team I believe we control our own destiny with strong results.
     
    On the state of tennis in the U.S.: Globally, tennis is strong. Right now, we are waiting for our next superstars. … Tennis is good in the U.S.; it is not great in the U.S.

    Reaction to rival BNP Paribas Open’s increased spending: What Indian Wells is doing is great for them and great for the sport. It is creating and elevating the business that we are in. I completely respect what they are doing. … They are fortunate to have an owner [Larry Ellison] who has the ability to write a check and make these things happen.

    How does that affect the Sony Open?: I continue to believe we will do the best we can. … We have a great environment, between the ocean and the bay; we have south Florida weather; we have an international crowd that brings energy.

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