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/Aug. 19-25, 2013/People and Pop CulturePrint All
The independent Atlantic League’s York Revolution hired Nate Tile as vice president of business development. Tile was director of sales for the Central Penn Business Journal. The team also named Eric Menzer, Revolution president and general manager, and baseball hall of famer Brooks Robinson to its board of directors.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx hired Brad Ruiter as vice president of communications.
HarborCenter named Nik Fattey vice president and director of hockey. Fattey was a scout for the Buffalo Sabres.
HOK San Francisco promoted Steve Riley to vice president and director of architecture and named Tamara Clarke, Susan Seastone and Claire Moore senior associates.
The PGA Tour hired Michael Brown as vice president of business development. Brown was senior vice president and director of global business development for IMG.
The St. Louis Blues promoted Chris Frome to senior director of event presentation; Matt Gardner to senior director of promotions and digital strategy; Brenda Wilbur to director of brand and creative; Kevin Casey to guest services manager; and Megan Little to senior director of advertising and event marketing for the Blues, Scottrade Center and the Peabody Opera House.
The Los Angeles Kings named Sean O’Donnell manager of fan development and alumni relations. O’Donnell is a former Kings player.
Octagon promoted Aldo Kafie to group director in the access unit of its North American marketing and events division.
Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, named Nick Ammazzalorso director of public relations. Ammazzalorso was executive director of athletic communications at UCLA.
NBC Sports Group named Ian Partilla vice president of partnership development for Alli Sports. Partilla was an X Games sales and marketing account executive for ESPN.
Revolt TV named Keith Clinkscales chief executive officer. Clinkscales was senior vice president of content development and enterprise for ESPN.
Golf Channel hired Adam Hertzog as vice president of news and studio productions. Hertzog was a coordinating producer and writer for ESPN.
Universal Sports Network named Edward Derse senior vice president of digital media and strategic partnerships. Derse was general manager of the media and mobile group for GameFly.
NASCAR named Chris Wright K&N Pro Series East director, Kip Childress K&N Pro Series West director, and Tony Glover NASCAR Touring Series technical director.
Sporting Goods and Apparel
Nike Golf director of club creation Tom Stites retired from the position. Stites will remain with Nike Golf as a consultant.
Sports Authority promoted Stephen Binkley to chief merchandising officer. Greg Waters stepped down from the position of executive vice president, chief merchant, and chief marketing officer.
SKLZ hired Brian Enge as president. Enge was vice president for The Active Network.
MoGo Sport named Peter Maule executive vice president and managing director. Maule was global vice president of consumer products for WWE.
Altamont Capital Partners named Leslie Lane chairman and chief executive officer. Lane was chairman and chief executive officer for DaKine.
Awards and Boards
The American Hockey League named Rob Mullowney, vice president of operations for the St. John’s IceCaps, the recipient of the Ken McKenzie Award.
The British Basketball Association named Bill Duffy, chairman and chief executive officer of BDA Sports Management, to its advisory board.
The International Association of Venue Managers named BOK Center general manager John Bolton chairman.
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Marc Bluestein of Aquarius Sports and Entertainment and Michael Tatoian of Dover Motorsports at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies earlier this month in Canton, Ohio.
Photo by:GEORGE KELLER
Hall of famers Sam Huff and Jim Taylor and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
Photo by:PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
The NFL’s Joe Browne with hall of famer Bobby Bell and inductee Dave Robinson
Photo by:PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
On the ground at PGA Championship
ABOVE: NASCAR drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica Patrick join PGA of America executives Pete Bevacqua, Derek Sprague and Paul Levy at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club.
BELOW: PGA of America executives Sprague, Ted Bishop and Levy enjoy the revival of “Dufnering” after Jason Dufner’s victory at the PGA.
Photos by:MONTANA PRITCHARD / THE PGA OF AMERICA
U.S. Olympic Committee CMO Lisa Baird addresses sponsors at the USOC’s “newfront.” The event Aug. 13 at Conrad New York in SoHo was part of a push to sell ad inventory on TeamUSA.org.
Blazers welcome Moda Health
Announcing Moda Health’s naming-rights deal for the Portland Trail Blazers’ arena Aug. 13: the Blazers’ Steve Scott, Premier Partnerships’ Erin Prober and Uzma Rawn, Moda Health’s Steve Wynne, Jonathan Nicholas and Dr. William Johnson; Premier Partnerships’ Randy Bernstein; and the Blazers’ Chris McGowan.
Photo by:RYAN PROUTY / PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Cowboys ride into Frisco
At the news conference Aug. 13 announcing the move of the Dallas Cowboys’ headquarters to Frisco, Texas: Frisco schools Superintendent Jeremy Lyon, Frisco Mayor Maher Maso, and the Cowboys’ Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones.
Photo by:JAMES D. SMITH / DALLAS COWBOYS
At pre-race ceremonies of the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen: Darcey Macken of Kellogg USA Sales, John Saunders of International Speedway Corp., Brad Davidson of Kellogg North America and Sony Music recording artist Angie Johnson.
Photo by:WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL
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Helping others have the opportunity to stay active and fit has been a focus for Tracey Russell throughout her career. She started as a swim coach and has worked her way up to chief executive officer for the Asics L.A. Marathon, after stops in Richmond, Va., and Atlanta. She spoke to staff writer Stephanie Brown about her latest assignment.
■ New title: Chief executive officer, Asics L.A. Marathon
■ Previous title: Executive director, Atlanta Track Club
■ First job: Delivering the afternoon newspaper in Cleveland
■ Education: Undergraduate from the University of Virginia in psychology, 1992
■ Resides: Los Angeles
■ Grew up: Suburbs of Cleveland
■ Brand most admired: Apple
■ Favorite vacation spot: Bali, Indonesia
■ Last book read: “The Favored Daughter,” by Fawzia Koofi
■ Last movie seen: “Life of Pi”
■ Favorite movie: Too many to choose from
■ Favorite musician/band: Coldplay
■ What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
Prioritizing all the great ideas and opportunities for what we can do to take the Asics L.A. Marathon to the next level and understanding which are short-term versus long-term opportunities in planning.
■ What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
It’s something I’ve done twice, which is leave an organization and community I absolutely love to try something new with another organization. I left Richmond for the Atlanta Track Club, and now I’m leaving Atlanta for the Asics L.A. Marathon.
■ What is your biggest professional disappointment?
I’m more of a glass three-quarters-full-type person, so I don’t know that I have a biggest professional disappointment.
■ What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
How much we have increased the impact the organization has had on the Atlanta community. The Atlanta Track Club is now in a position to be that catalyst to help people who want to become healthy and fit.
■ What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Be willing to walk through whatever doors may open knowing that it might not be your ideal long-term job. Networking and the people you meet can help you get to that next right job if you are willing to go through that door.
■ What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
The abuse of performance-enhancing drugs and how it’s changing the sports landscape. People are becoming numb to it and the underlying factor of the simplicity that you are cheating.
■ What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
Circling back to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, just continuing to be proactive on the testing side and to compete clean and fairly.
Constance Schwartz, along with Michael Strahan and Mark Sudack, is a partner in SMAC Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based firm that manages athletes and entertainers. Schwartz began her career as an assistant at the NFL before going to work at former entertainment agency The Firm, where she managed musical artists, including Snoop Dogg. SMAC’s clients include musicians and current and former NFL players.
— Compiled by Liz Mullen
Photo:COURTESY OF LISA SHIELDS
A lot of the sports people I deal with say, ‘Oh my God, how do you deal with the entertainment side?,’ and the entertainment people are asking, ‘How do you deal with the sports side?’ I say, ‘It’s very simple: You guys are a lot alike; some of you just wear better suits.”
The merger of sports and entertainment: [Previously] there was sports, and then there was entertainment. You were either an athlete or you were an entertainer. … In today’s day and age, especially with the Internet, the access and the kids that are part of this whole digital nation that are now growing up — becoming an entertainer or an athlete, it’s merged. It’s blended. It’s all one.
Athletes and entertainers: The entertainers have learned from the athletes how to take advantage and maximize a brand’s reach, access, support [and] promotion in getting your message across. And also, a charitable component. I think most of these guys when they partner with a brand are also able to support a cause or a charity that is near and dear to their hearts. Athletes are learning it’s OK to have more than just your contractual agent. You should reach out and work with a publicist or a manager, a commercial agent. It’s OK to have a team and it’s OK to help them to allow you to maximize and build your brand, to become a brand. … Just because you have a million Twitter followers doesn’t make you a brand.
On Jay-Z getting into the sports talent rep business: I love it. I think Jay-Z is one of the smartest businessmen and entertainers in the world. For him to capitalize on what he leveraged and built — his empire in the music space — [and] to be able to allow athletes to take advantage of that I think is a win-win.
Will others follow?: I don’t think you will see anyone else really doing that. I mean, look what Jay-Z just pulled off with his record that came out with Samsung. What better example of branding is that? Before his record even came out, he sold a million albums, through a brand. I think it’s different [than other rappers becoming agents in the past]. It is not only him; he has a really smart team around him.
Sports story you’re watching?: I am still hoping and waiting for an NFL team to come to L.A. … I am assuming it would probably be an expansion team, but I hope I do see it. If you look at what L.A. Live has done downtown, it is amazing. They are really working hard to expand that, so I am hoping they can figure out a way to get an NFL team here.
Tim Shriver’s first exposure to Special Olympics came in his own backyard — his mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded the movement. During the group’s recent North America conference, he spoke about his own path and the part that sports marketing will play in the future of Special Olympics.
S o many of us who are in the movement come from families who raised us in Special Olympics. That’s true of a lot of people. … So we’re a family-oriented organization in concrete ways.
I think what’s most interesting to me today is that this is not a sports organization trying to find a larger social purpose. This is a social revolution using sports to achieve its goals.
I remember some of the Camp Shriver scenes, as a young child would remember them. I remember the school buses arriving. I remember the raising of the American flag in the morning and the playing of the trumpet. I remember my house turning into something of an amusement park. Horses came. All kinds of sports equipment. If you’re 4 or 5 years old, what’s more fun than your backyard being drenched in games?
Photo by:SPECIAL OLYMPICS
I even say this to my kids now, if you can find something that’s both fun and important at the same time, you’ve hit the real strike zone in life. Because most of the things that are fun aren’t important and most of the things that are important aren’t fun.
I had been a volunteer all my life. Played on Unified teams. All that. But I was absolutely firm in my belief that my career was in education. If somebody had said, do you want to go work for [Special Olympics], I’d have said no. It was not my plan.
I think anybody who grows up with their parents dominant in an area has some desire to get out and do their own thing and prove themselves. There was no way I was going to be the Shriver kid who took over for his mommy and his daddy. No chance.
Some things have to happen to you to understand them. And this happened to me. But it turns out it’s the best job in the world.
If you look at it from a cultural point of view, we still have a long way to go. If you look at it from an organizational point of view, I think we’ve grown the movement substantially. … We’ve developed a growing army of revolutionaries who see play as a way to change culture.
I think we’re at the end of a generation of pioneers who helped build the movement in the ’60s and ’70s. You look around at the United States programs and they’re led by people, many of whom have been there less than five or 10 years. They have fresh insights. They’re looking at digital strategies. They’re looking at education strategies. Community development. Issues like obesity and nutrition and fitness, and not just participation.
This is a new era. We’ve seen a lot of evidence that this is a different generation when it comes to issues around stereotyping and prejudice and discrimination. And I think the nation will benefit from it.
I think we’re on the precipice, at least in many places, of an era in which we can almost hope we’ll be able to take for granted that there will be a boys basketball team and a girls basketball team and a Special Olympics Unified basketball team.
I can already hear: “I’d love to do this but, sorry, last year we got our budget cut.” It’s always the same with our population. It’s always, “We’d love to help except …” … That’s why we’re here. We’re not willing to accept those excuses.
The pro leagues and teams have been terrific ambassadors of Special Olympics. The athletes have been there. The NBA has been terrific as a league, and it shows in the expansion of our basketball program in this country.
You can’t have a better combination of sport and social change, in my view. So we ought to be much more prominently featured in the sports leagues. But I don’t blame them. I blame myself. Why haven’t I been able to articulate that better?
I think it’s important to remember that there are still a lot of people who have an uncomfortable relationship with human difference. And I think we still are trying to overcome those feelings of discomfort.
We don’t have 100 million eyeballs watching the playing fields where Unified Sports is taking place. But I think the big frontiers in sports business are finding ways for marketers to help the people who are inactive. Who are playing video games. Who are unnecessarily obese. Who are getting diabetes at premature ages from inactivity. Getting them out onto the field. We’re in the strike zone there.
We’ve never funded a large event in the way they’re doing it at [next year’s Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey]. It’s a sports-marketing-funded model.
They’ve always been largely philanthropic. … But the games in New Jersey made a big gamble. And that gamble was that people were going to fund these games for traditional sports marketing reasons. It will be fascinating to see the kinds of sports marketing strategies that emerge. Most of the sponsors are in place. What they will do and how they’re going to activate is TBD.
I had a phone call with David Stern years ago. He said, “What’s your tag line?” I can’t even remember what it was. But he said, “That’s a terrible tag line.” He said, “You know what you should say? You’re the best in sports.” I said, well, a lot of people think the NBA is. He said, “No. You’re the best in sports.”