SBJ/Dec. 9-15, 2013/Most Influential

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  • 50 Most Influential: Introduction




    Our annual list of the people who set the tone of the industry, the ones who dictate the action and make the decisions that everyone in sports watches.

    SBJ Podcast:
    Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why media executives dominate this year's list.


    From the Executive Editor:
    The Thinking Behind Our Influential List

    1. Randy Freer / Eric Shanks, Fox Sports
    2. Roger Goodell, NFL
    3. John Skipper, ESPN
    4. David Stern / Adam Silver, NBA
    5. Bud Selig, Major League Baseball
    6. Dick Costolo, Twitter
    7. Robert Kraft, The Kraft Group
    8. David Levy, Turner Broadcasting System
    9. Mark Lazarus, NBC Sports Group
    10. Sean McManus, CBS Sports
    11. Gary Bettman, NHL
    12. Brian France, NASCAR
    13. Phil Anschutz, AEG
    14. Tim Finchem, PGA Tour
    15. Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
    16. Mark Walter, Los Angeles Dodgers / Guggenheim Partners
    17. Mark MacDougall, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld / Mike Dolan, IMG / George Pyne, IMG Sports & Entertainment
    18. Mark Parker, Nike Inc. / Trevor Edwards, Nike Brand
    19. Casey Wasserman, Wasserman Media Group
    20. Sepp Blatter, FIFA
    21. Tim Brosnan and Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball
    22. Don Garber, Major League Soccer
    23. Mike Slive, Southeastern Conference
    24. Jim Delany, Big Ten Conference
    25. Melinda Witmer, Time Warner Cable
    26. Kevin Plank, Under Armour
    27. John Henry, Fenway Sports Group
    28. Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo
    29. Larry Probst / Scott Blackmun, U.S. Olympic Committee
    30. Michael Levine / Howard Nuchow, CAA Sports
    31. Tim Leiweke, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
    32. Paul Chibe / Blaise D'Sylva, Anheuser-Busch
    33. Mark Emmert, NCAA
    34. Jeff Pash, NFL
    35. Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago White Sox / Bulls
    36. Ed O’Bannon, O’Bannon v. NCAA
    37. Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee
    38. Don Fehr, NHL Players’ Association
    39. Herbert Hainer, Adidas
    40. Bob Bowman, MLB Advanced Media
    41. Chris Tsakalakis, StubHub
    42. Andy England / Tom Long, MillerCoors
    43. Sean Bratches, ESPN
    44. Jed York, San Francisco 49ers
    45. Rick Dudley, Octagon
    46. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees / Fred Horowitz
    47. DeMaurice Smith, NFL Players Association
    48. Stephen Espinoza, Showtime
    49. Asim Pasha, Sporting Innovations, Sporting KC
    50. Vladimir Putin, Russian president


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  • 50 Most Influential: No. 1 — Randy Freer and Eric Shanks


    WILLIAM HAUSER / FOX SPORTS 1

    WILLIAM HAUSER / FOX SPORTS 1
    1
    RANDY
    FREER

    President & COO

    Fox Networks Group

    Eric
    Shanks

    President & COO

    Fox Sports

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +5

    The Fox duo seems an unlikely pair to take the top spot. But under the direction of Freer and Shanks, Fox Sports dictated, shaped and in some cases inflated the sports media marketplace in recent years, gobbling up rights in a buildup to the August launches of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. The nuts and bolts of the three-month-plus life of Fox Sports 1 don’t matter much to us. We’re looking more at a long-term, deeply funded programmer with multiple networks and platforms that will continue to be an aggressive bidder on sports rights — and will help maintain the inflated, lucrative media market that is driving the sports business today.

    SBJ Podcast:
    Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why media executives dominate this year's list.

    No. 2: Roger Goodell

    Seat At The Top
    SportsBusiness Journal’s selections as the most influential people in sports business

    2004    Paul Tagliabue
    2005    George Bodenheimer
    2006    George Bodenheimer
    2007    Brian Roberts
    2008    George Bodenheimer*
    2009    Jacques Rogge
    2010    Roger Goodell
    2011    Steve Burke
    2012    John Skipper
    2013    Randy Freer & Eric Shanks

    * President-elect Barack Obama was named #1(a).

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  • 50 Most Influential: Roger Goodell


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    roger
    goodell

    Commissioner

    NFL

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NO CHANGE

    Love him or hate him, there’s no denying the imprint Goodell has on the NFL, and thus sports and media in America. Goodell is the unquestioned leader of America’s most powerful game, and nothing — not concussions, player misconduct, replacement refs, even the lights going out at the Super Bowl — appears able to dent his armor. The problem is that it increasingly seems as though Goodell is managing from one crisis to another rather than leading through innovation, but his influence on the overall sports business is undeniable.

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  • 50 Most Influential: John Skipper


    PHIL ELLSWORTH / ESPN Images
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    John
    skipper

    President

    ESPN

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -2

    In his two years as president, Skipper has struck a balance between forging new paths while remaining forcefully proud of ESPN’s heritage. This year, Skipper completed strategic on-air hires and media rights deals to meet challenges from Fox Sports and NBC Sports Group. But the year was not without missteps, the biggest of which came from Skipper’s decision to distance ESPN from PBS’s “Frontline” special, “League of Denial.” Skipper made the move after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell voiced concern about the tone and tenor of the piece, a decision that put ESPN’s perch as a journalistic force and league partner under close scrutiny.

    SBJ Podcast:
    Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks over ESPN's John Skipper as No. 1 on this year's list.

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  • 50 Most Influential: David Stern / Adam Silver


    NBAE / getty images

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    david 
    stern

    Commissioner

    NBA

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NO CHANGE

    Adam
    Silver

    Deputy Commissioner

    NBA

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +16

    The NBA power duo is in the midst of a seamless transition come February when Silver officially takes over as NBA commissioner. Arguably one of sport’s most accomplished executives, Stern leaves the league in the trusted hands of the well-liked Silver, who spent two decades training for the top job. While some might think the changing of the guard would move them down this list, it’s coming at a pivotal time, as the league’s media rights negotiations begin. Those discussions figure to be among the most important in memory, with multiple networks hoping to get a piece of the action.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Bud Selig


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    BUD
    SELIG

    Commissioner

    Major League Baseball

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -2

    Now beginning the victory lap of his deeply impactful tenure as commissioner, Selig has plenty of the league’s operations in place for the foreseeable future. But he will continue to wield tremendous power — his voice will be key in terms of who will succeed him, and he still has plenty of unresolved issues in front of him for his final year in office, including Alex Rodriguez and the stadium issues in Oakland and Tampa.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Dick Costolo


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    dick
    costolo

    CEO

    Twitter

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

    To many, this ranking will seem high. But every sports league, network and sponsor is trying to figure out a strategy around Twitter’s powerful platform, putting Costolo in a very powerful position. The NFL’s far-reaching pact with Twitter that was announced in September is one every other league is looking to as a revenue generator and audience driver. Costolo has positioned the company as an ally and advocate of sports and has methodically built out his sports group to help properties, teams and organizations build audience.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Robert Kraft


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    robert
    kraft

    Founder, Chairman & CEO

    The Kraft Group

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NO CHANGE

    Few in the NFL can influence the league like Kraft. He is credited with saving the 2011 season and striking a 10-year labor deal, his team is a Super Bowl contender almost every year, and his is one of the most respected voices in NFL ownership circles.

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  • 50 Most Influential: David Levy


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    david 
    levy

    President

    Turner Broadcasting System

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +2

    During a year that saw him promoted to president of TBS, where he oversees much more than sports, Levy still is in the middle of every conversation about sports rights. Look for Levy to be a major player when the NFL comes to market with a new package of games.

    SBJ Podcast:
    Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why David Levy moved up on this year's list.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Mark Lazarus


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    mark 
    lazarus

    Chairman

    NBC Sports Group

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +3

    With a sports media portfolio that includes prime-time TV’s top-rated show, plus two national and 10 regional sports channels, Lazarus’ spot on this list is secure. His adept handling of EPL rights and the coming Sochi Olympics puts him in the top 10.

    SBJ Podcast:
    Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why Mark Lazarus moved up on this year's list.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Sean McManus


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    sean
    mcmanus

    Chairman

    CBS Sports

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -1

    McManus and CBS haven’t been involved with the bidding wars for sports rights. Instead, McManus has been focused on expanding the events CBS already has. It’s no surprise, then, that he oversees the top-rated college football package and his network’s NFL viewership continues to climb.

    SBJ Podcast:
    Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why media executives dominate this year's list.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Gary Bettman


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    gary 
    bettman

    Commissioner

    NHL

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

    It took another lockout in 2012-13 to earn a 50-50 split of league revenue between the owners and the NHL Players’ Association, but the NHL commissioner now has labor peace for the next decade. Bettman will use it to strengthen markets, develop more big events and increase the popularity of his league globally.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Brian France


    TIFFIN WARNOCK / STAFF

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    Brian 
    France

    CEO & Chairman

    NASCAR

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +1

    If there was a sport that would lose out on escalating rights fees, conventional wisdom said it would be NASCAR. Ratings and attendance had both fallen by double digits in recent years. But NASCAR’s chairman orchestrated a deal with Fox and NBC that will pay a 40 percent increase in 2015, money that will keep the industry healthy for years to come.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Phil Anschutz


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    PHIL
    ANSCHUTZ

    Founder & Owner

    AEG

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -8

    Anschutz shocked the sports world in March by pulling his global company off the market and parting with powerful CEO Tim Leiweke in an organizational shake-up. He vowed to be more involved in the company, and while AEG seems to be quieter as a result, Anschutz remains a pivotal figure in the NFL’s possible return to Los Angeles as well as in facility development, management and live entertainment programming throughout the world.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Tim Finchem


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    tim 
    finchem

    Commissioner

    PGA Tour

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -3

    Finchem’s global strategy has led the PGA Tour into new businesses with tours in Latin America and Canada, as well as a joint venture in China. These developmental tours, while hardly eye-opening by themselves, provide a pipeline for the best young players around the world straight to the Web.com Tour and eventually the PGA Tour. It’s all part of a global vision that Finchem has employed to expand the PGA Tour beyond its U.S. borders and into new uncharted ground.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Jerry Jones


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    jerry
    jones

    Owner

    Dallas Cowboys

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +3

    There is no one like Jerry Jones in sports. He oversees arguably the top brand in American sports, both as owner and general manager, turning the Cowboys maybe not into a Super Bowl contender recently, but certainly into a runaway financial winner.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Mark Walter


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    Mark 
    Walter

    Chairman, Los Angeles Dodgers

    Founder & CEO, Guggenheim Partners

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -8

    The Dodgers’ on-field dreams this year ended in the league championship series. But off the field, Walter has led an expected transformation of the club that has included a record TV deal with Time Warner, substantial improvements to Dodger Stadium, aggressive spending on players, and big spikes in ticket, merchandise and sponsorship sales.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Mark MacDougall / Mike Dolan / George Pyne


    COURTESY OF AKIN GUMP STRAUSS HAUER & FELD

    IMG

    GORT PRODUCTIONS
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    mark
    macdougall

    Partner

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld


    Mike
    Dolan

    Chairman & CEO

    IMG

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -3


    George
    Pyne

    President

    IMG Sports & Entertainment

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -3

    It’s the deal that everyone is talking about and one that will have significant impact across sports. The sale of IMG literally could come any day, and it’s a process that is being run and overseen by MacDougall. Dolan and Pyne have played key roles in the sales presentations, with Pyne being the one most industry observers are watching closely in terms of any new IMG organizational structure.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Mark Parker / Trevor Edwards


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    Mark 
    Parker

    President & CEO

    Nike

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -2

    Trevor
    Edwards

    President

    Nike Brand

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

    For years, it was an artful combination at what’s arguably the world’s top sports brand. Charlie Denson and Mark Parker: Parker, whose heritage is in footwear design, and Denson, whose marketing background dovetailed nicely with responsibilities for the Nike brand. But with Denson retiring and Nike veteran Trevor Edwards as the new president of brand, there’s a new cast. They’ll still combine fashion and function, along with global marketing, better than anyone in the category.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Casey Wasserman


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    casey 
    wasserman

    Chairman & CEO

    Wasserman Media Group

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

    Wasserman’s clout continues to grow, with trusted friendships and connections at the highest levels in sports. His power base was also evident by glowing profiles on both coasts in The New York Times and Hollywood Reporter. We’ve talked about his advocacy for sports and strong philanthropy and social responsibility initiatives, but don’t overlook the fact that his agency continues to be behind many of the most innovative deals in sports, including Verizon’s billion-dollar extension with the NFL.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Sepp Blatter


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    sepp
    blatter

    President

    FIFA

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NOT RANKED

    Controversy always seems to surround the FIFA president, but there is no argument that he is one of the most powerful figures in sports. While everything about the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been questioned — from allegations of bribes and financial mismanagement to whether the tournament schedule should be moved to avoid the hot climate — Blatter and his organization are preparing for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Tim Brosnan / Rob Manfred


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    LAVONNE HALL
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    Tim 
    Brosnan

    Executive Vice President, Business

    Major League Baseball

    Rob
    Manfred

    Chief Operating Officer

    Major League Baseball

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +3

    Two of the leading candidates to be the 10th commissioner of baseball, Manfred and Brosnan each saw their stature within baseball continue to rise. Manfred in October was promoted to COO and is the point figure on the Alex Rodriguez saga, while Brosnan followed a big flurry of deals in 2012 with marked growth this year in nearly every index of fan avidity.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Don Garber


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    don 
    garber

    Commissioner

    Major League Soccer

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +6

    The MLS commissioner added a 20th franchise, the Manchester City and Yankees-owned NYCFC, which will begin play in 2015 after paying a league-record-obliterating $100 million expansion fee. Garber also navigated a return to Florida, with Orlando City also starting in 2015, and is planning for three more expansion clubs by 2020.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Mike Slive


    ICON SPORTS MEDIA

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    mike 
    slive

    Commissioner

    Southeastern Conference

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

    In less than a year, the SEC Network will fire up with perhaps more optimism than any league channel has ever known. Slive took a more cautious approach to a network than his friends at the Big Ten or Pac-12, but the SEC and ESPN also have a road map that might clear the path for a smoother launch. He also this year reaffirmed his leadership position among the commissioners by openly questioning the makeup of the NCAA’s board and advocating for more funds to be part of the athletic scholarship.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Jim Delany


    ICON SPORTS MEDIA
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    jim
    delany

    Commissioner

    Big Ten Conference

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +5

    Never afraid of a good debate, the Big Ten commissioner has been an outspoken voice against any sort of pay-for-play model in college sports. Delany has led the charge against compensating athletes beyond the $2,000 stipend model by saying that the Big Ten might just go Division III and play without athletic scholarships if such a model were forced on the conferences. That’s the sort of rhetoric this issue has generated, and even if Delany didn’t mean it, he’s been a leading and forceful figure as the issue has unfolded.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Melinda Witmer


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    MELINDA 
    WITMER

    Executive Vice President & Chief Video and Content Officer

    Time Warner Cable

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -3

    In years past, Witmer has made this list in her role as a gatekeeper, holding the purse strings for the sports channels that get carriage on the country’s second-biggest

    SBJ Podcast:
    Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why media executives dominate this year's list.

    cable operator. She’s on this year because of her industry-changing deals with the Lakers and Dodgers.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Kevin Plank


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    kevin 
    Plank

    CEO & Founder

    Under Armour

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +6

    Having built a $2 billion brand, Plank is now focused on innovation. Already a touchstone brand for any marketer looking to connect with youth, Under Armour and Plank must achieve success in footwear and expand offshore sales to really challenge Nike.
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  • 50 Most Influential: John Henry


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    JOHN
    HENRY

    Owner

    Fenway Sports Group

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +13

    Not long ago, Henry was accused of being distracted and uninterested in the Red Sox. Now with a third title in hand, Henry has helped engineer one of the strongest turnarounds in recent baseball history. Also this year, he added to a powerful sports, media, marketing and entertainment portfolio by acquiring The Boston Globe.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Indra Nooyi


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    indra
    nooyi

    Chairman & CEO

    PepsiCo

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NOT RANKED

    Nooyi is easily one of the most involved CEOs when it comes to sports matters, along with being somewhat sports-obsessed herself. Sports and music are the tentpoles on which Pepsi differentiates itself, but combining them for a true “Power of One” remains the challenge.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Larry Probst / Scott Blackmun


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    larry 
    probst

    Chairman

    U.S. Olympic Committee


    scott
    blackmun

    CEO

    U.S. Olympic Committee

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

    The U.S. Olympic Committee continues to bolster its standing at home and abroad. At home, it added new domestic sponsors Smucker’s and USG this year and created a new foundation to boost its fundraising revenue. Abroad, it chipped away at its goal of improving its influence in international sport when Probst was named a member of the International Olympic Committee.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Michael Levine / Howard Nuchow


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    michael 
    levine

    Co-Head

    CAA Sports


    howard
    nuchow

    Co-Head

    CAA Sports

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +1

    Levine and Nuchow are still trying to make CAA’s name as meaningful in sports as it is in entertainment. On the rep side, the agency has some big names, like Peyton Manning, David Beckham and Shaun White. On the corporate side, it has made some big gains, too. Watch this space.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Tim Leiweke


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    tim
    leiweke

    President & CEO

    Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -26

    It’s been a roller-coaster year for the hard-charging Leiweke, with his sudden departure from AEG in March and his arrival in Toronto to head the vast Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment in June. It hasn’t been the smoothest transition, as Leiweke’s candid, off-the-cuff style has made waves in Toronto’s traditional sports mindset. But he has a big canvas and deep pockets behind him to draw up his ambitious plans, and his actions still drive agendas and followers among team and league executives.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Paul Chibe / Blaise D’Sylva


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    paul 
    chibe

    U.S. Chief Marketing Officer

    Anheuser-Busch


    blaise
    d’sylva

    Vice President of Media, Sports and Entertainment Marketing

    Anheuser-Busch

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMERS

    Beer is the lifeblood of sports marketing, Bud’s the king of beers, and Chibe and D’Sylva are the marketers with the biggest budgets in sports. However, category sales have slowed and spirits and craft brews have been stealing share. Will they eventually push A-B off its top perch among sports marketers?
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  • 50 Most Influential: Mark Emmert


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    mark
    emmert

    President

    NCAA

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -8

    The NCAA’s president has declared 2014 as a year of change, and Emmert is going to be right in the middle of it. The NCAA is re-evaluating its governance structure, which means the way it makes decisions through its executive committee and Division I board of directors. While the schools from the five power conferences say they’re not looking to create their own division, it’s clear that they want a level of autonomy that they’ve never had before in Division I. How Emmert handles that will be watched and scrutinized closely.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Jeff Pash


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    jeff
    pash

    Executive Vice President & General Counsel

    NFL

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +2

    After Roger Goodell, no league executive holds more sway at the NFL than Pash. The low-key and amiable general counsel has his fingers in almost any significant matter at the league.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Jerry Reinsdorf


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    jerry
    reinsdorf

    Owner

    Chicago Bulls & Chicago White Sox

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NOT RANKED

    Perhaps baseball’s ultimate insider owner, Reinsdorf will likely play a major role in who succeeds Bud Selig as commissioner of baseball in 2015. His Bulls, meanwhile, remain an NBA power on and off the court.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Ed O’Bannon


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    ed
    o’bannon

    Lead plaintiff

    O’Bannon v. NCAA

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

    The O’Bannon case has morphed into something more than just a lawsuit. It has come to represent both a threat and an opportunity to the future of intercollegiate athletics, depending on which side you talk to. The former UCLA basketball player filed the lawsuit in 2009 seeking the rights to his likeness, but it could lead to a completely new economic model for college sports if a court decides that athletes are entitled to a share of licensing royalties from TV, jersey sales or other revenue-producers. O’Bannon could be flipping over the business of college sports as we know it.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Thomas Bach


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    thomas 
    bach

    President

    International Olympic Committee

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

    After being elected president, Bach has moved quickly to consolidate power, holding a closed-door meeting with leading Olympic figures to outline his goals for the organization. Stronger anti-doping efforts and a task force to combat illegal betting top the list, but there’s also a move to overhaul the way the bid city process works and how sports are chosen for participation in the Olympics. Changes to the current system could have a major effect on U.S. efforts to host another Olympics, as well as efforts by baseball and softball to return to the Games.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Don Fehr


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    don
    fehr

    Executive Director

    NHL Players’ Association

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -19

    Long seen as the most powerful union leader in sports, Fehr continues to run the NHLPA after negotiating an agreement this year that ensures labor peace until at least 2020. It’s not clear how long Fehr, 65, will stay in that role, but he has shown no signs of slowing down, and has always been willing to give advice to players in all sports who ask for it.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Herbert Hainer


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    hainer

    Chairman & CEO

    Adidas

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -2

    After a strong 2012 fueled by the London Olympics, 2013 was a difficult year for the No. 2 sporting goods brand. However, Adidas does well in FIFA World Cup years, and Hainer is forecasting $2.7 billion in additional sales from the 2014 World Cup in Rio. If so, that should deflect some of the advances Nike has made on Adidas’ home European turf.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Bob Bowman


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    bob 
    bowman

    President & CEO

    MLB Advanced Media

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

    Bowman led MLBAM to further dominance on mobile in 2013, with MLB.com At Bat surpassing 10 million downloads and app starts on the product running roughly equal to the prior five years combined. But Bowman’s influence is now strongly being felt in the ballpark, where he’s working with the likes of Apple, T-Mobile, Qualcomm and others on major ticketing, data connectivity, content, commerce and instant replay innovations.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Chris Tsakalakis


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    chris 
    tsakalakis

    President

    StubHub

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

    By changing the way people can buy tickets, StubHub has changed the way properties sell them. From season-ticket pricing to single-game pricing to the emergence of dynamic pricing, StubHub and Tsakalakis bear watching as surely as the prices on the company’s exchange.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Tom Long / Andy England


    millercoors

    millercoors
    42
    tom 
    long

    Chief Executive Officer

    MillerCoors


    Andy
    england

    Chief Marketing Officer

    MillerCoors

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -1

    Where Anheuser-Busch isn’t, MillerCoors is — or at least that’s the goal. And across the sports landscape, it’s generally true. A-B and MillerCoors combine for almost 75 percent of beer sales in the U.S., but beer marketers have been losing their longtime hold on the young adult market. Long and England hope to turn that around.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Sean Bratches


    rich arden / espn
    43
    sean
    bratches

    Executive Vice President,
    Sales and Marketing

    ESPN

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -9

    The executive who oversees all revenue that comes into the biggest media company there is, Bratches has led ESPN’s efforts to sell across all of the company’s platforms. It’s no surprise that more than 80 percent of ESPN’s sales involve more than one platform.

    SBJ Podcast:
    Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks over ESPN's John Skipper as No. 1 on this year's list.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Jed York


    ap images

    44
    jed 
    york

    CEO

    San Francisco 49ers

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

    He’s the boy wonder of NFL owners: York, along with his new, high-tech Levi’s Stadium, the first new NFL stadium built in California in four decades. Look for it to be the talk of the NFL next year.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Rick Dudley


    roxxe ireland / marc bryan-brown

    45
    rick 
    dudley

    President & CEO

    Octagon Worldwide

    CHANGE FROM 2012: +2

    Octagon brings its global expertise to bear as a key player in both of next year’s major events — the Olympics in Sochi and World Cup in Rio. As the company’s CEO, Dudley has long worked toward this, positioning the agency — with touch points in virtually all areas of sports business — to be a first mover and thought leader in both developing markets.
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  • 50 Most Influential: Alex Rodriguez / Fred Horowitz


    getty images


    46




    ALEX 
    rodriguez

    Third Baseman

    New York Yankees


    fred
    horowitz

    Chief arbitrator

    Rodriguez grievance

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMERS

    Rodriguez, MLB’s highest-paid player, is involved in a nasty legal fight with the league over charges of using performance-enhancing drugs. Horowitz will determine the outcome. It’s a critical test of the power of an individual athlete and his union against a sports property that will echo across all pro sports and define the careers of both A-Rod and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. It’s also a case that MLB’s business partners are scrutinizing closely.
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  • 50 Most Influential: DeMaurice Smith


    GETTY Images
    47
    DEMAURICE
    sMITH

    Executive Director

    NFL Players Association

    CHANGE FROM 2012: -5

    Smith is in his fifth year as executive director of the largest sports union, which has in place a labor deal that extends through the 2020 NFL season. But even with labor peace, Smith is likely to continue to be in the headlines as he represents players’ interests in health, safety and workplace issues in the NFL.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Stephen Espinoza


    getty images
    48




    stephen
    espinozA

    Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sports and Event Programming

    Showtime

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

    The former Golden Boy Promotions attorney got our attention last year when he wrestled Floyd Mayweather from HBO with a six-fight contract that could make him the highest-paid athlete in the world over the next few years. Espinoza cemented his spot on this list when Showtime delivered the most lucrative fight in history in September, a $200 million-plus event featuring Mayweather against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

    SBJ Podcast:
    Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why media executives dominate this year's list.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Asim Pasha


    BRIAN DAVIDSON
    49
    asim
    pasha

    CIO & Chief Architect, Sporting Kansas City

    Managing Partner, Sporting Innovations

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

    Pasha has been at the forefront of upgrading mobile technology in sports. As Sporting Kansas City’s chief information officer and chief architect, and managing partner of Sporting Innovations, Pasha has developed mobile applications that enable fans to control their experience at a game through exclusive content and unique viewing angles on smartphones and tablets.

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  • 50 Most Influential: Vladimir Putin


    GETTY Images
    50
    vladimir
    putin

    President of Russia

    CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

    Moments after Thomas Bach was named president of the International Olympic Committee, he received a call from Putin. The call came as no surprise. Russian delegates to the IOC were a major lobbying force behind Bach’s election, and the political future of Bach and Putin will be determined by the success of the Sochi Games. Putin picked Sochi, put it forward as an Olympic host city and has remained heavily involved in all aspects of its development, from pushing oligarchs to develop resorts and hotels in the area to firing a member of the Russian Olympic Committee because of cost overruns.

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