SBJ/Jan. 6-12, 2014/People and Pop Culture

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  • People: Executive transactions

    The Los Angeles Dodgers hired Jon Weisman as director of digital and print content. Weisman was senior editor at Variety.

    The MLB Players Association hired Dave Winfield as special assistant to executive director Tony Clark. Winfield was executive vice president and senior adviser for the San Diego Padres.

    The Philadelphia 76ers promoted Larry Meli to chief operating officer of the Delaware 87ers.

    The University of Nevada Las Vegas named Tina Kunzer-Murphy athletic director.

    Intrust Bank Arena named Amanda Shankle group sales and marketing associate.

    Knutson Construction named Todd Vigil vice president of project development. Vigil was director of business development at M.A. Mortenson Co.

    Canadian Football League director of officiating Tom Higgins stepped down. Glen Johnson was named vice president of officiating. Johnson was head referee for the CFL.


    The Aspire Group promoted Damon Olstead to senior business development consultant and Dan Black to senior ticket service consultant at Arizona State University, Matt Lanier to senior service consultant at Georgia Tech University and Devin Day to
    senior sales consultant at the University of Maryland, and hired Anaclaudia Cervantes as ticket sales consultant at Florida Atlantic University, Steve Walter and John Lewis as sales consultants at the University of Minnesota, Jason Anderson as sales consultant at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Jerome Flippins as sales consultant at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

    Agency 21 Consulting promoted Lisa Furst Hall to vice president.

    Octagon named Lauren Decker to head of the MasterCard Europe account.

    Home Team Sports hired Diane Lee as director of business analytics and insights. Lee was director of pricing and planning for Telemundo’s local stations.

    Outdoor Channel promoted Jason Brist to executive vice president of advertising sales.

    Sporting News Editor-In-Chief Garry Howard left the publication.

    CBS Sports promoted Jennifer Sabatelle to senior vice president of communications.

    ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight named Andrei Scheinkman deputy editor and director of data and technology. Scheinkman was data editor for the Huffington Post.

    Fox Sports named David Nathanson to the newly created position of general manager and chief operating officer of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, Bill Wanger executive vice president of programming, research and content strategy, Scott Ackerson executive vice president of news and George Greenberg executive vice president of content integration and presentation. reporter Brian Lowe left the position.

    Silver Chalice named Dana Golden executive vice president of audience development.

    Formula One team Mercedes Principal Ross Brawn stepped down from the position.

    Minnesota United FC hired Andrea Yoch as vice president of business development and Mikkala Korton as corporate sales representative.

    Sporting Goods and Apparel
    Lululemon founder Chip Wilson stepped down from the position of chairman. Michael Casey was named chairman and Laurent Potdevin chief executive officer.

    Peter Millar named Eric Budden golf and retail sales executive for the Western region.

    Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards
    The Chicago Sports Commission named Steve Schanwald to the newly created position of vice chairman. Schanwald is executive vice president of business operations for the Chicago Bulls.

    The Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation named Lisa Diven director of the Women’s Intersport Network for Kansas City. Diven was business development manager at Burns & McDonnell.

    (n+1) designstudio named C.J. Bottitta coordinating producer. Bottitta was director of operations for MLB Network’s creative services department.

    ThinkBeyond named Alexandra Chalat managing director. Chalat was executive director of Beyond Sport.

    WWE promoted Michelle Wilson to chief revenue and marketing officer, George Barrios to chief strategy and financial officer and Stephanie McMahon to chief brand officer.

    Umbel named Jim McNamara senior vice president of global sales. McNamara was head of sales for Verizon’s Precision Market Insights.

    Indiana Sports Corp. hired Chris Panyard as events manager. Panyard was event coordinator for the 500 Festival.

    The LA Marathon named Carsten Preisz vice president of brand strategy and marketing. Preisz was a partner at Freemark Entertainment.

    Gator Bowl Sports and Entertainment named Alan Verlander chief operating officer.

    Sucherman Consulting Group named Erik Sorenson chief executive officer.

    Special Olympics Maryland
    named Melissa Anger field services regional director, and Michele Maas and Stephanie Novak special events coordinators. Anger was a business operations associate at TEKsystems, and Novak was junior tour representative for the PGA of America Middle Atlantic section.

    Awards and Boards
    Phoenix Suns Charities named Kathy Pidgeon board president and Orin Anderson, Ginger Brandt, Tyler Butler, Rick DeGraw, Joyce Medina Harper, Andy Kroot, Kurt Meyer and Tami McKane-Verbin to its board of directors.


    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 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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  • Faces and Places

    National Football Foundation Awards Dinner

    From left: At the Big 12 Reception before the National Football Foundation annual Awards Dinner: the Big 12’s Bob Bowlsby, Fox Sports Media Group’s Karen Brodkin and ESPN’s Burke Magnus.
    Photos by: GENE BOYARS

    At the awards dinner, which was held Dec. 10 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City: CBS Sports’ Harold Bryant, IMG’s Sandy Montag, and CBS Sports’ David Berson. Also at the dinner were foundation board members Roger Staubach, Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots and Tim Cook of Apple.

    Also at the dinner were foundation board members Roger Staubach, Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots and Tim Cook of Apple.

    New Canadian media deal for NHL

    Scott Moore of Rogers Media, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Nadir Mohamed of Rogers Communications, Keith Pelley of Rogers Media and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly at the announcement of a 12-year national broadcast and multimedia agreement recently in Toronto.
    Photo by: GETTY IMAGES

    Primetime Sports Conference in Toronto

    At the Primetime Sports Conference in Toronto: Doug Boles of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Chris Lencheski of Front Row Marketing Services, Brian Burke of the Calgary Flames; Tim Leiweke of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, and Bruce Popko of the Toronto Raptors.

    Chinese official attends NBA game

    Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong exchanges gifts with NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver at a Chicago Bulls game at the United Center recently. Also on hand was Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

    SI Sportsman of the Year

    Peyton Manning was announced Dec. 16 as the 2013 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in the Denver Broncos’ locker room at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver. With Manning are Paul Fichtenbaum, Time Inc. Sports Group editor; Christian Stone, Sports Illustrated managing editor; and Mark Ford, EVP and Sports Group president, Time Inc.

    Honor for former UMass Lowell chairman

    Robert Sheridan (second from left) was honored with the UMass Lowell Athletic Legacy Award recently. Sheridan, past chair of the UMass Board of Trustees, showed his new Hockey East championship ring to AD Dana Skinner, Chancellor Marty Meehan and University of Massachusetts system President Robert Caret.

    SWAC title game

    Southwestern Athletic Conference Commissioner Duer Sharp and Jeff Gaines, assistant general manager at Reliant Park for SMG at the Toyota SWAC Football Championship on Dec. 7 at Reliant Stadium.

    Maui milestone

    At the championship game of the 30th annual EA Sports Maui Invitational recently: KemperLesnik’s Steve Lesnik, Chaminade University’s Bill Villa and Grissel Benitez-Hodge, the tournament’s Dave Odom and Chaminade’s Brother Bernie Ploeger.

    Please submit photos for review of industry conferences, parties, product launches and openings showcasing the people and personalities at the event. Include the event date, location, names/titles of those featured along with credit information. The photo specifications are as follows: 300dpi, tiff, jpeg or eps color images. Submit digital photos for review at: or send color prints to: Faces & Places, c/o Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202.

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  • Plugged In: Jason Teitler, Burson-Marsteller

    Jason Teitler, chairman of Burson-Marsteller’s sports marketing and fan experience practice, has played a key role in facilitating some of the biggest deals in the industry over the last several years. The firm advised T-Mobile on its activation at MLB FanFest last summer, worked with technology firm SAP on that company’s league partnerships with the NFL and NBA, and counseled MetLife on the activation of its stadium naming-rights deal for the New York Jets and Giants home worth more than $400 million. Teitler oversees a 40-person staff located primarily in New York and Chicago.

    Sports are more than just moments in time.

    On delivering sufficient wireless connectivity at stadiums: There are a lot of complex issues to navigate around, and each individual venue is different. But rather than think through the lens of the building owner, it’s critical to think through the eyes of the fan. There’s been a lot of progress made, and it’s inevitable there will continue to be improvement, but still a lot more progress needs to be made.

    On the “in-stadium vs. at-home” debate: We’re resolved to building both sides and don’t necessarily see them as inherently in conflict with each other. Fans are so hungry for unique experiences, and you want to get butts in seats, but there’s a whole other side of the business, too. We think there’s merit in fully serving both sides.

    On the role of brands in the fan experience: Brands can play a big role in forging connections for fans to their teams. The good ones can become organizers of the fan experiences and be a conduit to those experiences. Just slapping a name on a billboard or on a venue is simply missing the boat. Where I see big opportunity and big value is the totality of the fan experience, the storytelling that occurs between games. Brands can be a big part of that.

    On building a marketing strategy through sports: Earned media needs to be a bigger part of the brand-building experience. That seems to get pushed aside sometimes, but we see big opportunity there.

    On the demands in social media: The proliferation of the social media space has been intense. There are so many trails you can go down. Which ones are most valuable? The answers there will vary, and having a highly splintered strategy can actually do more harm than good. But I do love the momentum Instagram has right now. The visual elements of photos and video and what they’re doing is absolutely brilliant.

    — Eric Fisher

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  • New Year’s Resolutions


    CEO, Melt

    To continue the Golden Rule of the sports marketing business: The client is
    always right. But, seriously, resolve to always be thankful for our clients,
    their business and the opportunities they create and to resolve to always
    remember to thank them for their business.
    To help my great friends and clients at ESPN with a successful launch of the
    new SEC Network this August. And I would further resolve to help my friend
    Paul Finebaum continue to be national force as the Voice of the SEC.

    President, Swanson Communications
    Business: Now that we have offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City,
    which we opened in 2013, I would like to expand my business and offer our
    marketing and PR services to more sports entities, athletes and corporate
    sponsors. If we can do it for boxing, we can do it for other sports, too.
    Personal: To continue to be a kind and fair person, always working to
    recognize, appreciate and respect my colleagues, friends and family. When my
    life is balanced with happiness and the support of those around me who have
    my best interest at heart, I am a stronger and better businesswoman.

    Managing Director, Octagon First Call
    Business: Don’t settle for what is in front of you. Strive to create more.
    Personal: Family time is family time. Do not cheat it.

    Senior Director of Strategic Development, NASCAR
    Business: Capitalize on the momentum of NASCAR’s Industry Action Plan with
    sustained energy to drive growth across the sport while launching our new
    Technology Development and Integration team and game plan for a collective
    approach to innovation.
    Personal: Take a moment each and every morning to deeply appreciate a
    blessed life. A partnership with a rock-solid husband and the opportunity to
    work for an incredible company empower me to love both my baby and my job
    every day.

    Partner and Toll Collector, 16W Marketing

    Business: Survive Super Bowl XLVIII in our backyard. Going to need long recovery period.
    Personal: Fill in all missing local pegs in Top 100 Golf Course board with partner Steve Rosner and friends.

    President and CEO, College Football Hall of Fame
    Business: Work so that, at the end of 2014, when we look back on establishing the amazing new attraction that will be the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, our team can confidently say that we did everything possible to exceed college football fans’ expectations.
    Personal: Have at least one family a month over to cook out with our family. It’s amazing how fast time can pass without spending time with friends if you aren’t intentional about it.

    Executive vice president for business operations, Chicago Bulls
    I’d like to live a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise. To worry less, knowing that life is great, but understanding that expecting perfection in one’s life consigns one to a life of many disappointments. To do a better job of accepting that because the goal line keeps changing it can never be reached and that happiness is a predictor and precursor of success, not a result of it. To share my many blessings with others and have a positive impact on as many lives as possible knowing that true happiness only exists when shared. Finally, to get my handicap into single digits!

    Head of Bloomberg Sports
    1. To stop yelling at the refs at my son’s high school basketball games. 2. To eat less ice cream. 3. To be more patient (I make that one every year and it never works …).

    Co-founder and chief marketing officer, The Whistle
    1. Keep the mojo going with the growth and success of The Whistle.
    2. Make James Madison University a household name.

    Chief marketing officer, Chick-fil-A
    Business: To do all I can to serve and support the Chick-fil-A Bowl staff, the College Football Hall of Fame staff — as well as our corporate staff and restaurant operators — as we continue to expand Chick-fil-A’s role in the ever-evolving landscape of college athletics. This truly is an exciting time to be a part of college football!
    Personal: I look forward to enjoying my family as they grow in their faith and watching our four grandchildren develop terrific personalities.

    Vice president of sales and NFL contract adviser, Relativity Sports
    Business: To stay on top of my expense reports by doing them during each business trip.
    Personal: To stay off my phone/email during dinner with my family.

    President, The Marketing Arm
    Business: At TMA, we share the same resolution each year, and that’s to identify those areas where we can be a little better. A better place to work. A better agency to do business with. Better work. Whatever it is. The resolution is to be 20 percent better at those things by the end of the year.
    Personal: Last year at this time, with my 50th birthday looming, I made a resolution to be in the best shape of my life. For 2014, my resolution is to not make that a one-year commitment. Beyond that, it’s about being a better father, grandfather, husband and son.

    Vice president and general manager, Turner Construction
    Work smarter, laugh harder, love every day.

    Chief executive officer and vice chairperson of the board, International Speedway Corp.
    Business: 2014 is all about connecting … from connecting steel at Daytona Rising, to providing unforgettable experiences by connecting more closely with our longtime loyal fans and our younger technology-savvy fans.
    Personal: Just like everyone else who hits the gym on Jan. 1 … get in better shape.

    President and CEO, Portland Trail Blazers
    Business: Launch a Fan Council Advisory Board made up of various Trail Blazers fans to seek good feedback and direction.
    Personal: Take more time with my family to explore all the great areas in Oregon we have yet to see.

    Chief marketing officer, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association
    Business: My resolution is to leave no stone unturned in maximizing our Olympic success. This goal comes only once every four years, so I have to nail it! We need to make sure our fans feel invested in our athletes’ journey to their Olympic dreams.
    Personal: I need to get back to Alaska and into a helicopter. It’s been two seasons now (having gone for 12 straight), and those mountains and that powder are therapeutic.

    Senior associate athletic director for external affairs, University of South Carolina
    To continue to advocate for the benefits of intercollegiate athletics — for our student athletes, for young children who aspire to take part in it and for our society. We need a comprehensive effort, including schools, conferences, associations and the NCAA, to convey the message. And, finally, to become a better person, husband and father.

    Principal, Connect Sports & Entertainment
    To stop using so much effort on constant list making but to focus on getting the top three subjects on the list done each day.

    Boxing champion
    Business: To continue to grow Golden Boy Promotions as a company and a brand by signing top-level talent, particularly on the East Coast.
    Personal: To stay healthy and retain my title and record-breaking accomplishments.

    Senior vice president of sales and marketing, Oklahoma City Thunder
    Even as we continue to embrace data-driven tools and technology in order to learn about consumer behavior and guide strategy, we need to remember we are in the people business. Fostering a genuine and meaningful relationship with our season ticket members and business partners is central to our mission of developing a sustainable business, no matter how much “big data” we are able to capture.

    Senior managing director of business affairs, U.S. Golf Association
    Business: I hope that we align our energy and resources with golf’s other leading organizations to drive demonstrable impact to existing and new golfers.
    Personal: To make the time for golf lessons. I love to play, but without lessons it is really hard to improve.

    Partner, Fermata Partners
    We’re now heading into our third year as entrepreneurs, so my personal and professional goals are deeply intertwined. To stay focused and remain balanced are the biggest keys to success in both areas. Keeping healthy, being laser focused, and dedicating time for family (while disconnected) are the top priorities for this year.

    Vice president of legal, Relativity Sports
    Business: Continuing to build the Relativity Sports athlete representation and management business, while also expanding the company’s reach into other areas of the sports industry.
    Personal: Find more time to volunteer for charitable organizations and get out on the golf course.

    President, Galatioto Sports Partners
    After getting over a major bump in the road in 2013, I would like to give back more to my alma mater and to increase my charitable giving. I also intend to go back to teaching, which is one of the things I greatly enjoy.

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