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/Feb. 3-9, 2014/People and Pop CulturePrint All
The Major League Baseball Players Association hired Bob Tewksbury as director of player development.
The Tampa Bay Rays’ senior vice president of development and business affairs, Michael Kalt, stepped down from his position to lead a New York-based private investment office.
Minor League Baseball promoted Robert Fountain to associate counsel and Andy Shultz to manager of baseball and business operations, and hired Cory Bernstine as marketing research coordinator for MiLB Enterprises, Jessica Merrick as marketing coordinator and Jess Vera as coordinator of trademarks and intellectual property.
The independent Pacific Association’s San Rafael (Calif.) Pacifics hired Jennifer Clark as director of business and community relations.
NBA China named Raymond Tao senior vice president of global marketing partnerships. Tao was president for Ogilvy & Mather Advertising China.
The Golden State Warriors named Laurence Scott host and commentator for Warriors TV and Warriors.com.
The Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center promoted Barry Baum to executive vice president and chief communications officer, Elisa Padilla to senior vice president of marketing, Randy Lewis to senior director of analytics and social marketing, Ashley Kahler to director of partnership marketing and Chris Harrington to manager of legal services. The Nets promoted Tyrel Kirkham to senior director of merchandising, Joyce Jelks to senior director of human resources, Victor Pereira to director of information technology and Tom Kolker to manager of broadcast and digital. Barclays Center promoted Lisa Brefere to vice president of food and beverage service and Logan Meier to senior director of facilities presentation.
The Atlanta Dream hired Angela Taylor as executive vice president and general manager. Taylor is owner and president of NetWorks Sports Consulting.
University of South Florida Athletic Director Doug Woolard will retire at the end of his contract in June 2015.
Washington University in St. Louis Athletic Director John Schael will retire, effective June 30.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway promoted David McGrath to vice president of corporate sales and Jessica Ferreira to director of events.
Watkins Glen International hired Levi Palmer as a corporate sales executive. Palmer was with the Philadelphia Eagles in premium services ticket operations.
The Atlanta Falcons hired Scott Pioli as assistant general manager. Pioli was with NBC Sports Network and SiriusXM Radio.
The San Francisco 49ers promoted Paraag Marathe to president, replacing Gideon Yu, who stepped down from that role. Al Guido was named chief operating officer. Guido was senior vice president of global sales for Legends.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Jason Licht as general manager. Licht was vice president of player personnel for the Arizona Cardinals.
Omnigon Communications promoted Nick Arcuri to director of sports products and Manish Dayal to director of its project management office, and named Joanna Levine director of marketing and communications and Alex Chamberlen Omnigon U.K. managing director.
Back9Network hired Scot Thor as senior vice president of programming. Thor was senior vice president of development and production for Intersport.
Time Inc. named Brendan Ripp publisher of Sports Illustrated and SI.com. Ripp was vice president of sales and marketing for Fortune magazine.
LA2015, the organizing committee for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, hired Brian Erickson as senior vice president of sales and Susan Pollack as senior vice president of development.
FC Dallas named Dan Hunt president.
Sporting Goods and Apparel
Under Armour hired Nick Carparelli Jr. as senior director of college sports. Carparelli was senior associate commissioner for football and marketing for the American Athletic Conference.
New York Road Runners named James Grooms vice president, legal and general counsel. Grooms was vice president, general counsel and assistant secretary for Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Richard Andersen stepped down as president and chief executive officer of Northlands.
The Professional Bull Riders hired Bob Chasse as vice president of partnership marketing. Chasse was principal of Genuine Partners.
Awards and Boards
Special Olympics Missouri named Roger Gardner, Learfield Sports executive vice president, to its board of directors.
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Macy’s Super Bowl lineup
Holding their custom jerseys at the opening of the NFL Shop at Super Bowl at Macy’s Herald Square on Jan. 22 are Macy’s Chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren; Lids Sports Group President Ken Kocher; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson; and NFL CMO Mark Waller.
Photo by:AP IMAGES FOR MACY’S
Arsenal, Puma shake on long-term deal
Puma CEO Bjoern Gulden and Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis were at Emirates Stadium in London on Jan. 27, the day that Arsenal’s new long-term uniform deal with Puma was announced.
Photo by:DAVID PRICE / ARSENAL FC VIA GETTY IMAGES
Grubman at Super Bowl prep
NFL EVP Eric Grubman speaks to the media at MetLife Stadium Jan. 22 during preparations for Super Bowl XLVIII Feb. 2.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
Stadium Series scenes
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (left) and Wayne Gretzky arrive at the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25 for the game between the Kings and the Ducks. The next day, NHL CMO Brian Jennings (below) was outdoors at Yankee Stadium for the Rangers’ game against the Devils.
Feherty plays host to diverse lineup
Golf Channel’s David Feherty sat down with golf legend and entrepreneur Greg Norman, 1980 U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning hockey team captain Mike Eruzione and best-selling author James Patterson as a part of “Feherty Live presented by UL,” a special back-to-back night airing of his prime-time show. “Feherty” was staged in front of a studio audience at Universal Studios Orlando on Jan. 21 and 22.
Photo by:GOLF CHANNEL
Comcast, NBC Universal, 49ers strike deal
Comcast and NBC Universal recently announced a 10-year partnership with the San Francisco 49ers. From left: Ted Girdner of Comcast California, Ted Griggs of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, the 49ers’ Jed York, Hank Fore of Comcast California and Rich Cerussi of NBC Bay Area.
Photo by:SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
BAT Award for Michael Weiner
Randy Winn, Baseball Assistance Team president, and master of ceremonies Harold Reynolds of MLB Network present Diane Margolin, widow of former MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner, with Weiner’s BAT Lifetime Achievement Award. BAT held its “Going to Bat for BAT” fundraising dinner Jan. 21 at the New York Marriott Marquis.
Photo by:CHUCK SOLOMON / BASEBALL ASSISTANCE TEAM
At the Wasserman/eBay event at Icebar Orlando during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando: Kevin Ring of the PGA of America; David Fay, formerly of the USGA; Malcolm Turner of Wasserman and James Lane of eBay.
Photo by:MEGAN MORGAN / WASSERMAN MEDIA GROUP
Liverpool signs deal with airline
At the announcement Jan. 27 of Liverpool’s deal with airline Garuda Indonesia to become the team’s official training kit partner: Harry James Kandou, deputy chief of mission for the Indonesian Embassy; Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers; Garuda Indonesia CEO and President Emirsyah Satar; and Liverpool’s Ian Ayre.
Photo by:LIVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB
Scouts’ night out
The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation held its annual “In the Spirit of the Game” gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on Jan. 18. Among those on hand were Los Angeles Dodgers President Stan Kasten, hall of famer Joe Morgan and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
Photo by:PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL SCOUTS FOUNDATION
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Seth Jacobs joined CAA Sports in late 2012 to help build the agency’s sports consulting practice. He previously worked in leadership positions with Momentum and GroupM ESP. With that perspective of more than 15 years in the industry, he sees how brands, now more than ever, are focused not just on sports or entertainment, but on pop culture.
Ultimately what the brands hire us to do is to market through pop culture to the consumer audiences, so as a consumer you are not just thinking, ‘I just care about sports,’ or ‘I just care about music.’ You don’t necessarily separate those things. It’s all a part of pop culture and it’s all about the things that you, as a consumer, are passionate about.”
How it works: Sometimes it can be through the simple act and announcement and PR of associating yourself with another great brand, like the U.S. Open or like Madison Square Garden or the Super Bowl. That can play itself out within an actual ad or PR announcement. And more and more, trying to combine the kind of live event and experiential world with social media, so that you can actually interact with consumers one-on-one and in a real direct way, and also get the multiplier effect.
Two trends he’s watching: TV rights deals in general: There has been talk over the past couple of years and rumors about new and additional players getting involved, like a Google or something like that, which would fundamentally change the landscape. Will that happen and will those TV rights deals continue to grow and expand? And I am very interested to see what will happen with the new college football championship.
— Liz Mullen
I went to Villanova. I did not have any internships. I was a liberal arts major. I was a 280-pound tight end who wanted to play in the NFL. That was my goal. But I got injured.
Downes greets NASCAR legend Richard Petty.
I met with him and he said, “If you want to work in sports, you need to know how to generate revenue.”
Once I got in front of the right people, they wouldn’t hire me. I had no experience and they made that perfectly clear. I said to them, “I will come and work for free under the agreement that if I prove myself, you’ll put me on payroll.”
I was a salesperson making zero dollars going out to a territory every day doing cold canvassing. I would walk into accounting firms and law firms and would ask the receptionist for the name of the person at their firm who entertained clients. I would give them tickets and get that name. I was kicked out of buildings. I was threatened with arrest. It was all a big game.
I was completely out of money. I had two suits. I was living with my grandfather in Jersey City. I went into the VP of sales. I said I have led the sales team for three months. I think I’ve proven myself. He said, “You did. I put you on the payroll last week.”
Downes with his father on the sidelines at Veterans Stadium during his time with the Eagles.
Photo:COURTESY OF SEAN DOWNES
We had to be at our office by 7:30 a.m. If we were there at 7:35 a.m., the vice president of sales would walk over and say, “Good afternoon. Now go home.”
By 8:30, we had to make 40 phone calls. Of those 40, 20 had to be connections with a live voice. Of those 20, 10 had to be decision-makers. Of those 10, you had to get two appointments for the next week.
Once 8:30 a.m. hit, you were out in your territory. We had to have 12 meetings a week, documented. There were about 15 ticket salespeople. It was great.
See also: My Start in Sports — Chris Lencheski
I was just ecstatic I could actually work in a career where a suit and a baseball cap were completely acceptable to wear in the office. The God’s honest truth. I always thought that was the coolest thing. I’d be in my best suit with a baseball cap on.
Lencheski during his time with the Scranton/COURTESY OF CHRIS LENCHESKI
Wilkes-Barre Red Barons
Opening night of the ballpark. Matthew Futterman, now at The Wall Street Journal, wrote a story. … For some reason, Scranton had never built one of these stadiums. The phones in the dugout were actually working phones, they weren’t single lines, so guys from the opposing team were ordering pizzas from Domino’s. Futterman wrote a whole story about that.
In 1989, the Phillies were not a very good baseball team, mathematically out of it by May. I went down to Prism, [a network] started by Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider, way ahead of regional sports networks. … It had the Flyers, Phillies and movies. I convinced Prism to air the games — the Phillies loved it because it took a little focus off of how bad the team was doing that year. We did these segments in Philadelphia of the Triple-A games, which had never been done, never been on pay cable.
Jim Fregosi was a scout with the Phillies at the time. My job was to pick up these guys at the airport. I’m the young guy doing whatever they need me to do. Fregosi rode me hard just to bust my balls.
He was leaving Scranton to go to Buffalo and said to me in the dugout, “Where do I need to go?” For whatever reason, I plainly said, “You go out of the stadium, take a right, head on [Highway] 81 and go this way.” Essentially I gave him the absolute wrong directions. In Scranton, he would have probably been 100 miles into State College before he realized he was going in the wrong direction. … Fregosi comes back and said … “You did that deliberately, right?” I didn’t say anything. He goes, “That’s pretty good, I’ve been riding your [butt] for four days … you put me in my spot.”
I remember interviewing with [former general manager] George Young of the New York Giants. I got to the meeting and I told Mr. Young that I had this opportunity with the Olympics and I had whatever I was going to interview with him for. We went to Rutt’s Hut, a hot dog stand off Route 3.
Photo by:FRONT ROW MARKETING SERVICES
My first [unpaid] job was an internship with Dennis Murphy, founder with Gary Davidson of the ABA and the WHA.
I was asked to call Mr. [Howard] Cosell, who was still at ABC at the end of his career. We were going to do this event at the Meadowlands and I had to call people to confirm they were sent the invitations and if they were going to show up. I called him and got him on the phone and he sounded just like he’s heard on “Monday Night Football.”
Even though we weren’t affiliated with the Giants at all, you know that he wasn’t ever happy that the Giants left New York. He was doing everything he wrote about the “New Jersey” Giants. He said to me, “Do you mean to tell me the Mara family, and everybody involved with that stadium, have the audacity, the chutzpah” … and he goes through this whole thing. I put it on speakerphone so people could hear … “Listen to this guy, he’s just reeling into me.” It was one of the coolest things that ever happened to me.
See also: My Start in Sports — Sean Downes