Coast to Coast PBR positions Vegas event as a ‘major’ MLB Turnstile Tracker MASN case returns to the courtroom Ebersol stands by critique of Conan Pac-12 presents new model to ADs In rebranding, the Bucks aren’t stopping here New NYRR chief puts focus on running Bums get their bleachers back RTA gets access to NASCAR data
SBJ/Feb. 17-23, 2014/People and Pop CulturePrint All
The San Francisco Giants promoted Shane Turner to director of player development.
The Baltimore Orioles hired Ray Naimoli as senior manager of corporate partnership sales, Cathy Jerome as senior manager of partnership marketing and Bill Marriott as manager of corporate partnership sales.
The New York Mets hired Haeda Mihaltses as executive director of external affairs. Mihaltses was director of intergovernmental affairs for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Minor League Baseball hired Brian Sinclair as a field evaluator and instructor for the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp.
Ohio State University promoted Gene Smith to vice president in addition to his role as athletic director.
The University of Texas at Arlington hired Liz Franklin as marketing and promotions coordinator. Gregg Elkin left the position of senior associate athletic director for external relations.
Awards and Boards
The Southern California Sports Broadcasters awarded former Los Angeles Dodgers President Peter O’Malley the Gil Stratton Lifetime Achievement Award.
The John Wooten Leadership Awards awarded the firm Garvey Schubert Barer the Community Leader Award to honor the efforts of their late colleague, Keven Davis, for the firm’s commitment to diversity.
The Los Angeles Sports Council named Los Angeles Dodgers President and Chief Executive Officer Stan Kasten the 2013 Sports Executive of the Year.
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Inaugural IOC President’s Dinner
IOC President Thomas Bach (third from right) welcomed international leaders to the inaugural IOC President’s Dinner in Sochi on Feb. 7, the eve of the opening ceremony. Among those attending were Russian President Vladimir Putin (second from left), Chinese President Xi Jinping (second from right) and IOC member Prince Albert II of Monaco (third from left).
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
Omega ribbon cutting
Omega President Stephen Urquhart, IOC President Thomas Bach, Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek and swimming legend and IOC member Alexander Popov cut the ribbon at the Sochi pavilion of official timekeeper Omega.
Photo:COURTESY OF OMEGA
Airweave aligns with USOC
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun and Airweave CEO Motokuni Takaoka announce Airweave’s sponsorship with the organization on Feb. 12. Airweave becomes the USOC’s first sponsor in the mattress category.
Circe Wallace of Wasserman Media Group hugs client Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland after he won the gold medal in the men’s halfpipe competition in an upset victory over Shaun White. “I’m so happy,” she said. “This is kind of a
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
Bach in the USA
U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst and IOC President Thomas Bach attend a gala at the USA House in the Olympic Village on Feb. 10.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
Chairman of the board
Burton Snowboards founder and CEO Jake Burton does an interview in Sochi at the halfpipe competition. Despite news reports suggesting that snowboarding has peaked in popularity, Burton told SBJ “the sport is healthy, and the business is doing great,” though “it’s not as easy as it used to be.”
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
Every Step of the Way with Citi
At the unveiling of the Citi “Signature Step” installation Feb. 7 at USA House: 2010 figure skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek, 2014 luge bronze medalist Erin Hamlin, USOC CMO Lisa Baird, Olympic legend Dan Jansen and Tina Davis, Citi director of corporate sponsorship and marketing. Hamlin, Jansen and Lysacek are among the nine U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls participating in Citi’s Every Step of the Way program.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
Travels with Tripp
SBJ Olympics reporter Tripp Mickle talked to a halfpipe full of sports executives during his first week in Sochi. Among them were Burton Snowboards head of global alliance and partnerships Nick Sargent (above) and Michael Payne, former director of commercial operations for the IOC. Podcasts of conversations with both of them, as well as stories and interviews from the Games, can be found on SBJ’s On the Ground blog at www.sportsbusinessjournal.com.
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Photo by:DICK BLUME / SYRACUSE.COM
■ Age: 56.
■ New title: Chief marketing officer, Ephesus Lighting. Dolgon has also been the owner of the Syracuse Crunch hockey team since 1994.
■ Previous title: Founding partner, Alan Taylor Communications.
■ First job: Baskin-Robbins ice cream scooper.
■ College education: Brooklyn College, 1978. B.A. in English.
■ Resides: Boca Raton, Fla., and Long Island. Wife and five kids. The youngest is in college.
■ Grew up: Brooklyn. “I’m glad I got my college degree, but I think everything I’ve done in my life I credit more my street education and learning how to think on my feet.”
■ Executive most admired: Alan Taylor, Alan Taylor Communications, David Stern, NBA, and Gary Bettman, NHL.
■ Brand most admired: Wheaties.
■ Favorite vacation spot: Aruba.
■ Last book read: “Once We Were Brothers,” by Ronald Balson. “But I’m a fanatic of dog books. I love reading anything about dogs.”
■ Last movie seen: “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
■ Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans.”
■ Favorite bands: Fun, the Who and Pearl Jam.
■ What is the biggest challenge in your new position?
I’m starting to gain knowledge of the whole LED lighting arena, but I think really it’s an educational challenge because it’s such a new product and our company is really leading the charge in that field. It’s really probably to educate arenas, stadiums, different facilities about just how good this type of lighting is and what it does from both a quality standpoint, from an entertainment standpoint and economically what a huge money saver it is to the facilities that operate it.
■ What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
Back in 2010, we were the first American Hockey League team to put on an outdoor game and unlike subsequent games, we did it at the New York state fairgrounds and we built a rink on a dirt racetrack. … We had to build locker rooms. We had to bring in video boards. You talk about from the dirt up, that’s what we did. The game was aired on the NHL Network and we wound up breaking the single-game attendance record for the American Hockey League.
■ What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Starting a team in [a city] labeled as a hockey graveyard, and there were a lot of naysayers and that only fueled and made me personally more determined to succeed and to take it more personally. Getting the team on board and keeping it and now we are the senior independently owned team of all 30 teams in the American Hockey League.
■ What is your biggest professional disappointment?
I was one of the founding members of the National Lacrosse League. The first year [in Syracuse] we didn’t do well as a team on the field or off the field and then the second year I thought we did a better job putting a better team together, but we still didn’t win and we really struggled financially for fan support. Instead of at that time selling the franchise and say it’s not working, that was the first time professionally I let my ego get in the way and I said I can turn it around. I gave it one more year and it just didn’t work, and then I wound up selling the franchise.
■ What career advice do you have for people wanting to get into the sports industry?
If you really want to learn the business and want to learn a lot of aspects of it and learn what it is you’re good at and want to do with it, get in with a minor league team. Get in with a smaller staff where you’re really going to be hands on from the marketing and promotions to the PR to the selling to maybe even working on the team side, because you’re not going to go from college to work with the New York Giants or the New York Yankees.
Michael Rowe knows development through sports. The former executive vice president and COO of the Meadowlands Sports Complex has also been president and a part-owner of the New Jersey Nets, where he helped launch the YES Network. For the past 16 years, he’s led sports consulting firm Positive Impact. The company has worked to help potential owners of sports teams form business plans and has advised in the negotiations of those properties. It also has sold sponsorships for promoters and managed special events, including the North Carolina-Michigan State college basketball game on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego in 2011.
One of the marks of success for towns [in the past] was to acquire a sports franchise and arenas and major events. I think that worked fine in the ’80s and ’90s, but our clients are really looking to have the events or brands or sponsorships be much more effective and have ROI. People aren’t building arenas and buying teams just for the heck of it anymore.”
Hoops and aircraft carriers: Everybody seems to be taking another look at whether basketball should be played outdoors and on water, where there might be wind and moisture. The one two years ago [in San Diego] in particular is one of the coolest events I have worked on. A lot of people think that it was a convergence of one-of-a-kind things: unique battleship, the one bin Laden was buried from at sea; the president was available to come to the game; first time ever an NCAA game was played outdoors on an aircraft carrier. It might have been just the stars lining up. If it doesn’t happen again, we understand.
The current state of sports team ownership: There are teams losing $20 million to $40 million a year, and you wonder, What are they in the game for? You better have a good plan if you want to get in this business and succeed. Sports is becoming a very expensive business. It’s not a hobby anymore. These things have to work. For prospective team owners, people buying in don’t just want to sit in the owner’s suite anymore. They’ve made money in their other businesses and they don’t want to lose money on a sports team.
— Don Muret
■ When I graduated from the University of Colorado, my professional plans were to go into ski area management and ski area development, but the job as ski coach at CU was open. I took the job thinking it was a transition job, and two years turned into seven.
■ People encouraged me to take the AD job. It was a weird change of direction. The athletic program at CU at the time needed leadership and it needed some attention. I knew what the challenges were and what the solutions were so I just jumped in.
■ I came from the coaching side. I didn’t know a lot about the business side. I didn’t know about television, sponsorship, fundraising. All of those things I learned on the fly.
“Bode is, at core, a really good person,” Marolt says of U.S. skiing star Bode Miller.
Photo by:SARAH ELY / USSA
■ My first year as AD we were a 1-10 football team. The biggest decision I made in my first year was to extend Coach [Bill] McCartney’s contract and give him two more years. That was probably the most key decision the whole time there. That gave him a chance to continue to recruit and improve. We went from 1-10 to a 7-5 team going to a bowl. By 1990, we won the national championship.
■ We had gone through a period of time with the football program where you get in a cycle of hiring and letting guys go. When I looked at where we were, Coach McCartney had a good coaching background. I looked around the country and couldn’t see a better guy to do it. A lot of ADs would want to find their own guy, but I had a lot of confidence in him.
Marolt stuck with McCartney, who delivered a national title.
Photo by:UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO
■ Before I got here, we had a foundation. The foundation board still exists. But we weren’t sure who we were when I got here. We weren’t sure if we were a fundraising org or an event org. Really what we are is an athletic org. We’re an org about winning. But we have to do all of those things well. We have to do a great job in sales and marketing. We have to do a great job in fundraising. We have to do a great job in managing events. That’s all to support the organization. And as we’ve found success, our sales have gotten better, our fundraising has gotten better.
■ The key is having the stars that are easy to identify with. It doesn’t matter if it’s fundraising or sales but having the stars there — whether it’s Julia [Mancuso] or Lindsey [Vonn] or Bode [Miller] or Lindsey Jacobellis — those personalities and the results they get motivate people. What our public wants to hear, a corporate sponsor or a donor, is excitement. They want to hear that we have a chance to have someone standing on the podium. We have to stay focused on athletic results and winning.
Marolt celebrates a strong run by Ted Ligety at Soelden, Austria, in 2009.
■ One of our values is team. We believe we’re stronger if we have everybody working together. But all of these sports are individual sports. When they get in to the starting line, they’re individuals. But getting them there takes a community and a team. It takes not only coaches but the teammates, the nutritionists, doctors.
■ We had conversations with [Miller] and his agent [after Miller left the team in 2007]. We opened the doors and said, “Look, we’d like to have you back.” We didn’t put any conditions on it other than, “You have to be part of the organization and what we do going forward.” He was fine with all of that. It wasn’t a complicated situation because I didn’t make it complicated.
■ [After Torino] we felt that as a staff and an organization we needed to put a better face on the organization. That’s when we sat down and thought about values. You talk about what competition teaches you, but a lot of organizations don’t write that down. Out of 2007 came a recommitment to values and what we wanted to be and look like. It was important we did [create a new code of conduct] because it sent a message to the public about what we were. It made a difference leading up to ’10.
Marolt in the U.S. Ski Team Day pro-am race in 2012 at Squaw Valley
Photo by:KATE PERHAI / USSA
■ I grew up in Aspen and had a super opportunity to get involved in skiing. My mom and dad and family were supportive. But I had a coach named Gale Spence who coached me from fourth grade to high school. He was a competitive skier. He started me in it, and that’s where a lot of my philosophy started.
■ I want to stay involved in skiing. I’m on the board of directors of the USOC, I’m on the FIS council. I’ll do that the next few years. I’ll do some fundraising for USSA. I’ll be involved from a distance. I’d like to stay involved through membership on those boards and fundraising.