How ‘Friday Night Lights’ came to life PGA Championship merch sales up 10% More NBA options on Thursday nights Softening the Tiger Effect Rio’s ticket resale is broadest yet Toyota, Long Beach keep rolling Packers’ Titletown to cost up to $130M Plugged In: Steve Keener ‘Madden NFL 16’ has a blockbuster Churchill taps Ticketmaster for Derby
SBJ/Feb. 24-March 2, 2014/People and Pop CulturePrint All
The Class AA Southern League’s Pensacola (Fla.) Blue Wahoos hired Chuck Arnold as sales manager, Michael Taylor as group sales executive and Courtney Griffith public relations consultant. Griffith is the owner of Lawson Consulting.
The MLB Players Association hired Jeffrey Hammonds as special assistant, player program development. Hammonds played 13 seasons in MLB.
The Atlanta Braves promoted Larry Bowman to vice president of stadium operations and security, Kim Childress to vice president and controller, and Lara Juras to vice president of human resources.
The Boston Red Sox promoted Tom Tippett to senior baseball analyst, Dan Dyrek to director of sports medicine service, Steve Sanders to coordinator of amateur and international scouting, Mike Regan to coordinator of baseball operations, Shawn O’Rourke to coordinator of baseball systems development, Paul Buchheit to head minor league medical coordinator, Mauricio Elizondo to Latin American medical coordinator and Javier Hernandez to assistant director of the Red Sox Dominican Academy. The team hired Greg Rybarczyk as baseball operations analyst.
The Kansas City Royals hired former player Mike Sweeney as special assistant to baseball operations.
Carolina Perrina de Diego left her position as director of business communications for the Miami Marlins.
The San Diego Padres hired Jesse Agler as director of content. Agler was a TV and radio host for the Miami Dolphins.
The NBA hired Jordan Solomon as vice president of team marketing and business operations. Solomon was associate principal at McKinsey & Co.
The Philadelphia 76ers promoted Jake Reynolds to vice president of ticket sales and service. Reynolds was senior director of sales.
The Portland Trail Blazers hired Christa Thoeresz as senior director of community relations. Thoeresz was head of community relations for the Portland Timbers.
The World Boxing Council elected Mauricio Sulaiman president.
University of Hartford Athletic Director Pat Meiser will retire, effective July 31.
University of Tennessee director of football operations Brad Pendergrass resigned.
Stanford University promoted Heather Owen to associate athletic director for development.
The Ohio University College of Business hired Norm O’Reilly as professor and chair of the department for sports administration.
Louisiana Tech University hired Nate Warren as assistant athletic director for development. Warren was assistant director for development at Kansas State University.
The University of Northern Colorado hired Ayo Taylor-Dixon as senior associate athletic director. Taylor-Dixon was senior associate athletic director at the University of South Florida.
Rice University hired Bryan Blair as compliance coordinator. Blair worked in the academic and membership affairs department at the NCAA.
The University of Washington hired Lance Lopes as senior associate athletic director. Lopes was senior vice president and general counsel for the Seattle Seahawks, Sounders FC and CenturyLink Field.
Global Spectrum promoted John Page to president.
Texas Motor Speedway hired Gregg Elkin as media relations manager. Elkin was senior associate athletic director for external relations for the University of Texas at Arlington.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Isaiah Harris as director of player development. Harris was director of player development with the Chicago Bears.
The Green Bay Packers hired Cliff Christl as team historian. Christl covered the Packers regularly during 36 years as a sportswriter for four Wisconsin newspapers.
The Houston Texans promoted Larry Wright to assistant director of pro personnel and hired Brian Gaine as director of pro personnel. Gaine is the former assistant general manager for the Miami Dolphins.
The Washington Redskins hired former quarterback Doug Williams as personnel executive.
Bruce Landon stepped down as president and co-owner of the American Hockey League’s Springfield (Mass.) Falcons. Landon remains director of hockey operations.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club hired David Jerkins as racing secretary, effective in early June. Jerkins is racing secretary at Golden Gate Fields.
Greg Busch stepped down as GMR Marketing executive vice president of global sports and entertainment consulting.
The Legends Entertainment District, a joint outdoor marketing venture between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns, hired Blake Edwards as general manager.
Sports Marketing Services hired Mike Cunningham as sports business manager for cycling.
Fox Sports Ohio promoted Trey Dolle to vice president and general sales manager.
Time Inc. named Mark Ford executive vice president of ad sales as part of the reorganization of the company. Todd Larsen will expand his duties and with Evelyn Webster will have oversight of Sports Illustrated and all U.S. brands.
Binary Event Network hired Amanda Angelini as president. Angelini was vice president of business development at USA Today Sports Media Group.
USL Pro’s Orlando City SC hired Chris Gallagher as vice president of ticket sales and Rob Parker as vice president of corporate partnerships. Gallagher was regional sales director of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium. Parker was senior vice president of business development of the Philadelphia Union.
USL Pro’s Wilmington (N.C.) Hammerheads FC hired Jason Arnold as general manager, Kelly Wenger as ticket sales manager, Jessica Hotzelt as ticket sales representative and Tracy Meadows as club accountant. Former team general manager Matt Sadler has taken the role of director of development.
Sporting Goods and Apparel
Sports Authority hired Jeremy Aguilar as chief financial officer. Aguilar was chief financial officer of H.H. Gregg.
Smack Sportswear hired Tom Mercer as president, chief marketing officer and vice president of sales and marketing. Mercer was vice president of sales and marketing at High 5 Sportswear.
Damon Evans formed Evolution Sports Partners, a consulting and services company. Evans was with IMG College and previously was athletic director at the University of Georgia.
Jackson Lewis, a workplace law firm, hired Randy Levine as of counsel in the New York office. Levine is president of the New York Yankees.
Stu Upson resigned as U.S. Bowling Congress executive director.
Back on My Feet, a nonprofit organization that uses running to combat homelessness, named Mary FitzGerald its chief executive officer. FitzGerald was chief operating officer for Pop Warner Little Scholars.
Volleyball Factory, a division of Factory Athletics, hired Kristee Porter as director of volleyball operations. Porter is a former U.S. national team member.
Awards and Boards
Dover Motorsports named Timothy Horne to its board of directors.
Ed Randall’s Fans for the Cure, a charity focused on prostate cancer awareness and early detection, named former MLB All-Star Steve Garvey to its board of directors.
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On the scene at NBA All-Star Weekend
NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum; Mike Sundet, Anheuser-Busch InBev VP of sports and entertainment marketing; and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver during All-Star Weekend. Below: NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, Cisco Chief Marketing Officer Blair Christie and USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo.
Photos by:DAVID SHERMAN / NBAE / GETTY IMAGES
Bensons play host for All-Star party
New Orleans Pelicans owners Gayle and Tom Benson held a private All-Star Game dinner and party Feb. 14 at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. Rita Benson LeBlanc, Pelicans owner and vice chairman of the board, also took her shot on the red carpet (below). Others on hand included NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé.
Photos by:TRENT SPANN
All-Star support for Boys & Girls Club
NBA All-Star LeBron James, with Brenda Simmons of Sam’s Club; Kimberly Paige of Sprite; Tony Ausderau and David Shaw of Sam’s Club; Sharon Byers of Coca-Cola; Ryan Cruz of Sam’s Club; and Jamiese Miller of Coca-Cola, during an appearance in Gretna, La., to unveil a legacy project at the Boys and Girls Club Southeast Louisiana-Westbank Unit.
Photo by:AARON DAVIDSON / GETTY IMAGES
Panelists at the Hooptee Charities Hardwood Legends Dinner, at Del Frisco’s Steakhouse in New York City on Jan. 23: Moderator Greg Anthony of CBS and NBA TV, Fred Whitfield of the Charlotte Bobcats, the NBA’s Adam Silver, and the New York Knicks’ Steve Mills.
Photo by:MECHELLE LAVELLE
Richardson joins ‘Bombers’
“Bronx Bombers” producers Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser flank former New York Yankees star Bobby Richardson at a special celebration with Steiner Sports at Circle in the Square Theatre marking the opening of the play. “Bronx Bombers” began its inaugural run Feb. 6.
Photo by:“BRONX BOMBERS” ON BROADWAY
Good Karma’s Boca Raton Bowl kickoff
Good Karma Broadcasting’s ESPN West Palm hosted the kickoff luncheon for the first Boca Raton Bowl, featuring special guest Desmond Howard, on Feb. 13 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. Good Karma founder and chief executive Craig Karmazin and Florida Atlantic AD Patrick Chun were among those at the event.
Photo by:LIANSLEY PHOTOGRAPHY
At the National Sports Forum
The University of Nebraska team — Emma Dickinson, Brett Sapp, Oscar Del Castillo, Chris Aumueller and adviser Sam Nelson — won the National Sports Forum Case Cup competition earlier this month in Dallas. Also at the National Sports Forum (below): Ron Seaver, National Sports Forum; Danny Heinsohn of Access Pass & Design, the inaugural OM Foundation Award recipient; Bonner Paddock, Young’s Market Company; J.J. Gottsch, Ryan Sanders Baseball.
Photos by:CHRISTY SEAVER
WISE mentoring in L.A.
Members from WISE LA (Women in Sports and Events) participated in a WISE Within Signature Event focused on Speed Mentoring on Jan. 30 at UCLA: Eva Molina-Campbell, Los Angeles Lakers; Lindsay Nadler, Walt Disney Studios; and Ashley Armstrong, UCLA athletics, who all served as mentors during the roundtable discussions.
Photo by:WISE LA
Partner summit for Mexican soccer
At the Mexican Football Federation’s Partner Summit in San Antonio, ahead of the Jan. 29 Mexico-South Korea game: Justino Compeán of the federation, Kathy Carter of Soccer United Marketing, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, and MLS/SUM’s Don Garber. SUM represents the commercial interests of the Mexican national team when it plays on U.S. soil.
Photo by:GERMAN ALEGRIA / SUM
The Denver Nuggets honored former team president and GM Carl Scheer (center) at their Jan. 25 game. The Nuggets’ president and governor, Josh Kroenke, and vice president of basketball administration, Lisa Johnson, were with Scheer at center court.
Photo:COURTESY OF DENVER NUGGETS
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Jim Nugent has lived and breathed golf, from the time he caddied at Chicago’s Sunset Ridge Country Club as a youth through more than 25 years in golf media, most of those coming as a Golfweek publisher. In 2008 — “As the world was falling apart,” he said — Nugent came up with the idea for a digital golf magazine capable of serving readers worldwide. The Georgetown and Northwestern MBA grad spent the following year raising private capital. He ultimately launched the e-magazine Global Golf Post in January 2010, taking the concept of international golf coverage in a completely new delivery direction. He now carries the titles of founder and publisher.
Digital magazines, when done right, create a ‘lean forward’ experience. Readers can watch video and click to visit other places on the Web for a more immersive experience.”
Photo by:JAMES HOBART / MACBETH PHOTOGRAPHY
About readership: Global Golf Post is distributed to 700,000 golfers in North America and another 400,000-plus in the U.K. Our readers spend, on average, more than 15 minutes with the issue each week.
The benefits: Serious golfers no longer have to wait a week or more for a print magazine to arrive in their mailbox to provide a summary of the week in competitive golf. The Post is delivered 12 hours after the final putt drops on the PGA Tour. Speed is critical in news delivery in the digital age.
Which golfers generate the most interest?: Tiger [Woods] still moves the needle as far as readership, as does Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson. But here’s a surprise name: Jordan Spieth. When we feature him in any way, readers respond.
Who should we be watching among non-players?: We are in the final years of Tim Finchem’s amazing run as commissioner of the PGA Tour. He has served his membership exceedingly well. The succession process will be fascinating. Will it be an insider, or someone from outside the tour? Big shoes to fill, either way. … Keep an eye on the USGA tandem of new President Tom O’Toole and Executive Director Mike Davis. They know the challenges the game faces, and they are being honest about them. Look for a more relevant USGA in the years to come. … Mike Whan and Jon Podany don’t get enough credit for what they have done to engineer a turnaround at the LPGA. Their work will be a case study at Harvard’s business school and every sports management program around the world.
— Michael Smith
W e still see a significant number of people reading us in print, and largely that happens in the morning. We see a huge number of people reading on phones.
The first time that most people hear something has happened is on their phone now. That’s a pretty significant change.
During the working day, 9 to 5, the desktop dominates the consumption of that news and how much time you’ll spend on it, because there is only so much time you’ll spend on your phone reading that story unless you’re on a train or trapped somewhere. So 9 to 5 you see heavy usage of content on desktop, and then you see a big shift in the evening hours to tablets.
Photo by:LIMELIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY
You start to wonder how the habits are going to start to play around those devices. Will they be a new category of device; will the two devices combine? We don’t know.
It defies age groups now. Now we are starting to see people of various ages changing their consumption habits even faster than we thought.
If we are going to be one of the survivors in the news game, we have to be there real time in news.
We have to project much more. We have to have much more personality to our writing. We have to have more attitude. Our reporters need to be uniquely qualified and report differently than everyone else. Tell that story better than other people do.
Half the readers of USA Today when it started wanted it for sports and didn’t really care about the rest of the paper. And the backup plan, not widely known for USA Today, had it not made it as a national paper, was to be a sports national newspaper and to drop the other sections. … It was close a couple times. And it is still is a dominant part of what we do.
So many voices emerged over digital platforms because everybody’s got a voice. You don’t need to build a printing plant anymore, you don’t need to do all the things … all the barriers to entry are gone. We are now flooded with information.
Now you put in a search for something in Google and you get 16,000 returns. That’s great. But the hunger now is starting to become, Who can I rely on? Who is better? Who is a brand that I trust? And the brand could be a person or a business, but you will focus in on the brands you trust for the subject you care about.
You have the added ability now to have your friends and your collected world be your editors and they are also sending you things. So where you’re going to learn that The New York Times has a piece isn’t because you are a reader of The New York Times necessarily anymore, but because someone forwarded you something on Facebook or Twitter, and you linked back and went to it. So your collective universe will bring you more things.
Discovery is still best done in places like print. Television too, but in print, you look at the ads in a newspaper, and Samsung buys eight pages to debut a new phone or a new watch, and they are beautiful color pages. And that is going to blow you away if you are looking at that paper.
If you are a marketer and you’ve got a story to tell, and it’s a new story, it’s hard to do it digitally.
It’s very hard to get a new idea or a new product in front of someone digitally because they are going to places they want to go to or they are being sent to, and they are being delivered content people think they already want. So if you buy a shirt from Brooks Brothers online, the next 10 weeks you will get ads for Brooks Brothers shirts on every site you are on.
The best bloggers, many of them, it’s only a matter of time before they get hired by a media brand who wants to bring them in.
The local sports, the sports of basketball and baseball and football, have done very well because in their markets the personalities have become bigger than life. Everybody knows A-Rod, everybody knows all these people because they become part of the culture of that market.
NASCAR, they don’t get that locally, because they go into a town or an area for a race. No one is really the local guy.
We are encouraging our writers to blog and tweet under their own names. We had to get over the fact that, gee, we might be building up their own brands and [they] might leave, because by the same token we are the type of place that has the size checkbook to go out and hire somebody who just did the same thing somewhere else.
Newspapers could become the news magazines of this generation. People were willing to wait a week for an analysis of a story in Time and Newsweek. That period of time is shortened and they expect that in a day or two. And a newspaper may fulfill that role.