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May 23, 2013 02:41 PM
USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun capped off a big night for the organization by winning the Executive of the Year award. He bested a field of nominees that included Time Warner’s Melinda Witmer, NBC Sports Group’s Mark Lazarus, ESPN’s John Skipper and Los Angeles Dodgers owner Mark Walter.
His recognition came moments after the USOC was awarded League of the Year. Blackmun negotiated the organization’s long term revenue-sharing agreement with the IOC, a deal that ended a decades-long dispute, and he developed the first joint sales effort with NBC, which resulted in new sponsorships with Citi and TD Ameritrade.
After being selected, Blackmun, who didn’t prepare a speech, said, “I think everyone in this room understands the power of sport. At the [USOC], we try to use sport to make the world a better place. Sport has had a huge influence on my family and has a huge influence on how we connect with each other. … We’re grateful you recognize and support our U.S. Olympic athletes. It’s the real America’s team, with all due respect to the Cowboys, and I really appreciate it.”
May 23, 2013 02:06 PM
The U.S. Olympic Committee topped the NFL, NBA, MLB and PGA Tour to claim the Sports League of the Year award.
The recognition was the culmination of a remarkable turnaround that began after it hired CEO Scott Blackmun in 2010 and began rebuilding an image badly damaged by Chicago’s failed bid to host the 2016 Olympics and a revolt among national governing body leaders.
In 2012, the organization added a host of new sponsors, negotiated a landmark revenue-sharing agreement with the International Olympic Committee and fielded a U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal count at the London Games.
Blackmun said, “I’m shocked. It all stems from the fact that we’re rowing in the same direction. [USOC Chief Marketing Officer] Lisa Baird’s job on rebranding was nothing short of phenomenal. [USOC Chief of Sports Performance] Alan [Ashley]'s job in gaining credibility with the NGBs has been amazing. He’s making tough decisions about funding for them and they trust him to do what’s best for the USOC.”
May 23, 2013 10:04 AM
• “One of my favorite people was Joe Black [the Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher]. Joe Black’s mother said to him, ‘You ain’t better than nobody and ain’t nobody better than you.’ I really believe that. Now, there are some people I believe are stupid. But I’m still not better than them.”
• “I got an honorary doctorate degree from Illinois College, which is a liberal arts school. When I gave the commencement address, I told the kids that liberal arts was bullshit. I said, you’ve had a great education. But if you want to be successful you’ve got to put that in the past. You’ve got to find something you like and focus on that. The opera and the arts and all that is all great, but if you want to be successful, these are the things you gotta do.”
• “I didn’t want any of my kids to have things handed to them, because I know what a lot of people think about the next generation. Silver spoon. Our kids are born on third and think they hit a triple. And for some that is true. I just wanted mine to establish themselves.”
• “If it’s good for baseball, it will ultimately be good for the White Sox.”
• “Some days you win two games. Some days you lose two games. When you lose two games in one day it can be very depressing.”
• “Never trade an old friend for a new friend.”
• “Your handshake is the deal.”
• “The best thing is not having a boss. I never liked having a boss.”
May 22, 2013 10:27 PM
Mal Moore did not live to see his selection as the 2013 Athletic Director of the Year with his passing in March, but he would have been humbled, and he would have been so proud, said Judy Bonner, president of the University of Alabama.
He was born in 1939 in Dozier, Ala., a town with a population of 391, Bonner noted. It would have been such a contrast, she said, from his humble beginnings to the glitzy lights of New York City, where he would have received the award.
Surrounded by Moore's daughter, Heather Moore Cook, and his executive assistant, Judy Tanner, Bonner received the award on behalf of Moore and the university.
Moore spent 50 years of his life with the university, first as a backup quarterback (including to Joe Namath), then as a coach under the legendary Bear Bryant. He became AD in 1999.
The university has famously won three out of the last four national championships in college football, but it's also a champion in gymnastics and softball, Bonner noted. And, with a smile, she also noted the academic success of the university's student athletes.
May 22, 2013 10:18 PM
In less than three years, the U.S. Grand Prix went from almost never happening to being recognized as the Sports Event of the Year at the 2013 Sports Business Awards.
Conflict between the race organizers and the track developers in 2011 almost prevented Formula One from returning to the U.S. and hosting an event in Austin. But the parties were able to work through their differences, secure a spot on the F1 calendar and complete the construction of a new racetrack in less than a year. Organizers went on to sell more than 100,000 tickets and attract 265,000 spectators over a three-day race weekend. They managed traffic and logistics issues seamlessly and hosted an event that was applauded across the city, state and sport.
After accepting the Sports Event of the Year award, Circuit of the Americas President Steve Sexton said, “There was some doubt whether our project would happen, but we hustled and we had a great team and a great group of owners behind us the whole way. We embarked on a nine-month journey, pulled the construction together, pulled the race off amidst a lot of complicated logistics. Had a great group of fans. I’m really proud of the team that pulled this off.”
May 22, 2013 09:59 PM
The Oklahoma City Thunder won Team of the Year at the 2013 Sports Business Awards, with its attendance, TV ratings and corporate sponsorship all far outpacing the supposed confines of the 41st largest U.S. media market, and standing among the best in the NBA. A thought leader on many aspects of team operations, the Thunder has also won many plaudits for extensive community involvement.
That connection was forged long before the damaging tornadoes in Oklahoma this week, but have been deepened by the recent tragedies. "Very early in the process when we moved to Oklahoma City, it was very important we made a connection with the community and considered ourselves as a community asset," said Dan Mahoney, Thunder VP/communications and community relations, when he accepted the award. "That brings a great responsibility, one we embrace from our ownership, our players on down."
May 22, 2013 09:57 PM
A strong NFL draft and the addition of several new Olympic clients helped CAA Sports win the Talent Representation and Management category at the 2013 Sports Business Awards.
The agency represented six of the first 11 NFL draft picks in 2012, including the second pick overall, Robert Griffin III. CAA went on to net endorsement deals for RG3 with Adidas, Gatorade, Castrol and others. The agency also scooped up Olympic clients such as gymnast Gabby Douglas and swimmer Ryan Lochte.
CAA Sports’ Co-Head Mike Levine said, “Our football, baseball, basketball and hockey divisions all had great years. Our Olympic division was busy signing new clients. Those are a few highlights. … There are so many other organizations out there that do this well. I’m just flattered and honored we were recognized.”
May 22, 2013 09:55 PM
A look at the complete list of those walked away with the Tiffany crystal trophies at tonight's Sports Business Awards:
Sports Executive of the Year: Scott Blackmun, U.S. Olympic Committee
Sports League of the Year: U.S. Olympic Committee
Best in Sports Media: NBC Sports Group
Best in Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services: Legends
Sponsor of the Year: Anheuser-Busch
Sports Team of the Year: Oklahoma City Thunder
Best in Sports Television: ESPN
Best in Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services: Octagon
Athletic Director of the Year: Mal Moore, University of Alabama
Sports Event of the Year: 2012 U.S. Grand Prix
Best in Digital Sports Media: ESPN Digital Media
Sports Facility of the Year: Barclays Center
Best in Talent Representation and Management: CAA Sports
Best in Sports Technology: MLB Advanced Media
Best in Sports Event and Experiential Marketing: Momentum Worldwide
May 22, 2013 09:51 PM
Four years ago, USOC was under fire, called dysfunctional & losing sponsors. Tonight it won #sbjsba League of the Year. Big turnaround.— Tripp Mickle (@trippmickle) May 23, 2013
Sadly no awards for us. Congrats to all winners & nominees tonight! Honored to be nominated among the best. #sbjsba— GMR (@GMRMarketing) May 23, 2013
May 22, 2013 09:48 PM
Establishing a landmark building was always central to the NBA Nets' plans to move from New Jersey to Brooklyn after years in the Garden State. So accepting the top honor for Facility of the Year was especially satisfying for Nets/Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, who recalled first hearing about plans for a new arena in Brooklyn more than nine years ago.
“It was quite a journey," said Yormark, adding that the Barclays Center has held 157 events, attracting 1.7 million people since opening with a series of Jay-Z concerts on September 28. "This is a culmination of an incredible journey, and it really is quite humbling."
Having lived through opening an arena in some of the most trying economic times of the last 80 years, Yormark offered this advice to anyone with plans to open an even newer arena: "Adapt to the changes. It will never end up the way it started, which was certainly the case for us more than most. We ended up making a lot of changes along the way, and most were changes for the better."