• Sports Event of the Year: 2015 College Football Playoff

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    CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock
    Photo by: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
    In its first year, the College Football Playoff was selected as the 2015 Sports Business Award winner for the Sports Event of the Year. But even as the national championship game had a record cable television audience with more than 33 million average viewers, CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock was still shocked to hear that they were taking home the award.

    “We were really in tall cotton with these other events in the category, these are all bucket-listers, so to just be nominated was tremendous,” he said. “We knew we had a great event, and it’s a tribute to the hundreds of people who made these games happen, and to the passion of the game. In less than three years to go to no event to this, it’s remarkable.”

    Tags: On The Ground
  • Best in Property Consulting, Marketing and Client Services: Learfield Sports

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    Learfield’s Andy Rawlings
    Photo by: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
    No portion of the sports business has been changing faster and more dramatically than college sports. With a series of moves to keep pace, including acquisitions, advancements  in multimedia offerings and innovative social media programs, Learfield Sports more than kept pace.

    “It was incredibly hard to put all those things together,” said Andy Rawlings, executive vice president and chief revenue officer at Learfield, which won the 2015 Sports Business Award for Best in Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services. “Deals that look great on paper only are great if the people that come with them are great and work together. Our expectations were high, but they were all exerted.”

    Tags: On The Ground
  • Best in Sports Event and Experiential Marketing: Momentum Worldwide

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    Momentum’s Chris Weil
    Photo by: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
    For the second time in three years, Momentum Worldwide takes home the hardware for Best in Sports Event and Experiential Marketing, and Chair and CEO Chris Weil already is going on the record to say they’ll be back for win No. 3 next May.

    “Because the agency’s never been better, the work has never been better, the clients have never been better, the economy’s doing well, sports have never been better, and I’ve seen what we have in the hopper for this year,” he explained. “I really believe that it’s some of the best work that we’ve done in my 11 years with the agency.”

    Weil said they were “thrilled to win” given the stiff competition; last year’s winner GMR Marketing, LeadDog Marketing Group, IMG Live and Wasserman Media Group were all in the mix. But with the company’s outstanding work around brands such as American Express, Coca-Cola, Verizon, United Airlines, UPS, and the U.S. Army, he was not surprised by the honor.

    Weil: “If you’re a CEO and you don’t believe you’re the best, then you won’t be the best, and I honestly believe we’re the best.”

    Tags: On The Ground
  • College Football Playoff scores at SBA — “This is so cool”

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    Tags: Sports Business Awards, On the Ground
  • Best in Digital Sports Media: ESPN Digital Media

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    ESPN’s John Kosner
    Photo by: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
    In a year where it set four all-time comScore records, ESPN Digital Media won the award for best in digital sports media. The fifth Sports Business Award in the digital category, this one was especially meaningful given it came in the 20th year of ESPN.com and the redesign and relaunch of the ESPN mobile app, said John Kosner, executive vice president of ESPN digital and print media.

    “It’s so meaningful for this award to happen this year, it’s crazy it’s already been 20 years,” he said. “It just shows the commitment of company to mobile and digital that we’ve been able to continue to raise the quality of the products across the board.”

    Tags: On The Ground
  • ESPN, Levi’s Stadium among early winners

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    Tags: On the Ground, Sports Business Awards
  • SBA 2015: Old friends and new trophies

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    Tags: On the Ground, Sports Business Awards
  • Grand entrances at Sports Business Awards 2015

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    Tags: Sports Business Awards, On the Ground
  • Discussing Dick Ebersol's legacy in sports media

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    SportsBusiness Journal/Daily Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and media writer John Ourand discuss Dick Ebersol’s impact on sports and entertainment media and how the industry has changed since he left NBC Sports. “Dick was not just a producer, not just a business executive, he did everything,” Ourand says.

    Tonight, at the Sports Business Awards ceremony in New York City, Ebersol will receive the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. 

    Tags: On The Ground
  • Sports Business Wake-Up — Awards Show Edition: Where to be, and who you’ll see

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    Live From New York: Its the Sports Business Awards!  Tonight will be one of the biggest nights in sports business, as more than 800 people will descend on the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square for the eighth annual Sports Business Awards. This event has become a must-attend party that brings the sports industry together. You can get your refresher on the nominees for each of the 15 categories by clicking here.

    See And Be Seen: The best networking event of the year starts at 5 p.m. in the Broadway Lounge on the 8th floor overlooking Times Square. Check in at the Manhattan Ballroom (also on the 8th floor), then stroll the Red Carpet, where you’ll be greeted by SBJ/SBD Publisher Richard Weiss and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour. Once you get by the paparazzi, head to the lounge, which boasts the best view of Times Square.

    Show Time! The ceremony takes place on the 6th floor in the Broadway Ballroom. We’ll keep the program moving. Dinner is served at 7:15; the show starts at 8:15; and everything ends no later than 10:20 — in plenty of time to catch Letterman’s last show!

    Ticket Market: Nothing’s on StubHub. Or TicketMaster. If you need to get in, check with SBJ/SBD’s Laura Case. Remember to leave your tux at home.

    Honoring Ebersol: A highlight tonight will be the Lifetime Achievement Award given to Dick Ebersol. The former NBC Sports chairman will be surrounded by three tables of friends and family, including his wife, Susan Saint James, and sons Charlie and Willie. Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth will be handling Ebersol’s intro.

    Show of Support: Others expected to show support for Ebersol tonight include the NFL’s Howard Katz, CNN’s Jeff Zucker, and a solid contingent from NBC Sports: Mark Lazarus, Sam Flood, Fred Gaudelli, Jim Bell, Jon Miller, Gary Zenkel, Kevin Monaghan and John Miller. The Golf Channel’s Mike McCarley and Molly Solomon are scheduled to attend, as is Ebersol’s longtime consigliere, Ken Schanzer, along with Sandy Montag and Ebersol’s longtime former assistant Aimee Leone.

    The Ebersol Story: In case you haven’t seen it yet, check out SBJ’s Ebersol profile from this week’s issue. Media reporter John Ourand led the effort in a package that features an extensive tribute to Ebersol, including his memories of the '96 Summer Games in Atlanta, his last day at NBC and his opinion on today’s TV talent.

    A-List Of Presenters: Here’s who will take the stage and present tonight’s awards: USGA’s Sarah Hirshland, Park Lane’s Andrew Kline, Hornets President and COO Fred Whitfield, Lagardère’s Donald Dell, Leslie Gittess of Blue Sky Media NYC, WMG’s Casey Wasserman, Octagon’s Rick Dudley, Daniel Rush of MGM Resorts, MLB’s Wendy Lewis, Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman, the LPGA’s Michael Whan, Bill Hancock of the College Football Playoff, NBC’s Mark Lazarus, Tom Coyne of Coyne PR, Don Cornwell of PJT Partners, Momentum’s Mike Sundet, Kathy Carter of SUM, the New York Liberty’s Swin Cash and NHL Commissioner (and last year’s Sports Executive of the Year) Gary Bettman.

    Who Youll See: Among the bold-faced names expected tonight: Roger Penske and his wife, Kathy; Chip Ganassi, Paul Rodriguez, Joe Leccese, Howard Ganz, Neal Pilson, CBS’s Sean McManus (fresh off his 60th birthday) and Harold Bryant; MLS’s Don Garber, Mark Abbott, Gary Stevenson and Howard Handler; Ed Gold from State Farm; Lagardère’s Andy Pierce and Joel Segal; St. Louis Cardinals’ Bill DeWitt; LPGA’s Michael Whan, Kathy Milthorpe and Jon Podany; CAA’s Mike Levine, Fox’s Eric Shanks, Comcast/NBC’s Jon Litner, former Astros owner Drayton McLane and Earl Santee of Populous (both representing the Baylor stadium contingent); MLB’s Jacqueline Parkes; AEG’s Todd Goldstein; Scott O’Neil (76ers); ESPN’s Burke Magnus and John Wildhack, NFL’s Joe Browne, and Curtis Polk from the Hornets; Mark Herzlich (with wife, Danielle) and Rashad Jennings of the NY Giants.

    Top Dogs on Campus: All of the nominees for Athletic Director of the Year are scheduled to attend: Mitch Barnhart (Kentucky), Jeff Long (Arkansas), Ian McCaw (Baylor), Dan Radakovich (Clemson).

    Whats the buzz tonight? Last year’s storylines at the Sports Business Awards were dominated by the surprising sweep of both the NHL and NBC Sports in the key league, event and media categories. Who will be the big winners tonight? There are a few organizations with multiple nominees, including ESPN (4), the NBA (4), the NFL (3), Wasserman Media Group (3) and NBC Sports Group (3).

    The Awards, Plausibly Live: To keep up with all the winners tonight, follow @SBJSBD and the hashtag #sbjsba on Twitter. We’ll also be posting updates to our On The Ground blog and will send out breaking news emails to subscribers. Check tomorrow’s SBD and next week’s SBJ for complete coverage of the awards.

    Also on todays sports docket: MLB owners today begin a two-day quarterly meeting in N.Y., marking the first set of owners meetings since the formal installation of Rob Manfred as commissioner on Jan. 25. No major action items are expected. … Playoff action continues in the NBA, with Cavs at Hawks at 8:30 p.m. ET, and the NHL, with Rangers at Lightning at 8:00 p.m. ET.

    And other likely dinner-table conversation: This piece from Boston caught our eye: Dan Shaughnessy writes why Pats Owner Robert Kraft dropped a fight he couldn't win:
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/05/19/robert-kraft-surrenders-battle-couldn-win/MOpqZnW4k8NhqaFpdMI4qO/story.html

    On The Menu: Attendees will start with a 10-Herb Market Salad with Blistered Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Pickled Onions, Radishes, Toasted Pine Nuts, Blue Cheese with a Sherry Vinaigrette. Entree will be Lemon-Herb Chicken Breast, Spaghetti Squash, Citrus Farro, Haricot Verts with a Lavender Jus, while dessert includes Raspberry Operetta, Fresh Raspberries with Lime Zest.

    Event Sponsors: Special thanks to tonight’s sponsors: MGM Grand Resorts, Coyne PR and Park Lane.

    Tags: Sports Business Awards, GE, Marriott, ATT, StubHub, Ticketmaster, NBC, NFL, CNN, Dell, Golf, Golf Channel
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