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Volume 24 No. 137

People and Pop Culture

Formula 1 United States has hired former Churchill Downs Entertainment President & CEO and Churchill Downs President STEVE SEXTON as President, effective Feb. 18 (F1 U.S.). In Austin, John Maher reports Sexton has worked in horse racing for "nearly three decades." RED MCCOMBS, who is a founding partner in the F1 Grand Prix event in Austin, said, "He's the right man for the job." Sexton noted a "number of similarities between high-profile events in the two sports, including large crowds, big TV ratings and A-list celebrities." While at Churchill Downs, Sexton "gave celebrities the red carpet treatment" during the Kentucky Derby, and he indicated that doing that "would be one of the goals for the F1 race." Maher notes Sexton oversaw a $121M "grandstand construction project that included 80 luxury suites" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 2/22).

Hoops LP, the parent company of the Grizzlies and FedExForum, has hired MICHAEL BEHRMAN as VP/Finance. Behrman served as Exec VP & CFO for Bobcats Sports & Entertainment from '05-09 (Hoops)....The Braves have signed Exec VP & GM FRANK WREN to a two-year contract extension through the '13 season (Braves)....The North Face has promoted VP/Sales, Americas TODD SPALETTO to President of The North Face, Americas (North Face)....German Bundesliga club Hamburg has hired Chelsea Sporting Dir FRANK ARNESEN as Dir of Sport, effective in July. Arnesen has agreed to a three-year contract with Hamburg (, 2/20)....Learfield Sports has hired the following: JEFF STARR as Account Exec for Cyclone Sports Properties at Iowa State, LANA DANKO as Account Exec for Tiger Sports Properties at Memphis, NICK KISTLER as Account Exec for Clemson Tiger Sports Properties, and FRANK PUCHER as Account Exec for Aggie Sports Properties at Utah State (Learfield)....Global Spectrum has hired TYLER BALDWIN as Event Services Supervisor for Citizens Bank Park (THE DAILY).

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MATTHEW RUSH, who operates the website, said that on "behalf of the approximately 400 fans who held tickets" to Super Bowl XLV that did not get a seat, he "has made a counter-offer" to the NFL. His offer "would be that the NFL pays the fans for their expenses to Super Bowl XLV, plus a ticket to a future Super Bowl." Rush said that he "tried to contact NFL officials to discuss the matter, but had not heard back" (, 2/21).

A RISING STAR: D MAGAZINE's Joseph Guinto profiles Mavericks President & CEO TERDEMA USSERY, the "right-hand man" to team Owner MARK CUBAN and "one of the most powerful African-American executives in a league dominated by black players." Under previous Mavericks Owner ROSS PEROT JR., Ussery was "instrumental in getting American Airlines Center designed, financed, and built." Since then, he has "helped Cuban's Mavericks reach lucrative deals with a range of corporate partners, more than double ticket revenue, and reap a windfall from improved TV deals." There has been speculation that Ussery "could succeed DAVID STERN" when the NBA Commissioner retires. Ussery said, "Opportunities have sort of found me, and I've been open to them" (D MAGAZINE, 3/ '11 issue).

NAMES: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Mike Sielski recently followed BOBBY VALENTINE for a day in Stamford, Conn., where the ESPN baseball analyst is the city's Dir of Public Health & Safety. Sielski writes, "Valentine is Stamford's favorite son" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/22)....Yankees 2B ROBINSON CANO said that his switch to agent SCOTT BORAS this offseason "wasn't to get more money from the Yankees." Cano: "They have a great company, a company that can do everything for you, not only on the field but off the field too, so that's why I went there" (NEWSDAY, 2/21)....UFC fighter TITO ORTIZ, musician KEVIN JONAS and actor DJIMON HOUNSOU are among the 13 celebrities set to compete in the celebrity race surrounding the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in April (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 2/22)....In L.A., Ryan Vaillancourt wrote the Lakers' JERRY BUSS "may just be the most unlikely owner of a professional sports franchise," considering the "humble beginnings in a one-traffic light Wyoming town, his stint working on a railroad and his doctorate degree in chemistry." Buss spent an hour on Friday at Morton's in L.A. "discussing his life and the unlikely path to the Lakers' corner office" (, 2/18)....Dodgers Spanish-language announcer JAIME JARRIN is among this year's recipients of the AFTRA Media & Entertainment Excellence Awards (, 2/17)....CBS NFL analyst DAN MARINO sold his house in Weston, Fla., for $7.2M, "less than half of his original" $15.9M asking price (, 2/21)....Actor CHARLIE SHEEN said that he would "do a new version" of "MAJOR LEAGUE" if a script for the baseball movie "were greenlighted" (, 2/21).