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Volume 24 No. 112

People and Pop Culture

Ever wonder how executives in sports business spend their weekends? THE DAILY this week continues "What's Up For The Weekend," providing readers with an inside look at people in our industry. This week, we catch up with Fox Sports Media Group co-President & co-COO ERIC SHANKS, who chatted with Staff Writer Theresa Manahan.

Q: What are your plans for the weekend?
Shanks: Family time at our farm in Ojai, Calif.

Q: What are you really looking forward to? Anything special planned?
Shanks: The kids play with the animals and ride horses and our dog is getting trained to avoid rattle snakes this weekend. Then in the studio Sunday for the NASCAR race.

Q: What do you like to watch and read on the weekend?
Shanks: Currently reading "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble" and "The Knight and the Dragon." I think I will be reading these until the kids wear out the pages.

Q: What workout routines or activities do you like to do on the weekend?
Shanks: Mostly working on the farm and tearing things up with the tractor.

Q: The thing that our readers would be most surprised you love to do on your weekends is...
Shanks: Prune the avocado and orange trees, and lots of weed whacking.

Q: Best weekend ever?
Shanks: When I get to work on the farm.

Q: Guilty weekend pleasure?
Shanks: There's a tequila ambassador (yes, there are tequila ambassadors) in Ojai. I go to his restaurant and make his tequila feel welcome here in America.

Q: Favorite local restaurant?
Shanks: Via Veneto.

Q: What is your favorite local nightlife activity?
Shanks: Anything the kids want to do. Usually playing Zingo and reading books.

Q: Must-see weekend event?
Shanks: The Sprint Cup race in Phoenix! And the Indiana-Ohio State basketball game.

Q: What do you usually do to pass time on a plane?
Shanks: If I'm on a Delta flight with CHRIS MYERS, we play their trivia game against the other passengers. I have yet to come within 1,000 points of him. On other flights, I am studying useless trivia in hopes of beating him.

THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of people and entities in sports business. Here are this week's newsmakers:

WIN: TREVOR BAYNE -- The Daytona 500 winner overnight goes from an anonymous Nationwide Series driver to the next big thing in NASCAR. The 20-year-old seems at ease in the spotlight, bringing a humble demeanor to his media obligations that seems to belie his relative inexperience. Bayne’s win also is a hit in the garage, as drivers such as CARL EDWARDS and JIMMIE JOHNSON express their pleasure with Bayne’s victory. On top of that, Bayne earns kudos for remaining true to his full-time Nationwide ride with Roush Fenway Racing this season instead of chasing more than his part-time gig in the Cup series.

LOSE: NBA SMALL MARKETS -- How defeated do these teams feel after players such as DERON WILLIAMS and CARMELO ANTHONY move to markets with deeper pockets? It's a trend that began with the Celtics loading up with KEVIN GARNETT and RAY ALLEN three years ago and reached a crescendo this past summer with the Heat's "Big Three" signing. As most of the focus in the league remains on CBA talks, a more developed revenue-sharing system is crucial to keeping smaller markets hopeful for a competitive future.

DRAW: NHL -- A great week for COO JOHN COLLINS, as the league signs its biggest sponsorship deal ever, placing Molson Coors as the official beer in Canada and MillerCoors (Coors Light) as the official beer in the U.S. The good vibe only lasts a few hours though, as Labatt threatens a lawsuit over the Canadian portion of the sponsorship, saying it had already struck a deal with the NHL to renew rights north of the border. But the new deal is still huge for the NHL and will go a long way toward strengthening the league's position ahead of the upcoming TV talks.

The 49ers have promoted Exec VP/Football & Business Operations PARAAG MARATHE to COO. ANDY DOLICH previously held the title of COO before his departure more than a year ago (, 2/24)....Liverpool FC Special Advisor & Non-Exec Dir CHRISTIAN PURSLOW is stepping down from the position following the transition of ownership to New England Sports Ventures (Liverpool)....USA Gymnastics has promoted RON GALIMORE to COO, JOHN HEWETT to CFO, JUSTIN HIRNISEY to Dir of Marketing, LEE JOHNSON to VP/Marketing, LESLIE KING to VP/Communications, JOHN MORGAN to Marketing Manager and RENEE POSAN to Dir of Business Affairs & Olympic Relations. The NGB also has hired LYNN MOSKOVITZ as Dir of Education and CHERYL JARRETT as VP/Member Services (USA Gymnastics)....Richard Petty Motorsports has promoted SARAH SHERRILL to Account Manager for the No. 9 Sprint Cup team. RPM also hired TROY YARBOROUGH as Account Manager for the No. 43 Sprint Cup team (RPM)....Sports Image has hired RENEE DABBAS as Dir of Finance (THE DAILY).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to

The GLOBE & MAIL's Greg Keenan reports FRANK STRONACH will step down as Chair & CEO of MI Developments "if shareholders approve a deal that gives him the firm's racetrack and gambling assets in return for surrendering control of the company." WES VOORHEIS, a Toronto attorney who represented MID's minority shareholders in the transaction, would become Chair of the organization. Former Farallon Capital Management Managing Dir WILLIAM LENEHAN, "one of the largest minority shareholders," would become CEO (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/25).

CLEAN SHAVEN: Steelers DE BRETT KEISEL Thursday night "watched helplessly as celebrity barbers," including team President ART ROONEY II, DE AARON SMITH and WR HINES WARD "snipped bits and pieces of his luscious beard." More than 400 people "paid $25 to watch" Keisel lose the beard he had grown since training camp. Proceeds from the event at Diesel Club Lounge in Pittsburgh, estimated to be about $30,000, "went to the cancer program at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/25).

PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS: Quiznos Owners and Colorado residents RICK and RICHARD SCHADEN on Thursday announced that they are investing $10M into the Quiznos Pro Challenge cycling race in the state. The Schadens said that the "investment beyond the sandwich company's sponsorship ensures the race will be around for a long time" (DENVER POST, 2/25).

DEFENDING HIS TURF: Florida state Rep. MIKE WEINSTEIN has filed a bill that would "no longer allow a Florida employee, regardless of profession, who gets hurt while temporarily working in another state to win a workers compensation claim in that state and stick their Florida-based employer with the bill." Weinstein's legislation has the "backing of Florida's professional sports teams because their players become eligible to file in California simply by playing in an away game there." To date, 28 former Jaguars players and 50 from the Dolphins and Buccaneers "have active compensation claims in California" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 2/25).

A FEEL-GOOD STORY: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Aditi Kinkhabwala profiles SAMMY ARTHUR, the "once-poor Ghanian immigrant" who now works on the medical staff for the NFL Giants. As Founder & Chair of the Health & Humanitarian Aid Foundation, Arthur has "made it his mission to bring medical supplies, services and practitioners to the country of his birth." He created a foundation two years ago and next Tuesday night, "at the foundation's fund-raising gala at Gotham Hall, he hopes to raise" another $500,000 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/25).

NAMES: Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT was the featured speaker at Boston Spirit magazine's annual LGBT Executive Networking Night on Wednesday. Kraft said, "I believe in building bridges, not fences" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/25)....Cowboys RB MARION BARBER is "donating more than $500,000 worth of computers to 21 high schools in the Dallas Independent School District" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/25)....Orioles prospect MANNY MACHADO has parted ways with agent SCOTT BORAS and signed DAN LOZANO for representation (Baltimore SUN, 2/25)....Chicago Mayor-elect RAHM EMANUEL, White House Senior Advisor DAVID AXELROD and rapper KANYE WEST sat courtside for Thursday night's Heat-Bulls game at United Center (, 2/24).   

BEST WISHES: Grizzlies Owner MICHAEL HEISLEY this weekend is "having surgery in Santa Barbara." He "didn't specify the exact nature of the surgery" (, 2/24)....Former Tigers broadcaster PAUL CAREY suffered a heart attack on Wednesday (, 2/24).