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Volume 24 No. 116

People and Pop Culture

Composer BOBBY KENT claims that he wrote the "well-known 'da da da DUM da da ---- Charge!' theme" for the Chargers when he worked for the NFL team more than 30 years ago, and now is "suing to be paid royalties by everyone else who has used it," according to Teri Figueroa of the NORTH COUNTY TIMES. Kent, who said that he worked as a music director for the Chargers "for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, filed suit in federal court last week against the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers," or ASCAP. In the suit, Kent alleges that he "created the song for the Chargers, called it 'Stadium Doo Dads' and secured the copyrights to it" in January '81. He contends that "for a few years" the Chargers paid him $10,000-20,000 a year to use it. The suit states that ASCAP "paid him royalties from what the Chargers paid for the music -- but says ASCAP did not pay him royalties from the occasions when other national sporting teams, from baseball to car racing, used the tune." Kent's attorney, RICHARD WOLFE, said that the ASCAP suit is "focused on past performances of the song." Wolfe noted that there "may be future suits ... targeting teams for playing the song since last summer," which is when he "sent a letter to ASCAP terminating the organization from the ability to license the song." Wolfe claims that last June, he "sent a letter to more than 100 sports teams in the country to inform them that ASCAP was no longer allowed to sell the licensing for the song." If they "wanted to use the song, Wolfe told them, they would have to contract with Kent directly." Wolfe said that "of the 122 teams from the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL," the Lakers were the only team that "signed on to the use agreement" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 4/13).

The Izod IndyCar Series will test itself on the roads of Long Beach this weekend at a race that's quickly become a series favorite. The event is expected to attract more than 170,000 spectators over three days. Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach President & CEO JIM MICHAELIAN, who has been working on the race since 1975, spoke to SportsBusiness Journal Staff Writer Tripp Mickle about the race this week.

Q: What have you emphasized to raise interest in the Long Beach IndyCar race?
Michaelian: We have six races with a whole variety of racing. To complement that we introduce a lot of off track activities to attract people that may not be race fans. We have a go-kart track in the middle of the circuit. We have an expanded family fun zone this year where we're going to set up for four to eight year olds to drive go-karts. And for the first time at our facility we've installed a zip line in the long beach arena. It's 300 feet. It's fabulous. These are the kind of additions to the weekend that add to the attractiveness for those disinclined to go to a regular race some place.

Q: You've got all these events. What about the racing?

Michaelian: You've got to get them to the venue first. Then you convert them. Watching racing at a street race is a lot different. It's a lot more visceral. People are going down roads that other people drive on. There's a magic to that. You're close to the action. You can hear it, you can see it, you can smell it. That's what attracts the non-enthusiast but you have to get them here first. The more entertainment options we have the better chance we have of getting them to come.

Q: What's the thing that would most surprise someone who's never been to your Long Beach race weekend before?
Michaelian: The key aspect of this event is the unique attractions it affords to a first-time attendee. There are opportunities for an individual to take advantage of a variety of different chances to do things. There's a Hyatt hotel that's in the middle of the circuit. A lot of people will go in the hotel, sit and watch the race and have a drink or lunch and for them that's a great way to enjoy the day. There's an area on the roof of the Hyatt, 17 stories in the air, that we call the Vista Club where you can watch the race. You can go to a number of restaurants.

Q: How have you kept Toyota as a title partner for 30-plus years?
Michaelian: Toyota has been with us since the beginning. It's a combination of a number of factors. They're based in Torrance, Calif. They've been very active in Long Beach. Their cars that come from Japan enter through the port of Long Beach. They've had a major presence in this town in terms of sponsorship of charitable organizations. They have brought a number of different ingredients to the event over the years.

Q: How would you characterize the state of the track and race today financially?

Michaelian: We've had great support from our longtime sponsors. Bridgestone/Firestone have been here 25 years. Tecate: we just celebrated their involvement for 10 years. Those long-term relationships have been key to us surmounting the financial evolution over the last decade. And we continue to have strong support from our fans and have great support from our city.

MLB Rangers Assistant GM THAD LEVINE "has agreed to a contract extension that could keep him with the club through 2015" (, 4/12)....Wasserman Media Group has hired Metacafe VP/Content, Programming & Business Development SCOTT BUSHMAN as Senior VP/Consulting for Digital Properties & Media, ESPN/ABC Senior Dir of Acquisition Strategy & Digital Development THOMAS GARSON as Senior VP/Consulting for Properties & Media and FLO TV Senior Dir of Marketing RANDY SATTERBURG as VP/Consulting (WMG)....Fox Sports Media Group has hired MONICA RIGALI as PR & Communications Manager for Fox Soccer. FSMG also has hired EMILY PARKER as a publicist working on the network's coverage of NASCAR, MLB and the NFL, as well as (Fox Sports)....Richard Childress Racing has hired LAUREN HOFFMAN and MICHAEL HUMLAN as Partnership Marketing Managers and SHANE MILLER as Manager of Business Development (RCR)....The Crew Soccer Foundation has hired KEIANA MITCHELL as Development & Program Assistant (Crew)....Home Team Marketing has hired MICHAEL AKERS as an Account Exec responsible for network sales in the company's Chicago office. The company also has hired RUSS WILSON as an Account Exec responsible for network sales in its Dallas office (Home Team Marketing).

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Raiders Chief Exec AMY TRASK denied rumors that Owner AL DAVIS is "in declining health" and was "hospitalized over the weekend as a result." Trask: "He's not in the hospital. He's preparing for the draft and he's working, as always. The rumors are untrue." Davis, 81, "last spoke publicly on Jan. 18 in the media conference to present" HUE JACKSON as Raiders head coach (, 4/12).

GOING BOWLING: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Darren Everson reported a "group of law and economics professors and practitioners has asked the Department of Justice to investigate college football's Bowl Championship Series under antitrust law." In a letter, the 21 signatories, including Univ. of Chicago economics professor RICHARD THALER and Smith College sports economist ANDREW ZIMBALIST, "assert that the BCS is a cartel that 'secures market access and revenue' for its favored members." The professors "claim that the BCS's control of access to the most important postseason games shields major-conference schools from competition and injures schools in the five non-major conferences, whose champions aren't guaranteed a BCS berth and have never appeared in the BCS title game" (, 4/12)....The Fiesta Bowl "will make its case to a special college-football task force April 23 in Chicago on why it should retain its status" in the BCS, but a "final decision on the bowl's future likely won't occur for weeks" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/13).

COURT REPORT: U.S. District Judge JOHN ANTOON II has ruled that "insurance companies for NASCAR cannot recover damages from the makers of the airplane that crashed" in Sanford, Fla., four years ago, killing five people. Antoon "granted a motion for summary judgment for Cessna, ruling in favor of Cessna's argument that the suit against it should be thrown out." NASCAR Managing Dir of Corporate Communications RAMSEY POSTON said that NASCAR itself was "not directly involved in the lawsuit" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 4/12).

THE MARSHAL PLAN: Former Secretary of State COLIN POWELL "will be the honorary grand marshal" for the inaugural Izod IndyCar Series Baltimore Grand Prix on Sept. 4 (Baltimore SUN, 4/13)....Celebrity chef GORDON RAMSAY will serve as grand marshal of Sunday's IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, and race President & CEO JIM MICHAELIAN said that Ramsay and a "half-dozen of the contestants on the new season" of Fox' "HELL'S KITCHEN" will take "rides around the course in the race cars before one of Thursday's many promotional events." The video "will likely be used on an episode of Ramsay's show and parts will likely show up in a pre-race segment for Versus" (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 4/11).

NAMES: The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics yesterday announced that ACC Commissioner JOHN SWOFFORD has been selected as this year's recipient of the James J. Corbett Memorial Award (NACDA)....World Golf HOFer LARRY NELSON has been awarded the ’11 PGA Distinguished Service Award and will be honored Aug. 10 at The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/13)....Vikings DE RAY EDWARDS signed a contract yesterday for two boxing matches during the NFL lockout. Edwards signed for a “guaranteed $5,000 plus 50 percent of the May 20 gate proceeds.” If the lockout continues into June he will “fight again under the same terms” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/13)....Law firms Bingham McCutchen, Katten Muchin Rosenman and a trio of London-based firms are advising on the sales of both the Pistons and EPL club Arsenal (, 4/11)....Singer CARLY SIMON’s version of “TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME” is included on a CD that “accompanies a recently released picture book of the same name” (AP, 4/12)....The 18-hour Pistons Care Telethon last month “brought in more than $350,000, which will be donated to Boys and Girls Clubs of Michigan” (DETROIT NEWS, 4/13).