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Volume 24 No. 159

People and Pop Culture

Kelly hoping for some
snow at SB XLVIII
The Jets and Giants yesterday named former American Express President AL KELLY as CEO of the New York/New Jersey 2014 Super Bowl Host Committee "after a five-month search that came down to about six finalists," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Jets Owner WOODY JOHNSON: "It wasn't the easiest process, but Al Kelly was an amazing candidate and he'll be an amazing leader." Kelly's job is to "oversee the preparations for the first Super Bowl in the New York area, in a stadium that will be open to potentially snowy, cold weather." Kelly: "This is a game meant to be played in the elements. I'm not wishing for a four-foot blizzard, but a couple of inches of white stuff and a lower temperature would be a great way for the game to be played" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/19). Kelly said that he "was 'looking at a number of corporate CEO opportunities' back in early January when he received a call from the recruiting firm seeking to fill an unprecedented position." Kelly: "This was not something that was on my radar screen. I quite frankly didn't know anything about it, wasn't seeking it out, was somewhat surprised when I got the call and actually didn't think much of it." In N.Y., Paul Schwartz notes Kelly was "convinced that he was the right man to serve as CEO ... despite the less-than-enthusiastic initial vibes." A meeting with Johnson and Giants Treasurer JONATHAN TISCH, co-Chairs of the Host Committee, "planted the idea in Kelly's head that this is the direction he should take." Kelly: "They convinced me this is how I should spend my next three years" (N.Y. POST, 4/19). In N.Y., Gary Myers reports Kelly "plans to meet in the next 30 days with the host committees of the last four or five Super Bowls and those in Indianapolis and New Orleans, which are hosting the next two" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/19).

The Pac-10 Conference yesterday announced that former NFL exec JIM STEEG will work as a consultant to help plan and execute the inaugural Pac-12 Football Championship game. Steeg will serve as Dir of that contest, scheduled for Dec. 3 (Pac-10 Conference). Steeg is "best known for running the Super Bowl during its enormous growth in the 1980s and '90s." The conference's name will transition from Pac-10 to Pac-12 on July 1 (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/18 issue).

EXECS: Univision Communications Inc. has hired ERIC CONRAD as VP/Programming for Univision Deportes. He will oversee sports programming, acquisitions and content development operations across all of Univision's platforms. Conrad previously served as Senior Dir of Programming & Acquisitions for ESPN and ESPN Deportes (Univision)....Octagon Brazil has added four execs to its new operations in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, including Octagon Account Dir JAMES CANNON, who has relocated from Miami to Sao Paulo. Octagon also hired ANA BARTHOLO as Account Manager in the Sao Paulo office. For the Rio office, Octagon has hired LUIS POZZI and MARCELA RONDENELLE, supporting Exec Dir FRED POLASTRI (Octagon).

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Magic Senior VP PAT WILLIAMS' son, BOBBY WILLIAMS, ran yesterday's Boston Marathon in 4:19:40, "pinch-running for his father." Pat Williams was "unable to run because he is fighting multiple myeloma," and race organizers "made an exception to allow Bobby Williams to run in his father's place" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 4/19). Meanwhile, the Mandarin Oriental in Boston "hosted a marathon viewing party yesterday," and Red Sox President & CEO LARRY LUCCHINO was among the attendees. Red Sox Owner JOHN HENRY, his wife, LINDA PIZZUTI HENRY, and Reebok VP/Government & Community Relations PAUL FOSTER were among the attendees at a marathon party at Abe & Louie's in Boston (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/19). Celtics President RICH GOTHAM and VP/Corporate Partnerships & Business Development TED DALTON attended a party at Towne, along with Red Sox Vice Chair DAVID GINSBERG and Exec VP & COO SAM KENNEDY (BOSTON HERALD, 4/19).

MEETING OF THE MINDS: In Phoenix, Ginger Rough reports a "blue-ribbon panel appointed by Gov. JAN BREWER to help the Fiesta Bowl repair its tarnished image met for the second time on Saturday." The meeting was "not publicized in advance, and its agenda was not open to the public." Brewer in a statement said that the group "heard directly from Fiesta Bowl representatives," including Chair DUANE WOODS, and "received a 'detailed' briefing from the investigators who authored a 276-page report on the bowl's alleged misdeeds." It is "not clear when Brewer's panel will release any additional recommendations it has for the bowl" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/19).

FOR A GOOD CAUSE: The Level Field Fund yesterday announced the first round of athlete funding to help support athletes in need of financial assistance with the release of 33 grants totaling more than $110,000. Athletes from skiing, snowboarding, swimming and judo are among the initial grant recipients benefiting from the support. The Level Field Fund was founded by U.S. Gold Medal-winning snowboarder ROSS POWERS (Level Field Fund)....The Tony Hawk Foundation is "sending $25,000" for a "planned skateboarding park" in Cleveland (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 4/16)....Kia Motors America, as part of its support of the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award that yesterday was awarded to Magic C DWIGHT HOWARD, will donate a new Kia Sorento to BETA Center, a private, nonprofit organization in Orlando (Kia)....Twenty-eight members of the NFL Cardinals organization recently ran in Pat's Run in Tempe, Ariz. The race, organized by friends of late NFLer PAT TILLMAN, "drew 28,000 fun-runners in Tempe for the 4.2-mile course" (, 4/18).

NAMES: The Cowboys Sunday held their seventh annual Taste of the NFL: The Ultimate Cowboys Tailgate Party, and players "attended the event." Contact between NFL coaches and players is "prohibited because of the lockout, but the league made an exception for long-standing charity events" (AP, 4/17)....In a suit filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court, TANIT BUDAY claims that the Yankees "copied their famed top-hat logo from a design dreamed up by her late uncle in 1936 at the request of then-Yankee owner JACOB RUPPERT." Buday is "seeking unspecified damages for copyright infringement, unjust enrichment and breach of contract with her uncle, KENNETH TIMUR." Yankees spokesperson ALICE MCGILLION said there is "no proof" of Buday's claim (N.Y. POST, 4/19)....Jets CB ANTONIO CROMARTIE "has signed with CAA Sports." He will be repped by CAA Football co-Heads BEN DOGRA and TOM CONDON. Cromartie's longtime agent GARY WICHARD "died last month after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/19)....Lions DT NDAMUKONG SUH yesterday posted on Twitter that 1,935 people "attended his Tweetup before his alma mater Nebraska's spring football game Saturday." That "would break the previous Tweetup world record of 1,149, set by Ford Motor Co. in 2009," but Guinness World Records spokesperson SARA WILCOX said that the record is "not official yet" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/19).