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Volume 24 No. 113

People and Pop Culture

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: GARY BETTMAN -- You start at the top and the NHL's supremo, with key lieutenants BILL DALY and JOHN COLLINS, leads the league to a new 10-year deal with NBC and Versus worth a record $2B. NHL owners get the broad and consistent exposure during the regular season and playoffs that they were seeking and, most importantly, feel wanted as the league nearly triples its current rights fee amid interest from multiple parties. Bettman and Co.’s recent business strategy of developing big events and focusing on new media initiatives pays off. All in all, it’s about as good a deal as the NHL could have hoped for.

LOSE: FRANK MCCOURT -- Perhaps this week's drama surrounding the Dodgers would have been a better plot line for the film "Battle: Los Angeles," as MLB Commissioner BUD SELIG sends shockwaves throughout sports by announcing the league is stripping McCourt of his ownership. MLB must now act as caretakers for one of the storied franchises following myriad issues during McCourt's tenure, including a debt load approaching $430M. But McCourt doesn’t back down in snipping back at Selig and may seek to regain the club via the courts, though the move by MLB could be too much for the embattled McCourt.

DRAW: ESPN “MNF” SCHEDULE: Yes, the network gets some strong divisional matchups like Raiders-Broncos, Redskins-Cowboys and Dolphins-Jets, but also some head-scratchers like Colts-Buccaneers, Bears-Lions and Chargers-Jaguars. You can’t predict the schedule, we know, and what if the Bears and Lions are undefeated at the time? But it’s no comparison to NBC’s "SNF" schedule. This is what $1.1B a year gets you?

Nike has appointed GE Senior VP & CMO ELIZABETH COMSTOCK to its BOD (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/22)....The National Association of Sports Commission has appointed the following to its BOD for '11-12: North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee VP & COO TARA GREEN as Chair; Nashville Sports Council Senior VP & COO GARY ALEXANDER as Vice Chair/Chair Elect; Maryland Office of Sports Marketing Dir TERRY HASSELTINE as Treasurer; St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission Dir KEVIN SMITH as Secretary; and Phoenix Regional Sports Commission President JON SCHMIEDER as Immediate Past Chair (NASC)....The Dolphins have promoted Assistant Dir of Player Personnel BRIAN GAINE to Dir of Player Personnel (, 4/21)....Wembley Stadium Non-Exec Dir MELVIN BENN has been appointed Chair, effective May 1. Benn replaces DAVID BERNSTEIN, who was appointed Chair of England's Football Association in January (FA)....The Indiana Univ. Sports Journalism Center has hired Big Ten Network reporter LARRA OVERTON as Web Editor (, 4/20)....Baltimore-based marketing and PR agency Warschawski has promoted THOMAS NEUBERGER to Creative Dir (Warschawski)....Delaware North Companies -- Boston, which operates TD Garden, has promoted Bruins Fan Relations Manager TAMALA SWEESY to Client Service Manager for The Premium Club, and Premium Service Coordinator JACQUELINE DEROSA to Client Service Account Representative for The Premium Club. Delaware North also has promoted Premium Account Execs MICHELE KING and AJAY SISODIA to Client Development Execs within The Premium Club (Delaware North).

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The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Georg Szalai reported Cablevision President & CEO JAMES DOLAN earned $13.4M last year, "down from $17.1 million in 2009 as his salary was lowered and he didn't get a nearly $3 million stock options award that he received in 2009." Adding in $2.3M in compensation from MSG, "which Cablevision spun off last year and for which Dolan serves as" Exec Chair, Dolan "still saw his total compensation drop" 8%. His father, Cablevision Chair CHARLES DOLAN, made $13.7M last year, down 14% from $16M in '09 (, 4/21).

TIME RUNNING OUT? In N.Y., Keith Kelly reports TOM FLORIO is "apparently winding down his time" at IMG, where he has served as Senior Adviser for Fashion to the Office of Chair & CEO TED FORSTMANN since September. Florio said he "agreed to consult for another six months." But Kelly writes it "sounds like his portfolio has been narrowed and will end before Dec. 31" (N.Y. POST, 4/22).

ACTING UP:'s Brant James wrote NASCAR driver JIMMIE JOHNSON's guest appearance was "one of the more entertaining aspects" of Wednesday's episode of Fox's "BREAKING IN." Johnson "played himself in the episode, enlisting the help of a security firm ... to crack the caper of the mystery music which has invaded his radio frequency with crew chief CHAD KNAUS during a recent race" (, 4/21)....Saints S DARREN SHARPER "has taken up acting during his break from football, making a guest appearance in a series of short web films for" Sharper's episode debuted online Monday as the fifth of a series entitled, "Series of Unfortunate People" (, 4/18).

NAMES: Falcons Owner ARTHUR BLANK "has given $3 million to an advocacy center for child abuse and neglect at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta" through his family foundation (, 4/21)....The National Association of Black Journalists will honor ESPN News Editor CLAIRE SMITH with the annual Legacy Award at the NABJ's 36th annual Convention & Career Fair in Philadelphia on Aug. 6 (NABJ)....MLS Galaxy MF DAVID BECKHAM "will attend the royal wedding in London" next Friday between PRINCE WILLIAM and his fiancée, KATE MIDDLETON. Beckham "will be in Texas" the next day to prepare for the Galaxy's Sunday game against FC Dallas (, 4/21)....Ohio-based Cardinal Health Inc. "has settled a federal anti-kickback lawsuit by agreeing, in part, to pay $760,000" to former NFLer DAN SALEAUMUA and consultant KEVIN RINNE. The money is part of an $8M settlement that Cardinal Health agreed to pay the U.S. government (K.C. STAR, 4/22)....Former boxer MIKE TYSON appears on a Last Chance for Animals billboard in West Hollywood "kissing a dove" (, 4/21)....Lakers scout BONNIE-JILL LAFLIN, the first and only female scout in the NBA, this week "started appearing in a new PETA advertisement" that says, "Want My Body? Go Vegetarian!" (, 4/21)....McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants on Wednesday rejected a $137.3M hostile takeover bid by Texans minority partner TILMAN FERTITTA and a subsidiary of his Landry's Restaurants Inc. (THE DAILY).