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Volume 24 No. 177

People and Pop Culture

ESPN yesterday formally announced that it has consolidated its digital and print media operations under JOHN KOSNER, whose title becomes Senior VP/ESPN Digital & Print Media. Kosner will oversee ESPN The Magazine, ESPN RISE publications, espnW and As part of the restructuring, VP & Editor-in-Chief/Digital Media ROB KING will assume the role of VP/Editorial, Digital and Print Media and will lead the editorial content of those initiatives while reporting to Kosner. PATRICK STIEGMAN, formerly Exec Editor, becomes Editor-in-Chief (ESPN). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Eric Fisher notes the shift was "designed to more closely align the company's overall digital and traditional print operations." Kosner said he thinks ESPN Exec VP/Content JOHN SKIPPER "took a look at the collection of these assets and felt they were better off being all managed together." Kosner added, "We have a big opportunity to achieve some meaningful integration, not only among ourselves, but with the TV operations as well and enhance the whole experience for the fan" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/9 issue).

Turner Sports has named JON KROPP to the newly created position of VP/Business Operations for the company's golf portfolio. Kropp, a 14-year Turner veteran, most recently served as VP/Strategy & Acquisitions for Turner Sports (Turner)....The Moyer Foundation, founded by ESPN MLB analyst JAMIE MOYER, has hired KEVIN SULLIVAN as National Exec Dir. Most recently, Sullivan was Regional CEO for the American Red Cross in the Central New Jersey region. The Moyer Foundation plans to open an office in Philadelphia on June 1 (THE DAILY)....Staples Center has promoted Dir of Guest Services & Security DANIELLE EDOUARDE to VP/Guest Services & Security. Also, Staples Center has named The Home Depot Center Dir of Security DAVID BORN to the same position (Staples Center)....The American Le Mans Series has hired TAYLOR CARSON as Manager of PR & Media Services (ALMS).

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Former President GEORGE H.W. BUSH, late CBS Sports Producer FRANK CHIRKINIAN, golfers ERNIE ELS, DOUG FORD, JUMBO OZAKI and the late JOCK HUTCHISON were inducted into the World Golf HOF last night at the St. Johns County Convention Center in St. Augustine, Fla. A tribute to HOFer SEVE BALLESTEROS, who passed away last weekend, was part of the evening's program, while “tears also flowed openly among the CBS colleagues of Chirkinian,” who passed away in March. CBS Sports Chair SEAN MCMANUS, golf Producer LANCE BARROW and analysts PETER KOSTIS and GARY MCCORD were present and “found it difficult to contain their emotion” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/10). 

KNOW WHEN TO FOLD 'EM: Blanca Games, parent company of online poker websites Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, yesterday said that it “laid off 11 sponsored poker professionals in the United States as two of its executives face charges of tricking banks into processing illegal gambling payments.” The Antigua-based company said that it has “severed ties to players including JOE SEBOK, PRAHLAD FRIEDMAN, Anthrax guitarist SCOTT IAN and ‘Real World’ reality star TRISHELLE CANNATELLA.” Blanca said that the “indictments unsealed April 15 mean the company can't pay players to play poker" (AP, 5/9).

SPEAKING HIS MIND: Ontario-based player agency Uptown Sports Management VP TODD REYNOLDS yesterday “publicly criticized” NHL Rangers LW SEAN AVERY for “his stance on gay marriage." Avery earlier this month agreed to film a video for a campaign in support of gay marriage, New Yorkers for Marriage Equality. Reynolds on the agency's Twitter account yesterday said, “Very sad to read Sean Avery’s misguided support of same-gender ‘marriage.’ Legal or not, it will always be wrong.” Later yesterday, Reynolds "defended his tweets" during an interview on TSN Radio 1050. Reynolds: “I’ve already been asked, ‘What if some of your clients don’t agree with this decision?’ Well, that’s fine. We’re going to disagree on all kinds of issues in life. But we have to be able to talk about them” (TORONTO SUN, 5/10).

NAMES: Several Baltimore Mayoral candidates “trooped into” Orioles Owner PETER ANGELOS’ office about two weeks ago. A source said that the candidates “came in separately, one day after the next, seeking campaign cash” (Baltimore SUN, 5/10)....D'Backs Managing Partner KEN KENDRICK Saturday received a Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition in a ceremony on Ellis Island. Pro Football HOFer DON SHULA and comedian JERRY LEWIS also were 25th anniversary recipients of the award (, 5/8)....Three "seat-side servers at Yankee Stadium filed suit yesterday over claims they're being cheated out of the 20 percent service charge tacked onto their customers' bills." Legends Hospitality Management and former ballpark concessionaire Centerplate are among the defendants in the case (N.Y. POST, 5/10)....NFL Cardinals DE CALAIS CAMPBELL has spent time this offseason "interning with WILL FERRELL at" (, 5/9)....TPG Capital Exec Advisor and former Visa USA President & CEO CARL PASCARELLA is one of the "more than 20 investors" who comprise Team Valor Int'l, the syndicate that owns Kentucky Derby winner ANIMAL KINGDOM. Pascarella and his wife, YURIE, "control a more than" 5% stake (, 5/9)....Baseball HOFer REGGIE JACKSON has "teamed up with FRANCK MULLER to design the Reggie Jackson limited edition collection of timepieces." The collection consists of three distinct watches, limited to a total of only 150 pieces. Each watch will be engraved with Jackson's nickname, "Mr. October," and will include a certificate of authenticity signed by Jackson ("Closing Bell," CNBC, 5/9).