LPGA CCO DAVID HIGDON has been hired by NASCAR to be the sanctioning body’s Managing Dir for its newly formed Integrated Marketing Communications department. Higdon, formerly of the ATP and Champ Car, where he worked on the unification of open-wheel racing with IndyCar, will begin at NASCAR on June 20 and report to VP & CCO BRETT JEWKES. He had been at the LPGA since '09. Jewkes will announce the hiring today and cites Higdon’s “broad and diverse sports communications experience and strong media background.” Higdon’s hiring is another step in NASCAR’s implementation of a new strategy to better integrate communications across all of the company’s departments. He will have an emphasis on competition, while also working on crisis communication and public affairs. At the LPGA, Higdon oversaw corporate communications, stakeholder and media relations, player promotion, and TV and digital media content. He also has a background in journalism, writing for the N.Y. Times, ESPN The Magazine and other outlets.
People and Pop Culture
Reebok Head of Global Brand Marketing RICHARD PRENDERVILLE has departed after five years in the position to pursue "other opportunities." He will be replaced by Head of Digital Marketing VIKTORIA WALLNER (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 6/7)....The PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open named PGA Tour Crowne Plaza Invitational Tournament Dir PETER RIPA to the same position. He will take over for TOM WILSON, who will leave his post after the tournament in January (SIGNONSANDIEGO.com, 6/6)....The Pac-10 Conference named NFL official TONY CORRENTE Coordinator of Football Officiating. MIKE PEREIRA, who had been serving in that role on an interim basis since February, will remain as a consultant through the '11 season (Pac-10)....21 Marketing & Sports Entertainment Group named TOM SHEPARD CMO/Partner. He will head the company's new West Coast office in S.F. (21 Marketing)....Stewart-Haas Racing released Dir of Competition BOBBY HUTCHENS and promoted Technical Dir MATT BORLAND to VP/Competition (AP, 6/6)....The Pensacola Sports Association named LIZ HAMRICK Event Coordinator (PSA)....The White Sox named former MLBer ROBIN VENTURA Special Advisor to Dir of Player Development BUDDY BELL (White Sox)....Home Team Marketing named BRITTANY BOEHM Account Exec (HTM).
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In N.Y., Sandomir & Belson cite a source as saying that in '04, DAVID EINHORN wanted to join a prospective ownership group in order to "buy a small piece of the Brewers," but his "timing was off." Einhorn, now a prospective minority partner of the Mets, "was too timid or too late to make a formal offer, and the Brewers went to a group led by another financier," MARK ATTANASIO. In '09, Einhorn met with MLB CFO JONATHAN MARINER and then-MLB President & COO BOB DUPUY to "discuss the path to buying a team, to find out what teams were on the market and to explore and understand various ownership structures." DuPuy recalls, "He wanted to learn about the industry and what had happened over the past 10 years, but the discussion was not team-specific" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/7).
STILL KICKING: The AP reported since retiring from professional soccer in February, RONALDO "has stayed active with a sports marketing agency and a career managing young players." Ronaldo owns a 45% stake in 9ine Sports & Entertainment, which "also has deals outside soccer." He has signed young stars NEYMAR and LUCAS, "touted as the future of Brazil's national team." Ronaldo said that he is "not an agent, that he is not in the business of making money by signing young talents and then selling them" (AP, 6/5).
MUSIC TO MY EARS: Opera singer PLACIDO DOMINGO is "considering an invitation from FIFA President SEPP BLATTER to help clean up world football's governing body." Blatter yesterday said that he "wanted the 70-year-old Spanish-born tenor to sit on a 'council of wisdom' alongside" former U.S. Secretary of State HENRY KISSINGER and former Netherlands soccer star JOHAN CRUYFF. But the singer said that he is "not committing to the role until he receives more information from Blatter about the committee being formed in the wake of the worst corruption scandal in FIFA's 107-year history" (AP, 6/6).
IN MEMORY: In Jacksonville, Chet Fussman wrote it is "hard to imagine a sports journalist who had more influence over a city" than former Tampa Tribune sports editor and columnist TOM MCEWEN, who passed away Sunday. McEwen "did more for sports in Tampa than any mayor, councilman or public official could." He knew "just about everybody, befriended the most powerful people in sports and never stopped writing, even after his retirement in 2001." McEwen's name is "already on press boxes and street signs," and his "legacy of helping build and chronicle sports in the Tampa area is unmatched" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 6/6). SI's Peter King wrote, "People in Tampa, and NFL people everywhere, will miss him" (SI.com, 6/6). Former NFL exec Jim Steeg tweeted, "McEwen was one of the true giants. Without him there are no Bucs" (TWITTER.com, 6/5).
NAMES: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Ben Cohen profiles restaurateur DANNY MEYER's love for horse racing. On the morning of May's Preakness Stakes, Meyer "tweeted a promotional offer: If Shackleford, a 12-to-1 longshot, won the race that afternoon, he would give away free cups of frozen custard at Shake Shack." That Saturday "turned out to be the busiest day in the popular chain's history," and Meyer decided that the "offer would stand" for the Belmont Stakes this weekend (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/7)....Former WWE CEO LINDA MCMAHON "gauged her interest level as high in taking another stab" at the U.S. Senate after her unsuccessful bid last year. Outgoing Connecticut GOP Chair CHRISTOPHER HEALY predicted that McMahon "will declare her intentions in the next month" (STAMFORD ADVOCATE, 6/7)....Federal authorities yesterday charged former MLBer LENNY DYKSTRA with "nearly two dozen felony counts related to a scheme to obtain luxury cars and possession of cocaine, human growth hormone and Ecstasy." The charges come one month after Dykstra was "indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of bankruptcy fraud and obstruction of justice" (L.A. TIMES, 6/7)....MONICA PUIG, a 17-year-old tennis player from Puerto Rico, is turning pro and has hired Legardere Unlimited agent KEY MEYERSON (MIAMI HERALD, 6/7)....The NFL announced yesterday that 16 former players will take part in the annual NFL Broadcast Boot Camp at NFL Films in New Jersey. The program from June 20-23 includes instructors from each of the NFL's broadcast partners (NFL).