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Volume 24 No. 156

People and Pop Culture

Verizon Wireless Exec Dir of Media, Engagements, & Integrations SUZY DEERING is leaving the telecom giant and joining The Home Depot in a senior marketing and media post, according to numerous industry sources. Her precise new title at the home improvement and appliance retailer could not be learned, but sources said she will start at The Home Depot later this month. Deering, who has been with Verizon Wireless for 10 years and made this year’s SportsBusiness Journal’s "Most Influential People In Sports Business" list, rose to recent prominence in sports marketing circles after Verizon signed a sizable NFL rights deal in March ‘10. She attended the Univ. of Georgia and is from Georgia, making the opportunity to relocate to The Home Depot's Atlanta HQ even more attractive. No word on her replacement within Verizon Wireless.

Law firm Bryan Cave LLP has announced the launch of a Sports, Sponsorship & Event Venue Group. Partner RYAN DAVIS will lead the newly formed group, and members of the department will span several of the firm's offices and Client Service Groups (Bryan Cave LLP)....The MLS Fire named Alli Sports VP/Commercial & Business Operations ATUL KHOSLA Senior VP. He will oversee all of the club's finance and technology initiatives (Fire).

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In Baltimore, John Fritze notes Baseball HOFer CAL RIPKEN JR. is hosting 16 teenagers from Japan who were “profoundly affected by the earthquake and tsunami in March,” his “latest diplomatic assignment from the U.S. Department of State.” The students “arrived on Monday and will remain through Aug. 23.” They are “scheduled to participate in baseball clinics, including at the Ripken Youth Baseball Academy” in Aberdeen, Md. (Baltimore SUN, 8/10).

RED LINE: In Cincinnati, Barry Horstman notes a proposal to declare the Reds Opening Day a ceremonial holiday in the city “appears unlikely to qualify for the November ballot.” Over 8,500 petition signatures were collected, many at Reds games, but 81% of those reviewed by the Hamilton County Board of Elections “have been ruled invalid because they came from outside the city” (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 8/10).

FILM REVIEW: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER’s Kirk Honeycutt reviewed GAVIN O’CONNOR’s forthcoming MMA-themed film “WARRIOR” and wrote it “makes for a sturdy, visceral entertainment.” For the footage of extended fights over a two-day tournament, the cameras “dart and weave just like fighters” and the “excitement of these matches is brilliantly captured.” The film “may go several rounds” when it debuts next month, but Lionsgate “need to put some muscle into its marketing campaign.” Honeycutt: “Word of mouth will have to energize the fight film’s male demographic” (, 8/9).

CRIME REPORT:’s C. Trent Rosecrans reported writers BARRY BLOOM and THOMAS HARDING yesterday morning “were robbed at gunpoint around 1:30 a.m. just outside the media entrance and exit” at Great American Ball Park. Both “had their credit cards taken and Bloom lost $500 in cash and Harding lost $100 in cash” (, 8/10).

PAY DAY: The Univ. of Louisville Athletic Association yesterday approved the financial terms of men’s basketball coach RICH PITINO’s contract extension. The deal “established Pitino’s base salary at $3 million annually and paved the way for him to receive the rest of a scheduled $3.6 million loyalty bonus in payments of $900,000 each of the next two seasons" (, 8/9).

NAMES: DENNIS RODMAN has “given his word” that he “won’t pull any shenanigans” during Friday’s Basketball HOF induction ceremony. In return, the HOF “plans to display Rodman’s outrageous clothing from the big event in the museum” (, 8/9)....Rays manager JOE MADDON and players JOHNNY DAMON, SAM FULD, B.J. UPTON and SEAN RODRIGUEZ will record a PSA for the antigay bullying movement “It Gets Better.” Eight other MLB teams have recorded similar messages for the campaign since June (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 8/10)….N.C. State football players WAYNE CRAWFORD, MIKE GLENNON and T.J. GRAHAM have started a chapter of Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit agency that “works with college football players to raise money to fight rare diseases.” N.C. State's is one of nine chapters nationally (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 8/10)….The Tiger Woods Learning Center selected 80 campers to participate in a weeklong summer camp in Anaheim. The participants include “40 military kids, ages 11-14.” The $1,500 per camper cost “is being covered by the Tiger Woods Foundation and private donors” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 8/10).