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Volume 24 No. 159

People and Pop Culture

It is time to make your opinion known as the 7th annual SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily Reader Survey is underway. The survey features more than 100 questions across leagues, teams, facilities, sponsorship, media, labor and more.

■ Who is the most influential person in sports business?
■ The most innovative sports property?
■ The most marketable athlete?
■ The most powerful brand?
■ The best sports event?
■ Biggest sports business story?
■ Best facilities?
■ Best TV game analysts?

Those are some of the questions you'll find in this year's survey. Cast your votes and then see highlights of the results the week of Nov. 28. We want to hear from you. Vote now!

NASCAR “continues to bolster its communications operations, adding five midlevel managers to its recently created integrated marketing communications division.” The competition communications group has hired ESTEFANIA ACOSTA-RUBIO from the ATP World Tour, MATT NORDBY from the Pirates, JAYME CHRISTIANSON from Red Bull Racing and JENNIE LONG from Hunter PR. NASCAR also has “added NICK KELLY to its business communications team and BECKY WILLIAMS to its sports services group.” NASCAR Managing Dir of Integrated Marketing Communications DAVID HIGDON said that the series is "still looking to fill key positions: director of social and digital media and director of brand consumer marketing" (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

EXECS: Discover promoted JENNIFER MURILLO to VP/Brand Communications. Murillo has done work around Discover’s sponsorship deals with the Orange Bowl and the NHL (THE DAILY)….SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Michael Smith reports former IMG Senior VP/Business Development STEVE KEREPESI has been hired “to run sponsorship sales for the new Pac-12 Enterprises, which encompasses the conference’s national and regional TV networks, digital properties and corporate relationships.” Kerepesi is “expected to start next week” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/3 issue)….Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing named former Team Red Bull Technical Dir JOHN PROBST to the same position (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/2)….SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Daniel Kaplan reports former Merrill Lynch Financial Adviser PETER DORFMAN has been hired by SunTrust Banks to “jump-start its efforts to become a top lender to teams and leagues.” Dorfman began work “early last month” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/3 issue)….Iowa Speedway named former Richmond Int’l Raceway President DOUG FRITZ CEO (ROANOKE TIMES, 10/2)….St. Joseph’s Univ. promoted RENIE SHIELDS to Associate AD/Varsity Programs and Senior Woman’s Administrator (St. Joseph’s)….The Univ. of New Haven named CHRIS BROWN Associate AD/Business Affairs & Marketing (New Haven).

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In Boston, Greg Bedard profiled Athletes First President BRIAN MURPHY, who handles day-to-day operations for “one of the signature sports agencies in the NFL with about 90 active players.” Athletes First Chair & CEO DAVID DUNN said, “Of anybody I’ve ever been around, he has the best mixture of people skills and intelligence. If you put him in a room with the collective bargaining agreement and a problem to solve, he’ll solve it. If you put him in a social situation, he’ll win everyone over as well.” Murphy said, “I didn’t always want to be a sports agent because I was very leery about the types of people who were sports agents. I probably wouldn’t have taken that jump if it wasn’t for Dave. He’s the name, been doing it for 20 years, but he gives me complete authority to run our company and we share a vision for our company” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/2).

PUTTING IT ALL IN PERSPECTIVE: In Charlotte, Michael Gordon profiled WFNZ-AM’s TAYLOR ZARZOUR and noted the radio host always ends “The Drive” by saying, “Whether you agree or disagree, it’s all about Him.” Zarzour has been “using his sign-off for almost a decade.” He said, “This is not a publicity stunt. I’m not looking for any reaction. I’m not climbing on any soapbox. I’m just trying to remind everybody about what’s most important” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/1).

DAY IN THE LIFE: YAHOO SPORTS’ Marc Spears noted 76ers F ANDRE IGUODALA “shadowed a venture capitalist and visited the New York Stock Exchange as part of a week-long internship with Bank of America Merrill Lynch arranged by his financial planner.” If the NBA lockout continues, Iguodala is “considering taking a separate internship with a hedge fund or an apparel company” (, 9/29).

STYLIN' AND PROFILIN': MLS Galaxy MF DAVID BECKHAM is on the cover of the October issue of Wall Street Journal Magazine, and WSJ’s Jason Gay writes under the header, “The International Man: David Beckham Suits Up ... And Contemplates The Autumn Of His Career.” Beckham is “still a name, still a significant global brand, one of the handful of seven-continent superstars in sport.” He has “managed to stay relevant through his many career evolutions.” Beckham said, “I’m totally involved in everything that goes out there in stores. I don’t just sign with a company and give my name to do whatever they want. Everything that goes out there is something I would wear” (WSJ Magazine, 10/’11 issue).

NAMES: Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences on Saturday at Harvard Univ. (AP, 10/1)....The Magic said that at their annual golf outing last Thursday benefitting the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation they “raised approximately $200,000.” In Orlando, Brian Schmitz notes the Magic “perform great work in the community,” and the amount raised by the team “says something about its corporate sponsors and season-ticket holders” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/3)....Four Charlotte-area high schools are receiving a weight room makeover thanks to a $250,000 grant program from the NFL Panthers (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/30)....Former Red Sox manager TERRY FRANCONA on Saturday had dinner with his daughter at Lucca in Boston's North End. Meanwhile, Bruins F SHAWN THORTON and Red Sox 3B KEVIN YOUKILIS were “hanging out with the Stanley Cup at the Cask 'n Flagon on Saturday for a private party” hosted by Bruins Dir of Media Relations MATT CHMURA (BOSTON HERALD, 10/3)....Red Sox C JASON VARITEK and P JONATHAN PAPELBON last night “partied at Strega Waterfront” in Boston (BOSTON HERALD, 10/3)....Knicks F CARMELO ANTHONY on Friday took Heat F LEBRON JAMES and G DWYANE WADE, and Celtics F PAUL PIERCE and G RAY ALLEN to the five-year anniversary party of N.Y. nightclub Tenjune (N.Y. POST, 10/3).

IN MEMORY: Former NFLer PETER GENT, 69, passed away Friday in Bangor, Mich. The former Cowboys WR published the ’73 novel, “NORTH DALLAS FORTY,” which “exposed the drug use, hypocrisy and pervasive pain in the life of a pro football team” (WASHINGTON POST, 10/1).