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Volume 24 No. 155

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!

NBC Sports Group has hired industry veteran GREG HUGHES to oversee its communications department. Hughes will be Senior VP/Communications, reporting to NBC Sports Group Chair MARK LAZARUS. Hughes and Lazarus previously worked together at Turner. Hughes will relocate from Atlanta to N.Y. In his role, Hughes will oversee all of the digital assets at NBC, including broadcast, cable and digital. NBC Sports' currrent communications team, including MEIER RAIVICH, CHRIS MCCLOSKEY and ADAM FREIFELD, will report into Hughes.

EPL club Sunderland Chair NIALL QUINN is relinquishing his day-to-day duties to focus on developing the team’s profile and business interests overseas. Club Owner ELLIS SHORT will assume Quinn’s role as Chair (Sunderland)….The Angels have not renewed the contracts of Assistant GM KEN FORSCH and Special Assistant to the GM GARY SUTHERLAND, just four days after the resignation of GM TONY REAGINS (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/4)….Cedar Fair Entertainment named former Ducks Senior VP & CMO BOB WAGNER Corporate VP/Strategic Alliances and USA Water Polo Dir of Sport Development SCOTT TANNER Corporate VP/Sales (Cedar Fair)….Palm Beaches Marathon named HANK ZEMOLA and JOSH RUSTON co-Race Dirs (PALM BEACH POST, 10/4)….Technology company Korrio named STEVE BANFIELD Chief Product Officer. The company debuted its Playflow sports automation platform earlier this year (Korrio)… appointed former WPS Commissioner TONYA ANTONUCCI to its BOD (iSoccer)….Armada Sports & Entertainment appointed Bennigan’s Restaurants President & CEO PAUL MANGIAMELE to its BOD (Armada Sports & Entertainment)….The WHL Calgary Hitmen hired JOANNA FRENCH as Communications Coordinator (Hitmen)….AIM Marketing Solutions named ANSLEY WRIGHT, DAVID PATE and BROOKS TOLBERT Account Coordinators (THE DAILY).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to

EPL club Chelsea Owner ROMAN ABRAMOVICH "was accused yesterday of betraying the man who allegedly helped to build his fortune so that he could curry favour" with Russian Prime Minister VLADIMIR PUTIN. Lawyers for Russian businessman BORIS BEREZOVSKY told the High Court in London that Abramovich had "taken advantage of his former mentor's fall from grace to enrich himself by bullying him out of billions of dollars worth of shares" in his Sibneft oil company. Berezovsky is suing Abramovich for more than US$6B (LONDON TIMES, 10/4).

TRACK POSITION: Suffolk Downs Owner RICHARD FIELDS, through his Fields Family Foundation, has donated $16,000 to charities affiliated with Boston Mayor THOMAS MENINO and Massachusetts state Sen. ANTHONY PETRUCCELLI, whose support for the racetrack's "plans to build a full-scale casino has been crucial." The donations "far exceed what the racetrack's owner would be allowed to give as campaign donations under state law" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/4).

DANCING IN THE DARK: U.S. women’s national soccer team G HOPE SOLO appeared on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” yesterday to discuss her participation on this season's "Dancing With The Stars." Solo said, “I still ask myself, ‘What am I doing on this show?’ You know, we had an amazing ride in the World Cup. We played in front of millions of people. The whole country was behind our team. But I've been trained my entire life to do that … so I'm trying to take that and I’m trying to turn it into being a lady on the dance floor and it is a whole different ballgame for me” (“The Ellen Degeneres Show,” 10/3). Solo performed the Cha Cha on last night's "DWTS" episode, and she said of her performance of the jive last week, "The judges deserve a red card for their comments" ("Dancing With The Stars," ABC, 10/3).

NAMES: Tennis player RAFAEL NADAL's family is leaving Spanish La Liga club Mallorca's exec board, citing a "conflict of interest." The Nadal family owns 10% of the team (AP, 10/3)....Wizards C ANDRAY BLATCHE, in partnership with the USO and the USO of Metropolitan DC, hosted a reception Friday for a group of injured veterans and their families "aboard the USS Sequoia, the former official presidential yacht." Blatche donated $10,000 to Operation Enduring Care for the Wounded Warrior and Family Center currently under construction (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/3)....NASCAR team Owner RICK HENDRICK's Hendrick Automotive Group has purchased Jon Hall Honda, an auto dealership in Daytona Beach. The dealership's name has been changed to Honda Cars of Daytona Beach (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 10/4)….St. Petersburg Mayor BILL FOSTER was seen chatting on the field with Rays Owner STUART STERNBERG before Game Three of the Rangers-Rays ALDS series at Tropicana Field. It was “more small talk than stadium-issues talk” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/4)….American Idol winner SCOTTY MCCREERY will perform the National Anthem prior to Game One of the World Series on Oct. 19 (MLB).