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Volume 24 No. 160

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.

■ Which company does the best job aligning with college sports?
■ Which naming-rights deal will be the most effective?
■ Which facility is in the greatest need of renovation or replacement?
■ What is the biggest threat to sports?
■ What's the best sports event to attend?
■ Which agent would you want to negotiate your next contract?
■ Which property has the best digital strategy?
■ What's your favorite sports app?

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!

CHUCK BLAZER, the man “who blew the whistle on FIFA corruption, is to step down as general secretary of the CONCACAF Confederation,” according to the PA. He will continue as a FIFA Exec Committee member but “will leave his CONCACAF post on 31 December.” Blazer alerted FIFA “to allegations of bribery at a meeting in Trinidad in May which led to a fellow FIFA member, MOHAMED BIN HAMMAM, being banned for life and JACK WARNER, the former president of CONCACAF, resigning from football activity.” Blazer admitted that the “turmoil in Caribbean football caused by his revelations had caused him to consider a change.” Blazer “spearheaded the move to bring FIFA's marketing and TV rights in-house and was instrumental in securing its $425M deal with Univision and ESPN for rights to show the 2010 and 2014 World Cups” (PA, 10/6). Blazer’s current term as a FIFA Exec Committee member “runs through mid-2013.” He said that he “would consider taking a club post,” but he would not comment “on the possibility that he could join one of the groups bidding” for MLS’ 20th team. Blazer said, "I want to do something entrepreneurial. It was the right time" (AP, 10/6).

THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of people and entities in sports business. Here are this week's newsmakers:

WIN: MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME -- The deal was met with mixed reviews and we get the questions -- Mercedes does not need the brand awareness; Superdome does not easily equate to "luxury."  But we like the deal for the brand, the Saints and the city. The Dome has been virtually re-created with a number of high-end premium experiences, and with more to come, Mercedes-Benz obviously sees value in being attached to such a renowned facility with big-ticket hospitality opportunities from the major sporting events on the horizon, including the '12 Sugar Bowl, BCS Nat'l Championship, Final Four and '13 Super Bowl. The deal is also big for cash-strapped Louisiana, as the $50-60M price tag eliminates the need for the state to pay any subsidies to the Saints.

LOSE: HANK WILLIAMS JR. -- The country music star loses his high-profile "MNF" gig after he becomes the third ESPN personality to make a comparison to ADOLF HITLER in recent years. Following Williams' notorious appearance on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" -- after which even the Fox anchors felt obliged to distance themselves from his comments about PRESIDENT OBAMA -- ESPN had no choice but to make the move. While Williams was never an ESPN employee, his weekly question of whether we are ready for some football arguably made him the person most identified with the net's highest-rated property.

DRAW: TIGER WOODS -- Tiger scores his first new major endorsement since his personal scandal broke two years ago, adding Rolex as a sponsor, with news of a new bag deal also on the horizon. But at the same time, EA Sports announces a contest to see which golfer will share the cover for its "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13." Not exactly the biggest vote of confidence for Woods if he has to share space on a video game bearing his name.

XOS Digital named BRETT HAMMOND Senior VP/Worldwide Sales. Hammond previously worked for the company from '02-09 (XOS Digital)....Binghamton Univ. named Saint Peter's College AD PATRICK ELLIOTT to the same position (Binghamton Univ.)....Mississippi State Univ. promoted JOE GALBRAITH to Assistant AD for Media Relations and CHAD THOMAS to Assistant AD for Marketing (MSU)....Army named Univ. of Minnesota Dir of Annual Fund & Premium Seating JASON BUTIKOFER Associate AD for Development (Army)....The Patriot League named Seton Hall Senior Associate AD and Senior Woman Administrator GINGER FULTON Associate Exec Dir for Sport Management & Governance (Patriot League)....Golf Channel named KRISTA WAKEFIELD Exec Projects Manager, JENNIFER RUHE Associate Producer/Editor for the company's HUB division, ANDRE VEENHUIS Broadcast IT Systems Engineer and BRYAN HARDEN Creative Services Senior Producer (Golf Channel).

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

In Seattle, Geoff Baker notes Mariners Minority Owner CHRIS LARSON "has been cast as a savior by some long-suffering Northwest baseball fans." They "envisioned the former Microsoft star programmer, a media-shy multimillionaire, swooping in and rescuing the last-place team by buying out majority owner HIROSHI YAMAUCHI, the Japanese billionaire whose absentee status and seeming indifference has been a sore spot locally." But Baker notes that plan "relied entirely on Larson's wealth, which he is now struggling to hold on to." Larson's divorce from wife JULIA CALHOUN "reveals serious financial struggles that raise doubts about his ability to fund the Mariners and remain their largest owner this side of the Pacific." Court documents show that the Microsoft stock portfolio "used to build Larson's fortune and finance a lavish lifestyle has been largely depleted" (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/7).

ON THE DOCKET: MLB Giants P TIM LINCECUM is being sued by his former landlord, who alleges he "trashed his townhouse" in S.F.'s Mission District, causing at least $200,000 in damage. The landlord is seeking $350,000 in damages. Lincecum's agent, RICK THURMAN, "called the suit frivolous" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/7)....A settlement agreement shows that former Univ. of Memphis men's basketball coach JOHN CALIPARI and Bulls G DERRICK ROSE agreed in May to "pay a total of $100,000 to the three attorneys" who claimed to represent UM season-ticket holders from the '07-08 basketball season. Calipari also agreed to donate his bonus, worth an estimated $232,000 to the UM scholarship fund. The attorneys had threatened to sue Calipari, Rose and UM AD R.C. JOHNSON before reaching the settlement (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/7)....A judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit brought against Nets CEO BRETT YORMARK by an ex-girlfriend who alleged that he "fraudulently induced her to have an abortion" (Bergen RECORD, 10/7).

LENDING A HAND: The Braves have partnered with the Anti Defamation League to distribute English and Spanish anti-bullying PSAs to schools and other programs who are part of the No Place For Hate Campaign. The 30- and 60-second English versions feature 3B CHIPPER JONES, P TIM HUDSON, C BRIAN MCCANN and RF JASON HEYWARD. The Spanish spots feature LF MARTIN PRADO (Braves)....Redskins CB DEANGELO HALL, WR DONTE STALLWORTH and TE FRED DAVIS taped pro-DC rights segments as part of DC Mayor VINCENT GRAY's campaign for city autonomy. Gray and DC advocates are "making their push for full budged autonomy and voting rights in Congress as part of festivities ahead of the Oct. 16 dedication" of the MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. National Memorial (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/7).

NAMES: F1 Management Chair BERNIE ECCLESTONE has spent approximately US$1.54M, or £1M, to ensure victims of the March tsunami in north-eastern Japan get to see Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix. Ecclestone has bought 3,000 tickets at an average price of US$458 "for a three-day pass for the Suzuka circuit" (London INDEPENDENT, 10/7)....Former Univ. of Tennessee AD MIKE HAMILTON announced that he will work as President of the U.S. Operations for the Nashville-based Blood:Water Mission, a nonprofit that "works to provide clean water and to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS in Africa" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/7)....49ers VP/Football Affairs KEENA TURNER will receive a '11 Community Impact Award, presented by the Bay Area Blacks In Philanthropy, on Oct. 12 at Stanford Univ. (, 10/6)....Bulls F LUOL DENG, who grew up in Brixton, London, is “one of four featured on the Brixton Pound, a complimentary currency to the pound sterling in England” (, 10/6)....Nuggets F KENYON MARTIN’s Denver home recently sold for $1.99M. Martin bought the house for $3.5M in ’04 (DENVER POST, 10/6).