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Volume 24 No. 156

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 event is produced the best on television?
■ Who is your favorite TV game broadcast analyst?

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!

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: 76ERS -- Strong opening for the new ownership group led by JOSHUA HARRIS, as he and new CEO ADAM ARON unveil their first phase of changes for the club. The moves include reductions in ticket prices, a new slogan and a website dedicated to opening communication between fans and ownership -- bold strokes which are a good start in an effort to bring fans back to supporting basketball in what could be one of the cities with the biggest NBA upsides.

LOSE: BRYANT GUMBEL -- Gumbel saying something provocative is nothing new in the sports world, but comparing the NBA Commissioner to a "modern plantation overseer" is a poor analogy. Any valid points he may have made were completely overshadowed when grouping together DAVID STERN and slavery. Yes, it got him a few days of publicity and headlines, but for all the wrong reasons.

DRAW: WORLD SERIES -- Two games into the Fall Classic and we've had two great games between two great teams with some other fun subplots along the way (see the rally squirrel). While some say "who cares about the ratings," everyone in sports business does care, and early numbers indicate that MLB has some difficulty garnering national eyeballs and scale when its top markets aren't involved.

The NHL promoted GARY MEAGHER to Exec VP/Communications. Meagher has been with the league for more than 30 years and was previously Senior VP/Communications. He will split his time between Toronto and N.Y. JOHN DELLAPINA will be promoted to VP/Communications. Dellapina was previously Senior Dir of Communications for the league (Fred Dreier, SportsBusiness Journal)....The Univ. of Oregon named LISA PETERSON Senior Associate AD, replacing RENEE BAUMGARTNER, who left earlier this summer to become Syracuse Univ. Deputy AD & Chief of Staff. Peterson previously served as Univ. of Kentucky Senior Associate AD for Internal Operations and Senior Woman Administrator (UO)....USRowing named BETH KOHL CMO (USRowing). 

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

In St. Louis, Dan O'Neill notes MLB Rangers COO RICK GEORGE has "roots in the St. Louis area." George "spent the first 14 years of his life in Anderson, Ind., 285 miles northeast." The Georges "moved to Collinsville, Ill., by the time Rick was a high school freshman." George spent "many hours watching, listening and attending Cardinals games." George said, "There's no conflict for me. I'm rooting for the Rangers. Of course, if we weren't there, I'd be rooting for the Cardinals, no question" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/21).

BORN INTO HIS ROLE: In Indianapolis, Phil Richards profiles Colts Owner JIM IRSAY, whose "journey began as a 12-year-old ball boy in 1972." That is when Irsay's "tempestuous father, ROBERT, bought the Los Angeles Rams and swapped the franchise" with CARROLL ROSENBLOOM for the Colts. Since then, Irsay has been "almost continuously immersed in the personalities, operations, culture and traditions of the Colts and the NFL" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 10/21).

AWARD-WINNING PERFORMANCE: Red Sox DH DAVID ORTIZ was named this year's winner of MLB's Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. The annual award is "given in recognition of the baseball player who is the best representative of baseball due to his contributions on and off the field." MLB Commissioner BUD SELIG "lauded Ortiz for his community service efforts, explaining that they are the reason" he received the award (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/21). More than a million fans participated at to help decide this year's recipient (, 10/20).

IN AND OUT: In Toronto, Joe Warmington notes some would argue Hockey HOFer WAYNE GRETZKY "had a not-so-great appearance at the Toronto East General Hospital Wednesday," and it "has left some disappointed." A news release had said that Gretzky would be at the hospital for the "unveiling of the da Vinci Surgical System, to help treat patients with prostate cancer." Gretzky "was handed a lab coat, posed for a few fast frames" and then "walked through the crowd on his way to a waiting car." TEGH Foundation BOD Chair MICHAEL BURNS said, "We never set any expectations. It did great for us, helping us raise enough money for us to almost reach our $5-million goal. This was a huge win all around." A person traveling with Gretzky said that it was "merely a case where he was expecting it to be a short pop in and out." But when he arrived, Gretzky became "disconcerted knowing there were people who paid $5,000 a ticket waiting for him" (TORONTO SUN, 10/21).

NAMES: Fortune's "40 Under 40" list of business' "hottest rising stars" includes Under Armour Chair, President & CEO KEVIN PLANK (12), Univision Networks President CESAR CONDE (14) and Puma CEO Franz Koch (24) (, 10/20)....Producer/writer JOE CACACI Thursday announced plans for "INVISIBLE MEN," a feature film account of the personalities that made up the Negro Leagues, and their stories before the integration of MLB (THE DAILY)....JOHN CUSACK and JOHNNY KNOXVILLE will star in “CARNIVAL,” a comedy directed by JOSH STERN. Cusack will play a “sports scout sent to Rio De Janeiro during the over-the-top bacchanalia of Carnival to recruit the world’s best soccer player” (, 10/19)....Skateboarder TONY HAWK has joined the cast of “PARENTAL GUIDANCE,” a movie starring BILLY CRYSTAL and BETTE MIDLER (N.Y. POST, 10/21).