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Volume 24 No. 117

People and Pop Culture

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: DIRECTV -- You can look at the numbers in a variety of ways. The company's NFL deal may be a tough pay off, but it has surely helped business. Due to a popular promo for NFL Sunday Ticket this season, DirecTV added 327,000 U.S. subscribers in Q3, the most in seven years. While the rest of the operators and distributors try to figure out the best sports play, the DBS operator blew away analysts' expectations with the numbers.

LOSE: PENN STATE -- The institution suffered significant damage in a swift, sudden week that saw it become the trending topic of America based on the actions -- and lack of action -- from its athletic department. All anyone is talking about is how all of this could happen, and the events have led to full court media coverage, a high volume of charged opinions and a Big Ten institution that will never be the same.

DRAW: TIGER WOODS -- He’s winning the Australian Open and he’s gearing up for the Presidents Cup with all eyes on his performance. He also signed a new endorsement deal for his bag, but unlike previous blue chip brands that he was traditionally aligned with, this new five-year deal with Fuse Science is in the sports and nutrition category, marking another deal with a small company (with upside) as Tiger’s penny stock strategy again shows his standing in today's marketplace.

MDC Partners and Andretti Autosport Owner MICHAEL ANDRETTI have formed a sports marketing and sponsorship company called Andretti Sports Marketing. Andretti will serve as Chair & CEO, while JOHN LOPES has been named President. The new venture will be headquartered in Indianapolis and will operate across the U.S. and Canada. The practice will "include sponsorship activation and management, deal structuring, public relations strategy, proprietary data tracking, marketing consultation, digital solutions and analytics" (, 11/9)....The Suns hired TANYA WHEELESS as Senior VP/Communications & Public Affairs. Wheeless was previously President & CEO of the Arizona Bankers Association (Suns)....The Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee named Int’l Relations Department Head KONUL NURULLAYEVA CEO of Baku’s bid for the ’20 Olympic Games. In addition to her role with the ANOC, Nurullayeva serves as Secretary General of several national sports federations (AP, 11/11)....Wentworth Institute of Technology promoted Associate AD and women’s soccer coach ANGEL AYRES to AD (Wentworth).

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In N.Y., Keith Kelly notes the JOE PATERNO bio by SI writer JOE POSNANSKI “is proceeding full steam ahead -- even though the premise behind the book has been torpedoed by the child sex-abuse allegations against a former assistant coach that also took down the legendary Penn State football coach.” Posnanski, who is “believed to have secured a $750,000 advance this spring, had remained mum on the issue” until Thursday morning. Speaking to a journalism class at Penn State entitled “Joe Paterno: Communications and the Media,” Posnanski “went to bat for the embattled coach, who was fired from the head coaching job on Wednesday after 46 years” (N.Y. POST, 11/11). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Jim Rich reports U.S. Senators PAT TOOMEY (R-Pa.) and BOB CASEY (D-Pa.), and Rep. GLENN THOMPSON (R-Pa.) in September nominated Paterno for the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But Toomey and Casey on Thursday “rescinded their nomination less than 24 hours after the Nittany Lions legend was axed by the university” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/11).

GET WELL SOON: In Green Bay, Pete Dougherty cites a source as saying that Packers General Counsel & VP/Administration JASON WIED’s leave of absence “is because of a non-life-threatening medical condition.” Wied has been on a leave of absence since Tuesday, when the team announced he would be gone “indefinitely” for “personal reasons.” The source said that Wied is “undergoing testing and possible treatment for the condition, and it’s unclear when he’ll be able to return to work” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 11/11).

NAMES: F1 Management Chair BERNIE ECCLESTONE “complained that his ex-wife spent ‘in excess’ of [US$19M] on their daughter’s wedding this summer as he gave a German court an insight into the family life of Britain’s fourth richest man” (LONDON TIMES, 11/11)....MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations JOE TORRE’s Safe At Home Foundation on Thursday held its ninth annual gala at Pier Sixty of Chelsea Piers in N.Y. Torre had “several former Yankees and celebrities in attendance to help raise funds for his foundation, which is dedicated to ending the cycle of domestic violence across society” (, 11/10)....Baltimore Racing Development has “missed all its deadlines for planting trees downtown to make up for” the 198 trees cut down for the city’s inaugural Grand Prix event on Labor Day (Baltimore SUN, 11/11)....Yankees C JORGE POSADA sold his home in Tampa last week for $4.5M “after being originally listed for $7.2 million in January 2010.” Posada had dropped the price to $6.5M in September (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/11).