Gawker Media today announced editorial changes in which Deadspin editor-in-chief A.J. DAULERIO will shift over to run celebrity gossip site Gawker.com. TOMMY CRAGGS, previously Deadspin's senior editor, will be promoted to run that site. Daulerio took over Deadspin from founding editor WILL LEITCH in June '08, and pushed the sports blog in a darker, more aggressive direction, particularly with regard to sexual scandals involving pro athletes and ESPN personalities. Perhaps most notably, Deadspin last year achieved record site traffic after paying for risque photos and voicemails allegedly belonging to former NFLer BRETT FAVRE. Deadspin averages more than 2.6 million monthly unique users, according to internal metrics, roughly five times the typical traffic when Daulerio took over the site. The changes take effect Jan. 1.
People and Pop Culture
The USTA promoted Managing Dir of Marketing SUE HUNT to CMO, reporting to Chief Exec of Community Tennis KURT KAMPERMAN. In addition to overseeing all marketing, advertising and promotional activities, Hunt also will oversee the USTA Membership Department (USTA). Hunt "wants to make 2012 all about talking to kids." She has "spearheaded a major partnership with Nickelodeon." The net beginning in March "will air a number of specially created USTA ads, and next September, a tie-in with Nick's 'Worldwide Day of Play' will result in 1,000 free tennis 'playdates' for kids nationwide" (ADWEEK.com, 11/27).
EXECS: In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports USA Today Sports Media Group named Sports Illustrated National Ad Dir ROB KLIGMAN VP/Eastern Sales. Meanwhile, BOB PHILP is leaving 16W Marketing after 11 years to join CAA Sports as an agent (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/28 issue)....The Angels named Orioles Dir of Baseball Operations MATT LENTAK Assistant GM (Baltimore SUN, 11/24).... JOHN KENNEDY, founder of L.A.-based sports and entertainment marketing company J. Kennedy & Associates, has been named the first commissioner of the National Basketball League of Canada (THE DAILY)....Golf Canada Dir of High Performance DOUG ROXBURGH will retire from his position on Dec. 31. He will assume a consulting role with the organization following his retirement (GLOBEANDMAIL.com, 11/27)....Darlington Raceway named Michigan Int'l Speedway Manager of PR DENNIS WORDEN Dir of PR (THE DAILY).
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Free agent 1B ALBERT PUJOLS Wednesday said that DAN LOZANO "will remain his agent and that he will not change representation in response to an online report that used unnamed sources to allege his agent was involved in sordid activities." Deadspin.com Tuesday "published an article that was based on information mailed to the site in a 'plain manila envelope.'" The site claimed the envelope contained a description of "Lozano's rise to power by any means necessary." The article alleged "money troubles for Lozano, harassment and improprieties." Lozano "declined comment and referred questions to his attorney" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 11/25).
POLLING PLACE: In N.Y., Adam Himmelsbach wrote one "peculiar aspect" of the formula that determines who gets to play for the BCS National Championship game is the Harris Interactive College Football Poll. The 115-person group of voters in the poll -- which includes former financial consultants, TV execs and IRS employees -- "will have a significant say in determining the matchups." Members of the panel include former PGA Tour Dir of ShotLink JACK WHITE, former Turner Sports President and YankeesNet CEO HARVEY SCHILLER and former Notre Dame SID ROGER VALDISERRI. Schiller said of the poll, "I think, to do it correctly, it's a 12-month, everyday operation" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/25).
MAKING PREDICTIONS: Former U.S. Sen. GEORGE ALLEN, who is “hard at work running to succeed retiring” U.S. Sen. JAMES WEBB (D-Va.). “still finds time every Friday evening to make some NFL picks, calling in to ‘The Tony Mercurio Show’ on ESPN Radio.” Allen predicts the winners “for a few football games, as well as the coming weekend’s NASCAR race.” Allen “has been making picks on Mercurio’s show since 1997.” Allen does “not use point spreads; he simply guesses the winner.” He “usually picks only five games per week” (WASHINGTON POST, 11/25).
WINE SPECTATOR: Former NBAer YAO MING is “launching his own Californian winery geared exclusively for the Chinese market this week called Yao Family Wines.” Distributed by Pernod Ricard SA, bottles in the “first 5,000-case run will be labeled simply Yao Ming and aimed at the top end of the market.” The wine, “made from cabernet sauvignon grapes harvested in 2009 from California’s Napa Valley, is priced at [US$289] a bottle.” Yao Family Wines currently “doesn’t own any vineyard in California, but is aiming to acquire land in the next few years” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/28).
EASTERN INFLUENCE: In N.Y., Paul Brownfield profiled Newport Sports Management’s SUSANNA GORUVEYN and noted no “conventional job title -- interpreter, personal assistant, fixer -- quite conveys” what she does for Russian NHLers. Newport Sports Management on its website “describes Goruveyn as handling ‘client care needs’ for its Russian players.” But the “business of importing Russian hockey players is down.” The firm "had only six Russian speakers in the NHL at the start of the season, where once that number was in double digits" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/25).
NAMES: Nike Chair and Univ. of Oregon alum PHIL KNIGHT said of the State Board of Higher Education’s decision to oust Univ. of Oregon President RICHARD LARIVIERE, “It deeply saddens me that some people in power in our state continue to drive Oregon into a death spiral with their embrace of mediocrity.” He added, “It’s yet another application of Oregon’s Assisted Suicide law. For the Chancellor and the State Board of Higher Education, a ‘team player’ is someone who falls in line with their acceptance of mediocrity, and the one who strive for excellence does not fit in” (OREGONLIVE.com, 11/23)....NASCAR Friday fined driver KURT BUSCH $50,000 for using an obscene gesture and engaging in “profanity-laced conversations with ESPN’s Dr. JERRY PUNCH,” who interviewed Busch during the Nov. 20 Sprint Cup Series Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/26)....The city of Buffalo will name a one-block stretch of the street that connects the Buffalo News and the First Niagara Center “JIM KELLEY Way,” after the late sportswriter who covered the Sabres and the NHL for many years (NJ.com, 11/27)....A vacant industrial building in Park Forest, Illinois, has been sold to a company owned by former NFLer RICHARD DENT, who plans to turn it into an energy research and training center (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/25).