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Volume 24 No. 155

People and Pop Culture

This week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL features its list of "The 50 Most Influential People In Sports Business." Topping the list was NBCUniversal President & CEO STEVE BURKE, who "set the direction" for the many deals NBC closed this year. Every major decision he made "set off a confluence of action or reaction in the industry," and the company "was at the table for virtually every major sports rights negotiation." It "overwhelmed" IOC execs with its "aggressive bid for the four Olympic Games, while also winning bids for the NHL and MLS." NBC also "is poised to retain the NFL's 'Sunday Night Football.'" Burke "has influenced the process even when NBC was outbid." And over the course of the year, Burke "moved to instill a Comcast culture throughout NBC," which showed "in his influence on personnel matters" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/12 issue).

MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN SPORTS BUSINESS
RANK
EXEC
1
NBCUniversal President & CEO Steve Burke
2
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig
3
ESPN President George Bodenheimer and EXEC VP/Content John Skipper
4
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
5
Fox Sports Media Group Chair David Hill, co-President & COO Randy Freer
and co-President & COO Eric Shanks
6
NBA Commissioner David Stern
7
IOC President Jacques Rogge
8
Patriots Owner Bob Kraft
9
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman
10
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones
11
AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke
12
Turner Broadcasting President of Sales, Distribution & Sports David Levy
13
CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus
14
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem
15
Nike Inc. CEO Mark Parker and Nike Brand President Charlie Denson
16
NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus
17
NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France
18
IMG Sports & Entertainment President George Pyne
19
FIFA President Sepp Blatter
20
Lakers Owner Jerry Buss and Exec VP/Business Operations Jeannie Buss
21
NFL Exec VP/Media and NFL Network President & CEO Steve Bornstein
22
Time Warner Cable Exec VP & Chief Programming Officer Melinda Witmer
23
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott
24
Wasserman Media Group Chair & CEO Casey Wasserman
25
Fenway Sports Group Owner John Henry
26
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver
27
MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan
28
DirecTV Exec VP/Content Strategy & Development Derek Chang
29
NCAA President Mark Emmert
30
MLS Commissioner Don Garber
31
ESPN Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Sean Bratches
32
adidas Chair & CEO Herbert Hainer
33
A-B InBev CEO Carlos Brito and VP/Global Connections Maarten Albarda
34
CAA Sports co-Heads Michael Levine and Howard Nuchow
35
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive
36
NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith
37
Under Armour CEO & Founder Kevin Plank
38
MillerCoors President & CCO Tom Long and CMO Andy England
39
USOC Chair Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun
40
Yankees Managing General Partner & co-Chair Hal Steinbrenner
41
UFC Chair Lorenzo Fertitta and President Dana White
42
MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner
43
Coca-Cola Senior VP/Marketing Alison Lewis
44
MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman
45
Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban
46
Bruins Owner and Delaware North Chair & CEO Jeremy Jacobs
47
NHLPA Exec Dir Don Fehr
48
NFL Exec VP/Business Ventures Eric Grubman and
Exec VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash
49
Octagon President & CEO Rick Dudley
50
StubHub CEO Chris Tsakalakis

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer ANDREW JUDELSON is leaving for a job running the sales efforts of WWE. Judelson, who will report to CMO MICHELLE WILSON, will start his new job as Exec VP/Sales & Partnership Marketing Jan. 2. The position will entail selling across all aspects of the wrestling circuit's inventory, including individual talent, and the WWE's TV network, which will be launched in April. Judelson has been at USSA since May '10. Prior to that he held the CMO title at SI and held various marketing slots at the NHL, Sprint and Clarion (Terry Lefton, THE DAILY).

EXECS: Sponsorship analysis firm Repucom named SHAHID SEN and ED FITZPATRICK Exec VPs for Asia. Sen will head the Asian Revenue & Sales division, while Fitzpatrick will be responsible for Product Development & Client Servicing (Repucom)…. ESPN.com Senior Editors HEATHER BURNS and JOY RUSSO have been named espnW.com Deputy Editors. Philadelphia Inquirer 76ers beat writer KATE FAGAN has joined espnW.com as a writer (ESPN)….The Univ. of Texas-Arlington named Univ. of Texas Associate AD JIM BAKER AD (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 12/13)….Brown Univ. AD MICHAEL GOLDBERGER will retire at the end of the academic year after 38 years at the school, including the last seven as AD. The school will conduct a national search for his successor (Brown)….Florida Citrus Sports named MICHAEL CALDWELL PA Announcer. Caldwell will work the Champs Sports Bowl and Capital One Bowl  (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 12/13).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

In London, Paul Kelso reports FBI investigators will "travel to the Caribbean this week as they continue their probe into allegations of widespread FIFA corruption." Investigators are "pursuing lines of inquiry on several fronts after interviewing CHUCK BLAZER, the American FIFA executive committee member at the heart of the investigation." Blazer is being "investigated following allegations that he failed to declare payments linked to CONCACAF television deals to the US tax authorities." The FBI is "thought to be working through information provided by Blazer as well as examining a raft of allegations made following the flawed FIFA elections for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts a year ago, and the presidential election this summer" (London TELEGRAPH, 12/14).

HOLDING HIM TO THE FIRE: In Canada, Derek Abma reports THEO FLEURY is "calling for the firing" of Montreal Gazette sportswriter PAT HICKEY, who called the former NHLer "'hypocritical' in a column over recent remarks Fleury made about the justice system’s handling of GRAHAM JAMES, the former junior hockey coach who sexually abused Fleury and other players." Hickey in an article Tuesday "called out Fleury for saying Canada’s justice system didn’t do enough to keep James behind bars." Hickey wrote that Fleury "only went public with his allegations against James more than a decade later in his autobiography, 'PLAYING WITH FIRE.'" Hickey added it was “hypocritical that Fleury can blast the justice system for giving James two months of freedom when he provided his former coach with years.” A website for Fleury posted a statement calling on the public to "demand" from the Gazette that "Pat Hickey be fired immediately" (NATIONAL POST, 12/14).

CAMPAIGN FINANCES: In DC, Dan Steinberg reported Redskins Owner DAN SNYDER is supporting Republican presidential candidate MITT ROMNEY's campaign. Both "Snyder and his wife TANYA gave the maximum $2,500 to the Romney campaign back in June." Those are their "only contributions to a Presidential candidate so far this election cycle." Wizards and Capitals Owner TED LEONSIS "gave $2,500 to the Obama re-election effort in the same month" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/13).

TWITTER TIPS: Patriots WR CHAD OCHOCINCO discussed the impact Twitter and other online communications have had on his career during a guest lecture in Emerson College professor DAVID GERZOF RICHARD's Social Media Class. Ochocinco offered his "five tips to rock" Twitter: be inventive, don't censor yourself, use it as a dating site, have comebacks ready and do it yourself (BOSTON HERALD, 12/14).

FAMILY SHOW BIZ: Mavericks F LAMAR ODOM said that he "hasn't spoken to Mavericks owner MARK CUBAN about whether he'll continue" doing a reality show with wife KHLOE KARDASHIAN. Odom: "I'll talk to him about it. It is what I do, but if it's going to get in the way, that's something that I have to talk to my teammates about and Coach (RICK CARLISLE) and Mark" (DALLASNEWS.com, 12/13).The second season of Kardashian and Odom's spinoff series, "KHLOE AND LAMAR" will premiere at 10:00pm on Feb. 19 and it will "capture the couple's impending move to Texas" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 12/13).

NAMES: Patriots TE ROB GRONKOWSKI "spent an hour at Gillette Stadium in front of the cameras shooting promos" for Cartoon Network that will run in late January (BOSTON HERALD, 12/14)....The Safeway Classic yesterday announced that it will "donate $1 million to local children's charities from its 2011 staging, marking the sixth consecutive year the LPGA Tour event has hit the million-dollar mark" (Portland OREGONIAN, 12/14)....NBA Kings President of Business Operations MATINA KOLOKOTRONIS is "fighting back against a Southern California company that has been pursuing the business assets of her estranged husband," SOTIRIS. She "filed suit last month against an affiliated company of Ayres Advisors LLC claiming 'malicious prosecution' over a lawsuit the company filed and then later dropped that had accused the couple of fraud" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 12/13)....Microsoft co-Founder and Trail Blazers and Seahawks Owner PAUL ALLEN and aerospace pioneer BURT RUTAN yesterday announced that they are “building a giant airplane and spaceship to zip people and cargo into orbit.” But unlike traditional rockets and government spaceships, the new commercial spaceship “will drop from a high-flying airplane instead of blasting off from a launch pad” (Portland OREGONIAN, 12/14)….NFL free agent TERRELL OWENS has been “simultaneously slapped with court papers by three different women for alleged unpaid child support totaling $35,000” (N.Y. POST, 12/14)….Saints QB DREW BREES is scheduled to appear on an upcoming episode of “SESAME STREET” (NOLA.com, 12/13).