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Volume 24 No. 117

People and Pop Culture

BRAD CASPER built his career working with consumer products during stints as Dial President & CEO and with P&G. Now, after being named President of the Suns three months ago, he is looking to grow the NBA team's brand in Phoenix. But while he has immersed himself in learning the ins and outs of the sports business industry, he still takes the little time he has off to spend with his family. This weekend is no different, as he plans to relax at home with his wife and kids before heading to N.Y. for his first NBA presidents meeting.  

WELCOME TO THE SHOW: We have a home game on Friday night; it will be a late game with ESPN. That’ll mean Saturday -- my wife’s sister is in town -- I’ll probably end up having to take the two of them out to dinner or do some sort of entertainment. On Sunday, a family tradition -- I have three kids, one is in college but local -- we try to get the family together on a Sunday afternoon or early evening. … I’m leaving for N.Y. on Sunday because of the NBA Sales & Marketing Conference and presidents meeting. I’m actually looking forward to it since it is my first. And I’ll be going to Brooklyn that afternoon.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU: I have three teenagers, so we try to make Sundays a day in which we as a family can get together and celebrate each other. This past Sunday I made a mandatory New Year’s Day resolution dinner where everybody had to come to dinner with what they were most proud about from 2011 and what their New Year’s resolution would be for 2012. In six months from now I will take out all these pieces of paper and see how everybody is doing.

DINNER FOR FIVE, PLEASE: My wife is a great cook, so maybe we have her do a family dinner. But she’s learned that the kids, they are so wired. They’ve got their digital devices, etc. When we do something around our own dinner table we keep their attention for around 15 or 20 minutes. When we take them out to a nice restaurant we keep them captive for about two hours. Part of our strategy is to take them to nice places so that they spend more time talking with us, sharing parts of their lives, and less texting their friends.

RISE AND SHINE: I still roll out of bed on weekends probably 6:00 or 6:30. So even if we don’t get home until midnight I will probably still roll out at 6:00 or 6:30 because the dogs will see the first glimmer of light and think it’s time to get me up. We have four dogs and three of them sleep in our room.

ANIMAL HOUSE: We have two very large Bernese Mountain dogs, they’re kind of like Saint Bernards -- really big, beautiful dogs. And then we have two really small dogs. It’s really a menagerie of animals. We have two horses and two rabbits. When I’m in town and not travelling I take care of the pets almost all of the time.

GROCERY LIST: I spent 25 years of my career in consumer packaged goods, making packages, making products and so I actually enjoy going into the store and doing some shopping and looking at packaging and looking at how people have re-positioned things and looking at some of the brands that I used to work on and be associated with. … I spend more time in grocery stores than I think the average man does because it’s still to me kind of a fascinating playground for 25 years.

DAILY VARIETY's Stuart Levine reports Fox Sports Media Group has tapped MICHAEL BLOOM "to head an original programming division." The aim of the new division is to "create original sports-related programming that could air" as a lead-out for Fox' early Sunday NFL game when there is no doubleheader, with a goal of retaining "a portion of that massive NFL viewership." Fox is interested in "adding more online sports programming to its digital partners, and that effort would also fall under Bloom's purview." Fox Sports Media Group Chair DAVID HILL would like to make both Speed and Fox Soccer "a higher priority within the Fox Sports universe." Hill sees adding new programming to supplement live events "as a way to generate interest" in the channels (, 1/6).

CHANGES AT THE PALACE: Four Palace Sports & Entertainment execs "were dismissed Thursday as part of the company's restructuring" under new Pistons Owner TOM GORES. Those affected were Exec VP/Corporate Sponsorships DAN HAUSER, Exec VP/Booking & Marketing MARILYN HAUSER, VP/Corporate Sponsorships for the Advertising Department LARRY THOMPSON and Dir of IT & Business Systems MIKE GARRETT. The changes come as former Olympia Entertainment exec JEFFREY AJLUNI was named Pistons and PSE Exec VP & Chief Revenue Officer (DETROIT NEWS, 1/6). Dan Hauser had been with the Pistons since '78, while Marilyn Hauser had been with the Palace since it opened in '88 and booked the arena for about 15 years (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal).

EXECS: Quiksilver CFO JOE SCIROCCO has decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities. Scirocco, who has served in the role since '07, will continue in the position for an unspecified period of time while the company searches for his replacement (Quiksilver)....Premier Partnerships named Rockets Corporate Development Manager SCOTT WESSELS and Lakers Corporate Partnerships Manager MATT POPE Dirs of Corporate Partnerships (THE DAILY)....The Univ. of California-Santa Barbara named Lakers Dir of Athletic Performance & Player Development CHIP SCHAEFER Assistant AD for Sports Performance (UC-Santa Barbara)....YES Network promoted HR Manager GRACIE MERCADO to Dir of HR (YES)....The Marketing Arm named TOM EDWARDS VP/Digital Strategy. He previously worked for digital agency Red Urban (The Marketing Arm).

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ESPNW's Elizabeth Merrill profiled Saints co-Owner & Exec VP RITA BENSON LEBLANC, granddaughter of Saints Owner TOM BENSON, and noted what is "different from most NFL execs, is her transparency." LeBlanc can "somehow fit in anywhere, in a boardroom full of execs, at an art exhibit, or on the streets with fans. Everything she does, six years since Katrina, is still geared toward promoting New Orleans." LeBlanc serves as Chair of the NFL's Employee Benefits Committee in addition to her job overseeing the Saints' "sales and marketing, community affairs, and youth program initiatives, plus game-day entertainment and stadium operations." She was also a "key player in New Orleans' successful bid" for the '13 Super Bowl. Merrill noted it is "known throughout the franchise that LeBlanc will be her grandfather's successor" (, 1/5). 

HALL CONTROVERSY: In N.Y., Andrew Keh notes a "seemingly ordinary" portrait of former Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter BILL CONLIN has "created a singularly awkward situation for the Baseball Hall of Fame." The "reactions of some visitors underline the uncomfortable situation the Hall's museum faces" since four people last month came forward and accused Conlin of sexual molestation. In the aftermath of the allegations, "questions were raised about whether the Baseball Writers' Association of America, which voted Conlin the 2011 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink award, might strip him of the honor," or whether the Hall of Fame would "remove his display from its walls." But Conlin is "not scheduled to lose his distinctive place at the Hall until he is replaced by" '12 honoree, the Toronto Sun's BOB ELLIOTT (N.Y. TIMES, 1/6).

MAKING MOVES: In N.Y., Keith Kelly reports Penguins co-Owner RON BURKLE and Basketball HOFer MAGIC JOHNSON "have teamed up to buy BlackBook Media and its software arm, Access Network Co." The company will be "combined with Vibe Media, which the two teamed up to buy last year" (N.Y. POST, 1/6). In L.A., Pham & Fritz report Burkle Thursday also purchased Artist Group International, a N.Y. agency that books concerts. Burkle "concurrently invested in the movie business by taking a stake in independent movie studio Relativity Media" (L.A. TIMES, 1/6).

ACTION SCENE: The WALL STREET JOURNAL looks at the efforts to turn author LEE CHILD's popular character JACK REACHER and best-selling book “ONE SHOT” into a movie. Child at one time wanted HOWIE LONG for the lead role, which is now being played by TOM CRUISE. The “movie will begin with a sniper scanning a crowd at Pittsburgh's PNC Park ... before focusing on a group walking down a nearby path” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/5).

: TNT analyst CHARLES BARKLEY was recently spotted dining with NBC Sports Group Chair MARK LAZARUS and Senior VP/Communications GREG HUGHES at Del Frisco’s in N.Y., and some "started speculating that the Peacock execs were courting the TNT analyst for their rebranded NBC Sports Network." But sources said that Barkley met with Lazarus and Hughes "for more friendly reasons." One source said, "Mark and Greg and Charles have all been friends for years" (N.Y. POST, 1/6)....MLB umpire ANGEL HERNANDEZ on Saturday will host his second Miracle Golf Tournament at Binks Forest Golf Club in Wellington, Fla. All proceeds from the tournament will go to the Miracle League, a baseball league for young people with disabilities (PALM BEACH POST, 1/6)....Univ. of Michigan football coach BRADY HOKE will get a $125,000 bonus for his team's Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech on Tuesday. Hoke's contract "called for him to get $75,000 for a game such as the Sugar Bowl," but UM AD DAVE BRANDON last month said that Hoke "would get $125,000 because the game is a 'higher-end' bowl" (, 1/4)....The Milwaukee Business Journal named Brewers Senior Dir of Business Operations TEDDY WERNER to its "Forty Under 40" list for '12 (, 1/5)....ESPN reporter ERIN ANDREWS will replace ESPN's SCOTT VAN PELT as the emcee of the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards recognition dinner at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel on Feb. 2 (, 1/5)....The Neville Brothers will perform Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and CEE-LO GREEN will perform Sunday in advance of Monday night's BCS National Championship game. Admission to the concerts is free (, 1/5)....Former President BILL CLINTON attended Thursday's Panthers-Rangers game at MSG (, 1/5).