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Volume 24 No. 132

People and Pop Culture

DAVE CHECKETTS envisions building Legends Hospitality Management into an "international sports-marketing and entertainment business that advises franchises on media strategy, financing and building stadiums, then helps sell tickets and suites and handles concessions," according to Matthew Futterman of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Checketts today was named Chair & CEO of the Yankees- and Cowboys-owned company, and he said, "This is the exact kind of platform I was looking for when I started SCP. It's two legendary brands and two great stadiums." Futterman notes the move "represents a soft landing as he moves from daily oversight" of sports-investment group SCP Worldwide. SCP "will continue, and Mr. Checketts will still be chairman, but his full-time job and daily focus will be on Legends." Checketts said that he has "raised $50 million from private investors during the past year and is paying an undisclosed amount for a minority stake in Legends." Legends handles concessions and "premium hospitality at Yankee Stadium, Cowboys Stadium and a handful of minor-league venues." However, he and Legends' investors from the Yankees, Cowboys and Goldman Sachs "are aiming to acquire media properties and perhaps sports events." Yankees President RANDY LEVINE said, "We're open to different types of opportunities. The whole idea is to be expansive and not have any barriers." Checketts said Legends has an annual revenue "above $200 million" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/18).

The UFC will announce a pair of hires today as it continues to build out its television production side to meet increased programming commitments that came as part of its deal with the Fox Sports networks. KIEREN PORTLEY joins the UFC as VP/Studio & Spanish Production. ZACH CANDITO signs on as event producer for UFC's weigh-in and pre- and postfight shows on Fuel TV. Both come from ESPN, where they worked on the studio show "MMA Live." Portley, who will be based in L.A., was the coordinating producer behind the launch of "MMA Live," which started as an show and graduated to ESPN2 last year. He was responsible for all cross platform original content and sales integration at ESPN Deportes. Candito, who was at ESPN for five years, also was a producer on "MMA Live." He will be based at UFC's Las Vegas HQs. UFC is expected to account for about one-quarter of the programming on Fuel TV this year, network execs have said (Bill King, SportsBusiness Journal).

EXECS: Peak Performance named adidas Group Nordic Managing Dir HENRIK BUNGE CEO. He will join the company by May 1. Peak also named TOBIAS SACHS Sales Dir, effective Feb. 29 (Peak Performance)....Quiksilver named CLARK GUNDLACH Senior VP & GM of Winter Sports in the Americas. He most recently served as Senior VP/Sales, National Accounts, Sales Operations, Licensed Store Platforms & Multi-Channel Distribution in North America and the Southern Hemisphere for the Burton, RED and Anon brands (Quiksilver)....VenuWorks promoted TIM SULLIVAN to VP & CFO and RUSS FERGUSON to VP/Food & Beverage Services (VenuWorks)....The Broncos promoted Dir of College Scouting MATT RUSSELL to Dir of Player Personnel. The team also named BRIAN STARK West Coast Scout (Broncos)....Infineon Raceway promoted Senior Manager of Marketing RACHAL POLLEN to Dir of Marketing (Infineon Raceway)....Natural and organic products company the Hain Celestial Group appointed MSG Sports President SCOTT O'NEIL to its BOD (Hain Celestial).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to's Matthew Leach noted PRESIDENT OBAMA and First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA yesterday "greeted the World Series champion Cardinals at the White House." A contingent of "more than 30 entered the East Room around" 3:30pm ET. Obama quipped he was "a little disappointed I had to leave my White Sox jacket in the closet for another year." Cardinals Chair BILL DEWITT JR. gave the Obamas "matching Cardinals World Series jerseys, each emblazoned with the couple's last name and No. 44" (, 1/17).

QUARTERBACK CLUB: In Ft. Worth, Jimmy Burch notes golfer TIGER WOODS will be paired with Cowboys QB TONY ROMO at the PGA Tour AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am tournament. Monterey Peninsula Foundation President & CEO OLLIE NUTT said that the tournament has been in touch with Broncos QB TIM TEBOW and "hopes to hear by the end of the week whether he will accept an invitation to play." Patriots QB TOM BRADY is "also expected to play" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/18). Meanwhile, Brady is on the front of the latest SI Kids issue, but he "looks like 'E.T.'" The cover of SI Kids' Science-Fiction Spectacular reads, "Tom Brady Is An Alien!" Patriots coach BILL BELICHICK "was also cloned by the aliens" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/18).

NAMES: A real estate company led by Padres Chair JOHN MOORES is "in escrow to buy the historic Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, which last changed hands in the late 1950s." The 21-acre property was "put on the market last fall." At the time, CB Richard Ellis Hotels broker BOB KAPLAN, whose company is handling the sale, said that he was "hoping to attract an offer in the mid- to low-$30 million range" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/18)....The Broadway show "MAGIC/BIRD" will open April 11 at N.Y.'s Longacre Theatre. Previews will begin March 21 (THE DAILY)....Browns President MIKE HOLMGREN will be the Packers' "lone inductee at the 42nd Hall of Fame induction banquet on July 21 at the Lambeau Field Atrium." Holmgren coached the team from '92-98, including their win in Super Bowl XXXI (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 1/18)....The Int'l Association of Venue Managers announced Comcast-Spectator Senior VP/Business Development MICHEL SAUERS is the recipient of this year's Joseph J. Anzivino Distinguished Allied Award, which recognizes members who have made extraordinary contributions to the venue management industry. IAVM also announced RBC Center Assistant GM LARRY PERKINS the recipient of this year's Charles A. McElravy Award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions to the professional venue management industry (IAVM).

IN MEMORY: Former Winnipeg Free Press sports editor HAL SIGURDSON died Monday at 79 after a "long and unyielding battle with Alzheimer's disease." Sigurdson was sports editor of the Free Press from '76-89 and worked as a sports columnist there until he retired in '96 (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 1/18).