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Volume 24 No. 157

People and Pop Culture

SMI Chair & CEO BRUTON SMITH was profiled on Charlotte's WCNC-NBC yesterday, with WCNC’s Ira Cronin calling Smith “one of the icons in the world of racing.” Cronin said, “Bruton Smith built a billion dollar business empire with Speedway Motorsports. He’s had his share of controversy, but now he’s looking forward.” Smith said of critics calling him confrontational, “I think possibly that might be true.” When asked if the label “controversial” also was appropriate, he said, “Maybe.” Smith: “When I really go back and look at that it’s usually jealously and that’s okay.” WCNC's Greg Bailey said Smith’s relationship with NASCAR Chair & CEO BRIAN FRANCE “seems to have reached a new peak.” Smith: “He’s done a god job taking over NASCAR. I got to say some of the time, he listens.” Bailey said in "some ways, his hard edges have softened, but not when it comes to" former SMI President & CEO HUMPY WHEELER. Smith’s split with Wheeler "made headlines three years ago." Smith, when asked about Wheeler, simply said, “Former employee of Speedway Motorsports.” Bailey added, “Perhaps more than any other pairing in racing, Smith and Wheeler made magic, from the first Cup race at night to condominiums at the track. But Smith prefers to look ahead instead of back, telling us he wants Speedway Motorsports to grow even bigger” (WCNC-NBC, 1/18).

Crow said he would like to change the overcommercialization of sports
In our continuing series, SportsBusiness Daily/SportsBusiness Journal asks top sports personalities for their thoughts, ideas, aspirations and likes. Today, Synergy CEO TIM CROW.

What I Like…

An insight: A great sponsorship activation should feel like something that only your brand can do. If you can easily substitute another brand into the activation -- especially one of your competitors -- start again.

An influential person in my career: KAREN EARL, Synergy Chair. I’m privileged to have known Karen for most of my working life and to have worked with her since I joined the business in '99.

An out-of-the-box idea: Don't think of fans as communities to be managed -- think of them as ecosystems to be nurtured.

A timeless idea: There are only two sorts of deals: good ones and bad ones.

A sports facility: Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona. Watching a big match there is an unforgettable experience.

A naming-rights deal: The O2 in London. Naming rights reimagined as 21st century marketing, not 20th century badging.

A sports event: London '12. Fairly top-of-mind right now!

A strategy: P&G’s “Proud Sponsor of Moms” Olympics strategy. Credible, powerful and very differentiating.

A hire: Manchester United hiring -- and in the early years staying loyal to -- Sir ALEX FERGUSON.

A brand: Apple. Quite simply the brand of our times.

A marketing campaign: Since Nike found its soccer voice 10 years ago, watching its soccer business evolve through a series of consistently brilliant campaigns has been fascinating.

A trend: The revolution in sports and entertainment marketing created by social media.

An innovation: Real-time and location-based marketing: '12 will, I suspect, be a breakthrough year.

A Twitter user/account: I follow around 200 people, but if I had to single out one it would be PAUL KELSO (@pkelso), the Daily Telegraph’s chief sports correspondent, who is consistently intelligent and entertaining.

A story that bears watching: The evolution of sports marketing in the BRIC economies.   

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: Facebook.

A fantasy job: Founder, Time Machines Inc.

What I Like About…

My job: The people I work with.

Sports: Matchups between immortals, such as [MUHAMMAD] ALI v. [JOE] FRAZIER when I was growing up, or more recently [ROGER] FEDERER v. [RAFAEL] NADAL.

Sports business
: The energy.

Sports media: Nowadays, the ability to customize it.

Sports technology: In golf, it¹s helping me to improve despite getting older!

Competing: Winning.

The future of sports business: The inevitability of improved governance.

Sports fans: The humor.

What I Would Like To…

Change: The overcommercialization of much of sport in recent years.

Change in what I do: Have less competitors!

See: More of my wife and daughter.

See more of in sports
: Good governance.

See more of in sports business: Marketers.

See less of in sports: Poor governance.

See less of in sports business: Salesmen.

See different: An increased emphasis on qualitative research.

: Rights holders making cut-and-paste pitches to brands without doing any prior research on them as businesses.

What I Don’t Like...

In general: Apathy.

Pet peeve: Poor spelling and grammar.

In sports: Cheating.

In business: People who live by rules rather than values.

About sports fans: The minority who use their support as an excuse to be anti-social.      

What I Like…

People: Who always give their very best.

That would surprise those who know me: I find a lot of sports boring.

Above all else: Spending time with my family.

About myself: I’ve been a non-smoker for over a year now.



Team: FC Halifax Town.

Olympic sport: Anything Team GB wins a medal in at London '12.

City: New York City.

Possession: Wedding ring.

Memento: My late father's wallet.

Time of year: Summer -- I love the heat.

Music: I have eclectic tastes but default to MILES DAVIS.

Books: I love IAN FLEMING’s James Bond stories. So much better than the Bond movies.

Authors: If I had to choose one it would be CHARLES DICKENS.

Magazines: I occasionally buy a golf magazine.

Websites: Too many to mention. I do virtually all my reading online.

Gadget: Kindle.

IPad app: Anything we’re creating for a client.

Chore: Mowing the lawn.

Hobbies: Golf and the gym.

Trip: We love heading up to the North Norfolk beaches.

Movies: Any good thriller.

TV: “The Wire.”  

Concerts: London theater and musicals.


Food: Sushi.

Dessert: Ice cream.

Drink: Vodka.

Scent: Freshly mown grass.

Vacation spot: Miami Beach.

Car: Mini Countryman.

Aftershave: Davidoff Cool Water.


Quote: I'm hoping to hear JACQUES ROGGE say "This was the greatest Games ever" at the London '12 Olympics Closing Ceremony in August.

The Cubs have made a series of front office promotions as part of an internal reorganization. JODI REISCHL has been named Senior Dir of Finance. BRIAN GARZA has been named Dir of Ticket Sales. CONNIE FALCONE has been named VP/Development for Chicago Cubs Charities. MIKE VAN POUCKE has been named Assistant Controller. JOHN MORRISON has been named Manager of Brand Activation/Marketing. DREW COOK has been named Associate for Strategy & Development (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

EXECS: Fox Sports Media Group formally named AMC Network Exec Development Consultant MICHAEL BLOOM Senior VP/Original Programming (Fox Sports)….The Cavaliers named former NBAer ZYDRUNAS ILGAUSKAS Special Assistant to the GM (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 1/19)….The Brewers named former MLBer CRAIG COUNSELL Special Assistant to the GM (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/17)….Concordia Univ. named REGAN TEKAVEC Assistant AD (Concordia)….Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway named PATRICK KENNY Communications Coordinator (THE DAILY).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to

In Toronto, Feschuk & Westhead cite sources as saying that Rangers and Flyers alumni who played in the NHL's Dec. 31 Winter Classic alumni game "weren’t paid for their services." One source said that he had "heard they were paid a nominal fee of $200." While airfare and accommodations were "covered, some players actually spent money to play" in the game. Airline baggage fees "meant lugging hockey equipment to Philadelphia cost about $50 to $100." Those who "didn’t want to travel with hockey sticks could purchase one in the dressing room for $50." Looking back, NHL alumni and their advocates are now "expressing emotions ranging from disappointment to mild disgust that the ex-players who commanded the crowd didn’t receive a more substantial chunk of the proceeds." Feschuk & Westhead note the planning for the alumni game "is mostly left to the home team," and the Flyers "did not respond to repeated requests for comment" (TORONTO STAR, 1/19).

ON THE RECORD: The N.Y. TIMES' Thamel & Viera interviewed a group of 13 Penn State trustees, who spoke yesterday about the "somewhat frantic, certainly exhausting week that led to the firings" of football coach JOE PATERNO and school President GRAHAM SPANIER and to the "disturbances on campus that those dismissals set off." The board "decided to share its story because it grew weary of hearing criticism." The trustees, over "three hours, described how they had felt blindsided by Spanier's failure to keep them informed of the nature and scope of the Pennsylvania attorney general's investigation" of former assistant football coach JERRY SANDUSKY (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19).

: In N.Y., Howard Beck reports Basketball HOFer KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR was named a U.S. cultural ambassador yesterday, "with a mission of promoting education, racial tolerance and cultural understanding among young people around the world." Abdul-Jabbar "leaves Sunday for a six-day assignment in Brazil and will visit at least four more countries this year." He is the "first sports figure to be named cultural ambassador during the OBAMA administration" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19).

CHARITY STRIPE: The Magic's charitable foundation gave out $1M in grants yesterday to "19 nonprofit organizations in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, boosting efforts to improve literacy, education and healthy lifestyles, and alleviate homelessness" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/19)....Boxer FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR. yesterday "made good on a promise to a Nevada judge to donate $100,000 to a breast cancer support organization." Mayweather gave the money to officials from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure research and support foundation. His lawyers had "promised the judge who sentenced Mayweather in December in a domestic battery case that the boxer would make the donation" (AP/ 1/18).

NAMES: Film producer BARRY JOSEPHSON and his company, Josephson Entertainment, are partnering with West Omaha Films to produce "THE MAGICIAN," a biopic of pro football's first black starting QB, MARLIN "THE MAGICIAN" BRISCOE. Screenwriter GREGORY ALLEN HOWARD, who wrote "REMEMBER THE TITANS" and worked on "ALI," wrote the script "detailing Briscoe's rise to the top" and his "meteoric fall" (, 1/18)....Golfer BYEONG-HUN AN, the '09 U.S. Amateur champion, has signed with agent CHUBBY CHANDLER's Int'l Sports Management (, 1/18)....Former NFLer AHMAN GREEN received the '12 Red Smith Award Tuesday at the 47th annual Red Smith Sports Award Banquet. Green is "considering a career in broadcasting" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 1/19)....GQ ranked Nationals P STEPHEN STRASBURG No. 47 on its "50 Most Powerful People In Washington" list (, 1/18)....Former MLBer JOE MAGRANE’s daughter SHANNON appeared on last night’s season debut of Fox' "AMERICAN IDOL" as she auditioned for a spot on the show. Shannon was voted into the next round by all three judges (ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 1/19)….The Players Dir of Sales & Marketing JARED RICE was named top sales person of the year for PGA Tour-owned events during the tour's recent winter meetings in Boca Raton (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/19).

IN MEMORY: MARTY SPRINGSTEAD, who umpired MLB games for 20 years and “supervised major league umpires as an executive for more than 20 more, died on Tuesday” of a heart attack while swimming at a club near his home. He was 74 (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19).