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Volume 24 No. 134

People and Pop Culture

ESPN Int’l named ARNE REES VP/Int’l Digital Media. He will be based in N.Y. and report to Exec VP & Managing Dir RUSSELL WOLFF. Most recently, Rees was ESPN VP and Assistant to the President, working directly with GEORGE BODENHEIMER. Rees joined the company in ’06 as VP/Int’l Development (ESPN)….FS South and SportSouth named Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic VP/Advertising MARC LESAGE VP & General Sales Manager (FSN).

FOOT PATROL: adidas AG promoted VP/Finance & Global Sales CLAUS HECKEROTT to adidas Group India Managing Dir. Heckerott replaces SUBHINDER SINGH PREM, who “has left the company with immediate effect.” adidas Group India COO VISHNU BHAGAT has “also left with immediate effect.” FREDERIC SERRANT was also named Sales Dir for the group. Serrant previously held the same position for adidas in France (, 3/26)….Louisville Slugger parent company Hillerich & Bradsby Co. named Under Armour Senior Dir of Global Footwear Sourcing & Product Development CHARLIE BROWN VP/Global Supply Chain & Sourcing. Brown also spent 28 years at Nike. The company also promoted TERRY NELSON to Treasurer/Controller (Hillerich & Bradsby).

HOSTS WITH THE MOST: ’12 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee President & CEO ALLISON MELANGTON will succeed SUSAN WILLIAMS as Indiana Sports Corp. President. Williams “plans to retire in September after leading the ISC since 2005.” Melangton spent 14 years at Indiana Sports Corp. before taking the helm of the Super Bowl committee (, 3/23)….The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee named utility company Salt River Project President DAVID ROUSSEAU Chair. Rousseau replaces MIKE KENNEDY, who is “stepping down after more than seven years” (, 3/26).

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In Phoenix, Craig Harris notes the Fiesta Bowl, in an "ongoing effort to fix past mistakes, disclosed Monday that it likely owes the federal government $136,350 in excise taxes for unreported employee compensation the past five years and for staff being reimbursed for making illegal political campaign contributions" since '00. The IRS has the power to "revoke the tax exemption for egregious offenses." The exemption allows non-profits such as the Fiesta Bowl "to avoid paying federal and state income taxes." The bowl does "not expect to lose the exemption" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/27).

TIME SHEET: In S.F., Bob Egelko notes former MLB Giants Payroll Manager ROBIN O'CONNOR, who admitted embezzling $2.2M from the team, yesterday was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison "after a hearing in which the Giants opposed her request for leniency." O'Connor has "paid back $960,000 and was ordered Monday to pay an additional $1.456 million to the Giants, which includes more than $200,000 for the team's costs of investigating her." Attorney SHARON BUNZEL said O'Connor caused a "fair amount of havoc" for the Giants. O'Connor also "still hasn't accounted for more than $500,000" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/27).

WHAT A JOKER: Sunday night's edition of CBS' "60 MINUTES" profiled tennis player NOVAK DJOKOVIC. CBS' BOB SIMON noted Djokovic has "rocked the sports royalty, RAFAEL NADAL and ROGER FEDERER, and unlike them he seemed to be having fun." Simon said the tennis court "served as a haven for Novak because the country he'd been born into, Yugoslavia, was coming apart, quickly and violently." Simon said Djokovic is now Serbia's "new face. Wherever you go in Belgrade, you can't avoid (billboards and images of Djokovic) which is exactly the way Serbs want it to be." Simon told Djokovic, "The president of Serbia has said that you are the best public relations the country has ever had." Djokovic responded, "That's a lot of responsibility. ... I feel the pressure" ("60 Minutes," CBS, 3/25). Meanwhile, Djokovic said he "loved staying in the Olympic Village during the Beijing Games but said he and his Serbian teammates would be renting a house close to Wimbledon for the London Games." Djokovic said, "It's more convenient for us to be closer to the Wimbledon tennis courts and be able to come in time for practices and matches and not be worried about the traffic in London that can be horrible sometimes" (REUTERS, 3/22).

NAMES: Developer MICHAEL STERN was arrested Friday "on federal wire fraud charges for allegedly helping swindle" Colts DE DWIGHT FREENEY in a California restaurant deal. Stern was charged along with Freeney's L.A. business manager EVA WEINBERG (MIAMI HERALD, 3/27)....Univ. of Alabama football coach NICK SABAN's contract has been extended through Jan. 31, 2020. Barring his departure or amendments to the two-year extension, he will make $44.98M, or an average of $5.6M over each of his eight years with the school (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 3/27)....The Tony Hawk Foundation gave $25,000 toward the construction of a skateboard park in Baltimore's Roosevelt Park (Baltimore SUN, 3/27)....Chiquita Brands Int'l signed a deal to lease over 130,000-sq-ft in Charlotte's NASCAR Plaza. The building will feature some form of Chiquita branding on it. NASCAR Plaza has struggled to attract tenants since it opened adjoining the NASCAR HOF (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/27).

GET WELL SOON: ARNOLD PALMER is "out of the hospital and back at work." He was released yesterday morning after being hospitalized overnight due to high blood pressure from new medication (AP, 3/26)....Thoroughbred trainer BOB BAFFERT suffered a heart attack yesterday morning in Dubai and is "resting comfortably in a hospital there after having stents inserted into two arteries" (DAILY RACING FORM, 3/27).