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Volume 24 No. 156

People and Pop Culture

Disney & ESPN Media Networks promoted VP/Marketing CHRIS BRUSH to Senior VP/Affiliate Sales & Marketing and Digital Video Distribution Group Senior Dir CHRISTEN HARRIS to VP/Digital Video Distribution within the affiliate sales and marketing team (ESPN)….Competitor Group named BRIAN METZLER Editor-in-Chief for Competitor Magazine and The company also promoted KURT HOY to Group Content Dir (Competitor).

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The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Daniel Barbarisi notes when it comes to Yankees Managing General Partner & co-Chair HAL STEINBRENNER’s hotel business, which he has “never discussed in detail, Steinbrenner's enthusiasm tips to something even the most dedicated Yankee Kremlinologists may not know.” Building his “modest” $70-75M hotel business “may be the thing that gave him the confidence, if not the trust from his father, to take full control of the Yankee empire.” Steinbrenner “somewhat unexpectedly took the reins of the Yankees” in ‘08, but he has “kept his distance from the limelight.” Even as he “supervised construction of the team's $1.5 billion stadium and emerged as the undisputed head of the family business, he avoided making news the way his father had.” He has become “known for being quiet, direct, precise and focused on the bottom line.” Steinbrenner “rarely ventures out to the hotels anymore,” and his involvement in the business “had begun to wane” by ’07. But he said that the lessons of the hotel business “are never far from mind.” Steinbrenner: "Put a good product out there. Whether it's a baseball team or it's furnishings in a room" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/29).

BIG D IS FOR DONUTS: In Dallas, Karen Robinson-Jacobs reports Dunkin’ Donuts is “again targeting North Texas for growth,” and this time the “game plan includes” Pro Football HOFer TROY AIKMAN and Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES. Dunkin’ Brands Group is expected to announce today that it “will join Jones’ family and Aikman to form a limited partnership, similar to one in which Jones’ family partnered with Papa John’s to open pizza restaurants in Texas.” The doughnut team -- called “Star Dunkin’ LP -- hopes to open at least 50 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth in the next five years.” Aikman said that the “first new store is set to open in Southlake in April” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/29).

AWARDS & RECOGNITION: Former NBA coach DON NELSON yesterday “got a phone call informing him” that he will be on the Basketball HOF ballot (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/29). ...Former Univ. Of Maryland basketball coach GARY WILLIAMS will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Washington Metropolitan Basketball HOF at a ceremony on May 5 (, 3/28)....GARY PLAYER will become the 10th recipient of the PGA Tour’s Lifetime Achievement Award on May 9 (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 3/29).

NAMES: Knicks G JEREMY LIN on Tuesday had lunch with former Editor ANTHONY FEDERICO, who was “fired last month for writing a headline about Lin that included a racially insensitive word.” Federico said, “It went incredible. .... We talked for an hour, I’m just so thankful” (NEWSDAY, 3/28)....The Bruins hosted the fifth annual Cuts for a Cause, a fundraiser that benefits the Boston Bruins Foundation and the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. A total of 17 Bruins players got their hair cut (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/29)....HarperCollins Publishers imprint William Morrow yesterday announced plans to release Heat G DWYANE WADE’s book, “A FATHER FIRST: HOW MY LIFE BECAME BIGGER THAN BASKETBALL,” in September. The book “talks in part about Wade’s struggles growing up in Chicago and how he’s incorporating some of the lessons he learned into raising his own family” (AP, 3/28)….About 15 people from the Pacers organization, including six players, saw “MAGIC/BIRD” in N.Y. Tuesday night. Pacers coach FRANK VOGEL said, “I loved it. I thought it was great” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/29)….Mavericks F DIRK NOWITZKI, who played junior tennis as a child, visited the Sony Ericsson Open to watch matches last night (MIAMI HERALD, 3/29).