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Volume 24 No. 156

People and Pop Culture

The producers of "MAGIC/BIRD" yesterday announced that the Broadway show will play its final performance on Saturday, May 12. Producers FRAN KIRMSER and TONY PONTURO said, “We are so proud that we were able to do this on Broadway, and though it ran a limited time, it attracted many new audiences to the theater as well as provided a vehicle for many young people to attend their first show. We hope to inspire new audiences through future sports stories in the theater (THE DAILY). In N.Y., Erik Piepenburg wrote the “critically-panned drama” will have played “23 previews and 38 regular performances.” Playwright ERIC SIMONSON’s last sports-based drama, “LOMBARDI,” about the former Packers coach, “did better, playing 31 previews and 244 regular performances last season” (, 5/1). ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’s Mark Snetiker wrote the show opened “to negative reviews on March 21 and struggled right out of the gate, taking in less than 20 percent of its potential gross in its first week.” And after receiving “no Tony nominations -- which could potentially have kept the show alive a few weeks longer -- it appears that the short-lived play has officially run out of magic” (, 5/1).

SBD/SBJ has made the following additions to its editorial ranks: CHRISTOPHER BOTTA has joined SBJ/SBD as a staff writer covering the hockey and soccer beats and will work out of N.Y. He worked for nearly 20 years for the Islanders, including the last nine as their VP/Communications. After leaving the team in '08, he wrote for AOL Fanhouse and has freelanced for the N.Y. Times for the last two years, contributing coverage on the Rangers and the NHL. He can be reached at ADAM HARRIS has joined SBD as an Assistant Editor in Charlotte. He previously served as a TV News Producer for News 14 Carolina and had previous stints at VYPE Magazine and Capitol Broadcasting Company. He can be reached at adamharris@sportsbusinessdaily.comJOE PEREZ has also joined SBD as an Assistant Editor in Charlotte. He spent the last six years as a sports writer for the Norwich Bulletin and had previous stints at the Yomiuri Shimbun and the NBA Daily. He can be reached at JILLIAN FAY has joined SBD as a Staff Writer. She has been working for the Sports Business Group in Charlotte since September and has focused her efforts on the SBJ/SBD Resource Guide and Fact Book. Prior to that, she worked at Major League Lacrosse and She can be reached at (THE DAILY).

EXECS: Spire Capital announced that PBR CEO JIM HAWORTH has been promoted to Chair & CEO, effective immediately. Haworth will continue to oversee the day-to-day duties of the organization, but will expand his focus to drive the expansion of the sport internationally, while capitalizing on TV and digital media to expand PBR's fan base (PBR).....In Mobile, Ala., Mike Herndon wrote the Senior Bowl has named PHIL SAVAGE Exec Dir, succeeding longtime Senior Bowl President & CEO STEVE HALE. Herndon wrote, "Critical for Savage in his new position will be the continuous courtship of sponsorship for the game" (, 5/1)....Dodgers Senior VP/Public Affairs HOWARD SUNKIN and Vice Chair JEFF INGRAM have left the team (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/2)....The Raiders yesterday added RALEIGH MCKENZIE to the team's scouting department. McKenzie is the twin brother of team GM REGGIE MCKENZIE. Also yesterday, the Raiders released scouts JON KINGDON, a 33-year veteran of the club, and BRUCE KEBRIC, who had been with the team for 31 years (, 5/1)....Boston-based law firm Jackson Lewis has hired College Hockey Exec Dir PAUL KELLY as a partner. Kelly previously served as NHLPA Exec Dir from '07-09 (Jackson Lewis)....The Univ. of San Diego has promoted Associate AD/Compliance & Student Services and Senior Woman Administrator SHANEY FINK to Senior Associate AD. Fink will officially begin her new role on June 1 (USD)....Ball State Univ. has named Florida Atlantic Univ. Dir of Compliance MEGAN COYNE to the same position (BSU).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to's Enrique Rojas reported Born to Play Academy President EDGAR MERCEDES, who helped A’s RF YOENIS CESPEDES reach a deal with the team, yesterday “filed an arbitration claim for breach of contract” against Cespedes in the Dominican Republic. Mercedes said that Cespedes “promised to pay 17 percent of his contract to the academy for representation, training and food” while the MLBer and his family stayed in the Dominican Republic. Mercedes added that Cespedes owes another 5% to Wasserman Media Group and agent ADAM KATZ, who represented him in contract negotiations. Mercedes said that he has not “spoken with Cespedes since spring training” (, 5/1).

RUN TO YOU: THE DAILY caught up briefly with Marlins President DAVID SAMSON today, four days after his 52.4-mile, charity-driven run from Pompano Beach, Fla., to Marlins Park. Samson has now raised more than $600,000 for 10 various charities. He said today was the first day he has run since Friday. Samson: “I feel great. It took me two days to recover, and today I ran for the first time since Friday. I ran just four miles today, but I took four days off.” Donations can continue to be made at (THE DAILY)....IMS President & CEO JEFF BELSKUS will “run his 16th mini marathon in the past 25 years” next Saturday when he participates in the annual OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (, 4/30).

TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.: The Univ. of Southern California yesterday announced that it received an $8M gift from former USC swimmer FRED UYTENGSU “for an aquatics complex.” The university said that the gift “was the largest ever made to the athletic department by a former athlete.” The main pool at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center will be named for Uytengsu’s former coach, PETER DALAND, who won nine national championships with USC from '58-92 (L.A. TIMES, 5/2)....In L.A., Pringle & Lin II report the public officials who run the L.A. Memorial Coliseum "have agreed to give up decades’ worth" of free USC football tickets they negotiated for themselves in a “proposed lease that would surrender control” of the stadium to the school. The Coliseum Commission has also "relinquished access to a VIP hospitality area at the taxpayer-owned stadium for Trojan contests as well as a possible bounty” of free NFL tickets if a professional team were to ever use the facility as a temporary playing field (L.A. TIMES, 5/2).

POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE: TNT analyst and former NBAer SHAQUILLE O’NEAL will graduate Saturday "with a doctoral degree in education” from Barry Univ. O’Neal will join 1,100 graduating students at the commencement ceremonies at the James L. Knight Center in Miami. The university said that over the course of more than four years, O’Neal “took 16 courses, completed 54 credit hours and carried a grade point average of 3.813." His degree is in Organizational Learning and Leadership, with a specialization in human resource development (, 5/1).

SAYING GOODBYE: The funeral of former USOC President Dir DR. LEROY WALKER drew hundreds of people to the Duke Chapel in Durham yesterday. The 90-minute ceremony was “fitting for a man who had gained international stature during his 60-year career.” U.S. Rep. G.K. BUTTERFIELD (D - NC) read a letter from U.S. President BARACK OBAMA and First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA. A horse-drawn "glass caisson waited to take Walker’s casket to burial” outside the chapel (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 5/2).

: Chesapeake Energy announced yesterday that it would replace CEO AUBREY MCCLENDON “as chairman and prematurely end an arrangement that granted him the right to buy a 2.5 percent stake in every well the company drilled.” McLendon, an investor in the Thunder, will remain the company’s CEO (N.Y. TIMES, 5/2). McClendon borrowed as much as $1.1B in the last three years by pledging his stake in the company's oil and natural gas wells as collateral (THE DAILY)....CableFAX honored its '12 winners of the CableFAXIES, Sales Execs of the Year and Sales HOF Fame yesterday. ESPN President of Customer Marketing & Sales ED ERHARDT in accepting his award noted ESPN Exec VP/Sales & Marketing SEAN BRATCHES, among others, helped him succeed (CABLEFAX DAILY, 5/2)....Yankees President RANDY LEVINE has joined the Taylor Hooton Foundation BOD (THE DAILY)....Reports indicate that former NFLer WARREN SAPP is “in the process of filming his own program -- presiding as a courtroom judge" (, 5/1)….CFL free agent WR BRAD SMITH will star in the Canadian version of "THE BACHELOR" reality TV show (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 5/1)....Actor JAKE JOHNSON, who stars in Fox' "NEW GIRL," caught a foul ball hit by Phillies SS JIMMY ROLLINS at Monday's Cubs-Phillies game (, 5/1)....Former NFLer KEVIN MAWAE spoke Monday at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Banquet in Alexandria, La. "about being Christian athletes" (, 5/2)....Golfer RORY MCILROY was "hanging around" with Gold Medal-winning snowboarder SHAUN WHITE yesterday at Quail Hollow Golf Club in advance of this week's PGA Tour Wells Fargo Championship (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/2).