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Volume 24 No. 117

People and Pop Culture

Wrestler JOHN CENA, on behalf of the WWE, gave a check for $1M to Susan G. Komen for the Cure during last night’s broadcast of “WWE Monday Night Raw” on USA Network. WWE Exec Chair & CEO VINCE MCMAHON introduced Cena, who presented an oversized check inside the ring to Susan G. Komen VP/Marketing DOROTHY JONES and ERIC BRINKER, nephew of SUSAN G. KOMEN. The WWE at Cena’s urging had collaborated with Susan G. Komen for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Cena, whose brother SEAN was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, wore co-branded pink and black ring gear, including a T-shirt and pink cap with the slogan “Rise Above Cancer.” The WWE in a release said that the campaign generated 500 million impressions for Susan G. Komen, including 300 million during TV broadcasts. Cena said the collaboration was “unnatural but a perfect fit.” He added the campaign is “a wonderful asset for Susan G. Komen, because they get to send their message on a global platform to an audience that may or may not be familiar with what national Breast Cancer Awareness Month is.” Cena said the campaign also shows the WWE is “a perfect way to showcase your brand.” Cena: “I know a lot of brands are out there with predetermined stereotypes about what WWE is. It is not that. We can run a successful campaign, a successful promotion, with virtually anything." Jones said Cena’s “passion about our mission” helped the two organizations come together quickly, from a first meeting in late July through the campaign’s launch at WWE's Night of Champions in Boston on Sept. 16. Jones added as the two sides became educated about each other’s businesses, “there were more synergies than differences.” Jones said that negotiations are underway to extend the partnership over the next 12-18 months, including exploring promotions focused on survivors’ families outside of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

The PGA Tour Humana Challenge named Marra Enterprises CEO BOB MARRA Exec Dir & CEO, replacing Tournament Chair LARRY THIEL, who served in the role since '10 (Humana Challenge). In California, Larry Bohannan noted Thiel stepped down to "spend more time in Colorado because of family medical matters" (, 10/29).

EXECS: The Hornets promoted JIMMY POLK to Exec Dir of Basketball Administration, SHANE KUPPERMAN to Dir of Basketball Operations and DAVID BOOTH to Dir of Scouting (Hornets)....Comcast/Charter Sports Southest named Sports Fan Properties Founder GREG BARCKHOFF General Sales Manager of CSS Sports Properties (CSS)....The Boys & Girls Clubs of America named DC-based law firm Patton Boggs Policy Adviser WILLIAM BRIGHT Dir of Government Relations (THE DAILY)....Jackson Motorsports Group named DARRELL JACKSON President & CEO (JMG)….The Univ. of Toledo promoted DAVE NOTTKE to Senior Associate AD/Development & External Affairs, HEATHER LUTZ to Assistant AD/Marketing & Sales, DAN STRONG to UT Foundation Major Gifts Officer and JOSH DITTMAN to Development Specialist (Toledo).

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In Austin, John Maher writes two weeks ago Circuit of the Americas e-mail subscribers “received a message touting ‘Must See -- Circuit of the Americas History Video!’” Those who clicked on the link “saw what looked like a mistake: a 12-minute YouTube video of former circuit partner TAVO HELLMUND talking during several press conferences and interviews.” Circuit of the Americas organizers are now “suing Dallas-based Rocket Red in district court in Travis County about that email, claiming its subscriber list was compromised.” Circuit officials said that the “unauthorized message, from F1 COTA News, was sent to a subscriber list that existed in January 2011, which is about the time the circuit’s contract with Rocket Red to manage its website was terminated” (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 10/30).

NEW AUTHORITY: GOLF WORLD MONDAY's Ryan Herrington reported Monumental Sports & Entertainment Vice Chair SHELIA JOHNSON has become “the first African-American female to sit on the USGA Executive Committee.” Johnson will “hardly be a figurehead at the USGA.” Her participation on the committee “will provide not just a diverse voice but an authoritative one” (GOLF WORLD MONDAY, 10/29 issue).

CAR COMPETITION: In Boston, Richard Murray reported the NASCAR Kinetics competition this year will have 18 universities “competing nationwide.” It is “divided into three sections.” Students “do two case studies, one on Activision’s video game 'NASCAR' and the other on up-and-coming NASCAR driver MARTIN TRUEX JR., and then they organize a viewing party for a NASCAR race.” The Univ. of Massachusetts team is “tied for first place” with Syracuse Univ. (BOSTON HERALD, 10/26).

NAMES: The Bengals have partnered with Lumina Foundation for Education and CollegeAdvantage to promote awareness of the importance of higher education. The team is making offers to the community of merchandise, autographs and a scholarship (Bengals)….Red Sox Chair TOM WERNER is investing in Blaze Pizza, a “new California chain serving ‘fast-fire’d’ thin-crusted pizza in under two minutes for less than $7” (BOSTON HERALD, 10/30)….“Live!” co-host and former NFLer MICHAEL STRAHAN sold his town house in Hermosa Beach, Calif., for $1.725M (, 10/29)….New Balance has “expanded its real estate empire” in Brighton, Mass., by “snapping up two commercial properties several strides” from the company’s corporate headquarters. There are “no specific redevelopment plans at this point” (BOSTON HERALD, 10/29)....ADWEEK awarded NASCAR Senior VP & CMO STEVE PHELPS its Brand Genius Award for Sports (ADWEEK, 10/29 issue)….Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN will be the opening keynote speaker for the 50th anniversary edition of the NATPE/Content First conference in Miami Beach in January (, 10/29).