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Volume 24 No. 115

People and Pop Culture

This weekend marks the end of a long wait for DENNIS MANNION, in both his work and family life. Having taken the position last year as Palace Sports & Entertainment President & CEO, Mannion’s family only made the move to Michigan a little over a month ago. This weekend, he will take them out to enjoy the sights of autumn around their new hometown of Bloomfield Hills, about 25 miles north of Motown. In addition, Mannion is scheduled to have the final walk-through on renovations to the Palace at Auburn Hills -- a project six months in the making. Mannion took time to discuss his wife’s secret love of mushroom omelets and tales of walking his version of "Marley & Me."

CHECKING INTO THE PALACE: This weekend the Pistons have two games -- both on the road -- and I’m looking forward to watching them. We play on Friday against Oklahoma City and Saturday against Houston. But my other work-related activity is wrapping up almost $15 million worth of capital improvements to the Palace, so we have a checklist walk-through on Saturday. Usually people wouldn’t be that excited about going to work, but I’m pretty excited to get to the final list. It’s been six months and it means getting this thing done. So it’s going to be nice. It’ll take about four hours. It’s pretty extensive stuff that we did and my hope is that substantially, by the end of it, 95% of the work will be completed.

ROARING INTO THE WEEKEND: I’ll come into work to check in on our capital improvements, but we also happen to have the Ringling Brothers circus in town as well. So I’ll check on the show. I’m definitely going to check it out and make sure all the tigers are in their cages.

FAMILY FUN TIME: I’m also looking forward to spending time with friends and family. I haven’t been able to do that for a while. It’s great because my family is huge sports fans. … I’ve got five kids, but four of them are grown up and two of them married. Of the four older ones, one lives in San Diego, one in Los Angeles, one in Vegas and one in Manhattan and we’ve got the last one at home as a junior in high school. She’s into her first month of school and undoubtedly there will be something sports-related this weekend. She just started a soccer season to prepare for the spring, I think that’s on tap for this weekend. She just finished up with field hockey. She just seems to roll from one sport to the other. She got six letters in her first two years of high school in sports. I was too embarrassed to tell her I didn’t graduate with three.

LATE RISERS: We live in a town called Bloomfield Hills and right down the road there’s a town called Birmingham and we like to go to a place called Toast. They had one in L.A. that we liked and we found this one very quickly. That’s our hot spot generally for Sunday. We’re down to the last child, so we’re definitely the 11:00am, 12:00pm people rolling in. I’m usually working fairly late with games or events at the Palace, so on the weekend we’re late risers. 

HOT TAMALE: My wife is an omelets expert, so we’re big on massive-sized veggie omelets. She’s a mushroom freak, so we usually have different kinds of mushrooms in there, but for me it’s the hot peppers. Lots of different hot peppers, and first thing in the morning, it gets the metabolism rolling.

DOG DAYS OF FALL: I like to row, but I have a stationary rower in the house. I generally get to do that and a lot of walking if I can. Those are the two primary things I do ever since I gave up the title of Mr. America (laughs). We have an enormous-sized German Shepherd named Leila. She’s 135 pounds so my walks are like most people’s jogs. It’s anaerobic and aerobic with that dog. She’s big.

Just Marketing Int'l named former Wembley Stadium Head of Sponsorship CLIVE RICHARDS Senior VP/Partnership Development for Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Richards will report to JMI President of Int'l DAVID WEBB. Richards' most recent stint was with Engage Sports Media in an int'l business development role. Richards also spent eight years with IMG working in partnership sales and account management roles (JMI).

EXECS: The NASL N.Y. Cosmos named former MLS Red Bulls Managing Dir ERIK STOVER COO (N.Y. POST, 11/8)....The Red Sox named LAURENCE RONAN Medical Dir and DAN DYREK Sports Medicine Service Coordinator. Additionally, PETE ASNIS will stay on as Head Team Orthopedist (Red Sox)....The Pirates named BILL LIVESEY Senior Advisor to the GM. Livesey was previously Yankees Professional Scout from '08-11 (Pirates)....Dietz Trott Sports & Entertainment Management named MEGAN SIMMONS Manager (Dietz Trott)....Home Team Sports promoted Account Executive NICOLE LABROW to Manager of Partnership Development. Labrow will be based in Chicago and report to Senior VP/National Advertising CRAIG SLOAN (Home Team Sports)....Shamrock Sports & Entertainment named ROB COPPOLA VP/Partnerships & Analytics (Shamrock).

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A Havas Sports & Entertainment study conducted in September revealed that 51% of Great Britain believes the London Games made the country a better place. The study found that the two most recognized sponsors were McDonald's (55%) and Coca-Cola (52%), which were at the top all the way through the study beginning in March '11 (Havas).

LET’S BE FRANK: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Greg Keenan reports Magna Int'l Honorary Chair & Dir FRANK STRONACH is “stepping down from the board of directors of the company he founded in 1957.” Stronach said that he is “too busy starting a new political party in Austria and getting his latest venture -- a chain of steakhouses serving organic beef -- up and running to remain on the board of a company that is on track to surpass $30-billion (U.S.) in sales this year for the first time” (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/9).

THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN: Former MLBer JEFF KENT was voted off of “Survivor: Philippines” on Wednesday night. Only one contestant recognized Kent “as a former baseball player.” Kent said, “Part of the reason I did the show was to pull up the shades and let people see what I’m really like. I was only antisocial in baseball because of having to deal with jerks like you.” Kent ends the show with a 23-second rant, saying, “You know what pisses me off is that I think I’ve made about 60 million dollars playing baseball and I want this frickin’ million dollars in this game and it’s not even a million bucks it’s 600 grand by the time OBAMA takes it” (L.A. TIMES, 11/9).
NAMES: The U.S. Sports Academy awarded golfer ERIK COMPTON its Babe Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award this year (PGA Tour)….Late Baseball HOFer GARY CARTER’s Harley Davidson motorcycle will be auctioned to benefit charity at the Steiner Sports “Perfect 25th Anniversary Auction.” The auction also includes Baseball HOFer DON LARSEN’s perfect game uniform and ESPN college basketball analyst BOB KNIGHT’s NCAA championship rings (Steiner Sports)….Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT and team players via iPad “chatted with NASA astronaut SUNITA WILLIAMS,” a “loyal Patriots fan” who is currently aboard the Int'l Space Station (, 11/8)….Knicks F CARMELO ANTHONY on Thursday “went back to the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, one of many areas hit hard by last week’s hurricane, to hand out boxes of food and housing supplies to those in need” (, 11/8)….Main Events announced that it has signed former heavyweight title boxer EDDIE CHAMBERS to a promotional agreement and that Chambers “would move down to cruiserweight” (, 11/7)….Celtics G RAJON RONDO on Election Day visited Burke High School in Dorchester, Mass., and the visit “took students and school officials by surprise” and was “just to connect with kids” (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/8)….Bluewater Productions included Nets Owner MIKHAIL PROKHOROV in a comic book series (, 11/8).