People Who Made Sports Business Headlines In 2012, Part One
Many brands, execs and ideas caught our eye in ’12. Here are six that, for better or worse, made an impression this year.
UNIV. OF MARYLAND PRESIDENT WALLACE LOH: Loh was the driving force behind the school's surprise move to the Big Ten. Faced with an athletic department that was broke, Loh spearheaded the decision to leave the ACC, a conference that Maryland helped start. In doing so, Loh expects the department to be in good financial hands for the foreseeable future.
BROWNS OWNER JIMMY HASLAM III: Haslam may have wanted to buy his home state Titans, but ultimately “settled” for the Browns. Haslam bought the Browns from Randy Lerner, whose late father Al was the original owner of the Browns after they came back into the league in '99. Haslam, who must still sell his 12.5% interest in the Steelers, will need to energize a fan base that has grown tired of losing.
LOCOG CHAIR SEBASTIAN COE: The Olympic Gold Medalist’s stirring speech to the IOC in ‘05 was credited with clinching the votes that awarded London the ‘12 Olympics. Coe followed that by leading an organizing committee that hosted a memorable Summer Games, unblemished by any major issues.
MLBPA EXEC DIR MICHAEL WEINER: Weiner already had a reputation for a tireless work ethic, and little has changed following a shocking diagnosis in August of an inoperable brain tumor. While undergoing treatment, Weiner has kept a regular work schedule, traveled extensively during the postseason, and has been negotiating with MLB on changes to the sport’s drug policy.
GRIZZLIES OWNER ROBERT PERA: Pera and his ownership group paid a reported $377M to buy the Grizzlies from original Owner Michael Heisley. But the 34-year-old Pera added some heavy-hitting celebrities to the club's roster of stakeholders, including entertainer Justin Timberlake, former NBAer and Univ. of Memphis standout Penny Hardaway and the wife of Broncos QB Peyton Manning.
VIKINGS VP/PUBLIC AFFAIRS & STADIUM DEVELOPMENT LESTER BAGLEY: For 13 long years, Bagley toiled to land a new stadium for the Vikings. This year, his patience and persistence finally paid off. Bagley played a key role in getting a deal done with state officials to build a $975M stadium in Minneapolis, ensuring the team’s future in the Twin Cities.