MSG Sports named Mets Exec VP/Business Operations DAVE HOWARD President, effective April 9. Howard will be responsible for running the business operations of the Knicks, NHL Rangers, WNBA Liberty and AHL Hartford Whale, as well as the management of the company's Sports Properties unit. He joins MSG Sports after more than two decades with the Mets. In the wake of Howard's departure from the ballclub, Mets Senior VPs DAVID NEWMAN and PAUL ASENCIO and VP/Ticket Sales & Service LEIGH CASTERGINE will join Senior VP/Venue Services & Operations MIKE LANDEEN in reporting directly to COO JEFF WILPON (THE DAILY). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir noted the position of MSG Sports president "has been vacant since last September when SCOTT O'NEIL left after four years on the job." Howard's departure comes as Madison Square Garden "approaches the completion" of a nearly $1B renovation. While with the Mets, Howard became the team's "most-available executive on subjects like season tickets, attendance declines, dynamic ticket pricing, promotional events like the return of Banner Day and the decision to bring in the left field fence" (NYTIMES.com, 3/25). Also in N.Y., Marc Berman wrote O'Neil resigned last summer after he and MSG Exec Chair JAMES DOLAN "had grown weary of each other." Sources said that former Knicks President of Basketball Operations DONNIE WALSH "thought O'Neil became too intrusive in the basketball operations when the genesis of the job is marketing and business with the Knicks and Rangers and the arena's other sports properties." The role of MSG Sports president "used to be more involved in the basketball end when STEVE MILLS and DAVE CHECKETTS held it previously." Now, season ticket and suite sales, marketing and game presentation and community relations are "its focal point" (NYPOST.com, 3/25).
People and Pop Culture
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area promoted Senior Account Exec JASON LIU to Local Sales Manager (CSNBA)....The MLS Dynamo named the following to their digital media team: former London Times soccer reporter TOM DART, CSN Houston anchor and reporter SEBASTIAN SALAZAR and former Cowboys reporter SARA ECKERT (Dynamo)....Tuskegee Univ. AD PATRIC SIMON will step down due to personal matters (Tuskegee)....Prairie View A&M Univ. AD FRED WASHINGTON will step down, but remain on the school's exec staff as VP/Auxiliary Services (Prairie View)....Dominican Univ. of California named Colorado School of Mines Associate AD BRANDON LEIMBACH AD (Dominican).
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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’S Stephan Lee writes ESPN’s MIKE GREENBERG’s new book “fits squarely into the ‘women’s fiction’ genre.” Greenberg “gave himself the intimidating task” of writing “All You Could Ask For” from the “perspective of three different women.” Each one “gets a shocking diagnosis of breast cancer, and they forge a tight bond via an online support group.” Greenberg, to get the female voices right, “enlisted his wife, his agent’s wife, and his yoga teacher to serve as an ad hoc focus group.” His earnings from book sales “will go to the V Foundation” (ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, 3/29 issue).
TWEET, TWEET: In Atlanta, Michael Carvell notes Univ. of Georgia football coach MARK RICHT now “has more than 62,000 followers” on Twitter. He was a “pioneer” in the social media platform as one of the “first college coaches to sign up for an account and tweet on a semi-regular basis.” He joined in ’09, but his “initial interest faded quickly.” These days, with “recruiting on his mind, Richt is a Twitter regular.” He claims that he “does the tweeting himself” (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 3/26).
AWARDS & RECOGNITION: USC’s athletic department received a $5M gift from the Otis Booth Foundation to endow its community service program and fund a coordinator’s position that will be named in honor of former QB MATT BARKLEY (LATIMES.com, 3/25)….The Oakland Sports HOF named Baseball HOFers RICKEY HENDERSON, FRANK ROBINSON, JOE MORGAN, Basketball HOFer BILL RUSSELL, former NBAer GARY PAYTON, former MLBer CURT FLOOD and Int'l Tennis HOFer DON BUDGE to its inaugural class (SFGATE.com, 3/23).
NAMES: The UMass-Amherst Mark McCormack Department of Sport Management announced Ducks scout BRIAN BURKE will be its next Executive-in-Residence guest (UMass-Amherst)....RORY MCILROY, a UNICEF ambassador for Ireland, will “spend part of his week before the Masters on a humanitarian mission in Haiti” (AP, 3/25)....SugarTime Sports Management signed tennis player JENNIFER CAPRIATI to a management deal for PR and communications (SugarTime)….NASCAR driver CLINT BOWYER has “asked a South Dakota judge to dismiss a motorcycle company’s lawsuit against him that alleges he didn’t pay for $31,000 of custom work it did on his Harley-Davidson.” Klock Werks Kustom Cycles in Mitchell, S.D., said that it “did the work on Bowyer’s motorcycle about four years ago” (JSONLINE.com, 3/25)….USAIN BOLT opened a club and restaurant called Tracks & Records in Jamaica (London INDEPENDENT, 3/24)….Rapper DRAKE will perform live following the 12th annual Jordan Brand Classic on April 13 at Barclays Center (Nets)….MLBers CC SABATHIA, JUSTIN VERLANDER, MIGUEL CABRERA, PRINCE FIELDER and golfer BUBBA WATSON were among those in attendance last night for the Heat’s win over the Magic at Amway Center. Seats “remained vacant for” golfer TIGER WOODS, who “never showed up after his victory at Bay Hill” (PALM BEACH POST, 3/26).