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Volume 24 No. 154

People and Pop Culture

In our continuing series, SportsBusiness Daily/SportsBusiness Journal asks top sports personalities for their thoughts, ideas, aspirations and likes. Today, Fenway Sports Management and Red Sox Senior VP/Marketing & Brand Development ADAM GROSSMAN.

What I like in an insight: "Just keep showing up," courtesy of Red Sox President & CEO LARRY LUCCHINO, to whom I'll be forever grateful for helping me get my start in sports, when I asked about my future with the club on the last day of my internship with the Red Sox.

An influential person in my career: My father, NED GROSSMAN, who taught me that "Can't doesn't exist," "There's no substitute for hard work" and "It's better having everyone in the room think you're stupid than opening your mouth and proving it."

An out-of-the-box idea: Seven-inning baseball games and a fourth-inning stretch.

A timeless idea: Tailgating.

A business deal: The evolution of the StubHub deal with MLB and its impact on the industry is fascinating to watch.

A sports facility: Cameron Indoor Stadium. I'm biased, but even Duke haters should experience a game there.

A sports event: I saw the Australia-Spain Davis Cup finals while in Barcelona. It was one of the most memorable sporting experiences of my life.

A strategy: 1) Hit 'em straight. 2) Hit 'em where they ain't. 3) Deliver content on your fans' terms, not yours.

A hire: LARRY SCOTT becoming Pac-12 Commissioner. A progressive visionary who has distinguished and transformed the conference in a short time frame.

A brand: Equinox Fitness. I gained a little insight into the way it approaches its business and the market while I was with the Dolphins. They do a great job of defining who they are, building partnerships that augment the customer experience, and providing communication and touch points to solidify relationships with its members.

A trend: The growth of soccer within the U.S. With the country's changing demographics and proliferation of international coverage with Fox and ESPN, "The Beautiful Game's" influence and popularity in this country will continue to expand.

An innovation: Disney Magic Band. Just another example of Disney leading the way: Magic Band will enhance the Disney experience and provides a "frictionless" spending environment while simultaneously acquiring insightful information on its customers.

A pro league or team business initiative: Liverpool FC's grassroots approach to its global Soccer Schools program. It operates in 11 countries, and LFC does a really good job of positively impacting local communities while establishing a lasting legacy and extending their fanbase in both mature and important emerging markets across the globe.

A story that bears watching: The impact of HDTV and the second screen and how the quality of broadcast sports and the second-screen experience will continue to impact the live-game experience.

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: The Muppets.

A fantasy job: Product tester for any large-scale athletic/fitness brand to ensure its products are specifically designed to meet the needs of highly mediocre athletes everywhere.

What I like about my job: The opportunity to work with some of the brightest people in the industry, like SAM KENNEDY and MIKE DEE, on some of the most iconic brands in all of sport, all wrapped up in a family-oriented environment. It's a rare combination, and I'm very fortunate.

Sports: I took my grandfather to Fenway Park when he was 85 years old. It will always be one of the most lasting memories of my career. Sport is one of the true bridges of societies and generations.

Sports business: Sports has become big business, yet at its core, it's still very much about that emotional bond between the fans and the teams they love.

Sports media: I don't like that they're never willing to be wrong and they rarely admit when they are.

Sports technology: Technology has bridged the gap between team and fan access to real-time stats. Fans now have every bit of information at their fingertips and the ability to see into decision-making processes as they happen on the field.

Competing: Knowing someone always does it better provides every bit of motivation you'll ever need.

What I would like to change: Restore college basketball to its former glory by increasing the NBA age limit. Go back to old-school college hoops where the majority of stars stay in school for at least three seasons. I know it¹s complicated, but I miss the old days.

In what I do: Talk to fans with greater frequency and experience firsthand what they see and feel at events. Working so closely with teams alters one's perspective and causes you to lose sight of what being a fan is all about.

What I would like to see more of: More opportunities for kids to experience that unique, definitive sports moment that creates a lifelong memory.

In sports: Sudden-death opportunities. Game 7s, overtimes, play-in games. MLB has done a nice job of developing more opportunities for thriller games.

In sports business: People who push the envelope -- bold personalities who help the sport even though they might not be universally loved.

See less of in sports business: Sponsors who spend money, but don't fully activate.

See different: Media should focus more on the stats that don't appear in the box score. More features on the lunch-pail, unsung heroes who are critical to the success of their teams. It's a pipe dream because the media loves to create stars, and fans, understandably, are naturally attracted to them. However, there are unsung heroes on all great teams.

What I don't like in general: Egos.

Pet peeve: Clutter.

In sports: Athletes who don't understand fans; fans who don't understand athletes.

In business: Protracted negotiations.

About sports fans: Short memories when it comes to on-field success.

What I like that would surprise those who know me: I bowled a 212 when I was 12 years old. (Those days are long gone, unfortunately.)

People: The maze of navigating individuals and teams is challenging and fascinating.

Above all else: Treat people fairly.

About myself: Committed to finding humor in most situations.

Hero: The highest compliment someone can pay me is that I'm my mother's son. She approached each day with enthusiasm, love, selflessness and tenacity.

Player: LEBRON, and it has nothing to do with basketball. I can't think of many people who had the spotlight starting at age 14 and, despite bumps, challenges and criticism, managed to conquer each phase. The intangibles he possesses go well beyond basketball, and he just keeps getting better.

Team: Blue Devils.

City: San Francisco. Scenery, technology and West Coast start times. Amazing combination.

Memento: Two World Series rings.

Time of year: April. Opening Day, Final Four, Masters, Easter, Passover. There's something for everyone.


Books: "The Art of Racing in the Rain," by GARTH STEIN; "The Given Day," by DENNIS LEHANE; "Wooden," by JOHN WOODEN; "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," by ROALD DAHL.


Magazines, websites: Sports Illustrated, Inc., Forbes.

Gadget: Popcorn machine.

iPad apps: MLB At Bat, HBO Go, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja.

Chores: The dishes and diaper changing with pit-crew-like efficiency. JACK ROUSH would be proud.

Hobbies: Running, biking and slowly learning Portuguese one Rosetta Stone at a time.

Trips: My wedding in Rio de Janeiro.

Movies: "The Big Lebowski," "The Shawshank Redemption," "The Karate Kid," "Dumb and Dumber."

TV: "Mike & Mike in the Morning," "Modern Family."

Concerts: SPRINGSTEEN at Fenway.

Food: Grilled yellowtail and fries at Garcia's in Miami.

Dessert: Mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Drink: Glenlivet on the rocks.

Scent: Sex Panther. If it's good enough for Ron Burgundy, it's good enough for me.

Vacation spots: Sarasota, Fla.

Cars: Honda CRV.

Aftershave: I don¹t shave often so I don¹t think I¹m qualified to comment.

Singer: I'd like ALICIA KEYS to sing at my birthday party one day.

Quote: "Eighty percent of success is just showing up," WOODY ALLEN. He's right.

Jordan Brand named former Trail Blazers COO SARAH MENSAH Senior Dir of Strategic Planning, effective April 1 (, 3/27)....MLB Network promoted Media Relations Coordinator LOU BARRICELLI to Media Relations Specialist (THE DAILY)....Howard Payne Univ. promoted KEN CARVER to Assistant AD/Compliance, ABRAM CHOATE to Assistant AD/Sports Information and JOSHUA PROCK to Assistant AD/Development (HPU)....Southern Vermont College promoted MICHAEL MCDONOUGH to AD (SVC).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to:

VARIETY’s Marc Graser reports that “two years before ROBERT IGER is set to step down as CEO of the Walt Disney Co., there’s already talk around Hollywood that the Mouse House chief may not be ready to give up the keys to the Magic Kingdom in 2015 as planned.” Disney has “not determined who will succeed him” at the end of March 2015, when he is scheduled to relinquish the CEO role after ten years in the job (VARIETY, 3/26 issue).

LEAD DOG: UConn yesterday announced that women’s basketball coach GENO AURIEMMA has “signed a new five-year contract” that will run through ’17-18. In Connecticut, Rich Elliott notes Auriemma will earn $10.86M in the deal "as the highest paid coach in the sport.” His current five-year, $8M contract “runs through” April 15. Auriemma will “receive a base salary of $400,000 for each year of the contract.” He also will receive $1.55M for “institutional speaking engagements and media related appearances” for a total of $1.95M in ’13-14. The speaking payment “will increase by $110,000 each year, except in the final year when it will increase by $120,000” (CONNECTICUT POST, 3/28).

YOUTH GROUP: ABC's Josh Elliott said Baseball HOF CAL RIPKEN JR. “has become baseball’s ambassador to children.” Ripken holds youth camps across the country and said, “I want to encourage more kids to play more baseball.” Elliott said it is a "mission he’s devoted to off the field as well, with a series of books for kids tackling the tough issues they face today.” Ripken said he “really enjoyed reading” growing up but “it was very specific to sports.” Elliott noted the book series is “fictional but draw from real life experience … growing up in a baseball family” (“GMA,” ABC, 3/27).

COURT REPORT: The AP's Dionisio Soldevila reported a court order unsealed yesterday in Santiago, Dominican Republic, requires A’s LF YOENIS CESPEDES “to pay 22 percent of the value of the contract he signed” with the team to EDGAR MERCEDES, the former agent who helped him secure the deal. Mercedes' attorney GUILLERMO ESTRELLA said that Cespedes “must pay nearly $8 million.” Cespedes' attorney CRISTIAN MARTINEZ said that he “still is reviewing the decision to see if there are any options to appeal.” Mercedes filed suit in '12, alleging that Cespedes "reneged on their contract” (AP, 3/27).

CHARITY STRIPE: MLB yesterday announced “an expansion of its efforts to help returning American veterans and their families with a new $10 million donation to Welcome Back Veterans.” Nearing the “five-year anniversary of the apolitical organization’s inception, this backing brings MLB’s total commitment” to the group to $23M (, 3/27)….Nationals CF BRYCE HARPER donated “40 Marucci wooden bats -- some new and some game-used” to the College of Southern Nevada. The school plays in the Scenic West Athletic Conference, a “wood-only league.” Some of the used bats “came from other major leaguers under contract with Marucci” (LAS VEGAS SUN, 3/27).

NAMES: Former Dodgers Owner FRANK MCCOURT’s ex-wife JAMIE “hit a home run” in court yesterday when a judge ruled she can “question" Blackstone Advisory Partners Senior Managing Dir PETER COHEN, who was "working for her husband when he allegedly undervalued the team by” more than $1.5B before their divorce (, 3/27). Cohen was “ordered to answer written questions in litigation” in the couple’s divorce settlement (N.Y. POST, 3/28)....Former Lakers coach PHIL JACKSON “has joined Twitter.” His avatar is the “photograph used as the cover of his upcoming book, 'Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.'” Jackson had “amassed more than 23,000 followers before he sent out his first tweet” (, 3/27)….Sharks C JOE THORNTON invited “Howard Stern Show” regular ERIC LYNCH to attend his “first-ever hockey game.” Both Thornton and Sharks Media Relations Manager TOM HOLY are “longtime Stern Show” fans (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/28)....Rush lead singer GEDDY LEE will throw out the first pitch at the Blue Jays’ home opener against the Indians on Tuesday (CP, 3/27)....Marlins P CARLOS ZAMBRANO sold his 13-room house in River Forest, Ill., for $675,000. That is “far below” his most recent asking price of $829,000 and the $1.2M he paid for the home in ’06 (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/28).