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Volume 24 No. 117

People and Pop Culture

Former Monumental Sports & Entertainment Exec VP GREG BIBB has launched Capital Sports Ventures, a venture capital fund "targeting sports and lifestyle properties, with backing from veteran sports investor FRED SCHAUFELD's SWaN and Legend Venture Partners," according to Ben Fischer of the WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL. Bibb also "recruited" former Greater Washington Sports Alliance VP CHRISTOPHER BROWNE as Managing Dir. Bibb believes that Capital Sports Ventures can "provide money, expertise or both to launch them to the next level." SWaN & Legend is the "primary backer, and Bibb and Browne also put up personal investments." SWaN & Legend Managing Partner DAVID BOSSERMAN also is "on board as a board member and adviser." Bibb and Schaufeld in '12 "tested their idea by bidding to buy a majority stake in D.C. United from previous owner WILL CHANG, a previously undisclosed play." Bibb "credited his former bosses at Monumental," specifically Monumental Founder, Chair & CEO TED LEONSIS and Monumental Vice Chair SHEILA JOHNSON, for being "enthusiastic and supportive" as he built up the idea (, 4/23).

Sunday’s N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE cover story offers an excerpt from author BRIAN STELTER's upcoming book, "Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV,” which looks at the recent turmoil around NBC’s “TODAY” show. After the departure of ANN CURRY, "many NBC executives were coming around to the idea that it was the show that ‘didn’t work.’” NBCUniversal CEO STEVE BURKE began to clean up “Today” and put NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC into one division under the management of NBCUniversal Chair PAT FILI-KRUSHEL, "one of his most trusted executives." Fili-Krushel “wanted to make the show move faster and make its set feel warmer and friendlier." She also "wanted to replace its producer." About a month after the '12 London Games ended, Fili-Krushel met with NBC Olympics Coverage Exec Producer JIM BELL and “told him that he had a choice.” He could produce “Today” or he could produce future Olympics broadcasts, “but he couldn’t do both.” If Bell stayed at “Today,” Fili-Krushel said he needed to “do some soul searching.” Fili-Krushel told him to "decide if you have the energy to evolve this show.” Bell “held on for weeks, even while Fili-Krushel and NBC News President STEVE CAPUS started to consider candidates for his job." Eventually, he "chose the Olympics.” Stelter notes Bell “disputes this account,” and “says he chose to focus on the Olympics independently" (N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE, 4/21 issue).

One of six children and a self-described "inner city kid" from Newark, Nets and Barclays Center VP/Marketing ELISA PADILLA sharpened her marketing chops with HBO Sports, Nickelodeon, AT&T, the NBA and the Knicks before returning to her hometown in '10. But shortly after arriving at the Nets, their long-anticipated move out of New Jersey had Padilla entrenched in the task of transforming the team's brand, developing the "Hello Brooklyn" campaign after seeing a YouTube video based on the hit song by JAY-Z. She said of the campaign, "I liked it so much because it was just so simple. We wanted to make sure that we came into the borough in a very humble approach, and we wanted the voice to be from within the borough." The Nets' move to Brooklyn has seen success both on and off the court, with the team back in the playoffs for the first time since '07, and in the top five in NBA merchandise sales. Padilla recently spoke with THE DAILY about marketing to fans of all ages and ethnicities, how one goes about creating a superhero from scratch, and a why she cannot get enough of Instagram.

Creating the "BrooklyKnight" mascot...
He's actually a superhero. We didn’t want to just have a mascot in Brooklyn, we wanted to do something that was much cooler, something that was going to have an attitude, something that was cool and hip like the borough we were moving to. So we partnered up with Marvel and told them that we wanted to create something that was going to be a brand ambassador that was relatable to kids and adults. I’ve heard that some people love him, some people hate him, some people are scared of him, some people don’t understand. But on gamedays, you walk the concourse and he cannot go ten feet without being stopped.

Of kids and cultures...
One thing already on our road map is to develop a kids marketing platform, because what I learned at Nickelodeon is that you have to get in front of those kids. My goal is to get our brand in front of the young kids, so that they grow up with the brand affinity for the Nets, and become your season-ticket holders. ... Also, next season we want to launch a Spanish-language website that’s separate from the NBA. Brooklyn is so diverse, and we know that the Hispanic market is growing, but we also know that the Asian market is just as important, and the Russian segment.

Most of my time at work is spent thinking about...
Two things: One is selling tickets. I think about driving ticket sales in everything that we do, whether I’m reviewing a tweet or sending out an e-mail, I’m asking, “How is this helping us drive ticket sales?” The second thing is making sure that our brand is consistent. I’m very protective of our brand voice, because I think that it’s one thing to launch a brand, and it’s another to maintain it. We had a history in New Jersey, and a lot of people made the transition to Brooklyn. But sometimes old habits die hard, and sometimes things will come across my desk and I think, “No, no, no. We shouldn’t be doing this.”

Best advice I've ever received...
My parents always told me, “Work hard, and the rewards will come.” I live my life like that, literally that’s what I do every single day. I don’t take my job for granted. I come in every day knowing that I have to earn my chair. I’m one of six children, and my parents drilled two things into my head, and one was education. They said to me, “Anyone can take anything away from you. They can steal your pocketbook, they can steal your lunch, but they can’t steal your education.” And the second thing is that you have to work hard. Growing up, I don’t remember my mom or my dad missing one day of work.

The sports industry needs more of... 
A little bit more diversity. There are so many talented people out there that never make their way into sports organizations and I’m not sure why. I know it’s very, very competitive, but I still sit in meetings where I’m the only woman. And sometimes I’m the only minority, so, two categories. I was once in a meeting at HBO and said to my boss that there needed to be more diversity because we were marketing to Hispanics. And she said to me, “Elisa, that’s what you bring to the table. You look at the world not through the guy’s, the white man’s world, but you bring to the table his wife’s view. And you’re bringing a whole different view.” I see the world in a much different fashion sometimes, and that really helps me with my job.

First media I consume each day... 
Twitter, on my phone. I love it because I get the snippets. Then when I get into my office, if there’s something on Twitter that caught my eye, I’ll read it on my computer. I also listen to "Mike & Mike" on my way to work. GREENY (MIKE GREENBERG) is definitely my favorite because he’s just a diva in his own right, but he knows so much about sports and he’s so smart. What I don’t like about "Mike & Mike" is that sometimes they’ll banter, and it feels scripted.

Apps I'm using the most...
Nike Fit. I just got a Fuel Band 28 days ago, and I am obsessed. It’s really like a one-on-one interaction because it’s all about you. My second app is Instagram, I’m obsessed with that too. There are two others, Diptic is one, the other is Photo Fx. With Twitter, people are writing their opinions. But I'm a very visual person, and with Instagram I'm seeing their visual interpretations of the world.

Best way for me to relax... 
Sitting in the sun. My favorite spot in the entire world is a tiny, tiny little beach on the southwest part of Puerto Rico where my parents live. I usually try and get there a few times a year. And I have to tell you, when I go to sleep at night, I close my eyes and that’s the image that I have in my head.

Favorite music artist...
It's MARC ANTHONY, no contest. He did this duet with TITO BAMBINO, this other Spanish artist, and that’s the latest one that I downloaded.

The Univ. of Maryland named NCAA Associate Enforcement Dir MARCUS WILSON Senior Associate AD/Compliance (UM)….The Univ. of Delaware named Yale Univ. Senior Associate AD TIM FORD Senior Associate AD & Athletics Development Dir, replacing MARK URICK (Delaware)….Back9Network named NeuLion VP/Product Management DAVID CLEVINGER Senior VP/Digital Projects & Programming (Back9Network)….The L.A. Sports Council named Premier Partnerships Founder & Chair ALAN ROTHENBERG Interim Chair, replacing SCOTT LONDON, who resigned earlier this month (L.A. Sports Council)….The ECHL Las Vegas Wranglers announced that GM & coach RYAN MOUGENEL “won’t return" for the '13-14 season (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 4/24).

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

UFC President DANA WHITE has "declared himself '100 percent cured' of Meniere’s disease after one visit to Dr. PETER WEHLING in Dusseldorf this month." White said that "symptoms of the inner-ear disorder, which include bouts of vertigo, intermittent hearing loss, and ringing and feelings of pressure in the ear, went away within days of the procedure." White: “The only way you can go there is to have a referral" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 4/23).

ICE CAPADES: N.Y. Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG yesterday revealed plans to convert the Bronx-based Kingsbridge Armory into a "nine-rink, 750,000-square-foot sports Mecca to be known as the Kingsbridge National Ice Center." KEVIN PARKER, the center's developer, has "teamed up with high-profile partners" Hockey HOFer MARK MESSIER and retired U.S. Olympic figure skater SARAH HUGHES. Five rinks will be "built on the sprawling main floor," with four others "slated for two platforms about 40 feet above ground level." The $275M project is set to open in '18 (N.Y. POST, 4/24).

A GOOD WALK SPOILED? In Philadelphia, Mike Kern wrote Merion Golf Club Dir of Golf Course Operations MATT SHAFFER will be the "most influential person" at this June's U.S. Open. Shaffer's job is to "make sure the conditions are nothing short of perfect." At a U.S. Open, "more than any other major, pain and suffering are pretty much encouraged." Shaffer said, "If they start complaining or whining, I'm winning. That's the way I look at it. I have almost enough money saved for retirement" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 4/23).

TWEET, TWEET NOTHINGS: Bruins RW TYLER SEGUIN "apologized yesterday for a tweet he sent out that some have called homophobic." Seguin appeared in a music video with rapper SLAINE and tweeted, "Just listened to the song in my bed. gave me goosebumps no homo..." Seguin "deleted the tweet and apologized within minutes of sending it" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/24)....Senators D ERIK KARLSSON yesterday joined Twitter, and in the "first four hours, more than 17,000 had clicked on to his list" (OTTAWA SUN, 4/24). 

CHARITY STRIPE: MLB Rangers players, employees, players' wives and former OF KEVIN MENCH yesterday "loaded a truck" with donations for the community of West, Texas, following the explosion of a fertilizer plant there last week. Fans and the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation "also donated thousands of dollars in gift cards and $40,000 in cash" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/24)....Several Nationals players and coaches visited patients at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/24)….The Detroit Tigers Foundation and Trader Joe’s are expected to present a check of $26,360 to the Gleaners Community Food Bank of Detroit as a result of the 1,318 strikeouts the team’s pitchers recorded during the ’12 MLB season. The program will continue this year (Tigers).

NAMES: Multichannel News' “40 Under 40” list includes Golf Channel and NBC Golf Media President MIKE MCCARLEY, NHL Broadcast Relations Dir EMILY NASITS, DirecTV VP/Revenue & Product Marketing ALEX KAPLAN and Univision Deportes VP/Sports Programming ERIC CONRAD (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 4/22 issue)….BMO Harris Bank will be presenting sponsor of former NFLer DONALD DRIVER's "Driven to Achieve Awards." The bank will provide “close to $400,000 over a three-year period" (, 4/23)….New Rutgers men’s basketball coach EDDIE JORDAN after signing a five-year, $6.25M contract was introduced yesterday at a news conference “that felt more like a homecoming.” By hiring “one of its few basketball heroes, Rutgers began the road toward recovery” (, 4/23)….Cavaliers coach MIKE BROWN and his wife, CAROLYN, have “listed their house" in Anaheim, Calif., for $3.75M after purchasing the home for $3M in ’11 (, 4/23)….Nationals P RAFAEL SORIANO on Monday “welcomed a baby boy” (, 4/22).