One of the more popular sessions at our recent Sports Facilities & Franchises and Ticket Symposium was our annual look at developing a successful sales culture within your organization, led by our contributing columnist BILL SUTTON. The panel always provides smart insights from experienced people who are on the front lines. Sports Sales Consulting’s CHARLIE CHISLAGHI outlined the attributes he sees in the best sales execs: “Competitiveness. They are very aggressive. They are well-prepared to deal with the monotony of making a hundred calls a day, because they understand it gets them to the critical mass of the prospects with whom they have to speak to. ... No. 2, they are engaging. They can engage in a conversation in which they share about themselves. Not just talk to you about them, but engage in a conversation that’s two ways. So not only engage in a two-way conversation; they can understand what it means to initiate.” If you are interested in reading the full transcript of this event, visit our newsroom blog, On The Ground. The full session will be posted in sections throughout this week. It is a helpful, educational “print and share” with your sales team.
People and Pop Culture
Former Maple Leafs President & GM BRIAN BURKE on Friday “filed a defamation lawsuit” against online commentators “who allegedly ‘spread lies over the Internet’ after Burke was fired earlier this year,” according to Jessica McDiarmid of the TORONTO STAR. The suit filed in B.C. Supreme Court “alleges 18 defendants commenting anonymously under Internet user names defamed Burke by suggesting he had an extra-marital affair” with Rogers Sportsnet's HAZEL MAE and “that he was the father of her child.” Burke's attorney, PETER GALL of Heenan Blaikie LLP, said that the plaintiff “doesn’t yet know the real identities of the defendants listed on the notice of claim with names such as ‘Loob’ and ‘Mowerman.’” Gall said that the next step is “to seek court orders against the websites that published the comments, compelling them to disclose the real names.” Gall said in a release on Friday, “Brian has decided that it is time to stop people who post comments on the Internet from thinking they can fabricate wild stories with impunity” (TORONTO STAR, 4/27).
WATCH WHAT YOU SAY: In Toronto, Amy Dempsey wrote Burke’s “mission to unmask 18 anonymous commentators who he alleges defamed him underscores a point many are learning the hard way as cyber-libel cases become increasingly common: What is written online, even anonymously, can come back to bite the authors.” Libel lawyer RYDER GILLILAND said, “This will be a very public reminder to people that you can get sued for what you publish on the Internet.” Getting court orders compelling web hosts to identify the defendants is "something that judges in Canada are generally willing to do, depending on the strength of the case.” But it is “likely to be an arduous process.” At least one of the 18 people named in Burke’s lawsuit “responded late Friday, anonymously, to the allegations.” Twitter user @THEzbrad wrote, “Brian Burke is suing me. I think he’s just angry that ‘his’ Toronto team finally made the playoffs. Sorry Burkey” (TORONTO STAR, 4/28).
CALLED TO ACCOUNT: Mae's attorney, IAIN MACKINNON, wrote in a statement, “Hazel Mae fully supports the lawsuit brought forth by Mr. Burke and feels strongly that people should be held accountable for writing and spreading malicious lies over the Internet. Ms. Mae is still considering all of her legal options. She will not be commenting further on the matter at this time” (Rogers Sportsnet).
The Doyen Group, a London-based hedge fund, is launching a new sports investment group led by former XIX Entertainment Senior VP SIMON OLIVEIRA and CAA agent MATTHEW KAY. The group, which will be called Doyen Global, will invest and buy businesses working in areas ranging from talent management and technology start-ups to media rights and property sales. New funds like Doyen typically start with more than US$155M to invest. Oliveira declined to comment on the size of the fund. He said that they will primarily look at opportunities in Asia, North America and South America, but noted that they will be based in London and have a presence in Europe. Oliveira said, “We’ll put the right investments in things we’re not only passionate about but things we feel are good value and we can build through our own expertise and make stronger. It doesn’t mean we have to always come in with cash flow. We may bring something they don’t have in terms of our skill set.” Prior to joining Doyen, Oliveira concentrated on communications and branding work at XIX Entertainment for DAVID BECKHAM, ANDY MURRAY and LEWIS HAMILTON. Oliveira will continue to consult XIX Entertainment and work with Beckham. Kay helped managed the commercial business of CRISTIANO RONALDO and JOSE MOURINHO. The Doyen Group also has an office Istanbul, and investments in areas such as mining, oil and gas, energy, real estate and sports and entertainment. Its Doyen Sports Investments division makes football-related investments in talent and provides independent financing to teams.
GEORGE GALLANTZ, a former Proskauer Rose sports attorney who was "instrumental in the merger" of the NBA and the ABA, died April 24, one day after he turned 100, according to Tania Karas of the NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL. Gallantz was the "longtime outside general counsel to the NBA from its earliest days, defending the league against lawsuits as it grew dramatically throughout the 1960s and 70s." Gallantz "represented the NBA in Robertson v. National Basketball Association," which was a "landmark antitrust case -- and one of the first-ever sports merger antitrust cases -- where player OSCAR ROBERTSON sued to block the merger." Proskauer Rose sports law group co-head HOWARD GANZ said Gallantz was the "founding father" of the firm's sports law practice. Gallantz also helped "shape the early careers" of NBA Commissioner and former Proskauer partner DAVID STERN, as well as NHL Commissioner GARY BETTMAN. Gallantz "gave up his position as the NBA's general counsel to Stern in 1978." Stern: "He was unyielding in his demands that we do excellent research and that we write and then revise and be more succinct. Language was an art that we had to master." Gallantz "retired from Proskauer in 1985" (NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL, 4/29). Proskauer Chair JOE LECCESE wrote Gallantz will "be remembered as a 'lawyer's lawyer.''' He was "known for his outstanding legal skills, wealth of experience and insight and special touch for teaching younger lawyers." Gallantz "mentored an extraordinary group of lawyers who have had an enduring impact both on our Firm, as well as on the legal and sports world" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/28).
The Nets signed GM BILLY KING to a contract extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed (Nets)....Lock Haven Univ. named Penn State Univ. Assistant AD/Student Athlete Services MARK SHERBURNE AD (PENNLIVE.com, 4/26)....Forest City Ratner named Exec VP/General Counsel DAVID BERLINER COO (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/29)....The Univ. of Louisiana-Monroe named men's basketball coach KEITH RICHARD interim Senior Athletic Administrator until a new AD is appointed. ULM AD BOBBY STAUB is stepping down July 1 (ULM)....The Univ. of Missouri promoted TAMI CHIEVOUS to Associate AD/Academic Services. She takes over for JOE SCOGIN, who has accepted the position of Univ. of Tennessee Senior Associate AD (MU)....Bemidji State Univ. named St. Cloud State Univ. Associate AD TRACY DILL AD (BSU).
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Gold medal-winning U.S. gymnast GABBY DOUGLAS on Saturday night attended the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner (WASHINGTON POST, 4/28). Also in attendance were Cowboys QB TONY ROMO, Redskins Owner DAN SNYDER and Nationals 3B RYAN ZIMMERMAN (POLITICO.com, 4/28). Redskins QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III was a "no-show for the actual dinner" but made an appearance at the Vanity Fair/Bloomberg after-party (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 4/29).
TYING THE KNOT: Bobcats Owner MICHAEL JORDAN on Saturday married longtime girlfriend YVETTE PRIETO in Palm Beach, Fla. (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/28). Approximately 500 guests attended the wedding, and a "reception for 2,000 invited guests followed at the Bears Club" in Jupiter (REUTERS, 4/27).
AWARDS & HONORS: The National Association of Sports Commissioner selected the St. Louis Sports Commission as its '13 Member of the Year. St. Louis also won the award in '02 and '05, and joins Richmond-based Sports Backers as the only organizations to have won the award three times (St. Louis Sports Commission)....CBS college basketball analyst MIKE GMINSKI won a Gold Key award from the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance on Saturday (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/28).
CHARITY STRIPE: AHL President DAVE ANDREWS "arranged for four tickets" to the Maple Leafs-Canadiens game on Friday night for chemotherapy patient KELLEN SURETTE and his family, and he also “set it up so they can attend the morning skate and then visit the Leafs dressing room after the game” (CAPEBRETONPOST.com, 4/26)….Patriots DT VINCE WILFORK and his wife, BIANCA, hosted their annual Vince Wilfork Foundation Draft Day Fundraiser at PiNZ Entertainment in Medford, Mass., last week (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/27)
NAMES: Pro Football HOFer JIM BROWN on Saturday "helped christen" the renovated Manhasset Valley Park on Long Island (NEWSDAY, 4/28). Brown is a co-Owner of the MLL Lizards and grew up in Manhasset (THE DAILY)....Former MLBer LARRY HERNDON last night "received the Detroit Tigers African American Legacy Award" as part of Negro Leagues Weekend at Comerica Park (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/29)....JAY-Z and Coldplay singer CHRIS MARTIN attended the Manchester United-Arsenal match yesterday (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/28)....Two Richard Childress Racing crew members were “charged with assault after a physical altercation occurred in the driver/owner motorhome lot” at Richmond Int'l Raceway following Friday night’s Nationwide Series race (AP, 4/27)….Free agent QB TIM TEBOW “plans to invest in ‘several’ North Florida locations of PDQ, a Tampa-based fast-casual chicken sandwich chain” (JACKSONVILLE.com, 4/28).
IN MEMORY: Longtime Georgetown Univ. SID BILL SHAPLAND died on Friday at the age of 57 (WASHINGTON POST, 4/27).