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Volume 24 No. 117

People and Pop Culture

Payments to former Big 12 Commissioner DAN BEEBE totaling nearly $5M "included both a bonus for negotiating a multiyear TV-rights deal and a severance package after he stepped down amid conference turmoil," according to Rachel Bachman of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Beebe said that the payments, which "appeared in conference tax documents recently made public, also included" part of his salary for FY '11-12 and retention bonuses. Tax filings show that the Big 12 paid Beebe $4.57M and "he also received $329,286 in other compensation from the conference and related organizations." Months before Beebe resigned in September '11, he negotiated a 13-year, $1.17B TV deal "for the Big 12 with Fox Sports." Beebe yesterday "declined to name the value of the bonus he received for those negotiations." He now is "working as a consultant with the new Big East Conference" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/15).

AP national auto racing writer JENNA FRYER has seen plenty of left turns in her lifetime. The Charlotte resident and New Jersey native has worked for the AP since '97, covering everything from SEC football to the NBA before taking the racing beat full-time in ’06. The West Virginia Univ. grad recently chatted about Twitter’s impact on racing coverage, the unique challenges facing NASCAR and IndyCar and which magazine she calls her "Bible." 

Socially acceptable...
Twitter is a perk, but there’s also a lot of pressure. There are times when you’re a slave to Twitter. You really, really are. You find that you’ve got like 20 laps to go and you haven’t written a thing because all you’ve been doing is tweeting all day. It’s a great way to watch a race and to cover a race because I may be zeroed in on one or two different things, but another reporter may be zeroed in on another driver and they might be tweeting out things that you didn’t even know. I try to make people feel like if they’re following me they’re getting some sort of inside access that you wouldn’t have unless you were at the track. If I tweet something newsy I hope my followers believe they can take it to the bank.

The racing industry needs more of...
NASCAR needs good racing, that’s the most critical thing. They’ve got everything else -- the personalities, the rivalries, the drama, the track story lines and the audience. What you need is good racing to hold your audience. And I think they’ve really struggled with that for long stretches last year. You’d have these 400- and 500- mile races that were brutally unwatchable. I believe that’s why so much was put into the Gen-6 car, because it’s at a crossroads for the industry and the product has got to be great. On the flip side, IndyCar has excellent racing -- I would say they have the best racing of the three American series. I would say their on-track product is the best, but the problem is they don’t have the cachet and the appeal for whatever reason. The access the media and fans are granted is tremendous, but they don’t have the right kind of drama. They have all this self-destruction and shooting themselves in the foot from their off-track politics of team owners and the way the series is managed.

My daily media diet consists of...
I have an iPhone, so everything I’ve missed is stored right there. I look at that first (in the morning) and if something there needs my immediate attention via text or e-mail, I’ll do that. If nothing needs my immediate attention, I’ll check Twitter. That’s while I‘m still in bed. Once I get out of bed I’ll start going around to websites, looking at more traditional media. I spend some time each day on the N.Y. Post or Daily News websites. I’m just fascinated with that kind of news. I really like Gawker and Huffington Post because you can kind of figure out what’s going on in terms of all the trends and the buzz in short, digestible bites. I read Vanity Fair, that’s like my Bible. I always have one in my bag for airplane reading and doctor’s offices.

Technology that changed my working life...
The smart phone, it’s not one app. I’m totally addicted, not just attached, but it’s like God forbid you ever have to wait in a line or in a waiting room. If I don’t have my iPad or my phone, I might shoot myself. All the things I could be reading and catching up on if I had that device. Even at stoplights, you’ll look at a stoplight and I’ll do a quick scroll through Twitter. Just to see what I’ve missed in that last four minutes.

Out on the town...
We have Bobcats season tickets so we go to a lot of games and we try to do different things uptown. I have an eight-year-old daughter (SYDNEE), and she’s an only child, so she gets exposed to a lot more adult things. I find that we’re doing more of the lobby bar before a (Bobcats) game at the Ritz-Carlton, because I’ve taught her that the opposing team stays there and if you get there early enough you can see them leave. So she’s got a whole routine and considers herself a Ritz-Carlton lobby regular.

Form of relaxation...
I’m on the road a lot, but strangely I like to expose her to a lot. When I’m home for an extended time I generally take some sort of trip and try to include her in things. I covered the Olympics for AP last year and she came over for the final four or five days. And then we left London and went to Spain, so I try to expose her to a lot of things. I’m really active in her school -- I’m the PTA president this year.

Latest music download...
That’s not fair because I have an eight year-old. We are a very big TAYLOR SWIFT household. But my last download was the new JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE album. I love him. I’m so cheesy like that.

Can’t-miss TV shows...
"BREAKING BAD" and "MAD MEN." I’ve found more that I don’t like to watch them when they’re in their current run. I like to wait until they’re over and download them on the iPad and watch them obsessively. I watch them in like a 36- to 48-hour period. 

Royals Dir of Broadcast Services & Royals Alumni FRED WHITE yesterday announced his retirement due to "recent health issues." Club officials and his family "offered no specifics on the nature of White's illness," but "several close friends described it as serious." White teamed with DENNY MATTHEWS as the Royals' primary broadcast team from '73-98 (K.C. STAR, 5/15).

EXECS: The 76ers yesterday officially named SAM HINKIE President of Basketball Operations & GM. Hinkie had served as Rockets Exec VP/Basketball Operations since '10 (76ers) named Pro Forma Advisors Partner CRISTINE HURLEY CFO. Hurley previously had served as NBA VP/Team Finance and Dodgers VP & CFO ( Bruins and Delaware North Cos. Boston named Reebok CCM Hockey VP/Global Marketing GLEN THORNBOROUGH Senior VP/Sales (Bruins)....Univ. of Maryland-Baltimore County AD CHARLES BROWN is retiring after 24 years (Baltimore SUN, 5/15)....Global Spectrum and MSG named Glens Falls Civic Center GM CHRIS LAWRENCE GM of the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack, XL Center and Rentschler Field (Global Spectrum/MSG).

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In Denver, Mark Kiszla profiles Nuggets and Avalanche President JOSH KROENKE and writes Kroenke is the "most influential sports figure in Denver." Kroenke is the "most unassuming mover-and-shaker you will ever meet," but yet he pulls the "most levers on the future of Denver sports." Kroenke said of his father, STAN, "We have a much different personality. But we're wired the same way." He added, "There are times when I have to prove and assert myself, and I very much understand that. I'm still young in this industry, and I'm well aware of that" (DENVER POST, 5/15).

PLUGGED IN: NASCAR driver NELSON PIQUET JR. was featured in USA TODAY's weekly "Talking Your Tech" column and it was noted Piquet "brings his iPad to the track whenever he practices, to monitor his performance." Piquet is a "gadget hound who owns several Sonos wireless audio components, subscribes to Sirius XM and listens to a lot of digital music." His favorite app currently is Keek, for "making short videos, which he posts on Keek and on Twitter to his 375,000 followers" (USA TODAY, 5/15).

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: In Boston, Donna Goodison reports GEORGE FOREMAN III, the son of the Boxing HOFer, plans to "open a boxing-themed fitness facility at Midway Studios in South Boston." The club will include "boxing rings, classes with working titles such as 'fighter's core' and 'boxing yoga,' a cafe and store." Foreman said that it will focus on "everything a boxer needs to train for a fight -- from fitness to nutrition to clothes" (BOSTON HERALD, 5/15).

CSI: MIAMI: In Ft. Lauderdale, Linda Trischitta reports law enforcement agencies investigating burglaries at the homes of Heat Fs CHRIS BOSH and UDONIS HASLEM are "looking into the possibility that the incidents may be connected." The players' homes are 32 miles apart, but both "were broken into the first two weeks in April." Officials said that Bosh and his wife had a "huge financial loss, while Haslem had property damage but no theft of his or his fiance's belongings" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/15).

NAMES: The ECHL announced that its member teams donated more than $3.3M to charitable and non-profit organizations during the '12-13 season (ECHL)....Auburn Univ. will spend $1M to "upgrade the clubhouse for the baseball program in the offseason," thanks to a donation from Braves P and Auburn alum TIM HUDSON and wife, KIM (, 5/14)....Blue Jays P R.A. DICKEY on Monday "received an honorary degree" from the Univ. of Toronto (TORONTO STAR, 5/14)....Trail Blazers & Seahawks Owner PAUL ALLEN yesterday "sold a royal-blue abstract by BARNETT NEWMAN for" $43.8M at Sotheby's. The painting is titled "Onement VI" (, 5/14).....Former NFLer JEFF SATURDAY’s “business success and penchant for giving back to the community” earned him the Carolina Alumni Review's Distinguished Young Alumni Award this year. The award recognizes Univ. of North Carolina alumni 40 or younger (CAROLINA ALUMNI REVIEW, 5/ '13 issue)….UFC fighter GEORGES ST-PIERRE has been “cast in the Quebec version of the upcoming Disney/Pixar flick Monsters University," where he will “provide the voice of Art” (, 5/14)….PRINCE HARRY yesterday visited Harlem’s RBI youth baseball development program with Yankees 1B MARK TEIXEIRA (, 5/14)….Former MLBers DAVID CONE, RON GUIDRY and Baseball HOFer GOOSE GOSSAGE on Monday helped HOFer YOGI BERRA “celebrate his 88th birthday.” MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations JOE TORRE also attended (N.Y. POST, 5/15).