Broncos VP/Corporate Communications JIM SACCOMANO will retire after the '13 season, his 36th year with the club, and will transition into a consulting role (Broncos). THE MMQB's Peter King writes he "won’t get the MARIANO RIVERA retirement treatment on his last swing around the league," but Saccomano, "one of the great PR professionals I’ve ever encountered, deserves it as he works his last full-time season" (THEMMQB.com, 7/29). DENVERBRONCOS.com's Gray Caldwell noted Saccomano has "watched 853 Broncos games in person." He has "won countless awards," including the "first-ever Pete Rozelle Award -- given annually to the NFL's outstanding public relations staff." Saccomano said, "It’s just time. It feels absolutely right." Saccomano also is the "longest tenured pro sports administrator in Colorado history." The transition to a consultant role "was offered to him by Broncos President JOE ELLIS." Under Saccomano's watch, the Broncos have had "one of the NFL’s highest number of players to receive honors from press associations, including several who have been named as national award winners." Saccomano has "chaired the NFL’s media relations and international committees and has served on the league’s postseason, radio-television and special projects committees" (DENVERBRONCOS.com, 7/26).
People and Pop Culture
Veteran sports exec CHRIS HECK has been hired by the 76ers as the team's new Chief Revenue Officer. "It was the easiest conversation about a hire I've ever had with someone," said 76ers President SCOTT O'NEIL. "Chris knows how to run the business side of a team and during his time at the NBA showed an ability to handle a range of issues." Heck was last MLS Red Bulls President of Business Operations. Prior to that, he worked at the NBA with O'Neil, serving as Senior VP/Marketing Partnerships and Senior VP/Team Business Operations from '04-11 (Terry Lefton, Staff Writer).
RISING SUNS: The Suns named Padres VP/IT STEVE REESE VP & Chief Information Technologist. Reese also previously worked for the Astros and Titans. The Suns also promoted ZAHEER BENJAMIN to VP/Business Planning & Basketball Analytics, DAN COSTELLO to VP/Sales & Activation, NINA DAILY to VP/Marketing, CARLISSA HENRY to VP/Sales & Operations and AARON NELSON to VP/Athletic Care & Head Athletic Trainer (Suns).
EXECS: Revolt TV named former ESPN Senior VP/Content Development & Enterprise KEITH CLINKSCALES CEO (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 7/26)....Nike Golf Dir of Club Creation TOM STITES "has retired but will remain with the company in a consultant's role." Stites has been with Nike since '01 (GOLFWEEK.com, 7/26).
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In N.Y., Steve Eder wrote the success of MLB's efforts in the PED investigation "may rest largely on the judgement" of new arbitrator FREDRIC HOROWITZ. He has a "potentially daunting task ahead of him." While Horowitz is "unknown to fans, he's quite familiar to baseball executives and the players' union, having served on salary arbitration panels." Lawyer ROBERT BAILEY, who has served on panels with Horowitz, said, "He's developed a reputation as someone who, to use a baseball term, calls balls and strikes as he sees them, which is why the players' association and Major League Baseball selected him" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/27).
NEW KIND OF FUNDRAISING: VARIETY's Dave McNary noted director SPIKE LEE's offer of courtside seats for a Knicks game "has turned out to be the main driver for his Kickstarter campaign to fund his untitled film." Lee as of 6:00pm PT on Friday had "received a dozen pledges of $10,000 in exchange for dinner and a courtside seat with Lee at a Knicks game, or $120,000." That is 40% of the $269,706 from 1,449 pledges "that Lee has raised in the first five days" -- but still nearly $1M short of the $1.25M goal "for a new film that’s known for now as 'The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint'" (VARIETY.com, 7/26).
FOLLOW BACK: Steelers coach MIKE TOMLIN on Friday "became only the fifth NFL coach with an active Twitter account." His first post read, "Hello Twitter. Expect no BS from me. Just straight fire!" He later posted "a picture of himself" with Steelers Chair DAN ROONEY. Tomlin had "more than 46,000 followers within hours" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 7/27).
LARRY LEGEND: Indiana State will "unveil in November a statue" of alum LARRY BIRD. The school will have a 15-foot statue "unsheathed outside the Hulman Center." The ceremony is "set for the team's first home game of the season, Nov. 9 against Ball State." The school also will "reportedly inaugurate the Larry Legend Scholarship, a fund that will help athletes from the state of Indiana" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/26).
HOLLYWOOD HILLS: Actor BEN FOSTER reportedly is “in final talks” to portray LANCE ARMSTRONG in an upcoming film by director STEPHEN FREARS (DEADLINE.com, 7/26)....Actor TOM CRUISE and his son, CONNOR, “got a taste of the speed and daring” of America’s Cup teams when they “took turns at the helm of the Emirates Team New Zealand boat” following yesterday’s race (MERCURYNEWS.com, 7/28)….Actor ROBERT DUVALL yesterday “hung out" with Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT and QBs TOM BRADY and TIM TEBOW at the team’s training camp in Foxborough (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/29).
NAMES: Sources said that Red Sox Owner JOHN HENRY has “decided not to continue” the bidding process for the Boston Globe (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/27)....Florida football coach WILL MUSCHAMP "received a $250,000 annual increase over the remaining five years of his contract, which runs through the 2017-18 season." Muschamp with the increase will "earn approximately" $2.93M per year (TAMPABAY.com, 7/26)....S.F. Mayor ED LEE will "be in the stands when the Warriors take the court for a pair of exhibition games in China in October" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/28)....Mets VP/Media Relations JAY HORWITZ “finally has his own bobblehead,” which will be presented on Social Media Night at Citi Field on Aug. 23 (NEWSDAY, 7/28)….Red Sox LF JONNY GOMES, 1B MIKE NAPOLI and P CRAIG BRESLOW recently held a workshop at Fenway Park for kids from the Crossroads4Kids summer camp (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/28).