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Volume 24 No. 154

People and Pop Culture

The Packers will kick off the ’13 NFL season with a trip to S.F. to face the 49ers at Candlestick Park, which is -- as team President & CEO MARK MURPHY points out -- exactly where the Packers’ season ended last year. While there are plenty of interesting and intriguing storylines surrounding the game, Murphy sees this weekend as just another business trip.

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: This is the last year of Candlestick, and I hope (Sunday) is the last time we play there because I hope if we’re in the playoffs we’re playing them at Lambeau Field not there. But I have very vivid memories of Candlestick. I played there at least once as a player and now with the Packers have been there, I guess this will be the third time we’ve played a game there. There is so much history and tradition in the stadium. For me I think of the BILL WALSH and JOE MONTANA teams and probably the play that sticks out is “The Catch” in the endzone.

PACK YOUR BAGS: Friday is a work day, so I’ve got a number of meetings. I’ve got two different interviews with a radio station in town. It’s also kind of the last chance for all my travel arrangements. Making sure you’ve got tickets and passes and everything you need for myself and everybody else that’s traveling for and with us. I go to every game. We’ll fly out on Saturday and probably get in early in the afternoon. Our executive committee travels and we’ll typically go out to dinner the night before the game. This trip I relied on ED POLICY, he’s our general counsel who spent a lot of time in San Francisco so he knows all the good restaurants. We’ll be going to Epic Roasthouse this weekend in the city.

THE GANG’S ALL HERE: My wife LAURIE and I, we’ve got four children. Our youngest just graduated from college, and of our four children, two are in Southern California and two are in N.Y. So we’re using the occasion of this game to bring everybody together. So I’m looking forward to that. My wife typically travels with me but my kids, they always travel separately. My wife is actually going to go out Friday, a day early so she can see the kids and have more time with them.

ROUTINE PROCEDURE: On gameday I’ll get up fairly early. Maybe my wife and I will go for a walk or get a quick workout in in the morning before breakfast. I try to stay fairly active and work out and jog. I enjoy, especially when we travel or stay in cities, to either walk or jog around the city. It’s kind of a nice way to see a city. Then I’ll probably get on the bus around 10:00/10:30am. Once we get (to the stadium) I’ll see a number of different people before the game. That’s usually an opportunity to see the owner or executives from the other team. With the 49ers, I have a lot of respect for both JOHN YORK and his son JED, so I’ll spend some time with them before the game. I will watch the game in the press box with TED THOMPSON. I do that for every game. But for home games he and I have a separate suite that we watch the games in. And with RUSS BALL, our VP of Football Administration, as well.

LEAVING ON A JET PLANE: For a game like this, we always leave as soon as possible after the game, but it does take some time to get out of the stadium. Hopefully it’s after a victory, because things go a little more smoothly then. But we’ll probably get back early in the morning with the time change. We’ve got a charter flight and it’s a lot better than flying commercial or waiting until the next day. I think it’s good to get home as soon as possible. I typically, especially by the time we’ll be getting in, just try to get to sleep as soon as I can.

Horse racing network TVG named former Fox Sports and NBA exec BHAVESH PATEL Senior VP/TV Operations & Marketing. Patel had been with Fox since '08, most recently as VP/Interactive Media and GM of, and the FoxSoccer2Go platform (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).

JERSEY BOY: Devils Arena Entertainment Exec VP/Community & Public Relations ROBERT SOMMER will assume the role of Senior Adviser to Jersey City Mayor STEVEN FULOP (, 9/5). Sommer "operates mostly as a behind-the-scenes strategist." City officials confirmed Sommer agreed to "work for the minimum salary available to a city employee, between $10,000 and $15,000 a year -- a steep drop from his salary with the Devils, which was more than $200,000 a year." Devils President, CEO & GM LOU LAMORIELLO said that Sommer was "an integral part of developing the team's public image and managing the countless relationships the team and arena have made as they took a foothold in Newark" (, 9/5).

EXECS: The NBA Kings named CHRIS MULLIN Advisor to the Chair. He will assume a variety of basketball operations responsibilities, advising Managing Partner VIVEK RANADIVE and GM PETE D'ALESSANDRO regarding player transactions and aspiring front office and coaching personnel of the team's collegiate and pro scouting efforts (Kings)....WWE named Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Blue Unit at Feld Entertainment GM DAVID BAILEY GM of the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla. (WWE)....Univ. of Kansas AD SHEAHON ZENGER has "entered the school year with a new and improved contract." He received a 33% raise to "an annual salary of $600,000." The new contract also "extends Zenger's agreement through June 30, 2018." The increase brings Zenger's salary "into the middle of the pack" of Big 12 ADs (, 9/4)....VMI named Case Western Reserve Univ. AD DAVE DILES to the same position. He will succeed DONNY WHITE, who is "retiring in November after 15 years" (, 9/5).

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In San Jose, Julia Prodis in a front-page piece writes Oracle Founder & CEO LARRY ELLISON has "been to the brink" when it comes to sailing. His journey through sailing's hierarchy "has been marked by daring and defiance." Along the way, Ellison has "remade the very nature" of the 162-year-old America's Cup "from a graceful highbrow sport to a death-defying drag race." The "vision to transform the sport is pure Ellison" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/6).

POWER PLAYER: In N.Y., Mary Pilon writes Association of National Olympic Committees head and Kuwaiti royal family member SHEIK AHMAD AL-FAHAD AL-SABAH has "quietly become one of the most powerful and controversial people in global sports while remaining largely overlooked by many outside the tightly knit Olympic political circles." IOC members said that al-Sabah since becoming a member of the ANOC in '92 has "built a coalition that can sway votes and appoint executives." He "played a key role in a recent vote to award" the '18 Youth Olympic Games to Buenos Aires (N.Y. TIMES, 9/6).

SHOW HIM THE MONEY: Boxer FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR. will make at least $41.5M from his Sept. 14 fight against CANELO ALVAREZ, and SI's Chris Mannix said it "makes every other athlete pale in comparison." Not only will Mayweather "get this guaranteed money, if the pay-per-view is a huge success, he gets even more." Mannix: "He also controls virtually every stream of revenue that comes into this fight" ("The Crossover," NBCSN, 9/5). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "Nobody's going to give someone $41 million if they don't think they're going to make more than that." ESPN's Michael Wilbon noted Mayweather is the "last headliner out there in professional boxing" ("PTI," ESPN, 9/5). 

THE ARTFUL DODGERS: Dodgers P CLAYTON KERSHAW is "being recognized for his work off the field" as he has been named the '14 Branch Rickey Award winner. The award, created by the Rotary Club of Denver in '91, "honors individuals in baseball who contribute to their communities and are strong role models for young people." Kershaw at 25 is the "youngest person to receive the award" (AP, 9/5). Meanwhile, Dodgers broadcaster VIN SCULLY on Thursday was named Grand Marshal for the '14 Tournament of Roses (Dodgers).

NAMES: Nets and Barclays Center CEO BRETT YORMARK, Nets F KEVIN GARNETT and Barclays Center Senior VP/Corporate Sponsorship MIKE ZAVODSKY on Wednesday hosted a dinner for 20 CEOs at Morton's Steakhouse in Beijing. They met with companies from the tech, automotive and sports-performance industries to discuss new business opportunities (THE DAILY)....Regal Entertainment Group is showing a 30-second Pat Summitt Foundation PSA in its theaters throughout September. The ad is designed to bring awareness to the fight against Alzheimer's disease and seek support for the foundation (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 9/6)....Spurs F MATT BONNER "swapped jobs" with GY&K Marketing President TRAVIS YORK on Tuesday. York "attempted to follow Bonner's strict, off-season training regimen," and did so "with predictable results" (, 9/4)....Red Wings C PAVEL DATSYUK "had some stuff stolen from him last month in Russia." About $45,000 worth of items were taken from his apartment in the city of Yekaterinberg (, 9/5).

IN MEMORY: Longtime IMG publicist and editor BEV NORWOOD died on Wednesday in Cleveland at the age of 66 after a short battle with cancer. He "spent the majority of his career in Cleveland" at IMG HQs. Norwood started specializing in producing programs for IMG's golf tournaments in '79 (, 9/5).