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Volume 24 No. 132
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The Daily Hits 20: Testimonials From Execs Throughout The Industry

THE DAILY concludes its series of anecdotes from industry execs remembering when they first started reading SBD and SBJ and the impact the publications have had.

Ackerman never imagined SBD and SBJ not
Val Ackerman, Big East Conference Commissioner and former WNBA President
I started reading both publications from the very beginning. The NBA was an early subscriber. My first recollection was of SBD. People were printing out hard copies, and I remember getting the hard copies and reading them on the subway home from work. I was an early follower. It was a great way for people in the business to stay informed, and I still believe it. It was an evening ritual, taking it on the subway on the way home. SBJ was a different kind of read, with more in-depth articles and a wider array of coverage. So a great service, as it provided a different kind of read. I remember being grateful for coverage of the WNBA. I look forward to getting a copy of it every week.

When SBD and SBJ came on line, I was just getting into the business. I never imagined the publications wouldn’t succeed because of the large number of people working in the business. I can’t imagine our business without them. They are the trade publication, and while they may not have as big a base as others, it is very targeted. The features on people in the business always resonate with me. I am really glad to see the beginning of the focus on women’s sports. The adaptive nature of the coverage is very impressive.

Skipper thinks the publications -- and sports business
are -- in a good spot right now
John Skipper, ESPN President
SportsBusiness Daily is just essential now. I don’t know how many times we get it a day. I open it up almost every time I get it, pretty close to as soon as I get it, because I really don’t want to be behind. I read The Daily within the first 15 minutes I get it. It’s the source of an unbelievably frequent passing around. ‘Hey, have you seen this?’ ‘What do you think about this?’ ‘Is this true?’ ‘Did you know about this?’ It really works. The magazine matters more for things like Forty Under 40, where it’s something to take a little time with. The ‘behind-the-scenes’ stories work great in paper because of the length.

It’s a big and important industry now. SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily have played their role in growing the business and making it important. It also reflects the fact that it is covering an industry that is important and is becoming more important. The publications and the business are in a good spot right now because it’s only going to become more important.

Bill Squires, The Right Stuff Consulting Inc. Founder & President
I have been a subscriber of the Sports Business Journal since its inception. In May 1998 (the month after SBJ launched), I was working at Disney’s Wide World of Sports (now called ESPN Wide World of Sports). I had previously managed Yankee Stadium and Giants Stadium. I read an article about the Hampton University sports management program and how difficult it was for the students to find quality internships. I kept this issue of the Journal in the event that I was in a position to assist a student with an internship. In February 1999, I was hired by the Cleveland Browns as the stadium manager of Cleveland Browns Stadium, which was still under construction. I hired Charles London as the assistant stadium manager. Charles was a recent graduate of Duke University who played football at Duke and was hired to a full-time position at Disney’s Wide World of Sports following an internship. When I hired Charles I told him to contact Hampton University and find a student who was willing to work as an intern in the stadium operations department. Anthony Vail took this opportunity, and the rest is history. Anthony is currently the general manager for AEG Facilities at the Itaipava Arena Pernambuco, which is located in São Lourenço da Mata, Brazil. FYI, Charles London is the running backs coach at Penn State University.

Bowman said SBJ became something he likes
reading in addition to needing to read it
Bob Bowman, MLBAM President & CEO
Back in another time, there were political writers, business writers and sportswriters, and never did the three meet. But what SBJ did, really, was combine elements of all three. And for me, personally, it’s become very important reading. Beyond that, though, it’s sort of like the New Yorker magazine, where I actually like to read it in addition to needing to read it.

Neal Pilson, Pilson Communications and member of the SBJ/SBD “Champions” Class of '10
I don’t think there was that magic moment where we said, ‘Aha. They’re going to make it.’ I think it was a gradual process of professional reporting, accurate and timely news and information. Then I watched as you integrated your business into the sports industry. By that, I mean you went well beyond just sending out a daily fax. It was a fax in the early days, then the glossy periodical. You were producing sports conferences of one kind or another. You were seeking advertising support from branches in our industry that I think no one had ever paid attention to before, like arenas or various service companies that, up to this point, many of us weren’t even aware were around. We never realized they were important components of a much larger business. We began to see special editions, special ad editions, and support from a whole range of companies that may not have principally been in the sports business, but certainly had an important position within the business. It became clear over a period of years that you guys were much more than a daily sports bulletin or a weekly sports publication.

Jim Schwebel, Apel Principal and former NFL Senior VP/Corporate Sales & Sponsorship
Before SBJ, Brandweek was the bible for people in my business, in large part because Terry Lefton was with Brandweek. I have to give a lot of credit to the people at SBJ for wooing Terry to join the publication. Since its inception, SBJ has been essential reading for everyone who works in and around sports. From what I recall, the early days of the magazine focused a lot on sponsorship and now it has grown to so much more. While I get almost all of the sponsorship news that I need from SBD, what I love about SBJ more and more are the long-form profiles of influential executives. Although many of these profiles are of people I have worked with and might know well, I always learn something new.

Bob Gutkowski, Former MSG President
SBD and SBJ became must reading quickly and currency for everyone in the business. There was a natural progression, and it got topical and important and just became something that everyone you were doing business with had to be familiar with. It quickly became the source for information on what’s going on in sports business. I can’t imagine being without it now.

Nash (l) wants to check The Daily each day to find
a nugget that may trigger an idea
Jim Nash, Bank of America Managing Dir of Sports Finance & Advisory Group
You are must have programming. When The Daily launched, it was, "OK, what is this?" But very quickly it was "Wow." You wanted to check it out every day to find a nugget of something that might trigger an idea. It was a good aggregator and very efficient, and it would help me generate ideas. I still print mine out every day.

Phil Hochberg, sports attorney
Over 20 years it has evolved into a must-read. All three -- the Morning Buzz, The Daily and Closing Bell -- I look forward to reading each of them. If I don’t get them, it’s like I’m missing my morning orange juice. When I don’t read The Daily three times a day, I feel like something’s missing. It’s almost a relief when your guys are on vacation over a holiday because then I know I don’t have to read it three times a day. And yes, I still print it out. With The Daily and SportsBusiness Journal available -- and their resources being available to somebody who might have need to look into something -- it suddenly made all the clipping that I used to do unnecessary. And it was a major part of my day. What The Daily did was offer access to articles about things in which I was interested in the daily press which I might have missed. It has expanded the scope of my interest in a way that I couldn’t have imagined.