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Volume 24 No. 114

People and Pop Culture

Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN last Tuesday attended the Temple-SMU men's basketball game and offered his thoughts on the experience on his Blog Maverick website. Cuban wrote fans "asked me what I thought about the atmosphere at the arena." They all "wanted confirmation that this was truly a fun atmosphere. ... They had a student section that was standing, yelling , taunting and cheering. Loudly. Continuously. They had fans that chanted defense. They went nuts as SMU broke open a tight game when their point guard came alive and starting hitting big shots."

: Cuban then went on to offer six guidelines on how sports marketers can build their brand. The first is to "know where your team is in their 'lifecycle.'" It is "easier to engage fans when the team is turning a corner and winning is new, but you have to work hard at selling the fun of coming to an arena. ... Fans want a reason to get out of the house and have fun. But they are not going to find you. You have to find them." Marketers have to "invest in things that are universally fun for your customers and prospects. EVERYONE remembers their first game. EVERY parent gets unlimited joy from watching their child enjoy a sporting event. You have to make sure that the entertainment that you provide is not only family friendly, but also engaging for all the 6 to 12 year olds in the audience. ... All you have to do is remember this -- EVERYONE STANDS UP FOR T SHIRTS." Cuban's second piece of advice is to "know who your long time fans/customers are." Cuban: "You have to know who your ongoing season ticket holders are and respect and appreciate them. You can not do enough to reward them." His third guideline is to "price the market, not to maximize revenue," while his fourth point was that "fans buy tickets where they like to buy them." His fifth point of advice is that "selling is the most important job at a team." Everyone "majors in sports marketing. There is no more worthless major. Every school seems to have a major in sports management. Why do the schools and kids think that across the tens of thousands of graduates from these programs there is going to be a job than even comes close to paying off their student loans. Do the math." If schools "want to have any value to sports teams they should offer degrees in Sales." Cuban's final offering is to "spend money on fun" (, 2/23).

REAX: Cuban's comments drew a few Twitter responses. Univ. of South Florida Sport & Entertainment Business Management MBA Founding Dir Bill Sutton tweeted, "Sport business students and faculty- Mark Cuban referred to your major as "worthless ' in his 2/23 Blog Maverick. I plan 2 respond -DO YOU? ... Could be my March SBJ column tease tease." Goodyear Tire Marketing Manager Jonathan Norman in a series of tweets wrote, “@mcuban is partially right: ‘Teach kids sports management and you improve their chances of getting a job at Fridays.’ Where he has it wrong is the term ‘teach.’ I didn't learn a lot in grad school. But I did establish relationships and build a network. Where @mcuban has it right: There are absolutely too many #sportsbiz schools. But then again, there's too many law schools too. Where @mcuban has it wrong: there is value to #sportsbiz schools, but it mostly comes in networks, not curricula. There are outliers, tho. @mcuban, here's the challenge: Build a better #sportsbiz school, but make it functional. Honestly, it really shouldn't be a school at all. @mcuban says sales is king. And he's right. Everyone is a salesman. But very, very few people have those skills. What #sportsbiz needs is a talent incubator with rigor, guidance and mentorship. Too many kids flame out in sales. Careers unthreaded. @mcuban should know there are those who succeed in #sportsbiz who don't sell a team, per se, but we sell our strategies and concepts.”

Heat F LEBRON JAMES "shot down a report claiming he was in talks with producers about a follow-up" to the '96 movie "SPACE JAM," which starred Basketball HOFer MICHAEL JORDAN, according to Shandel Richardson of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. James said, "It's news to me. I haven't heard anything about it." But he added, "If I have the opportunity, it will be great" (, 2/22). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Devine noted James "not being involved doesn't necessarily mean the project's not in some level of discussion or development, but it does mean that we're not likely to see the two-time NBA champion chilling with Yosemite Sam in the very near future" (, 2/21).'s Anita Busch noted former NBC Sports Group Chair DICK EBERSOL's sons "have come on board to develop the sequel." The first "Space Jam" film grossed $230M worldwide for Warner Bros. CHARLIE EBERSOL has been "brought on to produce the picture through his company, The Company, from a script by his brother WILLIE EBERSOL." This is his "first screenplay." Meanwhile, JON BERG is "production executive on the project at Warner Bros." "SPACE JAM 2" marks Charlie Ebersol's "first major film deal" (, 2/21).

AND THE OSCAR GOES TO...: ESPN CHICAGO's Crasnick & Padilla noted White Sox DH ADAM DUNN, an investor in Truth Entertainment, which produced the Oscar-nominated film "DALLAS BUYERS CLUB," has an "invitation to attend the Academy Awards show Sunday" in L.A. Dunn said, "How many opportunities do you have to go to the Oscars? But if it's any sort of big deal with the team, I won't go." White Sox GM RICK HAHN in an e-mail wrote, "We told him it wouldn't be a problem if he wanted to head out there for a night" (, 2/24).

The '15 Special Olympics World Games named former Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater L.A. VP & Chief Communications Officer STEVEN VANDERPOOL VP/Communications (THE DAILY)....AECOM named Populous Associate Principal & Project Manager RYAN SICKMAN Sports Principal (K.C. BUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/21 issue)....The National Basketball Retired Players Association named Basketball HOFer NANCY LIEBERMAN to its BOD. Lieberman becomes the first female on the NBRPA BOD (NBRPA).

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Marlins President DAVID SAMSON will appear on CBS' "SURVIVOR: CAGAYAN," which premieres tomorrow at 8:00pm ET, but he cannot say "how he or anyone else did." He "can't talk about particular events that took place or precisely where in the Philippines the show took place." Samson said it is "not even a question" whether it is more challenging of mind or body. He said, "It's psychological. You're away. I mean, you're really away. You're cut off. They take away every communication device you have. There's no contact with family or friends or business associates. There's nothing. I didn't realize how addicted I was to my phone" (PALM BEACH POST, 2/25).

SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE: UCLA football coach JIM MORA received a contract extension that likely will "make him the second-highest paid football coach in the Pac-12." Mora will earn an average of $3.5M annually in "base pay and talent fees over the course of his new contract," which amounts to $21M overall in the next six seasons. He also is "eligible to receive up to $930,000 in performance-based bonuses each year." Only Washington's CHRIS PETERSEN, who will reportedly make $3.6M in '14, has "a higher salary in the conference" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/22)....Minnesota has restructured the contract of football coach JERRY KILL, "extending it by one year -- through the 2018 season -- and raising his salary" from $1.2M last year to an average of $2.3M during the deal (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/23).

SOCIAL EXPERIMENT: Iowa basketball coach FRAN MCCAFFERY has "told his players to shut down their Twitter accounts until the end" of the season. Iowa F ZACH MCCABE "received multiple negative comments directed to his Twitter account after he missed a 3-pointer at the end of Iowa's 79-74 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday." McCabe "lashed out with his own response, which he later retracted." McCaffery said that he "talked to his players after the incident." He called it a "healthy discussion, one that I think made sense to everybody" (Cedar Rapids GAZETTE, 2/25).

CAMPUS CONNECTIONS: West Virginia Univ. has received a commitment of $5M from D-Backs Managing General Partner and business school alum KEN KENDRICK, his wife RANDY and the Charles Koch Foundation as a lead gift to launch a new center to study the economic, political and social factors that increase prosperity (WVU)....The Univ. of Kansas announced that its planned $17M "Fieldhouse Apartments" project, which will "eventually house the school's men's and women's basketball players, is moving forward." The project's primary donation came from Jayhawk Capital Management President & CEO KENT MCCARTHY (K.C. STAR, 2/25).

NAMES: DC-based lobbyist JACK BURKMAN yesterday said that he is "preparing legislation that would ban gay athletes from joining" the NFL. Burkman in a statement said that he has "garnered political support for the bill, though his statement didn't mention any specific lawmakers who are behind it" (, 2/24)....The Royal Canadian Mint announced that a ’14 Lucky Loonie in a special commemorative frame will be sent to the hometown of each of Canada’s medalists from the Winter Games later this week. Canada earned 25 medals in Sochi (Royal Canadian Mint)….Bears TE MARTELLUS BENNETT was “supposed to spend Saturday afternoon playing video games with 60 children at the West Chicago Public Library” as part of its “Read to Succeed” winter program. However, Bennett “opted to spend most of his time reading to them” (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 2/23)….Orioles Owner PETER ANGELOS yesterday stopped by the team’s Ed Smith Spring Training complex “for a short visit.” He was accompanied by his son, LOUIS, and Orioles attorney ALAN RIFKIN (Baltimore SUN, 2/25)….Thunder F KEVIN DURANT has “dismissed his $600,000 federal lawsuit against his former accountant” (AP, 2/24)….Eagles QB NICK FOLES yesterday got engaged to longtime girlfriend, TORI MOORE (, 2/24).