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Volume 24 No. 159

People and Pop Culture

SportsBusiness Journal this week announced its annual Forty Under 40 class. Members of this year's class will be honored March 20 at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, Calif., during the 13th annual IMG World Congress of Sports. The names of those selected are listed below.

NFL Senior VP/Sponsorship & Partnership Management Renie Anderson
360 Architecture Principal Nate Appleman
CBS Sports VP/College Sports Programming Bess Barnes
NHL Associate Counsel Jessica Berman
NBA Senior VP/Business & Marketing Operations Amy Brooks
Optimum Sports Managing Dir Jeremy Carey
49ers Chief Revenue Officer Ethan Casson
AEG Sports COO Kelly Cheeseman
ESPN Senior VP/Programming Justin Connolly
Univision Deportes VP/Sports Programming Eric Conrad
NBC Sports Group Senior VP & GM/Digital Media Rick Cordella VP & GM Jim DeLorenzo
Bleacher Report co-Founder & Chief Content Officer Dave Finocchio
Kraft Sports Group VP/Customer Marketing & Strategy Jessica Gelman
Team Penske VP/Marketing & Communications Jonathan Gibson
Mastercard VP & Senior Business Leader for the U.S. Alison Giordano
Winston & Strawn LLP Principal David Greenspan
IMG Consulting VP Kristen Hunt
Dodgers CFO Tucker Kain
Rice AD Joe Karlgaard
Engine Shop President & Founding Partner Ed Kiernan
MLS Galaxy President Chris Klein
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment President Josh Kroenke
NCAA Championships & Alliances Managing Dir Damani Leech
NBA Senior VP/Business & Strategic Development Andrew Lustgarten
Fuel Sports Management Group Principal & CEO Rod Moskowitz
NFLPA Exec VP & General Counsel Ahmad Nassar
Wasserman Media Group Senior VP Will Pleasants
MLB Productions Producer Brian Schulz
Jack Morton Worldwide Senior VP & Dir of Analytics Donte Scott
Coca-Cola VP/Global Alliances & Ventures Emmanuel Seuge
Gatorade Senior Dir of Sports Marketing John Shea
Ticketmaster North America President Jared Smith
Under Armour North America President Henry Stafford
Relativity Sports President Josh Swartz
CAA Sports Global Head/Sports Endorsements Lowell Taub
Omnigon Communications co-Founder & CEO Igor Ulis
Golden Boy Promotions VP/Television Araceli Villegas
Fox Sports Media Group Senior VP/Digital Pete Vlastelica
Anheuser-Busch Local Sports & Stadium Signage Dir Chris Wujcik

Berkshire Hathaway CEO WARREN BUFFETT phoned into ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” yesterday morning to discuss sports. ESPN's Mike Greenberg asked, “Have you ever thought of buying a professional sports team?” Buffett said, “When I was a kid, that is probably one of the things I thought about a lot because I knew I could never play. ... I thought if I ever got rich, the first thing I would do is try to buy the Redskins, but things change over time and I don’t live in a city with a pro team, a major league team." ESPN’s Mark Schlereth asked, "How important is the College World Series to Omaha, the city?” Buffett: “It's huge. We spent $140 million on the stadium just to take care of the College World Series and that is one of the reasons I bought a quarter of the Triple-A franchise 20 some years ago, to help ensure it stays in Omaha. Now we have this 25-year deal we entered into a few years ago. All of Omaha identifies with the College World Series. We love the teams that come. We see them in the restaurants and talk to them. Omaha would be a different city without the College World Series.” Schlereth asked, “You have had an opportunity to mentor a lot of prominent professional athletes. Who impressed you the most?” Buffett responded, “They’re smart guys and they get promoted a lot on financial things. So they’ve got everybody in the world telling them, ‘Let’s open up a restaurant together or do this or that real estate deal or something of the sort.’ But I went one-on-one with LEBRON (JAMES) some years ago in basketball and after he wiped up the court with me, we talked investments and he is a very, very smart guy. He knows what he wants to accomplish and there’s no baloney with him" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 3/12).

USGA Managing Dir of Communications JOE GOODE "will leave the organization later this year as part of an internal restructuring," according to sources cited by Ron Sirak of Sources said that staff "was informed of the move in an email" from USGA Exec Dir MIKE DAVIS. Goode "came to the USGA on Sept. 1, 2011 after 15 years as a senior communications executive at Bank of America." He had the "awkward role of handling communications for the group after it switched its TV deal from NBC and ESPN to Fox last summer" and in the aftermath of the failed effort by then USGA president GLEN NAGER in September to "reorganize the governing structure of the USGA" (, 3/12).

EXECS: The LPGA promoted KELLY THESIER to Dir of Media Communications, TINA BARNES-BUDD to Senior Dir of Social Media & Marketing Communications, MEGHAN FLANAGAN to Senior Coordinator of Tour Media and ALI KICKLIGHTER to Manager of Player Development. The organization also named MOLLY GALLATIN Manager of Publicity & Media Services, BRET LASKY Coordinator of Symetra Tour Media and MATT HAAS Coordinator of Tour Media (LPGA)....The West Virginia Golf Association promoted Dir of Operations & Junior Golf BRAD ULLMAN to Exec Dir, replacing KEN TACKETT, who accepted a position as a PGA Tour rules official (AP, 3/12).

ESPN Digital & Print Media gave ESPN the Magazine Editor-in-Chief CHAD MILLMAN the additional title of Editor-in-Chief. He will report directly to VP/Editorial Digital & Print Media PATRICK STIEGMAN and will be based in Bristol, Conn. In addition, former ESPN Publishing Deputy Editor ALISON OVERHOLT will join espnW later this year as Editor-in-Chief. Overholt most recently developed content strategies for Hearst Magazines (ESPN).

EXECS: KSE Media Ventures gave Altitude Sports & Entertainment President & CEO KIM CARVER the additional title of World Fishing Network President & CEO. The company also promoted Altitude Senior VP/Operations & Engineering DAVE ZUR to KSE Media Ventures Senior VP/Broadcasting & Engineering and gave him the additional title of KSE Network Operations Center GM in Centennial, Colo. (KSE)....USA Synchronized Swimming promoted COO & Transition Dir KEVIN WARNER to Exec Dir (USA Synchro)....The MLS Rapids promoted PAUL BRAVO to VP/Soccer Operations & Technical Dir and signed him to a three-year contract (Rapids)....EPL club Southampton named former NHL Oilers coach RALPH KRUEGER Chair (REUTERS, 3/12)....Xavier Univ. of Louisiana named Univ. of Detroit Mercy Associate AD/External Affairs JASON HORN AD, effective March 31 (XUL)….Rice Univ. named Stanford Univ. Associate Dir of Development/Major Gifts JOSH THIEL Senior Associate AD/Development (Rice)….The National Sports Marketing Network named Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment President & CEO JEFF KNAPPLE to its National Exec BOD (NSMN).

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VARIETY's Brian Lowry wrote inducting News Corp. Chair & CEO RUPERT MURDOCH into the Television Academy HOF on Tuesday "sounds like a no-brainer," as "few have done more in the past 30 years to reshape the TV business, from the launch of the Fox broadcasting network to the fledgling outfit’s poaching of rights to the NFL." Lowry: "On closer inspection, though, Murdoch’s legacy is more complicated than that, inviting questions about what a Hall of Fame is intended to do." While News Corp.'s "contributions have been significant under [Murdoch's] stewardship, they have also done much to divide the public -- and frequently led TV down a path of dubious standards and questionable taste." If the "goal is strictly to recognize influence, Murdoch sails into TV’s Hall of Fame on the first ballot." Lowry: "Held in the balance, Murdoch probably deserves the accolade. His footprint is simply too overwhelming to ignore" (, 3/11).

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS: In Winston-Salem, Owen Covington profiles IMG College President BEN SUTTON JR. as an exec who competes with the “biggest marketing revenue generators in the country” -- like the NFL, MLB and ESPN -- to “help bring to colleges and universities what he believes is their fair share of the billions spent by companies and retailers trying to reach sports fans.” Sutton has the “broadest and most direct line to a college sports fan base numbering more than 190 million,” with relationships with more than 200 schools. He guides a company with 1,000 employees that generated $483M in revenue last year. Sutton believes that figure “will double in the next decade.” And “all of this is happening in downtown Winston-Salem, where Sutton fashioned a headquarters that’s a sports fan’s dream.” Sutton “expects IMG College to remain firmly rooted in the Triad” following William Morris Endeavor’s purchase of IMG (TRIAD BUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/7 issue).

HOMECOMING DANCE: NASCAR President MIKE HELTON "had a rare dinner date with Tri-Cities media representatives" last night at Bristol Motor Speedway in the personal suite of SMI Chair BRUTON SMITH. Helton, a native of Bristol, Tenn., said, "The Tri-Cities market, collectively, is a significant player. I know this area has its challenges economically with business, but there also are a lot of positives around here that still make Bristol a pretty neat place, so I am always going to be pro-Bristol no matter where I'm at" (BRISTOL HERALD COURIER, 3/13).

NAMES: ABC's ROBIN ROBERTS will be honored by the Hawks during their game against the Pelicans on March 21, as Hawks F AL HORFORD will present her with the “Be Greater” award. The Hawks will "play a video tribute narrated by Roberts’ friend" WSB-TV anchor emeritus MONICA PEARSON (, 3/12)....PHIT America, a non-profit education and advocacy organization designed to combat inactivity and obesity, has announced Golf HOFer GARY PLAYER as a celebrity ambassador (PHIT)....ESPN's NEIL EVERETT hosted the 62nd annual Oregon Sports Awards on Sunday (, 3/13)....Retired U.S. gymnast ALICIA SACRAMONE and free agent QB BRADY QUINN got married over the weekend (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/13)....NASCAR driver MATT KENSETH has put his Charlotte-area home on Lake Norman up for sale for $2.799M (, 3/12).

IN MEMORY: Former MLS player SHAWN KUYKENDALL died yesterday at the age of 32 "after a yearlong battle with thymic cancer" (, 3/12). 

The teams, leagues, companies and individuals voted as the nominees in 15 categories for the 2014 Sports Business Awards will be revealed at roughly 7:00am ET Monday in a video announcement. Look for an email and tweet directing you to the video. Winners will be announced during a live ceremony in New York on Wednesday, May 21.