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Volume 24 No. 112

People and Pop Culture

Olympic marketer CHRIS WELTON has been hired as the CEO of the U.S. Equestrian Federation. He will take the helm at the organization June 1. Welton replaces JOHN LONG, who announced his plans to retire last year after 10 years overseeing the federation. Welton said, "It turned out to be good timing and I'm really excited about it. While it's a (national governing body) and we have to do the functions that go along with that, I'm especially excited about growing the grassroots side and the national side and the media opportunities. From what I can see there's really an opportunity to grow the sport and increase access to it." Welton, a safety on the Univ. of Georgia’s '80 national championship football team, began talking with the equestrian federation in late January. The organization was looking for an experienced sports exec with knowledge of the Olympics. Welton worked on the organizing committee for the '96 Atlanta Games and later founded Meridian Management, which sold Olympic sponsorships for the IOC from '96-'04. He went on to become the CEO of Helios Partners, which was founded by TERRENCE BURNS. Welton will relocate from Atlanta to Lexington for the job. He plans to keep his farm in Georgia. JOE BAILEY of RSR Partners out of Greenwich, Conn., led the search effort to fill the equestrian vacancy.

Bleacher Report named former baseball writer SCOTT MILLER a national baseball columnist. Miller was at CBS for 14 years until he was laid off last fall (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). Meanwhile, named the Birmingham News' JON SOLOMON a national college football writer. His first day will be April 28 (CBS).

EXECS: Tennis Channel named Asian pop culture TV channel Mnet America CEO ADAM WARE to the newly created position of Senior VP & Head of Digital Media (Tennis Channel)....Fanatics named online marketplace One Kings Lane CEO DOUG MACK to the same position, effective April 21. Mack will also have a spot on the BOD. He replaces Fanatics Founder ALAN TRAGER, who is retiring (Fanatics)....New Mexico State Univ. promoted Dir of Corporate & Foundation Relations FRED HEINRICH to Associate AD/Development (NMSU).

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Portland State Univ. "is partnering with footwear design academy Pensole to bring students from historically black colleges and universities" to the city starting in '15. The program "is intended to be a step toward bringing more people of color into the athletic footwear design industry." Portland State assistant professor LAUREN BEITELSPACHER said that the program "would be designed to meet a need in the area's footwear industry." She added, "One of the things we've heard in the industry is that there just aren't a lot of women and minorities applying for positions" (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/10).

Bosworth (c) testified before the Senate Judiciary
Committee on the Comcast-TWC merger
POLITICAL POSTURING: Back9Network CEO JAMES BOSWORTH yesterday "told the Senate Judiciary Committee about his efforts to gain a place on one of the nation's four large outlets for pay TV." Comcast told Back9's team in '12 that it "would not launch the channel -- because, Bosworth suspected, Comcast owns the Golf Channel." Bosworth said Time Warner Cable "could not have been more helpful" in its talks with Back9Network -- until Feb. 13, when the TWC and Comcast announced the merger deal. Bosworth: "As soon as this merger was announced, that definitely softened quite a bit. It's become a lot more difficult for us" (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/10).

NAMES: Red Wings Owner MIKE ILLITCH's Olympia Development yesterday "agreed to buy the Vietnam Veterans of Detroit Chapter 9 building ... a property that is just past the northern border of the new arena." Officials said that the building "and the city-owned lot will be used as ancillary development surrounding" the Red Wings' new arena (DETROIT NEWS, 4/10)....Rapper DRAKE will host the '14 ESPYs (ESPN)....NFL Draft prospect AJ MCCARRON and his fiancee, KATHERINE WEBB, have "decided to do a reality show throughout the planning of their wedding, leading up to a televised wedding" (, 4/9)....Golfer KEN DUKE, who has scoliosos, last night was honored with the Ben Ho­gan Award at the Golf Wri­ters Asso­cia­tion of Amer­ica Awards Ban­quet at Au­gus­ta Coun­try Club. The award "goes to a golfer who remains active in the sport despite a physical handicap or serious illness" (, 4/9)....A custom-built Ottawa mansion belonging to Predators C MIKE FISHER and wife CARRIE UNDERWOOD has been sold. The five-bedroom home was originally listed at $2.2M, but the asking price was reduced to $1.95M in November (OTTAWA SUN, 4/10).