Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 112

People and Pop Culture

The NFL on Friday in an internal memo disclosed a series of personnel changes and reorganizations in NFL Media, led by the hiring of PERKINS MILLER as Chief Digital Officer. Miller most recently was WWE Exec VP/Global Digital Media and played a key role in the recent creation of the WWE Network, the property’s much-discussed, over-the-top digital video service. Miller, who also previously was NBC Sports Senior VP/Digital, will now be based out of NFL Media’s Culver City, Calif., offices and report to NFL Media COO BRIAN ROLAPP. NFL Media VP/Digital Media GREG ISAACS and VP/Content TOM BRADY will each now report to Miller. NFL Network Senior VP/Programming & Production MARK QUENZEL will lead the Culver City operation along with Miller and will continue to report to Rolapp. Meanwhile, Rolapp also has expanded the duties of Senior VP/Media Strategy Development HANS SCHROEDER. Schroeder will now oversee NFL Network and NFL Digital revenue in addition to his prior business development efforts. Affiliate sales led by VP JOHN MALKIN and media sales led by Senior VP BRIAN MATTHEWS will now report to Schroeder. NFL VP CHRIS HALPIN will now oversee media strategy and business development amid Schroeder’s expanded responsibilities, with VISHAL SHAH heading up domestic business development and JULIE MOELLER leading international efforts and each reporting to Halpin. The roles of NFL Senior VP/Broadcasting & Media Operations HOWARD KATZ and Senior VP/Sponsorship & Partnership Management RENIE ANDERSON will remain intact, and each will continue to report to Rolapp.

PREPPING FOR BORNSTEIN'S DEPARTURE: The league made the moves with an eye toward streamlining its leadership and sales teams under Rolapp as NFL Network President & CEO STEVE BORNSTEIN steps down this spring following a high-profile, 12-year run with the NFL. The shifts also arrive in advance of the planned debut this summer of the NFL Now digital video service. NFL Now will offer a personalized feed of of league news, highlights and analysis, and Miller will play a key role in the effort.

TIME magazine released its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and making the list were several sports figures, including Nets C JASON COLLINS, Seahawks CB RICHARD SHERMAN, golfer LYDIA KO, tennis player SERENA WILLIAMS and La Liga club Real Madrid F CRISTIANO RONALDO. Collins is one of four people featured on seperate covers of the issue. CHELSEA CLINTON pens the piece on Collins, her former Stanford classmate, and writes it made "eminent sense that it would be Jason becoming the first openly gay, still active pro athlete in a major US sports league." His "kindness and fierceness alike derive from that word too often bandied about and too rarely true: integrity." Collins has "always maintained he’s first a basketball player." But he also is a "leader and an inspiration." Meanwhile, TIME's SEAN GREGORY discusses Sherman's famous post-NFC Championship game rant, writing it "solidified his reputation as one of the brashest and most candid players in the buttoned-up NFL." It also "sparked a national conversation about race, stereotyping and sportsmanship." Golf HOFer ANNIKA SORENSTAM writes Ko is "responsible for sparking increased interest in our sport not just in her native South Korea and adopted homeland of New Zealand but also among juniors across the globe." She is doing a "fantastic job handling the many responsibilities that accompany stardom." Heat G DWYANE WADE writes there is no doubt that Williams has "made an incredible impact on the world of tennis," but it is her "determination to never give up that has always resonated with me." Former soccer player PELE writes Ronaldo is "one of the most influential athletes" today. Pele writes, "I greatly respect his competitive mind-set on the field, and it's no surprise that he is currently considered the best soccer player in the world" (TIME, 5/5 issue).

The already busy day-to-day schedule for Topps GM & VP/Digital MICHAEL BRAMLAGE has gotten even more hectic, as he and his wife just welcomed their first child, a baby girl, about three weeks ago. The newborn and the continuous monitoring of Topps’ three biggest apps -- Topps Kick, Topps Bunt and Topps Huddle -- have left Bramlage feeling very blessed but also very sleep deprived. He tends to work regularly on the weekends, which he says is a necessity for any tech company that offers digital content in real time, but Bramlage still finds time to enjoy the hustle and bustle of life in the Big Apple.

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY: My wife and I, we lived in Seattle for about six years and moved to New York City in 2007. We live near Union Square and near Washington Square Park, which is where a lot of folks hang out and we like to stroll through there. The nice part about living in New York City is you’re always exposed to diversity. Friday night is usually dinner out and the one thing I will say as a knock on New York City is there’s no place to get good Mexican food here. Outside of that, the city makes it very difficult to pin down a specific restaurant or a specific type of cuisine because of the diversity. What we enjoy really is mixing it up and trying something new and different every weekend.

BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL: I tend to get up around 8:00am (on the weekends). I’m not an early riser naturally. A lot of what we do here at Topps requires creativity. When you’ve got a business that is based on content, it’s important to be creative and think about what’s coming next, what that next chase is going to be for the users of our apps. A lot of that creativity I think works best for me at night. So it’s a mix of being somewhat of a night owl that likes to use that time to be thoughtful, to be creative, but with the baby and with the demand of running an always-on portfolio of applications, I have to get up at a reasonable hour as well.

FAN LOYALTY: For me, the weekends really start with a strong cup of coffee, pouring over a lot of data that’s being kicked out from our services. Then I’m turning on the TV and watching a few of the early matches for the Barclays Premier League. I’ve been very happy with the coverage that NBC has provided for the Barclays Premier League. Our app Topps Kick is based on the Barclays Premier League, so it’s fun for me to sit there and watch but also have this great second-screen experience in conjunction with the match. I’m also a big baseball fan. I follow the Detroit Tigers religiously and I love the fact that I can use an app like MLB At Bat to follow the Tigers whether it’s a day game or a night game over the course of the weekend.

TOPPS CHEF: My wife and I enjoy cooking; It’s a good way to relax. We like trying new recipes and it’s a good way to sort of bond as well as decompress. So while we do eat out a fair amount, we both enjoy cooking. That’s something that we do, usually a Saturday night activity for us, where we can pick up groceries during the day and start preparing a meal earlier, around 5:00 or 6:00. We joke that we’re part of the early-bird-special crowd. But preparing and cooking a nice meal on Saturday night is a tradition that we have. I would say that’s probably the one slice of the weekend where my mind is totally diverted away from (work). If I had to pick a specialty, I would say fish. I’m very good at cooking salmon, so it’s usually fish with a few side dishes and lots of wine.

DAY OF REST: Sunday is the day where I try to sneak in as much Barclays Premier League soccer as I can in the morning, then we usually run off to church, then it’s running errands and trying to unwind early in the evening and get ready for the week. I don’t know that we have any specific rituals on Sunday evening. Usually, it’s trying to find some sort of distraction, something on TV, just to get the mind off of the upcoming week. I was a huge “BREAKING BAD” junkie from Day 1, from the first season. So now that that’s over it’s been difficult to turn my attention to something like “MAD MEN.” I used to be a religious watcher of AMC’s programming on Sunday night, but now that’s changed somewhat.

Premier Partnerships named PBR Senior VP/Sales BARRY MCMULLIN Senior VP/Corporate Partnerships. McMullin previously worked at Wasserman (THE DAILY)....The MLB Rangers named former MLBer DARREN OLIVER Special Assistant to GM JON DANIELS (Rangers)....LED screen provider GoVision named Daktonics Product Manager JAY DEBLONK to the newly created position of Solutions Manager. He spent ten years with Daktronics (GoVision)....The CIAA named DONNELL LEATHERS Coordinator of Football Officials (CIAA)....MiLB named AMBER KUKULYA Manager of HR (MiLB).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to

Univ. of Oklahoma AD JOE CASTIGLIONE "received $30,000 in bonuses tied to the postseason success of the women's gymnastics team, a program that lost more than" $1.5M last year. But Castiglione "isn't the only athletic director to have bonuses tied to the performance of money-losing teams." Ohio State Univ. AD GENE SMITH received an $18,086 bonus "when wrestler LOGAN STIEBER won his weight class at the NCAA championship in March." The wrestling program lost $805,000 in FY '13. Univ. of California AD SANDY BARBOUR got a $10,423 bonus "for the men's NCAA swimming and diving title last month." Those programs "lost a combined $534,000" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 4/25).

SEASON OF GIVING: The Twins Community Fund, the Pohlad Family Foundation and MLB Charities will contribute more than $8M to local Minneapolis organizations and community projects "connected to the celebration" of the '14 MLB All-Star Game. The Twins and MLB said it is the "most extensive community legacy effort in All-Star Game history." Much of the money "is coming from the Pohlads and the Twins -- along with gate proceeds from the game's Home Run Derby" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/25).

FUN AND GAMES: Tennessee-based First Round Exchange is launching a "new fantasy game based on the highly anticipated NFL draft, which starts in less than two weeks." The app, Play the Draft, allows football fans "to build a fantasy portfolio of potential draft picks based on their 'draft stock' value." The goal is to "have the highest-valued portfolio at the end of the third round of the draft" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/25).

NAMES: A N.Y. federal court judge has “thrown out” a $45M libel and defamation lawsuit by former Ukranian figure skater OKSANA BAIUL. Baiul had filed the lawsuit against NBC and Disson Skating for “allegedly promoting her appearance in two ice shows that she didn’t skate in” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/25)….Members of the USOC and 22 NGBs “celebrated the 36th anniversary of the headquarters' move” from N.Y. to Colorado Springs at an annual luncheon Wednesday. USOC Chief of Organizational Excellence BENITA FITZGERALD-MOSLEY “was the keynote speaker” for the 400 attendees (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 4/24)….Former MLBer CHIPPER JONES proposed to his girlfriend, TAYLOR HIGGINS, on Thursday, which “also happens to be both of their birthdays” (, 4/24).

IN MEMORY: Louisiana State Racing Commission Chair JERRY MEAUX was “killed Thursday in a car accident” at the age of 74 (