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Volume 24 No. 117

People and Pop Culture

Actor WILL SMITH is “ready to tackle the NFL’s concussion problem as he is in talks to star in the untitled drama based” on the GQ article “Game Brain,” according to Justin Kroll of VARIETY. The film is being done by Scott Free Productions and Sony Pictures, with PETER LANDESMAN “on board to write and direct.” The story “is described as a whistle-blower tale in the vein of ‘THE INSIDER’ humanizing the price paid by professional athletes in impact sports -- and the political, cultural and corporate interests that fuel the business of professional sports.” The film is “one of a handful of Hollywood projects revolving around the concussion problem in the NFL taking shape in the industry." Parkes/MacDonald Productions is “developing a project” based on the book “LEAGUE OF DENIAL: THE NFL, CONCUSSIONS AND THE BATTLE FOR TRUTH,” while actor ISAIAH WASHINGTON “is set to star in the indie drama ‘GAME TIME DECISION,’ both of which focus on the concussion issue” (, 6/3).

Name: Art Marquez

Position: Pac-12 Networks Senior VP/Affiliate Sales & Marketing

Age: 50

Where I’m from: L.A.

Where I call home: S.F.

Focusing on right now: Expanding distribution, working with affiliates to market the network.

Marquez enjoys spending time outdoors, on the
beach, and cooking out with his family
Best advice: Whenever you make a mistake or misquote something, don’t lie about it and don’t try to get out of it. Admit to it and fix it. Be honest to your clients, so they know you have that integrity.

Exec I admire most: As far as time management and business, (Discovery Communications President & CEO) DAVID ZASLAV and (former NBCU President of TV Network Distribution) BRIDGET BAKER really taught me some great things on how to treat clients and how to get deals done. (Scripps Network President of Brand Outreach) SUSAN PACKARD, who worked with us in the early days, really taught us integrity.

A must for a new hire: I’m a believer in hiring people that are smarter than I am in their subjects. I know everything about TV, I know everything about cable and launching networks. I’m not as comfortable in the sports world for stats and players and calls and rules and regs of the sports. I always believe, everywhere that I've been, in hiring smarter people and promoting them so that one day they take over.

Best book I've read this year: I love biographies; I enjoy reading about people and books on achieving and self-help. But just to read a long novel right now, I just haven’t done it in two years. I’ve learned how to speed read. It’s been a really busy two years since we came here.

First thing in the morning: I pick up that awful iPhone that I don’t like. I miss Blackberry, I’m old fashioned. Then I turn on "GOOD MORNING AMERICA." I still get three newspapers a day, hard copies. I subscribe to the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and USA Today.

Talking tech: I think the iPad has been one of the best inventions, and I love my iPad. I do everything on iPad when I’m on an airplane or I’m on the road. I think the wireless technology through an iPad and what you’re able to do is wonderful. You don’t have to unload your laptop and all that, even though I still travel with it.

Must have music: I love Shazam. I’m a music junkie. If you look at my playlists, I have everything from ‘60s and ‘70s and ‘80s when I was growing up to country music and Spanish music, which I grew up with from my parents.

Food for thought: I love to barbecue. Having grown up in Southern California and then living on the beach -- I had a beach house on the East Coast -- I was always grilling. So I always had friends over and a lot of people and no one ever left hungry or thirsty.

How I unwind: I’m always out in the yard. Whether it’s pruning, or gardening, or painting the trims of the windows, I’m always out. I love just being outdoors. I’m a big beach person, I love being at the beach. I really enjoy being in touch with the outdoors.

Day in the life: We started with nothing, absolutely nothing. The conference had no assets for TV. At the NFL, at least we had the backbone and the infrastructure of NFL Films. With baseball, we started with nothing, but at least there was a little something there with MLB Productions. So here we literally didn't have anything. Having to go back to get video and tapes from schools and networks. There was no relationship with the actual cable companies in the past, so all of that is new to the conference.

ESPN promoted Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl Associate Exec Dir and Senior Manager of Event Sponsorship & Marketing JOHN SACCENTI to Exec Dir (Las Vegas Bowl)....Australia-based Performance sports and compression apparel brand 2XU named former Under Armour Dir of Global Brand Marketing for Golf, Run, Tennis, Training & Tough Mudder SCOTT TAYLOR as the company’s first President for U.S. business. Taylor also worked at Nike from ’90-’02 (2XU)....Korn Ferry named former NHLer BLAKE GEOFFRION to its sports practice (THE DAILY)....The 49ers named DR. FERGUS CONNOLLY Dir of Elite Performance. Connolly spent the last three years as a consultant to teams in the NFL, NBA, EPL and professional rugby (49ers)....The AHL Springfield Falcons named NHL Panthers Dir of Premium Seating ERIC LAPOINTE Exec VP & Alternate Governor. The team also removed the interim tag for President & Governor SARAH POMPEA (Springfield Falcons)....The U.S. Hockey League named Reebok-CCM Hockey U.S. Trade Marketing Manager BOB FALLEN President & Commissioner. Fallen replaces SKIP PRINCE, “who has decided to focus on other pursuits after six seasons,” but will “continue to serve in an advisory role with the league” (, 6/2)....Texas A&M Univ. promoted Associate AD/Facilities KEVIN HURLEY to Senior Associate AD/Facilities & Construction (Texas A&M).

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

Media writer Ed Sherman in a special to USA TODAY reports NBC's DOC EMRICK is "writing a letter every day to a person who had an impact on his life." The recipients of the daily notes "range from longtime producers and analysts to long-ago high school classmates, neighbors and people from his early jobs in the business." Emrick: "There's so much that people did for you along the way that they probably thought was nothing at all. I wanted to tell them what it meant to me. It seemed like something that needed to be done." Emrick, 67, stresses that the notes "aren't a veiled signal that he is in declining health" (USA TODAY, 6/4).

OPEN PALMS? UFC President DANA WHITE on Sunday confirmed that The Palms casino "gave him his 'walking papers' for the second time in two years because of his winning ways." White said that he "was coaxed back March 1, ending a 22-month boycott" by White and UFC fighters. He confirmed that Palms CEO DAN LEE, "who recently left the property, sent a case of his favorite wine ... to the UFC office to open peace talks." White said that when he returned to the Palms tables, he "beat them for (nearly $2 million), and they asked me not to play anymore." He "was informed by new management at the Palms about May 21 that his limit was being reduced from $25,000 a hand to $5,000" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/2).

TECH TALK: Sounders investor DREW CAREY is profiled in today's edition of the USA TODAY "Talking Your Tech" feature. Carey is a "fan of the MLS Matchday app, which is available for free on the Apple, Android and Windows platforms." Carey: "It helps me keep track of [my] team. I travel a lot, so I can see the game on my iPhone, watch it from the dressing room. It's amazing that I can watch my team play on the app" (USA TODAY, 6/4).

AWARDS & HONORS: Former NBA Commissioner DAVID STERN "regaled a crowd Monday of 1,600 people" at a Jewish United Fund dinner. After Stern "spoke to the crowd, he answered questions" from Bulls and White Sox Chair JERRY REINSDORF. Stern said of the DONALD STERLING saga, "I guess I would say don't judge a league by any of its problems. Judge it by their reactions to them" (, 6/3)....Former Yankees spokesperson HOWARD RUBENSTEIN last night was honored by the team. He and his firm "have represented the Yankees for half of his 60 years in the business." Stern was among friends in attendance (, 6/4)....The ECHL yesterday announced that Anchorage Daily News writer DOYLE WOODY was selected as the '13-14 recipient of the league's Outstanding Media Award (ECHL).

CHARITY STRIPE: Yankees CF JACOBY ELLSBURY has committed $1M to help the Oregon State Univ. baseball program "expand its locker room facilities." Goss Stadium, which has stood on the campus since 1907, is the oldest continuous ballpark in the nation." In "recognition of the gift, the locker room facilities will be named in honor of Ellsbury." He played for OSU from '03-05 (, 6/3).

NAMES: Mets 2B DANIEL MURPHY, who missed Opening Day to be with his wife during the birth of their first child, "was invited to speak about that experience at the White House, and he accepted." Murphy "will speak on Monday about having his very personal family moment exploited in the public eye as part of a day of discussion on working fathers that will lead into a White House Summit on Working Families on June 23" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/4)....Islanders Owner CHARLES WANG is in the top three for the highest property-tax bill for a single residence in the tri-state region of N.Y. The annual tax bill on his Nassau County estate, "which has a market value" of more than $36M, is $564,666 (, 6/3)....DEEPAL WANNAKUWATTE, the former owner of the now-defunct World TeamTennis Sacramento Capitals, "has filed for bankruptcy protection and listed a staggering" $134M in debt (, 6/3)....Oilers D ANDREW FERENCE is “marching in the 34th annual Edmonton Pride Parade” on Saturday, the “first member of the Oilers to participate” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 6/3)….U.S. men's national soccer team D OMAR GONZALEZ, F CLINT DEMPSEY and MF MICHAEL BRADLEY appear on the cover of the June issue of Men’s Journal (, 6/2)….Rapper DR. DRE paid $40M for Patriots QB TOM BRADY’s 18,298-square-foot Brentwood, Calif., home (, 6/3)….D-Backs Chief Baseball Officer TONY LA RUSSA bought a Danville, Calif., home for $1.233M (, 6/3)….Knicks F CARMELO ANTHONY “celebrated his 30th birthday” on Monday at The Nomad Hotel with G J.R. SMITH. Rapper NAS “performed a set” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/4).