Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 155

People and Pop Culture

Twitter Head of Sports Partnerships GEOFF REISS last night announced on his Twitter feed that he is leaving the company effective yesterday, an abrupt end to a tenure with the social media platform that began less than 11 months ago. The former PBA CEO, Reiss was brought in late last summer to spearhead Twitter’s sports business and industry relations and was deeply involved in social media activation around several major events, including Super Bowl XLVIII. The reasons behind Reiss’ departure are unclear, and Twitter and Reiss both declined comment last night. However, Twitter recently reorganized its entire media unit, replacing CHLOE SLADDEN and elevating KATIE STANTON to VP/Global Media in a new role that takes on a more worldwide focus. Industry sources said Twitter Sports staffers below Reiss remain in place, and a replacement for him may soon be named as the media unit continues that reorganization. Reiss tweeted last night, “[Tuesday] is my last day @twittersports. Working with the team has been incredible and I wish them, and all my fellow Peeps, all the best.”

TOM RENNEY yesterday was named Hockey Canada President & CEO, and he is a "respected hockey man, and his decades of experience at the amateur, international and professional levels ultimately made him" the NGB's choice to replace BOB NICHOLSON, according to Stephen Whyno of the CP. Hockey Canada BOD Chair JIM HORNELL said that what separated Renney from other candidates was "his values base, connections throughout the sport and passion to grow the game." Hornell: "He's a people person, he connects well, he communicates well with people and certainly he's recognized not only in Canada but throughout the hockey world, and that's important." Around the NHL, where Renney has worked in various coaching and player personnel jobs, he is "lauded for his ability to bridge gaps and build a consensus." The Hockey Canada that Renney inherits in '14 is "one that Hornell emphasized is 'on a very solid foundation.'" Among Renney's new challenges is "to make hockey a more affordable sport for Canadian children and to maintain interest in it beyond the youth level" (CP, 7/15).

: In Edmonton, Jim Matheson notes Renney is "tasked with making hockey the winter sport of choice for more Canadians; of growing the game, not just winning the games; although being president of Hockey Canada also means bringing home the gold medal at the world junior and world championships, and the Olympics." He now is Hockey Canada’s "main man," after a process in which Hornell said he was “overwhelmed by the quality of candidates.” Renney said, "I know other candidates for this position were above and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. From talking to my peer group, they all said this was a fabulous hockey job. A no-brainer" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 7/16). YAHOO SPORTS' Sunaya Sapurji noted Hockey Canada recently has seen "either flat or declining numbers in terms of enrollment." The increasing "costs and safety -- particularly concussion awareness -- are two of the major reasons many parents are declining to put their children in the sport." Hockey Canada COO SCOTT SMITH will "continue to run the business side of the organization." Smith has the "business acumen Renney does not, but given his hockey experience the pair should be able to mesh well together to lead Hockey Canada" (, 7/15). Renney said, "I want to pay particular attention to development, I want to pay particular attention to grassroots hockey" (QMI AGENCY, 7/15).

Name: Chris Flynn

Position: Sporting KC Manager of Group Sales & Sporting Club Network

Age: 29

Where I’m from: San Jose

Where I call home: K.C.

Focusing on right now: Securing the team's 50th straight sellout.

Flynn (r) said complacency is one of his biggest professional pet peeves
Best advice: If you’re not striving to improve, you’re stagnating or, worse yet, potentially regressing. Complacency is one of my biggest professional pet peeves. It’s all about making a conscious effort every day to make yourself better.

Exec I admire most: MLS Commissioner DON GARBER. MLS as a whole has made huge strides under his leadership and his vision has changed the sports landscape. Also, someone I’ve closely worked with who has to be mentioned is Sporting KC Chief Revenue Officer JAKE REID. He has personally overseen nearly all aspects of our franchise’s turnaround.

A must for a new hire: Work harder, work smarter than really everyone around you. For me, coming from the ticket sales background, you’re starting off your career in inside sales. You not only want to stand out against the peers in your class, or whoever is hired with you, but you’re also trying to work against the account executives and the senior account executives. It’s all about working harder than everyone around you.

Best book I’ve read this year: One of the book that I read over and over again since college is SUN TZU’s "The Art Of War." While the book was written about warfare and strategic planning, it has real world applications if you think abstractly towards the business side of life. It really puts into perspective making sure that you have all your ducks in a row, being very well prepared.

First thing in the morning: I’m a big news guy. So whether that’s local news from here in Kansas City or back home, to national and world life news, sports, sports business. When I go days without actually reading that, I kind of feel lost.

Talking tech: I have a love-hate relationship with my iPhone. I’m absolutely enamored with having so much information and technology at the palm of my hand, instant access, instant gratification. But I’m always connected to it, much to the disappointment of my wife.

Must have music: I’m a big pop-punk kind of guy, big reggae fan, as well. My iPod is full of stuff like FALL OUT BOY, NEW FOUND GLORY, YELLOWCARD. On the reggae side of things, BOB MARLEY, and I’m a big fan of a Santa Barbara band called REBELUTION.

Food for thought: I’m a big sushi fan, which is a bit amusing now that I live in almost literally the dead center of the country, so that goes back to my California days. Living in Kansas City, the barbecue is famous here, so that has grown on me too.

How I unwind: I’m a big fantasy sports fan -- whether it’s baseball, basketball, or football. It’s a great way to stay current with sports, but also to keep in contact with old friends, colleagues that have gone to different organizations and stuff like that.

Day in the life: Our Sporting Club Network is a bit unique in that it’s almost a regional affiliation that we have with some of our larger youth soccer clubs in the area. I think we stretch to seven or eight or nine different states, spreading from all the way up in Minnesota to Kansas City, Iowa, Nebraska, Nashville. When our organization gets out to games, does player appearances, coaching licenses and mini clinics, it brings those teams closer with Sporting Kansas City and really helps to build our brand.

The Big East Conference named former NBA Exec VP/Basketball Operations STU JACKSON Senior Associate Commissioner/Men’s Basketball, effective July 28 (Big East)....Universal Sports Network named Fearnet VP/Affiliate Sales MIKE SEVERINO to the newly created position of VP/Distribution Strategy. Fearnet is a cable, web and VOD joint venture started by Sony, Lionsgate and Comcast (USN)….The WNBA Atlanta Dream named Jaguars Dir of Financial Planning & Analysis MAUREEN BROWN COO, effective July 21 (Dream)….MLB named former player BILLY BEAN as a consultant, where he will serve as the league’s first Ambassador for Inclusion (MLB). Bean’s job will be “to assure all MLB stakeholders of an inclusive and equitable workplace and provide awareness and educational resources that help mandate the league’s workplace code of conduct.” Bean “will focus not just on sexual orientation, but also intersections of race, gender and other issues of diversity.” A “major focus” for Bean will be “to help end homophobia in the locker rooms, front offices, on the fields and in the stands” (, 7/15)….The Atlantic 10 promoted DREW DICKERSON to Assistant Commissioner and CAITLAN BONNER to Dir of Advanced Media (A-10)….Clemson Univ. named former NFLer DARRYL RICHARD Assistant Dir of Business Operations (Clemson).

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

Former NFLer CHRIS KLUWE yesterday said that he "plans to file a lawsuit" against the Vikings in hopes that the team will "release the findings of its six-month investigation into special teams coordinator MIKE PRIEFER." Kluwe said the team is "reneging on a promise" to provide the results. The Vikings said that they "planned to meet" with Kluwe's attorney, CLAYTON HALUNEN, tomorrow (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/16). Halunen and Kluwe claimed that they "have learned the report will corroborate Kluwe's initial allegations" (, 7/15).'s Johnette Howard wrote the Vikings should have known that Kluwe "is not the sort of man you can discreetly buy off or tell to shut up" ( 7/15).

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT: HBO has optioned "THE GLORY GAME" and plans to make a movie based on Pro Football HOFer FRANK GIFFORD's book "recounting the iconic Giants-Colts 1958 NFL Championship game, which went into overtime and put the NFL on the map." The movie is being produced in part by Frank's son, CODY. Frank Gifford will be an executive producer on the movie (N.Y. POST, 7/15)....Singer and producer PHARRELL WILLIAMS has been "tapped to helm the soundtrack" for "NBA 2K15." Williams takes over the soundtrack selection process from JAY Z and LEBRON JAMES, who "curated the soundtracks to the franchise's previous two installments" (, 7/15).

CRYSTAL BALL: Former Nike Senior Dir of Global Issues Management VADA MANAGER in a '10 op-ed for predicted LeBron James would return to the Cavaliers. Manager, who is now President & CEO of Manager Global Consulting Group, said of his prediction, "I love being ahead of the curve -- by four years. That said, I also recall the old saying that 'even a broken clock is correct at least twice a day'" (, 7/14).

NAMES: Hockey fan PATRICIA HIGGINS last week filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, IL., “after being struck by a puck at the United Center during Game 1” of the Blackhawks-Bruins Stanley Cup Final in ’13. The lawsuit is against the United Center Joint Venture, which is a partnership between the Blackhawks and Bulls. Damages sought from the lawsuit “are for an unspecified amount of money, but they do exceed $50,000” (, 7/15)....Knicks F AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE sold his Phoenix penthouse for $1.21M after buying it for $1.775M in ’06 (L.A. TIMES, 7/16)….Red Sox manager JOHN FARRELL is profiled in the BOSTON GLOBE’s The VIP Lounge feature in regard to his off-season travel interests. He said of his guilty pleasure when traveling, “Probably drinking before noon” (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/16).

IN MEMORY: Former Ottawa Republican Times and Quad-City Times sportswriter JERRY BRETAG passed away last Wednesday at the age of 82 (, 7/10).