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Volume 24 No. 114

People and Pop Culture

"Going Off The Grid" is a weekly survey of sports execs and personalities offering their thoughts on a handful of pressing (and trivial) issues in sports and pop culture. This week, panelists opine on the Mayweather-McGregor buildup, as well as their can't-miss fall TV show.

  • Blue Jackets Partnership Activation Specialist Victoria King
    – Pop culture is not just an interest for her, but life.
  • KORE Planning & Insights President Russell Scibetti
    – Obsessively checks his Twitter feed.
  • Ketchum Sports & Entertainment Senior VP & GM Courtney Nally
    – Lives for US Weekly -- not sorry about it.
  • Rapids interim GM & Sporting Dir Padraig Smith
  • – Will listen to anything by Bruce Springsteen.

Going Off The Grid
  The Mayweather-McGregor buildup has been... Next sport (non-NBA) to place ads on jerseys Fall TV show you can't wait for Earliest you'll drink pumpkin-flavored beverages The NFL hiring full-time officials is...

A well-orchestrated publicity stunt Football - from practice to game jerseys Does "Sunday Night Football" count? It's never too early The NFL playing catch-up

All about chasing the $$$ The NHL Besides NFL games, "Shark Tank" Never - pumpkin belongs in pie Long overdue

The circus is coming to town The NHL Anything by Dick Wolf Never - fiercely loyal to vanilla anything year-round Interesting. Always thought they were

Excruciating MLB "The Brave" on NBC Never A step in the right direction
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The Magic promoted VP/Business Strategy ANTHONY PEREZ to CMO. Perez was a '17 SBJ/SBD "Forty Under 40" honoree. The team also promoted the following: MICHAEL FORDE to Chief Sales Officer; JAY RIOLA to VP/Strategy; TRISH WINGERSON to Dir of Corporate Communications; MARIE WEBB to Assistant Dir of Marketing; RYAN PIERCE to Assistant Dir of Fan Development; AMANDA LOTT to Assistant Dir of Graphic Production; CALEB PARDICK to Display Systems & Motion Graphics Manager; LAUREN PAQUETTE to Assistant Dir of Direct Marketing; and JASON DEWBERRY to Senior Producer (Magic).

EXECS: SiriusXM named former ESPN Audio Network VP/Ad Sales & Affiliate Sales MIKE CONNOLLY Head of Ad Sales. Connolly will report to President & Chief Content Officer SCOTT GREENSTEIN (SiriusXM)....Conference USA promoted Senior Associate Commissioner KEISHA DUNLAP to COO (CUSA)....Chicago-based media and venue ad firm InStadium promoted CMO SARAH WILDE to CEO (InStadium)....Colgate Univ. named MARY BERDO Associate AD. She was previously NCAA Associate Dir for Championships & Alliances, running championship events for women's soccer (College Cup), D-I swimming and diving and D-I women's lacrosse (Colgate)....MLSE Communications Coordinator MELISSA PERRI is leaving the company to pursue a new opportunity. Her last day is tomorrow (THE DAILY)....The Red Bulls named Orlando City SC Academy Dir DAVID LONGWELL to the same position (Red Bulls). 

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The Rose Bowl is "repurposing a hallowed locker room, where football legends like KNUTE ROCKNE once inspired their teams, into a showcase for a potential full-sized museum." The locker room was "used for the stadium’s first six years before it was turned into a storage room." The Rose Bowl Operating Company will "use the tiny museum -- only a few hundred square feet -- for special events and as the first stop during the official stadium tour program." The room will open to the public Aug. 25 (SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE, 8/17).

James and his wife are featured in Vogue Magazine's September issue
GIVING BACK: The Dick's Sporting Goods Foundation's Sports Matter program has committed $500,000 over five years to Little League Baseball and Softball (Dick's)....Cubs LF KYLE SCHWARBER yesterday visited Chicago Fire Department Engine 112 as "part of his 'Neighborhood Heroes' campaign." He "surprised the station with a 65-inch television and PlayStation." This was Schwarber’s "fourth activity of his campaign." He has also "hosted first responders at Wrigley Field for a Cubs game" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/17)....Cavaliers F LEBRON JAMES and his wife SAVANNAH's parenting style is just "one of the heartwarming details revealed in a profile of the James family" in the September issue of Vogue. The "meat of the story" is "about the couple's charitable endeavors in the Akron area through the LeBron James Family Foundation" (, 8/16).

: Trail Blazers G DAMIAN LILLARD said that he is "working on the follow-up to his highly successful debut album, 'THE LETTER O.'" No release date "has been determined." Lillard, whose stage name is Dame D.O.L.L.A, has "support from some of hip-hop's most prominent figures, including LIL WAYNE" (, 8/16)....Nike co-Founder & Chair Emeritus PHIL KNIGHT this week "contributed $500,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of KNUTE BUEHLER, a Republican lawmaker from central Oregon." Knight has "spent heavily in recent gubernatorial elections," donating $400,000 to Republican candidate CHRIS DUDLEY in '10 and $250,000 to Democrat JOHN KITZHABER in '14 (AP, 8/16)....D-backs Special Advisor TONY LA RUSSA and former Indiana men's basketball coach TOM CREAN yesterday attended the Patriots-Texans joint practice at The Greenbrier as guests of coach BILL BELICHICK (, 8/16)....Former CFLer ARLAND BRUCE III, who said that he has "sustained 'permanent and disabling’ repetitive head trauma as a player,” has “asked the Supreme Court of Canada to allow his lawsuit against the league to proceed.” Two lower courts in British Columbia have “dismissed the suit because Canada's top court has previously ruled that unionized employees must use labour arbitration -- not the courts -- to resolve disputes that arise from their collective agreement" (CP, 8/16)....NASCAR Dir of Public & Government Affairs JORDAN JILOTY and his wife on Saturday welcomed a son, CHARLES JORDAN JILOTY (, 8/16).

: Former NBAer TOMMY HAWKINS passed away yesterday at the age of 80. Hawkins “forged a career in television and radio when his playing days ended” with the Lakers, then “served as a Dodgers front-office executive.” He was also a sportscaster with L.A.-based KNBC (L.A. TIMES, 8/17). Hawkins was hired in ’87 by then-Dodgers Owner PETER O’MALLEY as VP/Communications and he "worked for the team" until ’04 (AP, 8/16)....Longtime Reds front office exec GENE BENNETT passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Bennett was a Special Assistant to the GM from ’92-’11 after beginning in the club’s scouting department in ’58 (Reds).

This year’s SMT conference will feature a cross-section of featured speakers including Thomas Tull, Founder, Tulco and former Chairman & CEO, Legendary Entertainment; Jeffrey Cole, Director & CEO, Center for the Digital Future, USC; Juan Carlos Rodriguez, President, Univision, and Jeff Ma, Group Project Manager, Twitter and the subject of the best-selling book Bringing Down the House and the blockbuster movie, 21.

To register or for more information, visit

On Sept. 14, SportsBusiness Journal/Daily will hold its fifth annual Game Changers conference, where we will explore the multiple ways in which women intersect with sports. That week, we are planning to unveil exclusive new research on gender hiring trends and career advancement. In tandem with Game Changers sponsor and research partner Turnkey Intelligence, we are asking executives in sports to complete a brief survey about topics relevant to working in our industry. We anticipate that this survey will take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.

Privacy Policy. All respondents to this survey can be assured that:

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The results of this survey will be presented exclusively in a future issue of SportsBusiness Journal. You may access the survey by clicking here, or by entering the following URL into your browser: