Sports industry veteran HARVEY SCHILLER has taken an equity position in Collegiate Sports Management Group and will lead the initial funding round for the third-party sponsorship sales and media-rights company. “As a former conference commissioner (SEC), I’m really in love with the college world and see this as a unique opportunity,” said Schiller, who served on CSMG’s advisory board for around a year before investing in the agency. “It's really an opportunity to build something special.” Without revealing how large an investment he made, Schiller said it was “enough to make a difference.” CSMG, founded in '14 by media and property marketers MICHAEL SCHRECK and RAY KATZ, specializes in smaller colleges, universities, and athletic conferences. Over the past two years, it has signed deals bringing the aggregate audience of its college network to more than 1.5 million students and 7 million alumni. That includes the Colonial Athletic Association, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Univ. of Delaware and six D-II conferences. In addition to having been SEC Commissioner, Schiller is a founder of YES Network, a former President of Turner Sports and a former USOC Exec Dir.
People and Pop Culture
Nielsen Sports co-Global Managing Dir DANNY TOWNSEND is leaving to become CEO of Australian League club Sydney FC. Townsend, a '15 SBJ "Forty Under 40" winner, will remain with Nielsen Sports full time through Oct. 6, and will serve as an advisor to the company through the end of the year. Meanwhile, Nielsen Sports promoted co-Global Managing Dir GLENN LOVETT by dropping the "co" from his title. Before joining Nielsen, Lovett was Repucom Global President of Strategy (THE DAILY). In Sydney, James Buckley writes Townsend has the "unenviable task of filling the big shoes left behind by TONY PIGNATA." During Pignata's five-year tenure as Sydney FC CEO, he "turned around the club's finances and oversaw last season's premiership success." Buckley notes Townsend is a Repucom co-Founder (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/22). Also in Sydney, Tom Smithies writes Townsend returns to his home city "after more than a decade working overseas." Viewed as a sponsorship and marketing expert, Townsend's role will "undoubtedly focus on giving his new club more cut-through in a hugely competitive city" (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/22).
Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT gave PRESIDENT TRUMP a ring "commemorating the Patriots win in Super Bowl LI, but it wasn't Kraft's ring," according to Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. Kraft gave Trump a Super Bowl ring because the team was the "first to visit the White House after a championship win" in his presidency. Twitter yesterday "caught wind of an exchange" involving former White House Communications Dir ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, who said that Kraft "gave Trump 'the ring for last year's game.'" The "assumption was Scaramucci meant that Kraft gave Trump his ring," though that was "not the case" (CSNNE.com, 8/21). Meanwhile, PATRIOTS.com's Don Banks noted Kraft is among the candidates for "one 'Contributor' finalist" that will appear on the '18 Pro Football HOF ballot. His HOF resume "isn't in question," with five Super Bowl titles, a "track record of rescuing NFL football in the New England market, and playing such a pivotal role in both the forging of labor peace and the spectacular growth of the league." However, whether his "timing is right for the Class of 2018 is another matter." Other potential candidates being debated on Friday by a panel of voters have not been identified by likely include Broncos Owner PAT BOWLEN, former Giants GM GEORGE YOUNG, former Chargers and Redskins GM BOBBY BEATHARD and former Cowboys Personnel Dir GIL BRANDT (PATRIOTS.com, 8/21).
OVERSEAS SHIPMENT: In N.Y., Jessica Chia reports Jets Owner WOODY JOHNSON was "sworn in" as the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. yesterday. Johnson will "serve a three-year appointment and live in the UK," while his brother CHRISTOPHER WOLD JOHNSON will "take over" as the team’s Chair & CEO (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/22). Johnson has "previously pledged to work to strengthen the 'special relationship' between Britain and the US" (BELFAST TELEGRAPH, 8/22).
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER: THE ATHLETIC's Kevin Lynch reported 49ers CEO JED YORK is "striving for more ambitious pursuits, which includes planning an extensive educational system that bustles" inside Levi's Stadium. The program, headed by educator JESSE LOVEJOY, "funnels tens of thousands of kids through for one-day field trips that teach science, technology, engineering and math to mostly poor students." The program "teamed with the Khan Academy a few years ago, which is an online educational resource." Through Khan, York "wants to reach far more students." His "hope is that the 49ers can inspire kids to invest time and efforts into STEM subjects." Using the 49ers brand to attract schools, this program "helps teach kids math through football, engineering through stadium design, technology through solar power, which helps fuel Levi's." There are also "other examples for learning that are incorporated during the five-hour field trip." Eventually, York "wants to form teams of students who will compete with other NFL teams' students" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/21).
HBO’s "Ballers" on Sunday night picked up from last week's overarching theme of bringing an NFL team to Las Vegas. The episode begins at a dinner with Spencer Strasmore, played by DWAYNE JOHNSON, along with his business partner Joe, played by ROB CORDDRY, discussing the venture with the unnamed Cowboys owner, played by actor CHRISTOPHER MCDONALD, and a Las Vegas casino magnate, played by STEVE GUTTENBERG. The Cowboys' owner, who only goes by "boss man" on the show, tells the guests at the dinner table, “I want this Vegas stadium on par with Jerry’s World.” But Joe asks, “You want us outdoing AT&T Stadium?” The owner replied, “Growth is what’s best for the league. ... We need to go on the offensive and expand our territory, create monuments that go beyond football and show working-class families a great time." Guttenberg’s character adds, “While also appealing to those with deep pockets.” Strasmore said, “I talked to the Raiders and they’re open for business.” The Cowboys' owner notes an NFL owners’ meeting is around the corner and says, "I’ll just load the fellas up on Johnnie (Walker) Blue and push this thing through." But Strasmore's client and friend, free agent WR Ricky Jerret, played by JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON, also tells him, "Is it really worth ripping the team away from Oakland, especially now that they’re competitive for the first time in, like, forever. Some might question where your priorities lie."
VR PLAY: The stadium deal initially hits a snag after the dinner when Guttenberg’s character tells Strasmore he is unwilling to cut any check for the venture. Guttenberg: "I’m not going to spend my money when someone else will be stupid enough to spend theirs." The casino magnate's assistant notes he brings his “brand” to the deal, which is "far more valuable than dollars.” Guttenberg: “After all, I am the city of Las Vegas." Then, an NFL league exec, who in a previous episode warned Strasmore about his Vegas play, runs into Strasmore talking to the casino magnate in the parking lot. However, just before the end of the episode, Hastings was shown a VR demonstration of what a new Las Vegas stadium would look like, complete with "Wayneville" slapped on the stadium rendering and slot machines in the venue. The casino magnate ends up offering $100M and 600 acres to build the stadium.
LEAGUE NOT A FAN: Strasmore again runs into a female NFL league exec, who sees him exiting the dinner with the Vegas casino magnate. Later in the episode, one of Strasmore's clients, Cowboys DT Vernon Littlefield, played by DONOVAN CARTER, is then sent a random drug test by the league. Carter, who in previous episodes has been endorsing a cannabis company, admits he had been taking cannibinoids. Strasmore again meets with the NFL exec, who hints at keeping a suspension for Littlefield to a minimum four games if Strasmore steps away from the Vegas play. The exec also hints that the league knows about Jerret being arrested for a mistaken home invasion, despite no charges being filed.
LINES OF THE NIGHT:
- Joe tells Carter about endorsing a VR company and getting out of his cannabis endorsement, “Cannabinoids are a great cause, Vern, but weed is weed. Endorsing any product tied to it is going to put your money at risk."
- Strasmore's boss, played by actor RICHARD SCHIFF, calls Strasmore out on his checkered past with the league and the union, saying, “The idea of moving a football franchise to Las Vegas has been one giant circle jerk right from the start. Given your track record, I’m guessing the league would rather have the face of the devil on this deal than you.”
StubHub President SCOTT CUTLER has been promoted by parent company eBay to Senior VP/Americas and will be running the marketplace business for the company. Cutler will also continue to lead StubHub temporarily, but the ticket resale company will ultimately get a new president. StubHub’s day-to-day operations will be led by GM/North America PERKINS MILLER and CFO AJAY GOPAL. It is not yet known whether either Miller or Gopal are candidates for the president job, and there is no set timetable for the search. The eBay corporate shifts, which also included two other exec promotions in its marketplace business, were driven by the departure of Senior VP HAL LAWTON (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
FILLING OUT THE STAFF: Fox Sports hired ANDREW FEGYVERESI as a Senior VP/Communications. A former communications exec with SNY and TWC Sports, Fegyveresi will be based in L.A. and report to Fox Sports Exec VP/Communications TERRI HINES. He starts Monday and will focus on Fox Sports’ RSNs and internal communications. The hire is the first since Hines joined Fox Sports from Nike in December. She still has two more positions to fill. Hines last month promoted EDDIE MOTL to VP/Media Relations (John Ourand, Staff Writer).
EXECS: The Clippers named former Cavaliers Senior VP/Basketball Operations TRENT REDDEN Assistant GM. Redden left the Cavaliers in June along with GM DAVID GRIFFIN (LATIMES.com, 8/21)....The Magic named former NBA G League Erie BayHawks Basketball Operations Coordinator ADETUNJI ADEDIPE to a front office position. He will also serve as G League Lakeland Magic Assistant GM (THE DAILY)....The PGA Tour Policy Board named Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers General Partner MARY MEEKER to its BOD. Meeker become's the BOD's fifth Independent Dir (PGA Tour)....Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment named DAVID COFFEY Dir of Sales and LEON RYAN GM of its Samford Univ. property (THE DAILY).
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Golf HOFer GREG NORMAN will join SportsBusiness Journal Nov. 1-2 as a featured speaker at the Stadium Sports Marketing Symposium in Crowne Plaza Times Square in N.Y. Norman will discuss athlete branding, marketing, growing his eponymous company and other interests off the golf course (THE DAILY).
BUYING IN: Wild coach BRUCE BOUDREAU and his wife, CRYSTAL, have "become minority owners" in the U.S. Premier Hockey League Blue Ox expansion team in Coon Rapids, Minn. Crystal Boudreau said, "We asked: Is it financially viable? Yes. Can we have control? Yes. And that was important because it's our reputation on the line." USPHL, the "largest amateur league in the country," is geared for 16-to-20-year-olds "pursuing the next level of hockey" (ESPN.com, 8/21).
Clinton-Dix' foundation aims to help children
from low-income families in Green Bay
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