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Volume 24 No. 132

People and Pop Culture

Hasbro VP/Licensing for North America MICHELLE MICONE has been hired as the NFL’s new Senior VP/Consumer Products. In perhaps the most talked-about job opening this year in sports licensing, the NFL has been looking for a new consumer products chief since April, when LEO KANE left the league after 23 years. The position will continue to report to CHRIS HALPIN, who earlier this year added the title of Chief Strategy Officer to Senior VP/Licensing & Consumer Products. Micone’s last day at Hasbro is today, and she will start at the league by mid-October. She will direct NFL consumer products strategy, retail marketing and business development. Micone has been at Hasbro since ‘01, serving in a variety of marketing roles. As head of licensing at Hasbro, she oversaw brands including Nerf, Transformers, Monopoly and My Little Pony. She was responsible for more than 225 licensees, along with retail development, sales and category management for a variety of licensed products, including HBA, apparel, and publishing. Prior to Hasbro, Micone worked at Disney Consumer Products and P&G, along with licensees Bandai, and Tiger Electronics. Micone’s hiring continues the NFL’s penchant of employing women to fill key exec roles -- a trend which started after the high-profile domestic abuse incidents involving RAY RICE and others in ‘14. While some sources expressed surprise that an exec with primarily hard lines (non-apparel) licensing experience got the job, Halpin said Micone’s expertise is broad based. “Michelle’s background in licensing, marketing, managing brands, understanding product development and her ability to think strategically about where the industry is heading won us over,” he said. “She’ll build with the strong team we have and find new ways to grow the business.”

Indie label Neon and 30WEST have "nabbed domestic rights to 'I, TONYA,' a dark comedy about Olympic skater TONYA HARDING," according to Brent Lang of VARIETY. The deal was signed in the $5M range "out of the Toronto Film Festival, where the film premiered over the weekend." The "big draw here is star MARGOT ROBBIE, who plays Harding," and there has been some "chatter that Robbie could end up in the awards race." Netflix, CBS Films and Annapurna had "kicked the tires on the picture at various points in a bidding process that never got as hot as the agents and producers thought it would." Lang noted Neon's “BORG/MCENROE,” with SHIA LABEOUF as JOHN MCENROE, opened the festival (, 9/11).'s Anthony D'Alessandro wrote "I, Tonya" was "one of the more refreshing pieces of cinema" from the festival. Screenwriter STEVEN ROGERS wrote the script "based off interviews" with Harding and her husband JEFF GILLOOLY (, 9/9).

: In L.A., Mark Olsen wrote the movie "finds unforeseen nuance in a story that many might assume they already know too well." The film’s "unusual tone finds plenty of wicked humor in the story but explores a deep, unexpected sense of pathos as Harding was rejected by the establishment of figure skating for her working-class background and hard-charging style." The U.S. rights to the movie were initially acquired by Miramax in '16, but had been "put back on the market at the festival" (, 9/9). VARIETY's Owen Gleiberman wrote "I, Tonya" is a "fresh, chancy, and wickedly enjoyable movie." The film "revels in the sheer woeful ghastly comic horror of what went on during the lead-up" to the '94 Lillehammer Games (, 9/9). BUSINESS INSIDER's Jason Guerrasio wrote, "If there’s one knock on the movie, the poor CGI for the skating scenes makes it obvious Robbie isn't doing most of the skating" (, 9/9).

L.A.-based independent media holding company The Chernin Group hired ESPN VP & Editorial Dir of Domestic Digital Content CHAD MILLMAN to "oversee an information and personality-driven gambling content platform." Millman has "had two runs at ESPN," the most recent of which dates back to '01. He "rose to editor-in-chief of ESPN the Magazine" in '11 and had the same title for from '14 until he was "promoted to his editorial director position" in '16 (, 9/11).

EXECS: The Braves named Mets Senior Dir of Baseball Operations ADAM FISHER Assistant GM. Fisher will serve as Braves GM JOHN COPPOLELLA's "right-hand man." The Braves also named Blue Jays Special Assistant to the GM PERRY MINASIAN to the newly created position of Dir of Player Personnel. Braves Dir of Baseball Operations BILLY RYAN "will remain with the team, but have a different role in baseball operations" (, 9/12)....The PGA Tour Wells Fargo Championship named Learfield Senior VP & Exec Dir of Business Development GARY SOBBA Tournament Dir (Wells Fargo).

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NFL Cardinals Owner BILL BIDWILL and former Arizona Republic sports columnist PAOLA BOIVIN are among the inductees in the Arizona Sports HOF's Class of '17. The induction ceremony will be held Nov. 1 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Bidwill is in his "eighth decade associated with the Cardinals, starting when he was a ball boy when the team was located in Chicago." The Cardinals moved to Arizona in '88 and "over the last 10 years have won three division titles, a conference championship and played in their first Super Bowl" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/13).

: A handful of sports legends have been "selected to be honored" in the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ new $38.5M sports exhibit. Basketball HOFers LARRY BIRD and OSCAR ROBERTSON, Hockey HOFer WAYNE GRETZKY, former WNBAer TAMIKA CATCHINGS, IndyCar team Owner A.J. FOYT and late Olympian WILMA RUDOLPH will be "immortalized in life-size bronze sculptures in the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience, which is set to open in the spring" (, 9/12).

NAMES: Angels 1B ALBERT PUJOLS and his wife DEIDRE have "launched an initiative called Strike Out Slavery, aimed at raising awareness and funds in the fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation." They will "take the cause to Angel Stadium on Saturday night" (, 9/12)....Rockets F TREVOR ARIZA, President & CEO TAD BROWN and team staffers on Monday “made appearances at the Special Operations Division and Fire Station 15 as staffers delivered pizza to 92 Houston area fire stations and 16 police patrol divisions” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/12)....NBC yesterday confirmed that Cavaliers G ISAIAH THOMAS will “appear on an episode of ‘LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT,’ playing himself.” The episode “will air” in late October (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 9/13)....Giants WR ODELL BECKHAM JR. and Thunder G RUSSELL WESTBROOK “took things off the court and onto the dance floor Thursday at Catch NYC’s sixth anniversary bash.” The pair had a “dance battle” as WYCLEF JEAN performed onstage (, 9/12).