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Volume 24 No. 112

People and Pop Culture

Minnesota United yesterday officially named T'Wolves and WNBA Lynx President CHRIS WRIGHT CEO. Wright will oversee both the business and sporting sides of the MLS club. He starts in the new role Oct. 6 (Minnesota United). Wright said that he "initially began talking about this opportunity" with Minnesota United Owner BILL MCGUIRE about three months ago. McGuire said that he talked to "more than five candidates for the job and was interested in finding someone" with experience outside of MLS, but who still "had a passion for the sport and ties to the Minnesota community." In Minneapolis, Megan Ryan notes everyone besides McGuire will "report to Wright," including current team President NICK ROGERS. McGuire said he "wouldn't speculate" on Rogers' future with the club beyond continuing to focus on building the team's $200M Allianz Field (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/19). McGuire said of Wright, who had been with the T'Wolves for 26 years, "(He) is someone that brings learning and experiences, ups and downs, that we have not yet seen. ... Therefore, great, great attributes for us as we move forward.” Wright called the transition a “legacy play” to return to his soccer roots yet “bittersweet” because of his admiration for T'Wolves Owner GLEN TAYLOR, also a Minnesota United minority owner (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/19).

NBA VP/Referee Development & Performance BOB DELANEY "will no longer oversee the league's game officials." The NBA has been "pursuing a more data-driven and analytical management structures over referees, integrating more technology as part of its officiating program." Sources said that President of League Operations BYRON SPRUELL is "directing the NBA's search for Delaney's replacement, which could include a retired referee in a high-ranking management role reporting to a new director." Sources added that the league "will continue to use Delaney and other ex-referees in the teaching process with officials" (, 9/18).

EXECS: The D-backs named Palace Sports & Entertainment Senior VP/HR JOE WALSH VP/HR. The team also promoted JEFF BARNES to Dir of Accounting (THE DAILY)....Learfield named GM for its Old Dominion Univ. Sports Properties CHUCK GRAY to the same role for its newly established Atlantic 10 Sports Properties team (Learfield)....N.Y.-based creative agency Bullish hired Droga5 Art Dir JJ KRAFT and Copywriter GERMAN RIVERA HUDDERS for its creative team. Bullish also named LAURA HOCKSTAD Associate (THE DAILY)....The Blue Jackets named Crew Community Relations & Foundation Coordinator MICHELLE BRUEGGEMAN Manager of Education & Community Partnerships. The team also hired the following: MEREDITH BUSH as Community Development Coordinator; CARSON REIDER as Social Media Coordinator; and MATT HOGAN as Season Sales Account Exec (THE DAILY)....Exec search firm Prodigy Sports has acquired Ascension Sports Partners, whose President & CEO DAN ROSSETTI will assume the role of Prodigy Sports President (Prodigy)....Ad/marketing firm IMRE named R/GA Marketing Dir ASHLEY HELTNE VP/Consumer Packaging Goods and GM for the L.A. office. IMRE also promoted MEGAN FOX to Account Exec within its consumer/sports business unit (THE DAILY).

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Ready to make your next great hire? Or take the next step in your career? Connect with the industry’s top employers and job seekers on the Sports Business Career Link. For more information, contact Megi Beqiraj at 212-500-0705, or

Ducks Owners SUSAN and HENRY SAMUELI will donate $200M to UC Irvine, one of the "largest gifts ever to any public university, to create a college that educates medical students in holistic practices as well as traditional ones and treat patients with a wide-ranging perspective." The gift will "create the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences, which UCI says will be the first facility on a university campus to incorporate integrative health research, teaching and patient care across its schools and programs" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 9/19).

BOX SCOREADALAIDE BYRD, the judge who "produced a controversial scorecard" for Saturday's CANELO ALVAREZ-GENNADY GOLOVKIN bout, is "under review." Nevada Athletic Commission Exec Dir BOB BENNETT said, "She is not under suspension or been reprimanded in any way. We had a debriefing after the event. She feels terrible that she saw it differently from the other two judges. She explained what she saw and she feels shattered." Bennett said they will "review everything in the next few days" with the commission and NAC Chair ANTHONY MARNELL" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 9/19).

NAMES: A Wall Street activist yesterday "bashed" Grizzlies Controlling Owner ROBERT PERA's tech company Ubiquiti Networks, "calling its financial reports fraudulent." The company's stock price fell about 13% yesterday, then "rebounded" after Pera called Citron Research's report the "work of 'clowns'" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 9/19)....Several Ravens representatives, including President DICK CASS, were on hand at the Renaissance Academy yesterday morning to help unveil $1.5M in renovations that the team "funded after learning of plans to close the West Baltimore school" (Baltimore SUN, 9/19)....UFC announced a new national charitable partnership with Miracle Flights, which provides free commercial air transportation to critically ill children in need of medical care far from home (UFC)....JENNIFER LOPEZ and ALEX RODRIGUEZ "started looking" at multimillion-dollar apartments "together on Park Avenue" last week (N.Y. POST, 9/19).

Stadium Sports Marketing Symposium -- Nov. 1-2, Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan

Harnessing the Power of Emerging Media to Maximize Engagement with Millennials and Gen Z.

We will go One-on-One with UM’s Global Chief Innovation Officer Chad Stoller on Wednesday, Nov. 1, and discuss this topic and more.