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Volume 24 No. 115

People and Pop Culture

"BATTLE OF THE SEXES" hits theaters on Friday, and while the film is a "reminder of the gender issues still plaguing us, it wholeheartedly embraces the equality of its two excellent leads," according to Brian Truitt of USA TODAY. EMMA STONE and STEVE CARELL "serve up great performances as tennis icons/rivals BILLIE JEAN KING and BOBBY RIGGS in the dynamite retro biopic." "Battle of the Sexes" is "less an issues movie and more an entertaining history lesson, with Stone and Carell proving they're a winning match" (USA TODAY, 9/22). DEADLINE's Pete Hammond wrote it "comes as no surprise that there is so much depth to the film." Anyone "alive at the time knows the outcome, but it doesn’t really matter as the buildup and match itself are presented so suspensefully that you will be on the edge of your seat anyway." Stone is "superb," while Carell is a "hoot." Although doubles are used in the tennis scenes, Stone and Carell "make it look effortless" (DEADLINE.com, 9/19). ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's Leah Greenblatt noted directors VALERIE FARIS and JONATHAN DAYTON paint the film's battles in the "bright primary colors of the film’s ’70s setting, soundtracking it all to groovy AM-radio gold and sanding down the ragged edges of Riggs’ noxious misogyny." The film has a "raft of splashy supporting turns, including ALAN CUMMING as the WTA’s droll wardrobe designer, ELISABETH SHUE as Riggs’ long-suffering wife," and SARAH SILVERMAN as King’s "chain-smoking go-go agent" (EW.com, 9/21).

REVIEWS ARE IN: In N.Y., Sara Stewart writes "Battle" is a "surprisingly genial biopic." In "wonky prosthetic teeth, Carell spins Riggs as a heedless publicity-chaser whose taunts were never meant to truly wound." But Stone is the "main event, riveting in those iconic wire-rims as a natural crusader for equality who’s also wrestling with personal conflicts" (N.Y. POST, 9/22). In L.A., Kenneth Turan writes with "gifted and innately likable actors" and an "audience-friendly script ... 'Battle' is most involving when it deals not with sports or society but the personal struggles both players, especially King, were going through in the run-up to the match" (L.A. TIMES, 9/22). In N.Y., Manohla Dargis writes the film is a "glib, enjoyable fictionalization." A revolution can be "tough to squeeze into two hours, but 'Battle of the Sexes' manages it mostly by skipping along its handsome surfaces" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/22). The GLOBE & MAIL's Brad Wheeler writes the film is "surprisingly timely: Today's fierce, revitalized misogyny makes the 1970s male chauvinism droll and quaint in comparison" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/22). In S.F., Mick LaSalle writes “Battle of the Sexes” is a "big-canvas story, a piece of Americana exploring American life and attitudes at a moment of cultural transformation." But in its "focus on King, it’s also a compelling internal story, demonstrating that athletic achievement is not only a matter of physical gifts." At the "highest levels, where the pressure is greatest, it really comes down to character" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/22).

Ravens Senior VP/Digital Media & Broadcasting MICHELLE ANDRES is off to London this week in preparation for Sunday’s Ravens-Jaguars game at Wembley Stadium. While it’s not Andres’ first time traveling to The Big Smoke, it is for her organization. She’ll be on-hand to not only guide the team through the city’s attractions, but more importantly, head their digital efforts to make sure fans back home don’t miss a beat. Andres left Wednesday night with her team to set up HQ at The Admiralty pub in Trafalgar Square, where they’ll lay the groundwork for the weekend leading up to the big game.

TAKES A VILLAGE: The prep for this trip far exceeds the normal prep for a regular season home game. We’re essentially taking the entire show on the road. That includes cheerleaders, a portion of our fans, our mascot, all whom we don’t normally travel with to an away game. There’s that whole process, and then of course setting up events in London both for the fans traveling and for those that already live there. It’s our regular travel party, plus extra marketing folks, digital people, broadcasting folks as well as corporate sales people. Pretty much extra folks from every department in order to help us execute.

24/7 COVERAGE: For my crew, we have two separate teams. One we sent early Wednesday night to be there in time for the welcome party we’re hosting at The Admiralty on Thursday night. Then the second crew left Thursday night with the team itself to get there Friday morning. The entire time we’re there, we’ll have two different crews operating at all times, one of which will be covering what’s happening with the team. The other will be covering everything happening with the fans and the events we have going on.

LOAD UP THE BUS! We’re having a party at our pub each day. There’s the welcome party Thursday night, then Friday we have a bus tour all over the city with our cheerleaders, fans, RAY LEWIS and JONATHAN OGDEN. We’ll hit all the tourist sites around the city, including the Tower of London and Big Ben. It’s a branded bus wrapped in Ravens logos and we’ll get off at each stop and mingle with fans, tourists and then move on to the next one. We’ll also be taping our popular podcast “The Lounge” live from the pub that day previewing the game.

FLY LIKE A BIRD: Saturday we’ll have our “Ravens Flock Party: London Edition,” where we’ll have a lot of the UK fans clubs present. Then on Sunday we’ll host a tailgate prior to kickoff. During the game we’re coordinating everything we have going on from a digital standpoint. Social media, photography, video, getting up highlights, imagery on the team site, etc. It’s a big machine of people really trying to cover the game for the fans who can’t be there. From start to finish we’re on every digital channel you can imagine.

TICKET TO RIDE: I’m a pretty big traveler and I’m going to be heading to Vietnam in April for a little over two weeks with my dad. My family also mostly lives in the South, especially Florida, so in the offseason I have an opportunity to go down and visit with them. I think we’ll have a little down time in London as well this weekend. I’m hoping to do a tour of Buckingham Palace and then also Kensington Palace as well.

Know of someone you’d like to see featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot an email to tleary@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

76ers and Devils Managing Owner JOSH HARRIS purchased a house in the Upper East Side in Manhattan for $45M. Built in 1926, the 21,070-square-foot, seven-level, townhouse boasts "14 marble fireplaces, three elevators and 3,350 square-feet of outdoor space" (CSNPHILLY.com, 9/14).

MONEY TIMEFLOYD MAYWEATHER JR. purchased a mansion in Beverly Hills for $25.5M and "shelled out another $500,000 to purchase the furniture." The home has "six bedrooms, eight full and two half bathrooms" in 15,096-square-feet. It includes a foyer with "white marble floor and a sculptural staircase with recessed, LED-lit handrail; a formal living room larger than some hotel lobbies and line with ten sets of floor-to-ceiling French doors." A marble-paved exterior staircase leads an "extensive, partially subterranean accessory structure tucked beneath the backyard that contains a self-contained staff apartment, a 20-seat movie theater with concession bar, a mirror-walled gym" and a laundry room (VARIETY.com, 9/18).

CALIFORNIA LEAVING
: NFL free agent S DASHON GOLDSON has placed his home in Encino, Calif., up for sale for $6.995M. The 10,656-square-foot home includes a "grand foyer with a double staircase, scaled formal rooms and a home theater" (LATIMES.com, 9/20)....Former NBAer DEREK FISHER sold his home in Hidden Hills, Calif., for $5.95M. The 9,400-square-foot home includes a "wood-paneled den, executive office, screening room, six bedrooms and eight bathrooms" (LATIMES.com, 9/15)....Seahawks coach PETE CARROLL sold his home in Rolling Hills, Calif., for $3.05M in an off-market deal. The 4,000-square-foot house includes "four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms." Interior appointments include "cathedral-vaulted ceilings, French doors and skylights" (LATIMES.com, 9/21)

BUYERS & SELLERS
: Former NFLer JEREMY SHOCKEY has put his ocean-view property in Miami up for sale for $2.85M. The 2,582-square-foot home features "coffered ceilings and glass accents" that highlight the "open-plan living room, where floor-to-ceiling windows take in views of the Atlantic Ocean and the downtown Miami skyline." A "kidney-shaped wet bar and outdoor terrace patio complete the scene" (LATIMES.com, 9/20)....Columnist MIKE LUPICA is selling his home in New Canaan, Conn., for $2.45M. That is a "relative steal for New Canaan." Lupica purchased the 4,493-square-foot, '40s-era Colonial-style home '10 for $2.3M (TIMESUNION.com, 9/18)....Former NBAer LANDRY FIELDS sold his home in Manhattan Beach, Calif., for $2.325M. The home features "cherry wood floors, modern chandeliers and an elevator servicing three floors."  The 2,400-square-foot home has "three bedrooms" and 3.5 bathrooms (LATIMES.com, 9/14).

Fox Sports hired BRIAN STRONG as Senior VP/Brand Communications, a new role that will see him push the Fox Sports brand through various entertainment and digital PR campaigns. He will report to Exec VP/Communications TERRI HINES and will start on Monday. Strong comes to Fox Sports from Nike, where he was Dir of Communications. He also has spent time with N.Y.-based agencies HL Group and Dan Klores Communications. He started his career as a CBS Sports researcher (John Ourand, Staff Writer).

BRANCHING OUT: The Hawks promoted Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships JENNIFER EVANS to Senior Dir of the team's new Partnership Development department. The Hawks also promoted ERIN ANASTASI to Dir of Partnership Development and ALICE CHAOSURAWONG to Designer of Partnership Development (THE DAILY).

EXECS: Impression Sports & Entertainment named Broncos Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships CRAIG WALSH VP/Naming Rights & Sponsorship (THE DAILY)....The NBA Kings named Lions Senior Dir of Player Development GALEN DUNCAN VP/Kings Academy & Professional Development. The Kings are "investing in a seasoned mentor and life coach." Armed with a Ph.D. in health psychology from Walden Univ., Duncan will "aid the players in everything from finding an apartment to dealing with the stress of life as a 19-year-old millionaire with no experience paying a bill" (NBCSPORTSBAYAREA.com, 9/21)....The Blues named Hockey HOFer LARRY ROBINSON Senior Consultant to Hockey Operations (Blues)....Michigan State named Georgetown Assistant AD/Communications MICHAEL CAREY men's basketball SID (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer)....Lafayette College AD BRUCE MCCUTCHEON announced his retirement (Lafayette)....The Univ. of California-San Diego named UNLV Associate AD TOD BANNISTER Associate AD/Corporate Partnerships & Development (TIMESOFSANDIEGO.com, 9/21).


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William Murray Golf, founded by actor BILL MURRAY and his five brothers, has "raised more than" $1M from a group that includes Cubs Owner TOM RICKETTSANDY RODDICK and actor ED NORTON. It is the "first investment round for the apparel company, which launched late last year with the aim of bringing a lighthearted approach" to golf apparel. Other investors include country singer JAKE OWEN, jewelry designer KENDRA SCOTT and actors MARK PAUL-GOSSELAAR and BRECKIN MEYER (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 9/21).

STARTING THINGS UP: Former MLBer JOHNNY DAMON is "looking to put money" to work in N.Y. area startups, or perhaps "act as a brand ambassador to help up-and-coming entrepreneurs gain exposure." Gig economy company Fiverr, known for "connecting freelancers with clients," recently joined forces with Damon to "give businesses a big-league brand experience by hosting a storytelling competition to win billboard space at Yankee Stadium" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/21).

THE GOOD STUFF: Delaware North made a donation of new clothing to the Salvation Army for hurricane victims. Nearly 43,000 pieces of new sports gear were donated at 18 sports venues across the country (Delaware North)....Boxer CANELO ALVAREZ has donated $1M worth of "supplies, medicine and construction materials toward the earthquake relief efforts in Mexico" (ESPN.com, 9/21)....Heat President PAT RILEY, Dir of Community Affairs STEVE STOWE and equipment manager ROB PIMENTAL were "part of a convoy to the Florida Keys last week to assist with relief." Riley said that his foundation is pledging $1M to Hurricane Irma relief. This is in addition to the $10M "pledged through the Heat Charitable Fund, Carnival Corporation and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 9/21)....Members of the Pistons and Farm Bureau Insurance recently helped create a library at J.E. Clark Preparatory Academy in Detroit, which had not had one "for seven years" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/22).

NAMES: The Univ. of Virginia has “impaneled an eight-person committee and retained the executive search firm Korn Ferry to assists in hiring” the school’s next AD. Current AD CRAIG LITTLEPAGE plans to retire in ’18 (Hampton Roads DAILY PRESS, 9/22)....The organizer behind the failed Boston IndyCar event in '16 has targeted City Hall in a $15.5M lawsuit, alleging Mayor MARTY WALSH “reneged on the deal for political purposes.” Former Boston Grand Prix CEO JOHN CASEY “alleges in a lawsuit ... that the city acted unfairly and deceptively and that the administration ‘never intended to honor’ its contract” (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/22)....Texas A&M is “currently looking at exploring options to retain the eligibility of an athlete who promotes his company on his YouTube channel.” The A&M athletic department is “working with the NCAA regarding the status of freshman RYAN TRAHAN, a cross country and track and field athlete who owns a water bottle company and a YouTube account of more than 14,000 subscribers” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/22)....The California Attorney General’s office on Thursday said that Gatorade has “agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a complaint saying the beverage maker used a mobile game featuring track superstar USAIN BOLT to illegally advertise water as a bad drink for athletes” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/22).