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Volume 24 No. 112

People and Pop Culture

Sunday night was the Season 3 finale of HBO’s "BALLERS," with several storylines coming to a close and new ones beginning ahead of Season 4. The season's primary plot line -- bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas -- came to a head at a fictional NFL owners meeting in S.F. One bid group, led by fictional Vegas casino magnate Wayne Hastings Jr., played STEVE GUTTENBERG, gave its pitch to owners. That was followed by a group led by Spencer Strasmore, played by DWAYNE JOHNSON, and his business partner Joe, played by ROB CORDDRY, who after getting spurned by Hastings got financial backing from the family that also owned their player financial advisory firm. In a twist, Strasmore's group did not pitch moving the Raiders to Vegas, but rather keeping them in Oakland in a new, privately financed venue, similar to the last second, real-life effort from Pro Football HOFer RONNIE LOTT and Fortress Investment Group. Joe: “The Bay Area is a much larger TV market than Vegas and that’s important now that the ratings have taken a tumble.” Strasmore: “The Oakland Raiders can take a page right out of the Golden State Warriors playbook. Now look at them, they’re an international brand, a global powerhouse.” To further make its point, Strasmore's group surprised owners and execs with a large demonstration by Raiders fans outside the meeting chanting "STAY!" Strasmore then says to owners, "When you guys uprooted the Chargers, the fans, they were justifiably upset. I mean, you hurt them. Moving a third team in two years, it's very dangerous to your brand.” He said keeping a team in Oakland would make owners "look like good guys, instead of looking like a bunch of greedy, out-of-touch white men."

BACK TO THE AGENCY BIZ? The end of the episode sees Strasmore's group get awarded the right to build a new venue, but only in Vegas, as NFL owners still wanted to move the team from Oakland. Strasmore does not agree with the decision, and in another plot twist, backs out of the Vegas play along with Joe. The duo then take their financial advisory firm off the market after a planned sale to IMG, while announcing plans for future growth outside the South Florida market.

CALLING IT QUITS: The show also featured the ongoing post-concussion issues of free agent WR Ricky Jerrett, played by JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON, who also was dealing with a pregnant girlfriend. After reconciling with the girlfriend, Jerrett took to Instagram to announce he was retiring, saying to his former team, “Coach BILL (BELICHICK), Tommy (TOM BRADY), my receiving crew, my Pats teammates and all my fans out there who loved and supported me through my roller coaster of a career, I found a new career now (being a dad). Don’t pay as much, but the perks are amazing.”

SWAPPING TEAMS? The final episode saw Charles Greane, played by OMAR BENSON MILLER, interview for the Rams' GM position after quitting his role as Assistant GM with the Dolphins in the penultimate episode. Greane was interviewed by former NFL coach ERIC MANGINI, who played himself. The interview room included Rams signage, hinting that the team may be a part of the show next season.


  • Joe said to Strasmore about him feeling down after their Vegas stadium deal seemed to be falling apart, “In the immortal words of AARON RODGERS, 'R-E-L-A-X.'"
  • Seeking to diffuse an argument between the brothers backing his Vegas play, Strasmore says to them, "I’ve seen JOSH NORMAN and (ODELL BECKHAM JR.) talk to each other with more respect" ("Ballers," HBO, 9/24).

The Cavaliers named Suns Senior VP & Chief Sales Officer NIC BARLAGE President of Business Operations. In addition, the team promoted the following: TAD CARPER to Exec VP/Communications; MOZELLE JACKSON to Exec VP and Chief Financial & Administrative Officer; TRACY MAREK to Exec VP & CMO; BRAD SIMS to Exec VP/Franchise Operations & CRO; and MIKE CONLEY to Senior VP & Chief Information Officer (Cavaliers).

EXECS: CSN Mid-Atlantic President & GM REBECCA SCHULTE is stepping down from her post after more than 10 years. Schulte is one of the highest ranking women in sports media, and she will stay with the RSN until a successor is named and in place (John Ourand, Staff Writer)....Oak View Group named former Billboard Editor ANDY GENSLER Exec Editor/Media & Conferences. He will be based in L.A. and report to President of Media & Conferences RAY WADDELL (OVG)....Daytona Int'l Speedway promoted the following: JERRY MUGERDITCHIAN to Dir of Tram & Cart Operations; MATT VINSON to Dir of Digital Marketing; TERA LYONS to Digital Marketing Manager; STEPHANIE RIVERA-CASIANO to Manager of Advertising & Promotions; STEPHEN SCHINDLER to Strategic Communications Manager; RICHIE WILSON to Manager of Creative Content Production; and BRETT MACIVER to Manager of Client Services (DIS)....The Century Club of San Diego, which operates the PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open, promoted Dir of Partnerships & Business Affairs JONATHAN BERLIN to VP/Partnerships & Business Affairs and Dir of Marketing & Community Outreach JENNIFER COTA to VP/Marketing & Community Affairs (THE DAILY)....Padres Video Coordinator MIKE TOMPKINS is leaving the team after 22 seasons. He is "transitioning to a new career," teaching full-time at St. Augustine High School (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/25).

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Ten people affiliated with college basketball, including assistant coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC have been charged with "fraud and corruption." Other people charged in "included managers, financial advisers and representatives" from Adidas. Federal authorities said that the FBI has been "investigating the criminal influence of money on coaches and student-athletes in the NCAA" (, 9/26).

A SHARK TALE: Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN said he is "pondering" a '20 presidential campaign. Cuban: "Aspirations? No. Would I consider it? Yes. Am I leaning towards it? No."Cuban said it is "not my all-time goal to be president," and it is "certainly not my aspiration to have a political office." Cuban: "Do I think I can be effective? Yes, but I have no desire to be a politician. If I did something, if I ran for office, if I ran for president, it would be because I thought I could have an impact." Cuban added, "Right now, I'd say it's 90 percent no and 10 percent yes, because I think my wife might divorce me." Cuban "campaigned for HILLARY CLINTON during the last election and has often criticized or questioned" PRESIDENT TRUMP (, 9/25).

NAMES: VENUS WILLIAMS is among the many pop culture figures who will be taking part in this week's Advertising Week New York. The trade show will pull over 100,000 people to "five days of seminars and panel discussions" (, 9/25)....Verizon IndyCar Series driver MARCO ANDRETTI married his longtime girlfriend MARTA KRUPA Saturday. Other drivers in attendance included JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, CONOR DALY, ALEXANDER ROSSI, WILL POWER, DARIO FRANCHITTI, SCOTT DIXON, TONY KANAAN and RYAN HUNTER-REAY (, 9/25).

Stadium Sports Marketing Symposium -- November 1-2 -- Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan

Chief Marketers: Adapting to Change and Moving the Needle.

Panelists will discuss the challenges and opportunities they face day-to-day as the chief marketer of some of the top sports teams and leagues.

You will hear from:
Ann Wells Crandall, Big East CMO
Jill Gregory, NASCAR CMO
Adam Grossman, Red Sox CMO
Chris Heck, 76ers Chief Sales Officer & CMO 
Mike Stevens, NFL Giants Senior VP & CMO

For more information and to register, please go to