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Volume 25 No. 88

People and Pop Culture

Segal said he is focusing on launching and establishing the L.A. Valiant brand in the Overwatch League

Name: Ari Segal

Position: Immortals President & COO

Where I’m from: Tenafly, N.J.

Where I call home: L.A.

Focusing on right now: Launching and establishing the L.A. Valiant brand in the Overwatch League and working with our partners at Activision Blizzard, and the other member clubs, to make the inaugural season of Overwatch League a big success.

Best advice: The best advice I’ve ever been given is either “take (Celtics Managing Partner) IRV GROUSBECK’s class at Stanford” or anything Grousbeck said in class. The guy is a management guru at the highest level.

Execs I admire: From afar, former Disney CEO MICHAEL EISNER. He transformed Disney from a very sleepy parks company into a multimedia, technology behemoth. Up close, my professional mentor is Ducks CEO MICHAEL SCHULMAN because he always does the right thing for the long-term interest of the franchise, and is always thinking about ways to integrate philanthropy into every aspect of the business

A must for a new hire: Attention to detail and a sense of humor -- two things that don’t necessarily go together.

First thing in the morning: Before I even put my glasses on, I look at the N.Y. Post on my phone. I don’t know why.

Must-have music: THE BEATLES

Best book I read last year: "Red Notice: A True Story Of High Finance, Murder And One Man's Fight For Justice“ by BILL BROWDER.

Talking tech: I’m really interested in watching what happens as the BAMTech and Fox acquisitions get fully integrated into Disney as the company releases its ESPN+ product and later its broader Disney-branded OTT product. The combination of the BAMTech technology, Disney content and applications regionally through the Fox RSNs is going to be a really important development in the industry and have broad implications.

How I unwind: My guilty pleasure is “BIG BROTHER” on CBS, but day-to-day, cooking with my wife.

Day in the life: Having an Overwatch League team with a brand that is separate from Immortals is not different than what happens in traditional sports all the time. AEG owns and operates the Kings and the Galaxy, and the Kings and the Galaxy play different sports. Each of those sports have different fan bases. There’s an organizational DNA of what it means to be part of AEG that’s injected into both of those brands, but because those brands are intending to reach different fan bases, it makes sense that they’re depicted and represented in different aesthetic and name brands. The same is true for us. 

Apple is reaching into the sports business industry for talent as the company is hiring Warriors VP/Public Affairs, Community Relations & Event Management GAIL HUNTER. Hunter, who joined the Warriors in '12 after 13 years at the NBA, will join Apple as Dir of Events on March 19, according to the team. Her last day with the Warriors is Friday. Hunter, a '14 SBJ Game Changers honoree, was hired by the Warriors to help the team’s community efforts related to the construction of the $1B Chase Center, set to open in '19. Hunter was not available for comment.

The NHL has hired former player ANDREW FERENCE as Dir of Social Impact, Growth & Fan Development. Ference, who is a member of the Green Sports Alliance's BOD, will be tasked with developing new strategies to drive on- and off-ice youth participation and fandom efforts, as well as advancing the league's social impact platform. He will report to Exec VP/Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs KIM DAVIS. He will be based in both Edmonton and the NHL's HQ in N.Y.

Consulting company Guidepost Solutions named AMB Group Dir of Security BOB MCDONOUGH VP/Sports & Entertainment. He will be based in DC (Guidepost)....Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain named NBA VP/Global Marketing Partnerships & Emerging Markets MARC ARMSTRONG Dir of Sponsoring. He will begin in April and be "tasked with finding new sponsors for PSG" (, 3/9)....EPL club Everton CEO ROBERT ELSTONE is set to leave the club after "being approached to take up a role as head" of the rugby Super League (GUARDIAN, 3/13)....Bradley Univ. extended AD CHRIS REYNOLDS' contract for five years through '22-23 (Bradley).

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A fundraiser headlined by PRESIDENT TRUMP last night took place at the mansion of Buccaneers co-Chair EDWARD GLAZER and his wife, SHARI, in the Beverly Park neighborhood of L.A. Glazer "donated $98,000" to Trump's presidential campaign in '16 and $250,000 "to his inauguration" (, 3/13).

Johnson yesterday became the latest celebrity to visit with the Lakers this season

GUEST SPEAKERS: Actor DWAYNE JOHNSON yesterday morning visited the Lakers' practice facility as "part of the team's 'genius talks' program." A day before Johnson spoke to the Lakers, Gold Medal-winning U.S. sprinter ALLYSON FELIX "paid a visit" to the team's El Segundo HQ (, 3/13)....Warriors coach STEVE KERR yesterday invited motivational speaker TONY ROBBINS to "speak to the players about maximizing their potential" (, 3/14).

NOT THE SOLUTION: SHAQUILLE O'NEAL yesterday said that banning guns is "not the solution to stopping" school shootings like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. He said, "There's 15 million of 'em out there already on the streets. And then another problem is if you ban 'em, then you gonna create an underground market, and the gun collectors, you know, it's gonna become more valuable." O'Neal said that he "wants to see more armed police officers in and around schools across the country" (, 3/13).

NAMES: The timing of the Univ. of Kentucky's renewal of a “six-figure contract” with Kansas-based law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King, which specializes in NCAA matters, was a “'coincidence' and not a sign the school is getting ready to defend itself against potential NCAA violations.” A $100,000 “personal services contract” for the law firm was “renewed by the school on Feb. 27” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 3/14)....Seahawks CBs NEIKO THORPE and MIKE TYSON on Monday were “subjected to an expletive-filled verbal assault by a woman” at the team's practice facility who was upset about player protests during the national anthem (, 3/13)....Packers LB CLAY MATTHEWS surprised his brother, BRIAN, and sister-in-law, MEGAN, with a “renovation of their Cleveland home” for the latest episode of the video series “MY HOUZZ” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 3/14)....Blackhawks players on Monday showed up at Chicago’s Lucky Strike to “raise money for the Inner-City Education Program” as part of D BRENT SEABROOK’s annual Celebrity ICE Bowl (, 3/13)....The criminal prosecution against former NHL player agent STACEY MCALPINE has been “dropped following his death” (, 3/12). McAlpine was “accused of bilking” former NHLers DANNY HEATLEY and CRIS PHILLIPS out of more than $12M between '04-11 (CP, 3/13)....Senators G CRAIG ANDERSON, who played for the Panthers from '06-09, on Monday hosted the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hockey team, "buying tickets to the game" against the Senators and "helping the entire Ottawa team meet them before the game" (, 3/13)....Golfer SERGIO GARCIA and wife ANGELA welcomed a baby girl, AZALEA, on Wednesday morning (Mult., 3/14).

IN MEMORY: Former NASCAR National Commissioner CHARLES STRANG died Sunday at 96. Strang took over the role in ’99 and had the “final say on appeal decisions for 11 seasons” (, 3/13).