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Volume 24 No. 236

People and Pop Culture

Vinik said that he spends no more than 25% of his time on hockey, excluding watching games
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Lightning Owner JEFF VINIK said his ownership philosophy is to "hire great people," give them the resources they need to be successful and "let them do their thing without interfering," according to Tom Jones of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. Asked if there is an owner or ownership group that he models his style after, Vinik said, "I have a lot of respect for all the Boston teams." Vinik: "I know the people there better than other areas and how they operate. ... My philosophy in the stock market and here is I kind of watch what we're doing. I don't pay attention to what others are doing. You try to learn, but you kind of put blinders on and do the best we can." Vinik said he spends no more than 25% of his time on hockey, excluding watching games: "I watch games every night, so that's a lot of time." Asked whether he thinks three pro sports teams can still work in the Tampa Bay region, Vinik said it is a challenge right now, but he thinks the economy will "grow into it" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 4/13).

NHL Kings RW DUSTIN BROWN has put his Manhattan Beach neighborhood home up for sale at $6.999M. The 6,450-square-foot East Coast-vibe traditional house was "custom built for Brown and his family." Vibrant wall covering, detailed millwork and bright accent pieces "create visual interest from room to room." The master suite -- among the six bedrooms and 6 1/2 bathrooms -- "sports a sitting area, fireplace and freestanding soaking tub." The basement level is "set up for entertaining and has a full kitchenette with a bar, a movie theater and a game room" (LATIMES.com, 4/9).

BUYERS & SELLERSWAYNE GRETZKY has sold his home in the Sherwood Country Club neighborhood of Westlake Village, Calif. for $4.2M. The 5,600-square-foot home has four bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms. Sliding doors off the common areas "open to a covered lounge with bar seating and an outdoor kitchen." A swimming pool, lawn and terraced grounds "complete the setting." The half-acre property "backs up to the 16th fairway" of the JACK NICKLAUS-designed signature golf course. Beyond the course "are mountain and valley views in nearly every direction" (LATIMES.com, 4/5).... Former NBA coach PAUL WESTPHAL has put his home in Torrance, Calif. up for sale at $1.899M. The remodeled '48 home has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and "features an entry-level living room with a fireplace, a formal dining area and a kitchen that opens to a large family room with fireplaces." There are two downstairs guest suites (LATIMES.com, 4/9).... Saints G JERMON BUSHROD, formerly with the Bears, sold his five-bedroom, 3,525-square-foot Georgian-style home in Vernon Hills, Ill., for $635,000. The '01 home has four bathrooms (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 4/10). 

McLaren largely credits his staff for creating the unique Combate experience around each fight
Photo: COMBATE AMERICAS

Combate Americas CEO CAMPBELL MCLAREN has been out in L.A. all week preparing for Friday night's Combate Estrellas I, and by his own description the Hispanic-geared MMA outfit is set to put on a heck of show. McLaren, a UFC co-founder and longtime TV producer in addition to his Combate duties, makes no bones about his anticipation for the lineup and took THE DAILY behind the scenes of what his preparation throughout the week is like leading up to the clash. McLaren: "What I say to my team is this -- I don’t really like Christmas, don’t like my birthday, don’t like New Years Eve. Even my wife knows I don’t like Valentines Day. But boy do I like Fight Night. For me it’s all those holidays rolled into one."

STEP ON THE SCALE: The buildup is just the best. Around Wednesday I start talking to the press, share my enthusiasm and make sure we're having fun talking about the event. Then the fighters also start to arrive, which brings a tense energy. Thursday we go to the weigh-in, which is always interesting. For social media for maybe our next couple fights we’re actually going to try to have someone cut weight with the fighters. Because what happens is -- we are all in this upbeat mood about the show coming up. But the fighters’ moods in the leadup really starts to deteriorate based on how much weight they have to lose. It’s very hard on them. So our group at Combate is having fun these few days -- we’re busy as hell, but you can enjoy being busy -- but the stars of the show are getting a little surly. We’re always telling people about the fighters, "Leave them alone today, let’s not have them try on the new uniforms today." And there’s a big emphasis for me this week on talking up the event while staying cognizant of the fact that we have some fellows in foul moods. But then we get through the weigh-in, the guys start hydrating again and come back to life. The energy level turns from tense to much more positive and exciting. You feel that by the end of Thursday.

FINAL COUNTDOWN: Come Fight Day, to me it’s what Christmas should feel like. It’ll be 10:00 in the morning and I’ll see some of the fighters go by in the hotel lobby and some of our VIP guests and celebrities and it just builds and builds throughout the day. Then around early evening I'll head to the show -- I try not to go to the venue too early. Honestly there isn’t a lot for me to do. I’m the head and Combate has a great team. They’re doing everything they can to make the show incredible so if I go too early I’m just sitting there in someone’s way. Someone will just hit me with a ladder. I’m like a kid not allowed to open the presents early.

ON WITH THE SHOW: Around 6:00pm I'll finally get to the venue (Shrine Expo Hall). Friday we’ll have plenty of Telenovella stars and popular Hispanic musicians in the house. We want to make sure they’re comfortable as our guests and then the fighters take over. By then, it’s their party and I’m at their party. Once the action takes off, it has a mind and energy of its own. It’s so much work and I am so drained at the end of it. Big sporting events are always great, but somehow to me a fight just has a different energy. As for Saturday … I’m taking it easy.

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

Univ. of the Pacific named UC-Riverside Exec Associate AD & Senior Woman Administrator JANET LUCAS AD. Lucas succeeds TED LELAND, who retired in October (RECORDNET.com, 4/13)....Arizona State will give VP/Athletics RAY ANDERSON a three-year contract extension. Anderson will continue through at least the '21-22 school year (AZCENTRAL.com, 4/13)....Pitt named attorney BETHANY WAGNER Senior Associate AD/Sports Administration. Wagner will also be "serving as the athletic department's Title IX coordinator" (POST-GAZETTE.com, 4/13)....POV Sports Marketing named KATIE ROSE THORNTON VP/Strategy & Account Management and JENNIFER CONGER Client Service Specialist (POV).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

 

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Photo: GETTY IMAGES

VOGUE's Rob Haskell profiles Disney Chair & CEO BOB IGER, who before the '16 election "thought about running for president himself." But the thought "nagged at him, and with his wife’s reluctant permission, he was in the process of seriously exploring a run" when the Disney-Fox deal "sealed his fate." Though a "political next act is unlikely, Iger continues to stick his neck out." Last June he left PRESIDENT TRUMP’s Advisory Council after the president "decided to withdraw from the Paris climate deal." Iger has also "expressed support for athletes who kneel in protest during the national anthem and spoken out against Trump’s decision to rescind DACA" (VOGUE, 5/'18 issue).

POWERFUL PEOPLE: THINK450 -- the innovation engine of the NBPA -- announced the formation of its first BOD. Former YES Network Chair & CEO LEO HINDERY JR., media agency Macro Founder & CEO CHARLES KING, Citigroup Global Head of Corporate & Investment Banking RAYMOND MCGUIRE, Adtalem Global Education President & CEO LISA WARDELL, NBPA Exec Dir MICHELE ROBERTS, THINK450 President and NBPA CMO JORDAN SCHLACHTER and THINK450 General Counsel CLARENCE NESBITT were elected to the board (NBPA)....NBC Broadcasting & Sports Chair MARK LAZARUS, CBS Sports Chair SEAN MCMANUS and ESPN President JIMMY PITARO were named to the Hollywood Reporter's "35 Most Powerful People In New York Media" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 4/13).

GIVING GIFTS: The Coyotes donated $250,000 to Phoenix Children's Hospital's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/12)....Oklahoma State football coach MIKE GUNDY donated $35,000 to Stillwater, Okla., public schools to "put armed security officers in the city's 10 public schools." The donation "covers the remainder of the school year" (TULSAWORLD.com, 4/12).

NAMES: Sources said that Panthers Owners JERRY RICHARDSON will “run his post-NFL business interests from a South Park office building” in Charlotte that he “owns under a separate holding company” once he sells the franchise (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/12)....Play by Play Sports Broadcasting Camps has “raised an undisclosed amount of funding” from Pennsylvania-based venture capital firm SeventySix Capital (FORTUNE.com, 4/12)....NBA Draft prospect LANDRY SHAMET has signed with agents HAPPY WALTERS and GEORGE LANGBERG of Catalyst Sports (KANSASCITY.com, 4/12)....JAMI GERTZ, wife of Hawks Principal Owner & Chair TONY RESSLER, will “represent the team at the NBA Draft Lottery” on May 15 in Chicago (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/13)....When DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON “learned his character in the movie ‘RAMPAGE’ would have ties to a Nigerian family,” he asked if the character’s name could be “in honor” of former Chiefs RB CHRISTIAN OKOYE (K.C. STAR, 4/13).

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