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Volume 26 No. 201

People and Pop Culture

Frank Stronach named his daughter, Belinda, chair and president of the company back in '11
Frank Stronach named his daughter, Belinda, chair and president of the company back in '11
Frank Stronach named his daughter, Belinda, chair and president of the company back in '11

Stronach Group Founder FRANK STRONACH "filed a bombshell lawsuit in a Toronto court Oct. 1 alleging that the daughter he appointed to run" his racetrack empire, BELINDA STRONACH, has "mismanaged the family's chief assets and trust funds while forcing her father out of control of the fortune he created," according to Finley & Thornton of the THOROUGHBRED DAILY NEWS. Belinda Stronach is Chair & President of Stronach Group, which operates Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, among other venues. The lawsuit "lists 39 demands for relief that Frank Stronach is seeking via court trial, including the removal of Belinda" and Stronach Group CEO ALON OSSIP from "all corporate officer and trustee positions." Frank Stronach is also "seeking three separate forms of financial redress" totaling C$520M. The lawsuit "alleges 'a complete break-down' of relationships within the Stronach family." Frank's wife, ELFRIEDE, is "named as a co-plaintiff" (, 10/10). In L.A., John Cherwa notes Stronach Group COO TIM RITVO is "not named, implicated or involved in the suit." Belinda Stronach and Ossip have "until the end of the month to file a response" (L.A. TIMES, 10/11). In Toronto, Ngabo & Ormsby in a front-page piece report Frank and Elfriede claim that their "daughter and others have undertaken actions 'to appropriate Stronach family assets for their own personal benefits' to the detriment of the defendants as well as their son ANDREW and their granddaughter SELENA." These actions are "alleged to have occurred" between '11-16 (TORONTO STAR, 10/11).

HANGING IN THE BALANCE: In Baltimore, Jean Marbella notes news of the lawsuit "set the horse industry abuzz, given the extensive holdings" of Stronach Group. Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association General Counsel ALAN FOREMAN said, "This is a family fight, but given the prominence of The Stronach Group in our industry, you have to be concerned" (BALTIMORE SUN, 10/11).

"Going Off The Grid" is a weekly survey of sports execs and personalities offering their thoughts on a handful of pressing (and trivial) issues in sports and pop culture. This week, our panelists share their would-be touchdown celebrations and debate snakes vs. spiders.

  • NFLPA Assistant Exec Dir of External Affairs George Atallah
    -- Enjoys "Game of Thrones," "Westworld," "Ozark" and all the Marvel movies.
  • Wasserman Exec VP/Hockey Jeff Jackson
    -- Listens to Foo Fighters, Drake, and has been digging Chris Stapleton lately.
  • Saints Senior VP/Sales Michael Stanfield
    -- Collects baseball memorabilia; most-prized autograph is Thurman Munson.
Going Off The Grid
  What would your TD celebration be? Best and/or worst U.S. airport Best tailgating tradition? What's worse: snakes or spiders? Sports venue on your bucket list

To reenact Dee Brown's dunk contest on the goal post Best is one I don't have to go to, worst is Dulles in DC RedZone on my couch. Had legendary tailgates at BC though... Snakes...on a plane FC Barcelona's Camp Nou

See Billy "White Shoes" Johnson circa 1975 Favorite is Savannah/Hilton Head, worst is LaGuardia Tailgating is a waste of time Snakes!!! Augusta National

Hand the ball to ref Best will be renovated New Orleans opening in '19 VOL Navy at the Univ. of Tennessee Snakes Yankees Fantasy Camp

Do you want to get your thoughts in the Grid? If so, shoot an e-mail to

Download the
Going Off The Grid chart

Disney's newly-formed Direct-To-Consumer & Int'l segment named ESPN Exec VP & CTO AARON LABERGE to the same position. LaBerge will be DTCI's first CTO and will report to Chair KEVIN MAYER. LaBerge's role follows Disney's re-organization that in March created DTCI, which became the unit providing ESPN's tech needs, projects and functions. LaBerge will continue to be based in Bristol, but will travel regularly to N.Y., L.A. and other offices internationally (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

EXECS: USL club FC Cincinnati named Ironman Head of Sales & Global Partnership for North America VINCE CICERO Senior VP/Partnerships & Broadcasting. Cicero from '11-15 served as ATP/WTA Western & Southern Open Tournament Dir & COO (, 10/10)....Private equity firm Teall Capital named Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment's MIKE WOLFERT Principal. At Van Wagner, Wolfert had been Senior VP/Business Development of the Collegiate Services division (Teall Capital)....NBC Sports Washington named ESPN Dir of Programming & Acquisitions MATT VOLK VP/Content Strategy and USA Today's For The Win Managing Editor NINA MANDELL Dir of Digital Media & Managing Editor (NBCSW)....Off-road vehicle manufacturer Polaris named BRENDAN DOLAN Dealer Relations & Commercial Contracts Attorney (THE DAILY)....Alabama State AD JENNIFER WILLIAMS had the "interim tag" removed from her title (, 10/10)....Utah State named Central Washington Associate AD/Development JASON ROUNDY Assistant AD/Development Officer for Aggies Unlimited, the "fundraising unit for USU Athletics" (, 10/10)....Green Sports Alliance Operations & Program Coordinator NATALIE NISHITANI is leaving the company after four years. Her last day is Monday (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

Billy Payne served as Chair at Augusta National from '06 until last year
Billy Payne served as Chair at Augusta National from '06 until last year
Billy Payne served as Chair at Augusta National from '06 until last year

Former Augusta National Chair BILLY PAYNE is "among five people selected for induction" into the World Golf HOF in '19, joining PGA Tour player RETIEF GOOSEN, former LPGA players JAN STEPHENSON and PEGGY KIRK BELL, and paraplegic player DENNIS WALTERS. Payne "stepped down" as ANGC Chair in '17 after "several notable achievements, including the admission of the club's first female members" in '12. Payne also "joined forces with golf's governing bodies" to create the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, an annual event for children ages 7-15 that "attracts thousands of youngsters" to Augusta on the eve of The Masters (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 10/11).

BAD OPTICS: Former Adidas rep TJ GASSNOLA testified that the "shoe wars" between rival brands included "'black ops' involving secret payments to the families of prominent college basketball players," including Suns C DEANDRE AYTON,the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft. Gassnola said that he "helped arrange clandestine payments" to the families of five prospects with the help of former Adidas execs JIM GATTO and MERL CODE and former agent CHRISTIAN DAWKINS. Gassnola said that he was "part of a team known within Adidas as 'black ops'" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/11).

READING LIST: DALE EARNHARDT JR. is releasing a memoir called "RACING TO THE FINISH: MY STORY." Earnhardt said that he "hated re-living" his career as he was putting the book together. He said that having to think about the highs and lows of his 17-year career "made it all real again -- and that was miserable" (, 10/10)....Longtime Montreal Gazette sportswriter PAT HICKEY is releasing a new book titled, "IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK," which is filled with "some of the best" stories from his time covering the Canadiens (, 10/10).

NAMES: NASCAR team owner ROGER PENSKE will receive the '18 Spirit of Competition Award from the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum (Simeone Foundation)....Esports organization Gen.G is partnering with former NBAer CHRIS BOSH, who will take on the role of Player Management Advisor (Gen.G)....Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain F KYLIAN MBAPPE will appear on the "cover of Time magazine’s international edition" tomorrow. Time said that Mbappe is a "global superstar who 'is the future of soccer'" (AFP, 10/11)....76ers G BEN SIMMONS yesterday "surprised students at William Cramp Elementary" in Philadelphia by "showing up with 750 coats to hand out to kids in need" (, 10/10)....Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT invited PAUL MCCARTNEY to "headline his exclusive fall bash" on Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. Those in attendance included Big Night Entertainment Founder ED KANE, Celtics Managing Partner WYC GROUSBECK, Highland Capital Partners' BOB DAVIS, Massachusetts Attorney General MAURA HEALEY and Fanatics Founder & Exec Chair MICHAEL RUBIN (, 10/10)....Rangers G HENRIK LUNDQVIST and RW MATS ZUCCARELLO "dined in style before kicking off their season inside a 12th-floor unit at 100 Barclay St. in Tribeca" (, 10/10).

Octagon Sports Marketing Symposium

October 30-31, 2018

Crowne Plaza Manhattan Times Square

A Gold Medal Partnership: Aly Raisman and Aerie
An Athlete / Brand Activism Case Study

Olympic Gold Medalist and activist Aly Raisman will discuss how her personal experiences have led her to build a sustainable platform that will have a lasting, positive effect on the world.
Raisman will be joined by Stacey McCormick, VP of Marketing for Aerie, to discuss how their partnership and recent campaign aligns with Aly’s platform to showcase positive body image and female strength.

For MORE INFORMATION and to REGISTER, click here.

Activation strategies available to sports markets are abundant, from traditional approaches to digital platforms. Finding the right formula is crucial if sponsors want to exceed their goals. We’ll talk with marketers to identify trends worth watching and strategies that will help brands hit their mark. From grassroots to global, on-site to online, we identify strategies and how they drive awareness and deliver results.

Publishing Date: October 29

Ad Close: October 15

Materials Due: October 17

For more information, contact Julie Tuttle, National Director of Advertising at (212) 500-0711 or