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Volume 25 No. 177

People and Pop Culture

Nashville SC CEO COURT JESKE will leave the USL club at the end of the month. Jeske, an SBJ/SBD “Forty Under 40” honoree this year, was named the club’s first CEO in October '16 after serving as Soccer United Marketing VP/Int’l Business. The Nashville club set season-long records for an expansion team in season tickets sold and corporate partnership revenue. IAN AYRE, the former Liverpool CEO who was hired in May to serve in the same role for the expansion Nashville MLS club likely to launch in '20, will now oversee the USL team as well (Ian Thomas, THE DAILY).

EXECS: DAZN named HBO Senior Publicist for Sports Media Relations GREG DOMINO PR Dir (THE DAILY)....The Flyers fired GM RON HEXTALL after "four-plus years on the job" (, 11/26)....Orlando City parted ways with GM/Soccer Operations NIKI BUDALIC, effective immediately. Budalic joined the MLS club in January '16 as Assistant GM, and in December '16 was promoted to his current role for both the MLS club and the NWSL Orlando Pride (Orlando City).  

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BEN DOGRA, a "well-known former NFL agent," is due more than $14.8M to settle claims sparked from his being fired by CAA in '14. But CAA "filed a sealed lawsuit Nov. 5 to overturn an arbitrator's decision in the case." The response by Dogra's lawyers last week was to "provide the first public detail of the events surrounding Dogra's firing and the compensation now due to him." Dogra began working for CAA in '06. At the time of his firing, he was "overseeing the football division of CAA Sports" under a contract that guaranteed him $4.5M a year as well as 60% of the "residual net income of his division after costs and expenses" (, 11/26).

Pastner filed a lawsuit in January accusing a couple of attempted blackmail

NAMES: Red Sox President of Baseball Operations DAVE DOMBROWSKI was named MLB Exec of the Year by Baseball America (, 11/26)....A couple "locked in a legal dispute" with Georgia Tech basketball coach JOSH PASTNER "owe $42,083 in legal fees and costs for failing to comply with court orders." Pastner "filed a lawsuit against RON BELL and JENNIFER PENDLEY in January, accusing the couple of attempted blackmail" (, 11/26)....Late former NHLer BOB PROBERT is the subject of the new documentary "TOUGH GUY," which will be directed by GEORDIE DAY (, 11/26)....Cubs manager JOE MADDON yesterday held his annual “Thanksmas” in St. Petersburg, serving meals to the homeless to “raise awareness to the issue specifically between the holidays.” This year marked the 10th installment of the program (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/27)....Free agent C YASMANI GRANDAL is the “latest player to leave the Legacy Agency,” as he will now be represented by Wasserman’s ADAM KATZ (, 11/21)....The Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance named Golden Knights President KERRY BUBOLZ to its BOD (, 11/26)....A source said that Pro Football HOFer MIKE DITKA was “released from the hospital” in Naples, Fla., yesterday after he was “treated for a heart attack last week” (, 11/27).

Meet the 50 industry innovators and decision-makers whose moves are watched and whose deals change how business is done. In one of our most anticipated issues of the year, Sports Business Journal examines all segments of the industry — teams and leagues, agencies and sponsors, media, facilities, colleges and more — and ranks the 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business. Discover why this list of who’s-who in the industry has the power to shape the future of sports business.

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