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Volume 25 No. 216

People and Pop Culture

Former Disney exec MIKE CRAWFORD has been "chosen to oversee" the long-delayed Johnson Controls HOF Village, the plan to convert Canton’s Pro Football HOF into a "Disney-like destination," according to Susan Glaser of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Crawford on Thursday was announced as the HOF Village’s first CEO, and it "will be his job to see the ambitious," $889M project to completion. Crawford "led the development of the Shanghai Disney Resort" from '07-14. His past four years have been spent "with Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts, as president of Asia Pacific and then global president of portfolio management." The HOF Village, first announced in '15, was initially projected to be finished by '18, a date that has been "pushed back several times." Among the project’s "numerous parts: a youth sports complex, four-star hotel and conference center, retirement community, indoor waterpark and virtual reality rides, retail and restaurants, a research facility, the existing museum plus the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/14). In Canton, Alison Matas notes Pro Football HOF President DAVID BAKER "will remain the head of the nonprofit organization, which is a partner in the village development." Crawford is "taking over a project that, in terms of bricks and mortar, has stagnated" since the fall of '17. Crawford "joins a leadership team for the Village that includes former entertainment and NFL executives" and is overseen by MICHAEL KLEIN, managing partner of N.Y-based advisory firm M. Klein and Co. (Canton REPOSITORY, 12/14).

Wizards G AUSTIN RIVERS listed his home in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of L.A. for $7.495M. The 7,400-square-foot Cape Cod-inspired home has "six bedrooms and six bathrooms." Built in '16, the property includes a "swimming pool, spa and built-in barbecue." A "purple-clad movie theater and a lounge with a glass-enclosed wine wall are on a lower level" (LATIMES.com, 12/6).

BUYERS & SELLERS: Fox Sports' CURT MENEFEE is selling his home in the Studio City neighborhood of L.A. for $2.569M. Spanning nearly an acre, the one-story home is "backed by a swimming pool and fire-pit lounge with dramatic views of the city lights." Inside, four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms are "spread across 3,032 square feet of living space" (LATIMES.com, 12/6)....Giants SS BRANDON CRAWFORD is selling his home in Scottsdale for $1.499M. The 5,477-square-foot home has 5 bedrooms and 6 baths. Highlights include a "two-story fireplace, great room, smart pool system, in-ground trampoline and sports court, among many other amenities" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 12/10)....Golden Knights LW JONATHAN MARCHESSAULT purchased a lakefront house in Lac-Beauport, Quebec, for C$2M. He purchased the home with the "goal of tearing it down." Built in '18, the two-story"home is 1,200 square feet and sits on a 4,150-square-meter property (OTTAWASUN.com, 12/10)....Broncos CB TRAMAINE BROCK sold his house in Santa Clara for $1.415M. The 1,716-square-foot home has "three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms" (LATIMES.com, 12/10)....Former Bears coach MARC TRESTMAN sold his home in Glencoe, Ill., for just over $555,000. Built in '88, the home was remodeled in '15 and has "hardwood floors, French doors opening to a patio, a fireplace in the living room" and "private baths with each bedroom" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 12/11).

Carter is an avid sports fan away from work, and counts golf and cycling as major hobbies
Photo: RICHARD CARTER

U.K.-based sports-betting company SBTech has unsurprisingly beefed up its stateside presence over the past year with the changing regulations in the U.S., and that means company CEO RICHARD CARTER has been keeping his passport handy. Carter over the past year has made almost monthly visits to the U.S., helping his company expand its reach in a deal with Churchill Downs while also scouting locations for an office in Las Vegas and an eventual east coast HQ. Carter: "We’ve all got big smiles on our faces over on this side of the world. It’s very exciting. It’s the world’s biggest economy and a country that’s absolutely mad on sports." Carter this weekend is off to N.Y. to meet with existing clients, and he hopes to squeeze in a little holiday shopping in Times Square if time allows. He took THE DAILY through what this year has been like on the sports betting front, what he anticipates in the space going forward and how he stumps his American counterparts on long flights with some newly-learned geography lessons. 

HIT THE GROUND RUNNING: Unfortunately the N.Y. visit is a work trip. I’m coming in Friday afternoon to see some existing clients, spend time with some of our team members in town and visit some other business prospects as well. I may be able to squeeze in some Christmas shopping, too. It’s a mid-day flight and I’ll mostly work during that. We’ve got a lot going on at the moment with year-end budgeting and planning for ’19. We’re also in the process of trying to get several operators live in the U.S., so I’ll just focus on getting as much done as I can while in the air. I want to take a break around Christmas to visit my parents in the north of England, so I’ll be working quite hard up until then.

LEARNING THE LAND: I’m probably coming to N.Y. once a month for work at this point. I’m learning a lot of the 50 states and their capitals. I like to quiz people I meet on planes because most Americans don’t know their state capitals. I think I know more than the average American when it comes to those. I’m learning my American geography quite quickly. I don’t think I really want to get into cultural differences, I’ll just say there are definitely a few. I really enjoy being wined and dined in Mississippi, very lovely people, but the cuisine is certainly different from what I’m used to. It’s really just very interesting to see all the nuances in terms of how each state in America is quite different. Different hospitality, personality, weather, geography, that’s all actually very enjoyable to me. 

IN THE MEANTIME: Three years ago I moved to the Isle of Man, a lovely island really in the middle of the Irish Sea. I’ve obviously been traveling quite a lot at the moment, but when I get back there, it’s a fantastic place for cycling. We’ve had quite a number of famous cyclists come from there. I also really like to cook, of all things. I find it very relaxing and there’s some fantastic produce on the island. Very healthy, and overall it's a great place to unwind on the weekend. I’m sorry to say I can’t remember the last TV show I actually watched, I just can’t seem to find the time. But in my free time I am a big Liverpool fan, and I also love to go see a rugby match when I can. 

Know of someone who should be featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot a note over to tleary@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

WME promoted Partner ARI GREENBURG to President. Greenburg will "oversee all daily operations across WME and its offices" in Beverly Hills, N.Y., Nashville, London and Sydney (VARIETY.com, 12/13).

EXECS: HNTB named HOK Senior VP/Design Principal RYAN GEDNEY National Design Dir. Gedney’s design work includes MetLife Stadium, Avaya Stadium, Rogers Place in Edmonton and Little Caesars Arena (Mike Sunnucks, THE DAILY)....The Blue Jackets promoted VP/Community Development KATHRYN DOBBS to Senior VP & CMO. Dobbs, who had also been Blue Jackets Foundation Exec Dir, will report directly to team President MICHAEL PRIEST. The Blue Jackets also promoted VP/Marketing J.D. KERSHAW to the newly created position of VP/Operations & Development. Kershaw will report directly to Senior VP & COO CAMERON SCHOLVIN (Blue Jackets)....JMI Sports named Hornets VP/Partnership Development NICOLE BIENERT METZGER CRO of Clemson Sports & Campus Marketing. Metzger will report to JMI Sports President TOM STULTZ (JMI Sports)....EA named PGA Tour Exec VP/Int'l Affairs PAUL JOHNSON Head of Commercialization for Competitive Gaming. Johnson began his role with EA on Monday (EA)....The Air Force Academy named Holy Cross AD NATHAN PINE to the same position (TELEGRAM.com, 12/13)....The Bay Area Sports HOF named Bohemia Health CEO HENRY LOUBET to its BOD (BASHOF).

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A Packers fan has "lost his court bid to don his Green Bay gear and stand on the sidelines" at Soldier Field before Sunday’s Packers-Bears game. A federal court judge in Chicago on Thursday "denied the temporary restraining order and injunction sought by Green Bay resident RUSSELL BECKMAN against the Bears." That means on Sunday, Beckman, who is a Bears season-ticket holder, "will not be allowed to wear his Packers jersey and accessories at a pre-game event on the Bears sidelines." In June '17, Beckman "filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago against the Bears, alleging that in 2016 the team barred him from the pregame event at the Bears-Packers game because of his Packers gear." The suit also named the NFL as a defendant, but the league "was successful in getting removed from the case" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 12/13).

NO TOLERANCE: Riot Games has suspended COO SCOTT GELB for "two months without pay following an internal investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct against him." Gelb's suspension comes after "several current and former Riot employees alleged that he repeatedly touched their testicles and made other inappropriate contact for comedic effect." Riot said that Gelb, 40, will be "required to undergo unspecified 'training'" (ESPN.com, 12/14).

Islanders players met with young patients and their families at NYU Winthrop Hospital on Thursday
Photo: ISLANDERS

THE GOOD STUFF: Islanders players MATHEW BARZAL, CAL CLUTTERBUCK, JORDAN EBERLE and NICK LEDDY met with young patients and their families at NYU Winthrop Hospital on Thursday, "handing out presents and memorabilia" (NEWSDAY.com, 12/14)....Pelicans F ANTHONY DAVIS "hosted a shopping spree" on Thursday for New Orleans-area kids at a local Target store (NOLA.com, 12/13)....Panthers QB CAM NEWTON on Tuesday hosted his fifth annual Surprise Sleigh, making five stops throughout Charlotte, "distributing $100,000 worth of cash donations and gift cards, along with gifts specific to each location" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/13)....Lakers F KYLE KUZMA on Tuesday "surprised 25 kids" from the Weingart East L.A. YMCA with a special visit and shopping spree at a local JC Penny (DAILYNEWS.com, 12/11)....Univ. of South Carolina football player DEEBO SAMUEL on Thursday teamed up with Academy Sports to hand out bikes to 50 children at the Greenville Convention Center (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 12/13)....The Charlotte Motor Speedway division of Speedway Children's Charities distributed a record $1.04M in grants to 100 charitable organizations in the Charlotte region that help children in need (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 12/12)....Buccaneers DT GERALD MCCOY on Tuesday treated over 40 single-parent families to a "surprise festive meal and mini Christmas tree full of gifts at his sixth annual McCoy Family Christmas.” The event also “launched McCoy’s new charity, Gerald McCoy’s Patricia Diana Foundation” (TAMPABAY.com, 12/13).

NAMES: Jurors found a “nightclub party to blame" for overserving former Cowboys player JOSH BRENT the night in '12 when he “drove drunk and killed teammate and best friend JERRY BROWN.” The civil court jury “awarded Brown’s mother and his estate” $25M. The Beamers nightclub “shared about half the blame” with Brent -- 48% each -- with the final 4% “lying with the victim” (DALLASNEWS.com, 12/13)....Magic F AARON GORDON last week “helped tip off CodeOrlando with a surprise appearance.” CodeOrlando will use a “popular robotic sphere platform called Sphero to teach students the basic building blocks of computer programming” (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 12/13)....Heat C HASSAN WHITESIDE became a father following the birth of his son JAYDEN (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 12/13).