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Volume 26 No. 207

People and Pop Culture

Benson made news last week when she shot down rumors that she was looking to sell the Pelicans
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Benson made news last week when she shot down rumors that she was looking to sell the Pelicans
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Benson made news last week when she shot down rumors that she was looking to sell the Pelicans
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Saints Owner GAYLE BENSON "might just be the most powerful woman in the NFL" a little more than a year since the passing of her husband, TOM, according to Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY. Benson's stature was on "full display as she gathered with other NFL owners last week." As promised in the days following the NFC Championship Game, she "continued to lobby other NFL owners to pass a new rule" that could prevent a repeat of that game's officiating blunder. Benson "made news in another league, too." She "shot down the rumors" that she would look to sell the Pelicans. Benson is "comfortable in her leadership role for franchises at both ends of the competitive spectrum in their respective leagues." It has "been clear within NFL circles that Benson is determined to have legitimate influence on key issues that go way beyond pushing the rule change." Commissioner ROGER GOODELL said that it was "striking that days after Tom Benson's burial last spring, Gayle Benson attended the NFL owners' meetings in Orlando." She told Goodell that she "wanted to serve on committees -- so, for starters, he appointed her to the business ventures committee." But Benson "downplays the power surge element to her existence." She said, "I do feel more comfortable, knowing Mr. B. entrusted this to me and he knew I could handle it" (USA TODAY, 3/31).

TEXAS ROOTS: In Houston, John McClain noted JANICE MCNAIR has "taken a more active role" in the Texans since the death of her husband, BOB, in late November. The Texans' controlling owner last week "attended sessions with her son, Texans’ chairman CAL MCNAIR, participated in league events and visited with owners and their families." She is "one of three women who took ownership of NFL franchises last year" along with Benson and JODY ALLEN with the Seahawks, and one of 10 women who own NFL teams. McNair "made a strong impression on people at the club and league levels," including Goodell. She told the commissioner and fellow owners how the Texans "plan to continue the standard Bob McNair set since they were awarded the franchise in 1999 to replace the Oilers" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/31).

ABE MADKOUR has been named Publisher of Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily. Madkour will continue in his role as Exec Editor of the organization and his new role will add oversight of the business and conference divisions. “Abe is a highly respected voice in the sports business community and a trusted and valued colleague,” said Sports Business Journal Founder & Chair WHITNEY SHAW. “This promotion gives him responsibility not just for the content and product sides of Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily but also the audience, sales and marketing sides. Throughout his career, Abe has earned every accolade and recognition he’s received, including this promotion.” Madkour has been covering the business of sports for 25 years. He joined Sports Business Daily when the publication launched in ‘94 and became Exec Editor of Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily in ‘03. Prior to joining Sports Business Daily, Madkour worked for U.S. Sen. PATRICK LEAHY (D-Vt.). He also had stints working for the Washington Bullets and the Baltimore Orioles in ‘93 and ‘94. Madkour will remain based in the company’s headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.

The XFL named former NBPA CMO & Think450 President JORDAN SCHLACHTER Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer. The XFL also named Pacers Sports & Entertainment VP/Customer Insight & Engagement DEREK THRONEBURG Senior VP/Team Business Operations (XFL)....Fox Sports named Publicis Media Sports Exec VP/Managing Dir DAN DONNELLY Senior VP/Ad Sales Marketing (Fox Sports)....Comscore CEO BRYAN WIENER and President SARAH HOFSTETTER have "resigned." Wiener, who was named CEO last April, also is resigning from the Comscore board. Comscore Dir DALE FULLER was named interim CEO (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 3/31)....NBC Sports Senior Dir of Communications ALEX ROZIS is leaving to become Octagon's VP/Global Communications (THE DAILY).

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

Create your own Executive Transaction

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 mbeqiraj@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

Porzingis is denying the allegation that he raped a woman in his N.Y. penthouse last February
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Porzingis is denying the allegation that he raped a woman in his N.Y. penthouse last February
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Porzingis is denying the allegation that he raped a woman in his N.Y. penthouse last February
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

Mavericks F KRISTAPS PORZINGIS "allegedly raped a neighbor he had invited to his luxury Manhattan penthouse" on Feb. 7, 2018, just "hours after suffering a devastating knee injury at Madison Square Garden" while playing with his former team, the Knicks. The woman making the claim reported the attack to police on Thursday, over a year after the fact, and has "admitted to cops that she discussed getting $68,000 in hush money" from Porzingis, who is "denying the allegation." Porzingis' lawyer said the FBI is investigating the accuser’s "extortionate demands" (NYPOST.com, 3/30).

IMPACT PLAYERS: Pirates LF COREY DICKERSON is launching an initiative called "Assists for Autism." During April, which is Autism Awareness Month, Dickerson "will donate $100 for every outfield assist in the majors to Autism Speaks." For the remainder of the regular season, Dickerson "will donate $1,000 for every assist by a Pirates outfielder" (TRIBLIVE.com, 3/30).

NAMES: COLIN KAEPERNICK, Panthers S ERIC REID, Broncos LB VON MILLER, Saints RB ALVIN KAMARA and Giants RB SAQUON BARKLEY yesterday played in a celebrity touch football game in Atlanta hosted by rapper QUAVO. Falcons WR JULIO JONES coached one of the teams (AJC.com, 3/31)....GREG NORMAN “pulled his name” from the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in the “aftermath of the arrest of the academy’s managing partner on charges of embezzling” more than $2M on another project (MYRTLEBEACHONLINE.com, 3/28)....New Nebraska men’s basketball coach FRED HOIBERG’s contract is for seven years and $25M, making it the “biggest contract in NU basketball history.” Hoiberg’s annual salary of $3.57M is “higher than all but 10 coaches nationally” (OMAHA.com, 3/30)....Former NASCAR driver JOHN ANDRETTI “tweeted Friday that his long fight with cancer is on again” (INDYSTAR.com, 3/30)....After last week’s “cancer screening,” Pro Football HOFer MICHAEL IRVIN announced he has “been cleared” (DALLASNEWS.com, 3/31)....Colts QB ANDREW LUCK married longtime girlfriend and former Stanford gymnast NICOLE PECHANEC in Prague over the weekend (INDYSTAR.com, 3/31).

Sports Business Journal’s business intelligence database, Resource Guide LIVE, launched a redesigned product this week. There are three new features: A naming and media rights opportunity chart gives users a better overview of the sponsorship landscape; a redesigned attendance tracker compares each team’s season totals against others in its league, with archived data going back more than a decade; and a collection of consumer insights from an exclusive global survey reveals trends and demographic data about the sports fan. The database is home to more than 90,000 contacts and 14,000 listings, ranging from pro teams, corporate sponsors, agencies, tech companies and more. Click here to learn more or sign up for a demo.

CAA World Congress of Sport -- April 3-4, Dana Point, CA

A Special Session with an Industry Visionary

On the morning of April 4, Clippers Chair Steve Ballmer will reflect on his first five years as owner of the franchise and will discuss hot-button issues in the NBA, his plans for Inglewood and his efforts to revolutionize the sports viewing experience with Clippers CourtVision.

Go to WorldCongressofSports.com to learn more and sign up.