Cirque du Soleil Chair and NHL Seattle minority investor MITCH GARBER said that owning a piece of an NHL team is "something no pure-blooded Montrealer could possibly turn down," according to a profile by Geoff Baker of the SEATTLE TIMES. Garber said, “It’s not a cliché that I grew up in Canada and in Montreal, so I have hockey in my blood." Cirque du Soleil is one of "multiple companies owned" by NHL Seattle Majority Owner DAVID BONDERMAN, and Garber was "quick to mention several times that he isn’t looking to overshadow the other Seattle owners." He insisted that he is "just one of many and that the Seattle NHL show belongs to Bonderman and film producer JERRY BRUCKHEIMER, as well as a team of locally based owners he’ll meet with in Seattle next week." But Garber is "somewhat different from your typical North American owner in that for him, it’s always been about sports first and the business world second." He said, "Seattle is a great sports town that’s missing two major sports league teams -- hockey and basketball." Garber: “It all starts with solid ownership. And with David Bonderman, you’ll have the most solid owner you’re going to have in all of professional sports" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 6/8).
People and Pop Culture
We caught up with CARRIE SKILLMAN at the World Congress of Sports to find out what is the biggest sports industry issue that she is thinking about as VP at Scout Sports & Entertainment. Among the things on her mind: How sports betting will impact the sports landscape.
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McLaren Racing named former NFL Exec VP/Int'l MARK WALLER to the new position of Managing Dir of Sales & Marketing, giving him oversight of that department. McLaren Racing CEO ZAK BROWN told THE DAILY this morning, “Sales and marketing is a critical piece for McLaren, so to bring on someone of Mark Waller’s caliber, stature and experience, having been at what is recognized as the world’s most successful sport in the NFL for over a decade -- and he was the former CMO of Diageo so he knows how to lead big global luxury brands like McLaren -- it’s a real win to get someone of his talent and pedigree to lead the marketing department” (Adam Stern, THE DAILY).
Bucks GM JON HORST signed a multi-year contract extension that will keep him with the team through the '22-23 season. Horst was entering the third and final year of his initial contract (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/8)....Atlanta United Academy Dir TONY ANNAN signed a multiyear contract extension. He has been with the club since April '16 (AJC.com, 6/7)....The Houston XFL team named former Dolphins and Saints GM RANDY MUELLER Dir of Player Personnel. Mueller most recently served as GM for the AAF Salt Lake Stallions. The team also named former AAF Memphis Express GM WILL LEWIS Assistant Personnel Dir (CHRON.com, 6/7).
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Former NASCAR CEO BRIAN FRANCE on Friday pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for "driving while intoxicated in New York's Hamptons last year." France was "ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and undergo alcohol counseling." If he "meets the requirements, the charge will be reduced to a traffic violation." France said, "I have learned valuable lessons and will be a better person because of this process" (AP, 6/7).
IN MEMORY: NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL spoke at a public memorial service for Pro Football HOFer BART STARR yesterday afternoon at Samford Univ. Goodell was "among seven guest speakers on hand to eulogize the life of Starr," including former Packers teammate and Alabama football coach BILL CURRY, during a "poignant two-hour public service that was capped" by Starr’s widow, CHERRY. Among other "VIPs in attendance" were former Alabama player and AD HOOTIE INGRAM,plus dozens of former teammates with both the Crimson Tide and Packers (MONTGOMERYADVERTISER.com, 6/9)....The Packers announced "several activities designed to celebrate Starr’s life." Players will "wear a No. 15 decal on their helmets throughout the season" (GREENBAYPRESSGAZETTE.com, 6/7)....Meanwhile, late former Dallas Morning News reporter GERRY FRALEY was “honored for his motorsports coverage” at Texas Motor Speedway during a “ceremony in the foyer of the infield media center Saturday afternoon.” TMS President EDDIE GOSSAGE “added a black plaque with Fraley’s name on it to the TMS Wall of Fame.” Fraley died last month after a “two-year battle with cancer” (DALLASNEWS.com, 6/8).
THE WOMEN'S GAME: The Women's Basketball HOF on Saturday inducted former Women's Basketball Coaches Association CEO BETH BASS, former Tennessee and College of Charleston Women's AD JOAN CRONAN, former NCAA D-I Women's Basketball Committee Chair NORA LYNN FINCH and former players CAROLYN BUSH RODDY and VALERIE STILL. The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), which "governed women's college athletics before the NCAA took over, also was recognized as a 'trailblazer of the game.'" Several former AIAW-era players, including ANN MEYERS DRYSDALE and NANCY LIEBERMAN, were recognized, and "all the previous inductees in attendance were introduced" (AP, 6/9).
THE GOOD STUFF: Cowboys QB DAK PRESCOTT, RB EZEKIEL ELLIOTT and LB JAYLON SMITH, along with Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN and a "group of Mavericks players," participated in former NBAer DIRK NOWITZKI's Heroes Celebrity Baseball game. It was the "eighth year Nowitzki has hosted the event, which benefits The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation and the Heroes Foundation" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 6/7)....Vikings coach MIKE ZIMMER "hosted the first of two days of youth camps in the team’s field house on Saturday, welcoming 350 kids from first through eighth grade for his foundation’s third annual event." Zimmer had a "different group of 350 kids at the facility" yesterday for "another day of the free camp" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 6/8)....Brewers Owner MARK ATTANASIO, RF CHRISTIAN YELICH and LF RYAN BRAUN surprised fans at the Pick ‘n Save on Miller Park Way by “checking out -- and paying -- for groceries” as part of the team’s annual Kindness in MKE event. The event sees Brewers players and staff "fan out into the city for unannounced donations and related visits." Players “spent a minimum of $500 in gifts and donations at each spot” (JSONLINE.com, 6/7).
NAMES: ESPN's TEDDY ATLAS was inducted into the Int'l Boxing HOF in the "observer category" this past weekend in Canastota, N.Y. The HOF class includes "legendary Top Rank publicist LEE SAMUELS, promoter and matchmaker DON ELBAUM," as well as late Puerto Rican journalist MARIO RIVERA MARTINO (ESPN.com, 6/7)....Former Rangers 3B ADRIAN BELTRE became the fourth player in franchise history to have his jersey number retired (DALLASNEWS.com, 6/9)....Former NFLer ROB GRONKOWSKI led a “football clinic at Woburn Memorial High School,” a two-day camp that was “held in partnership with the Kraft Heinz Company Foundation” (BOSTONHERALD.com, 6/9)....Capitals G BRADEN HOLTBY “marched in the annual Capital Pride Parade” in DC Saturday, riding on Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s float, "tossing beads and T-shirts into the cheering crowd" (NBCSPORTSWASHINGTON.com, 6/8)....LINDSEY VONN was in San Diego on Wednesday, closing out the “three-day convention of Medallia, which gives key executives from around the world pointers on maximizing customer experience” (SANDIEGOUNIONTRIBUNE.com, 6/7).
Who are the women transforming the sports business? You know who they are. Help us recognize them by nominating them for our 9th annual Game Changers: Women in Sports Business feature. The Sept. 16 publication featuring the '19 class of Game Changers will be followed by our Game Changers Conference in N.Y. on Sept. 17. To nominate someone, or for more information about the program and conference, go to www.game-changers-conference.com.