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Volume 24 No. 113
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Morning Buzz

HOK Sport Rebrands As Populous Following Recent Buyout
Ticketmaster President & CEO Sean Moriarty Steps Down
Univ. Of Kentucky Could Sign John Calipari To Record Deal
PepsiCo Signs Deal To Become Signature Partner At Citi Field


By Don Muret, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal

HOK Sport Rebrands As Populous
After Seperation From HOK Group
HOK Sport is now Populous, the new name chosen after the practice's recently completed buyout and separation from HOK Group in St. Louis. It reflects the expertise of sports' biggest architect in drawing people together for events, Senior Principal Joe Spear said. To launch the new brand, Populous launched a new Web site,, that was set to go live at 12:00am PT.

The rebranding comes a few weeks before Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium – two billion-dollar projects of theirs – open for the regular season. In addition, Populous designed TCF Bank Stadium, the Univ. of Minnesota's new football stadium opening in September. The $288M venue is college sports' most expensive project to date.

In its 26 years in sports design, Populous has developed more than 1,000 projects with construction value exceeding $20B. The firm has worked with 24 MLB teams, 30 NFL clubs, 80 additional pro clients and 120 colleges. Milkshake Media, Austin, which created the LiveStrong brand for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, handled the rebranding.


Ticketmaster Entertainment (TE) announced that Sean Moriarty, President & CEO of its Ticketmaster division, has left the company and resigned from its BOD, effective March 24 (TE). Sources indicated that Moriarty's departure was fueled by "uncertainty over his future under a proposed merger" with Live Nation. If regulators approve the merger, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino would become CEO of the new company, with TE CEO Irving Azoff becoming Exec Chair (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/31).


The Univ. of Kentucky could announce as early as today that it has named Memphis men's basketball coach John Calipari as its new men's coach. A source said that "no agreement had been reached as of yesterday evening" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 3/31). The offer is believed to be for eight years and about $35M, moving Calipari past Florida's Billy Donovan and his $3.5M annual salary as the "highest-paid coach in the country" for college basketball (, 3/30).


The Mets have signed a multi-year marketing and promotional partnership making PepsiCo a Signature Partner at Citi Field. Per the deal, PepsiCo will become the team’s official soft drink and the Gatorade brand will become the team’s official sports drink. The company also gains branding rights to the “Pepsi Porch,” a 1,284-seat section in right field that extends over the playing field (Mets/PepsiCo).


The delay in building the proposed Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn “is helping cause huge financial losses” for the Nets. Nets Sports & Entertainment had a pre-tax loss of $77.8M for the fiscal year ended January 31, according to a Forest City Enterprises filing. The figure “brings the three-year total of losses to $228.2M.” Forest City owns 23% of the Nets, and its "share of the team’s pre-tax losses for the last three years" is $76.5M (N.Y. TIMES, 3/31).


The Saints announced that they will hold training camp this year at their practice facility in Metairie, Louisiana, marking the "fourth time in the team's history they have held training camp at their permanent facility." The Saints held camp at the facility from '03-05, but have held the past three camps at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi (, 3/30).

Meanwhile, the Rams are considering training at Lindenwood Univ. and Southern Illinois Univ.-Edwardsville, “and that camp probably would be held at one of those two St. Louis area colleges this summer.” The team has previously held training camp at Concordia Univ.-Wisconsin (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/31).


Several Dallas-area minority and women's business associations today will discuss "forming a coalition to ensure they aren't overlooked" in preparations for the '11 Super Bowl at the Cowboys' new stadium. At least nine such associations have been invited, "representing at least 10,000 members." To date, minority- and women-owned businesses have landed more than $200M in contracts for construction of the stadium itself (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/29).


U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) appeared on Salt Lake City's KZNS-AM yesterday and accused the BCS of "elitism" ahead of hearings by his Senate subcommittee on the system. Hatch: "There are elite people who think everything should be done their way and not done in a fair way." Hatch added that he is "not pushing for change just because" the undefeated Univ. of Utah was not in last season's championship game. Hatch: "I think the system ought to be fair" (DESERET NEWS, 3/31).


NCAA President Myles Brand "will make it to the Final Four" in Detroit this week despite his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer. Brand plans to "help present the championship trophy" to the winner of Monday night's final at Ford Field. Senior Advisor to the President Wally Renfro said, "He's doing fine. He's in the office on an almost daily basis and is fully engaged in the activities of the association" (USA TODAY, 3/31).


Johnson Says Nerves Just
As Bad As At Olympics
The three sports personalities competing in the ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” continue their strong runs on the show. U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson and her partner Mark Ballas earned a 25 out of 30 for their Lindy Hop, which placed them in a tie with PBR President Ty Murray and his partner Chelsie Hightower, who also danced the Lindy Hop. Pro Football HOFer Lawrence Taylor and his partner Edyta Sliwinska scored a 19 for their Tango.

Johnson said of performing the Lindy Hop, “I have been out of my comfort zone since the beginning of this show and it is a relief because this week I don’t have to be romantic and mature and stuff. I can just be kind of young and crazy.” Johnson said after her performance, “I was like shaking (before coming on-stage). I got this nervous at the Olympics” (“Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 3/30).


CBS News & Sports President Sean McManus said that informal discussions to extend the network's men's basketball tournament contract with the NCAA beyond '10 "are ongoing and could become formal over the next year" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/31).

The NFL has released its '09 preseason schedule. All 12 playoff teams from '08 will appear in the 11 nationally televised preseason games. The Cowboys will play their first game at their new stadium August 21 against the Titans, with the contest to air on Fox at 8:00pm ET (NFL).

Citizen Watch Company today announced that it has signed golfer Padraig Harrington as an endorser. Harrington will help launch Citizen Eco-Drive's Signature Collection (Citizen Watch Co.). 

The D’Backs have announced plans for All-You-Can-Eat Seats at Chase Field for the ’09 season. Tickets in the 675-seat section will “cost $30 for non-premier games and $35 for the 15 premier games” this season. The section will offer unlimited hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, chips and Pepsi products (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/31).

Sony Ericsson Open organizers said that as of Monday's session, "five consecutive sessions had sold out – and six in all" at the combined tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Florida (MIAMI HERALD, 3/31).

The ECHL confirmed that the Dayton Bombers will not play in the '09-10 season. The club had the "second longest tenure in the ECHL" at 18 seasons (, 3/30). The league also announced that the Phoenix RoadRunners and Mississippi Sea Wolves will not play in '09-10 (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 3/31).

DirecTV runs a banner ad in the Wall Street Journal promoting its coverage of The Masters next week via its Masters Experience offering (THE DAILY).


“Our best shot is ’22, but I hope we can get it in ’18. But it’s hard to believe Europe will let it go three times in a row” – Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who has joined the board of U.S.organizers bidding to host the FIFA World Cup (AP, 3/30).

“It’s great for us to be in, but obviously not a huge moneymaker” – San Diego State Univ. Assistant AD for Business Administration Chuck Lang, on the school expecting to net between $25,000-50,000 for making it to the NIT semifinals this year (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/31).

“The question of appearance fees came up, but in 21 years of golf sponsorship we have not paid it. It’s a competition, not a show” – Volvo Event Management Golf manager Per Ericsson, on wanting Tiger Woods to play in the October 29-November 1 World Match Play Championship in Spain (LONDON TIMES, 3/31).


Red Wings Exec VP & GM Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock will speak at a noon ET meeting of the Detroit Economic Club at the MotorCity Casino Hotel. Several other Red Wings coaches and players are scheduled to attend. 

No Grease barbershop will hold a soft opening of its fourth Charlotte-area location near Time Warner Cable Arena. Bobcats Owner Bob Johnson is expected to be the store's first customer.


The Morning Buzz offers today’s back page sports covers from some of the nation’s major metropolitan tabloids:

N.Y. Post
N.Y. Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News
Boston Herald


Last night’s “Final Jeopardy!” category was “Artists.”

“The two famous painters who share a March 30 birthday, one born in Spain in 1746, the other in Holland in 1853.”

Last night’s edition of “Jeopardy” featured the category “The End of the Marathon,” where contestants had to identify the race by where it ended.

For $200: “In Copley Square.”

For $400: “In front of Buckingham Palace.”

For $600 (DAILY DOUBLE): “In Grant Park near Buckingham Fountain.”

For $800: “Near the Kapiolani Park bandstand.”

For $1000: “In the Heldenplatz.”



CBS’ David Letterman: “I have an announcement to make. This is my last night. The White House has asked me to step down. This is crazy, I don't know what this means: the CEO at General Motors, Rick Wagoner, has been there for like 30 years, (President Obama then) says, ‘You are done, pal, take a seat.’ He bounced the guy right out of the job. Listen to this: he will be replaced now by Jimmy Fallon. … Then right after the announcement, Rick Wagoner, the former CEO of GM, hopped on his private jet and flew to the unemployment office. … Now we're getting more and more information on (Bernie Madoff). It turns out that years ago this guy had an affair, an extramarital affair. That's right. He's really going to get a bad reputation. I was stunned. I said, ‘Bernie? Cheat? No! Not the Bernie I know.’ Yeah, he had an affair long before he went to prison. Coincidentally yesterday, he had an affair in prison with a guy named Walt. Isn't it always the guy named Walt? … Then of course you have the lovely Ruth Madoff, who is Bernie's wife. … Now Ruth is the one that blew the whistle on Bernie about the affair. Here's how she found out. She was going through some credit card receipts and found some unusual charges. That's how she learned about the affair. This she is able to find out about. $65(B), no! … A guy goes spear fishing in Brazil, and he accidentally gets shot in his own head with the spear, goes right into the guy's head. You can see the X-rays with the spear. Well, they operate on the guy. He's unconscious. They pull the spear out and he's going to be fine. You know the first thing he said when he came to was, ‘Well, that's the last time I go spear fishing with Dick Cheney’” (“Late Show,” CBS, 3/30).

NBC’s Jay Leno: “Big day in Detroit. The Obama administration asked General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner to step down, and he agreed. He agreed, which is good news for Obama. You know, the last time he tried to get someone to quit, it took months, and even then he had to promise her a job as Secretary of State. … According to the government, Rick Wagoner was forced to resign because of poor performance. That's embarrassing. Run an organization that loses billions of dollars and then get fired by a guy who heads up an organization that loses trillions of dollars. … Now, the government didn't ask any of those Wall Street CEOs to quit. Isn't that kind of a double standard? I mean, if you build Cadillacs, you're screwed. But if your chauffeur drives a Cadillac, you're okay. I guess they're going to be in the car business. President Obama said the (U.S.) Government will stand by your car's warranty. So if you have a five-year warranty on your car, the government will stand by it. Assuming, of course, the government is still around in five years. But he said you can take that to the bank. Assuming your bank is still around. … Republican Congressman Peter King says he's very upset that Notre Dame, where he went to law school, is giving an honorary degree to President Obama even though Obama is pro-choice. He said that giving Obama an honorary degree is putting him in an exalted position. Really? Isn't he President of the (U.S.)? Do you think that little certificate from Notre Dame is going to push him right over the top? The New York Yankees are selling off everything from the old stadium. Everything must go: the seats, the bullpen, the scoreboard, everything. In fact, you know what's expected to bring the most money? Darryl Strawberry's old locker, street value $18(M) … The Fox Network is now playing a new ‘Bachelor’-type reality show featuring plus-size people trying to find romance. It will be a lot like the ‘Bachelor.’ Contestants will go on a series of dates: lunch date, dinner date, another dinner date, dessert date, late night snack date. Instead of a hot air balloon, they're working out something now involving a crane. … A businessman in New York is now launching kosher tequila for Orthodox Jews. How can you tell if the tequila is kosher? I mean, is the worm circumcised?” (“Tonight Show,” NBC, 3/30).


Last night’s Top Ten list was “Top Ten Signs Your Wife Is Having An Affair With Bernie Madoff.” The list refers to the N.Y. Daily News report that Bernie Madoff had an extramarital affair with an executive assistant at a major media corporation (“Late Show,” CBS, 3/30).

10) “She often comes home smelling ‘Madoffy.’”
9) “Keep finding electronic monitoring bracelets under the bed.”
8) “She told you she wants a divorce in 150 years.”
7) “The orange jumpsuit mixed in with your dry cleaning.”
6) “She complains about your ‘small returns.’”
5) “Previously cheated on you with the CEOs of Tyco, Worldcom and Enron.”
4) “Tells you, ‘I’m going out for a conjugal … I mean, to the store.’”
3) “She keeps getting bouquets of roses from inmate #61727-054.”
2) “Somehow bought a $2 million necklace on a teacher’s salary.”
1) “When someone on the news mentions getting screwed by Madoff, your wife says, ‘Tell me about it.’”

During his monologue, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert discussed the narcissist nature of the country, “Last year, President Obama said we are the people we've been waiting for, and if I do say so, we look great. Yes folks, this is our time. This is our moment, our moment of complete narcissism. Just look at this month's photo spread of A-Rod in Details magazine. He is either standing in front of a mirror or he took enough steroids to grow another A-Rod” (“The Colbert Report,” Comedy Central, 3/30).


“Who are Goya and Vincent Van Gogh?”

For $200: “What is the Boston Marathon?”

For $400: “What is the London Marathon?”

For $600: “What is the Chicago Marathon?”

For $800: “What is the Honolulu Marathon?”

For $1000: “What is the Vienna Marathon?”

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know at:

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