Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 20 No. 41

People and Pop Culture

Atlanta Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay talks about premium seating and stadium infrastructure, the reason that transportation matters, and why the in-game experience will always be important.

Who are you going to hug and brag about five years from now when that one special moment happens and you were surrounded by 60,000 people who come from all different walks of life? But you share one thing, and that’s your love for the team. Nobody can brag about being in their basement with a couple buddies and the home run was hit or the fumble was recovered. It’s sort of a tribal thing, and you can only do that when you’re all together.

Preparing for the future:
We have to make sure that we put enough cap excess in the future to deal with issues not just renovating and changing seats or changing the scoreboard, but evolving technology. That’s something when I was in the Tampa stadium experience [as Bucs general manager] that we didn’t do, and I felt that that was a big thing that we left on the table. … You better have some reserves for your building to deal with those changes because the customer is going to expect it.

Big-city issues: The experience starts when you leave the house, and we don’t control some of that. We need to kind of control more of it and make sure that we’re always paying attention to it, whether it’s public transportation and when they take that ride what experience are they having in that ride. We need to be responsible for that because, ultimately, they are going to hold us responsible for that. We kind of take the driveway-to-driveway look. Our fans expect a lot.

The wall between team personnel and business: I’m sure it still exists in certain places, but it has changed dramatically. I think coaches realize that if you’re going to make $6 million a year or $5 million a year as a coach, part of the reason is the sponsorship that they sold to drive the revenue. Part of the reason is the operations that go behind it. If you’re going to have players and you’re going to venture into free agency, the reason is the people that generate the revenue. I think everybody has gotten a little more sense of, We’re all in it together. We’re not compartmentalized, where it’s us, and you guys are just helping.

Story he’s watching: What is the future and what are the changes that are coming in our whole premium business? Is it less suites? Is it more suites? Is it more club seats? Less? What is that model? Clearly all of us are under a little bit of a challenge with respect to that. I’m very interested to see how that plays out as we continue to go down our new stadium path.

The Cleveland Cavaliers named Koby Altman pro personnel manager. Altman was an assistant basketball coach at Columbia University.

The University of Chicago hired Brian Lang as athletics facilities manager, facilities services. Lang was the events/operations intern at Harvard University.

Providence College named Marcus Blossom associate athletic director for business, replacing Mac Hart, who resigned.

The University of Illinois named Rick Darnell senior associate athletic director for development and Loren Israel assistant athletic director for compliance.

The University of Miami named Michael Turner director of events. Turner was a facility utilization manager at Purdue University.

Lees-McRae College named Gene Renfro director of compliance. Renfro was sports information director at King College.

Warner Pacific College named Jamie Joss athletic director, effective Sept. 5. Joss was director of sales and operations for The Bleachers Corp.

Sarah Lawrence College hired Kristin Maile as athletic director. Maile was athletic director at Cedar Crest College.

High Point University promoted Bryan Weigel to director of external relations and named Mike Tuttle senior associate athletic director for facilities and operations and Jared Micklos assistant athletic director for internal operations.

Maritime College promoted Laura Mooney to associate athletic director for administration.

Gregory Williams stepped down as president of the University of Cincinnati.

The United States Football League named Lincoln Kennedy to its board of advisers. Kennedy is a broadcaster for Fox Sports Radio.

The Canadian Hockey League Players Association named Georges Laraque executive director.

The National Lacrosse League’s Washington Stealth named Cory Howerton vice president of sales. Howerton was president of the Arena Football League’s Georgia Force.

The Leverage Agency named Kevin McIntyre executive vice president and manager of sales. McIntyre returns to the agency after serving as vice president of global and digital media at Major League Gaming.

Front Row Marketing Services promoted Joe Marsh to director of finance, Bob Snyder to director of marketing and Jessica Donahue to marketing manager and hired Eddie Decker as manager of analytics.

MBF Global Media Consultants launched with Michael B. Fox as managing director. Fox was vice president of international advertising sales operations for ESPN.

Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic hired J. Michael Falgoust to cover the Baltimore Ravens. Falgoust was a reporter for USA Today.

Outdoor Channel hired Lorey Zlotnick as senior vice president of marketing. Zlotnick was senior vice president of marketing and on-air promotion for Fuel TV. named Matt Bean managing editor. Bean was vice president of digital product development at Rodale.

Univision Communications named Keith Turner president of advertising sales and marketing. Turner was senior vice president of media sales and sponsorship for the NFL.

Golf Channel named David Schaefer vice president of communications.

David Haslingden is stepping down as president of the Fox Networks Group at News Corp.

The IHRA named Robert Jaramillo to director of contingency sales.

Multiteam Organizations

Madison Square Garden hired T.J. Ciro as director of team sales focusing on Knicks, Rangers and Liberty. Ciro was in corporate sponsorship sales for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Colin Moynihan will step down as chairman of the British Olympic Association, effective in November.

Manchester City hired Ferran Soriano as chief executive. Soriano was chairman of Spanair and before that was chief executive and vice chairman of FC Barcelona.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Janet Fox stepped down as senior vice president of sourcing for Under Armour.

D. Atkinson
J. Atkinson
Pony Xpress Printing hired John Alexander as marketing director, Jason Atkinson as director of merchandise and Diane Atkinson as director of events.

Jeff Connor stepped down as chief executive officer of City Sports.

Michael McCormick stepped down as executive vice president of global sales and marketing for Columbia Sportswear.

Sports Commissions, Awards and Boards
The National Sporting Goods Association named Randy Hooper, John Parish Sr. and Rusty Saunders to join the 2013 class of the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame.

The Hampton Roads Sports Commission promoted Morgan Lang to executive director and hired Gibby Eppler as manager of development.

The John McEnroe Tennis Academy named Peter Fleming associate academy director.

People news
To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information and photos to Brandon McClung at 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202, or email them to Electronic photos must be a jpg or tiff file for Macintosh, 2.25 inches wide at 300 dpi. Color only, please. News items may also be sent via fax to (704) 973-1401. If you have questions, call (704) 973-1425.

Back-to-school bash in Boston

Garden Neighborhood Charities, the philanthropic arm of the TD Garden, held its first Back-to-School Celebration in partnership with The Salvation Army and the city of Boston on the arena floor Aug. 21. The event combined a school supply distribution with interactive family-friendly exhibit booths. From left: Hugh Lombardi, TD Garden GM; Amy Latimer, Boston Bruins / TD Garden SVP of sales and marketing; Charlie Jacobs, Boston Bruins principal; Boston Mayor Thomas Menino; Maj. Ivan Rock, Salvation Army of Massachusetts general secretary; and Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Boston Public Health Commission director.

After the Lap

The 2012 NASCAR After the Lap logo sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola was unveiled at the launch event Aug. 16 at the Ford Dearborn truck plant in Dearborn, Mich. From left: Mike Kozak, NASCAR senior director of partnership marketing; Jamie Allison, Ford Racing director; NASCAR driver Greg Biffle; Jack Roush, CEO and co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing; Jaclyn Roney, Miss Sprint Cup; and NASCAR drivers Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards.

BNP Paribas Showdown announcement

Attending an announcement for the sixth annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on Aug. 24 in New York City were (from left) Jerry Solomon, StarGames executive producer and president; Michele Sicard, BNP Paribas managing director of corporate communications; tennis players Victoria Azarenka, Juan Martin Del Potro and Serena Williams; and Joel Fisher, EVP of MSG Sports. The event will take place March 4 at Madison Square Garden.
Photo by: MSG PHOTOS

Milwaukee group meets at Miller Park

The Milwaukee Sports Marketing Professionals held their meeting Aug. 23 at Miller Park. From left: Kevin Kluender, University of Wisconsin; Drew Olson, ESPN Milwaukee; Jonathan Norman, GMR Marketing; Mike Grahl, Milwaukee Bucks; Greg Matzek, WTMJ / Packers Radio Network; and Caitlin Moyer, Milwaukee Brewers.

Salute from Chargers

The San Diego Chargers held their annual Bud Light Honoring Our Heroes event at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Aug. 17. It was the sixth straight season for the event, in which the Chargers visit MCAS Miramar to show their gratitude and appreciation for the armed services. From left: Josh McCormick, Anheuser-Busch military sales; Maj. Gen. Steve Busby; Rocky Sickmann, Anheuser-Busch director of military sales; Chargers coach Norv Turner; Col. J.P. Farnam; Kurt Martin, Anheuser-Busch San Diego director of sales and marketing.

Big league security

MLB, MLS and the NBA, NFL and NHL talked about their continuing partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and its “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign at a news conference Monday at Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City on Aug. 27. From left: Mark Graff, Nasdaq OMX Group chief information security officer; Bob Greifeld, Nasdaq OMX Group CEO; Dennis Cunningham, NHL EVP of security; U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke; Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; Jerome Hauer, Homeland Security advisory for New York state; NBA Commissioner David Stern; Metropolitan Transportation Authority COO Nuria Fernandez; MLS Commissioner Don Garber; and Jeff Miller, NFL VP of security.
Photo by: NASDAQ

Virginia Beach pitch

At left, after presenting the initial proposal for an 18,500-seat arena for Virginia Beach, Va., on Aug. 28 (from left): Michael Evans, Live Nation president of arenas; Wilson Howard, Live Nation Southeast division president; Warren Harris, Virginia Beach economic development director; and Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko.

Please submit photos for review of industry conferences, parties, product launches and openings showcasing the people and personalities at the event. Include the event date, location, names/titles of those featured along with credit information. The photo specifications are as follows: 300dpi, tiff, jpeg or eps color images. Submit digital photos for review at: or send color prints to: Faces & Places, c/o Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202.

Mike Boykin was a student at Ohio University’s sports management program when he landed his first job in sports as an intern at Philadelphia’s Spectrum. The nine months he spent booking events for the venue changed his career path. He gave up his dream of becoming athletic director at the University of South Carolina and pursued a career in pro sports, working at venues and promoting events before ultimately landing at GMR Marketing.

At a party for Spectrum employees in summer 1981: Boykin (left) with Tim Murphy, now a regional vice president with Global Spectrum.

WELCOME TO PHILLY: They provided an apartment in Buttonwood Square. My brother helped me drive from South Carolina to Philadelphia. I got there and asked for the key. The man sent me upstairs and I opened the door to the apartment and there was all this stuff spread out on the bed and coffee table: jackets, hoodies, T-shirts, sweatshirts. It was gear from the Sixers, Flyers, Phillies and the Spectrum. It looked like someone had been to the merchandise store and loaded up. I opened the refrigerator and it was completely stocked: beer, wine, cheese. I was blown away. I went downstairs and told them that they sent me to the wrong apartment. They said, “Oh, no. It’s yours.” … all I could think was, “Boy, I hope I don’t disappoint them.” They had made me feel so welcome and important that I didn’t want to let them down.

BIG DECISIONS: The Spectrum was hosting the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship March 30, 1981, the day Ronald Reagan was shot. I was there and Wayne Duke [chairman of the NCAA Basketball Tournament Committee], Dave Cawood [NCAA executive], Dave Gavitt [Big East commissioner] were all in the room. They were trying to figure out all the scenarios. “If he’s in a coma,” they said, “we can’t play this day. If he dies, we can’t play this day.” My eyes were like beach balls. I’m in this room, they’re talking about this incredibly important and interesting thing and talking about the potential of having to cancel the game [between North Carolina and Indiana] and have dual national champions. It was very fluid and a very tense moment … but I was impressed by how these leaders maintained their poise and discussed all their options and all the ramifications. They had an eye on what was best for the country and also the teams and fans.

SAY IT AGAIN: Everyone liked to hear me speak. We had offices at the Spectrum and Market Street. The ladies would ask me to come over and pronounce certain words like bicycle. Basically, it was any word with the letter “I.” Anything Southerners had a way of saying. They would cackle, and I got paranoid.

MAKE THEM LAUGH: There was a guy named Peter Gladstone. He was the vice president of marketing. He would let me come in the office, give me a legal sheet of paper to take notes and write questions and then say, “Watch this.” He would call someone about a business deal, and he would use humor to disarm people. He was hilarious. It was almost like he was a standup comedian over million-dollar deals. That’s where I learned how to use humor.

BACK TO SCHOOL: I got a job offer at the end of the nine-month internship, but I turned it down so I could go back to school and get my degree from Ohio University. I didn’t want to do it at the time, but my dad encouraged me to finish. I went from going 90 miles an hour every day to 30 miles an hour. I am glad I did it, though. I met a second class of people. When I went back, [former U.S. men’s national team soccer coach] Bob Bradley was my roommate. Those types of relationships are important in life.

Andy Ross is one of Octagon’s five NFL agents, representing 15 players, including former first-round picks Aaron Curry, Ziggy Hood and Duane Brown. He made his first cold call in the sports business 18 years ago at Octagon’s predecessor, Advantage International, to meet sports marketing pioneer Tom George, and “I’ve been there ever since,” he said.

Ross worked hard to get in the door, then stayed.

REJECTION: I was a senior in high school and I took a class in sports marketing. My high school teacher told me there was an internship at Advantage. He and his wife took time to show me how to write a résumé, how to write a cover letter, how to interview. After a week of doing that, I called Advantage International and they said the internship had already been filled.

RESILIENCE: I talked to my teacher. He said, “Do you really want it? I said yeah. So he said, “Go get it.” So I went home, I got on my JCPenney suit [and] rolled up there.

Ross recently negotiated a contract extension for the Texans' Duane Brown.
REWARD: They said, “Why don’t you go and sit down?” … They were hoping I would get tired and leave, and I literally sat there for 2 1/2 hours. Finally [Advantage International senior vice president] Tom George walked out and said, “Do I know your parents?” I said, “No.” He said, “What are you here for?” I said, “I’m here for the internship.” He said, “It’s already been filled.” I said, “I know. I’ll work for free. I just really want to learn the business.” He asked me, “Do you have a résumé? Do you have a cover letter?” I said yeah. I gave it to him, and he walked back into his office. … His assistant came out like 10 minutes later and she said, “I don’t know what you said to him, but he said to be here on Monday.”

FIRST-DAY ASSIGNMENT: My job was to help out with some stuff for Grant Hill. … I was supposed to work on his fan club and there was some counterfeit memorabilia they had me try to track down.

NO PRESSURE: I’ll never forget. Tom sits me down. … He says, “I want to tell you two things: You are the first and only high school kid this company has ever hired. And No. 2, don’t ‘F’ up and make me look bad.”