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Volume 21 No. 2

People and Pop Culture

The general manager and executive vice president of Fox Soccer is preparing his network for coverage of the Women’s World Cup in 2015 and the World Cup in both 2018 and 2022. At the same time, he’s overseeing the development of current programming that includes the new original series “Being: Liverpool” and the redesign of the nightly show “Fox Soccer News.”

The media environment changes so rapidly that it’s hard to know the impact of viewing trends in 2022. No one produces big events better than Fox Sports, and there is no bigger global sports event than the FIFA World Cup. Starting with the 2015 Women’s World Cup, audiences can expect the viewing experience bar to be raised with each tournament.

The most meaningful sign of growth of soccer in the U.S.:
For me, it’s ratings, but there are so many other factors to consider: how widely soccer is covered across different networks, ad dollars, MLS ticket sales, club merchandise sales, even the popularity of games like EA’s “FIFA 12” relative to other sports video games.
On women’s soccer in the U.S.: The U.S. women’s game has succeeded; you just have to look at the rating trends of the last Women’s World Cup or Olympics to see that. We believe in the potential for a strong women’s soccer league in the U.S.

About BeIN Sport and its arrival as a player in soccer broadcasting: Competition is healthy, as long as the viewer benefits in the end. Increased competition in the past three years is a testament to the value and growth potential of the sport here in the U.S.

Sports business story he’s following closely: YouTube’s recent acquisition of select sports content.
What he hears from fans: People want to see the best matches live, in HD, and they want to get insight from our experts that they won’t find anywhere else. … We focus on the sport 24/7, so we are in a better position to fill those needs than most.

A memorable encounter: I just went on a fly-fishing trip of a lifetime with my dad and brother to British Columbia, to Nimmo Bay, where you take helicopters to each fishing location. We caught lots of salmon and got chased by a grizzly bear, so I’d call that a successful fishing adventure.

The Los Angeles Dodgers hired Renata Simril as senior vice president of external affairs and Rafael Gonzalez as director of community relations.

The Los Angeles Clippers promoted Gary Sacks to vice president of basketball operations.

Lewis University named John Planek athletic director.

Northwood University hired Preston James IV as assistant professor in the entertainment, sport and promotion management department.

Villanova University named Andrew Brandt director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for Sports Law. Brandt is the NFL business analyst for ESPN and a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication hired Vicki Michaelis as the John Huland Carmical distinguished professor of sports journalism.

The University of Montana promoted Kent Haslam to athletic director.

Northwest Nazarene University named Bill Rapp athletic director.

Daktronics promoted Sheila Anderson to chief financial officer and treasurer.


The American Hockey League’s Syracuse (N.Y.) Crunch promoted Todd Cross to senior director of ticket sales and hired Jonathan Smaldon and Brandon Wrobel as account executives.

The Montreal Canadiens hired John Madden for their amateur player recruitment group.

Maroon PR named Monique Ianos senior account executive, Liz Chong assistant manager of social and digital media and Lisa Foley executive assistant.

U/S Sports Advisors named Kit Werbe director of public relations.

IMG Sports Marketing named Tod Rosensweig general manager of Charlotte IMG Sports Marketing at UNC Charlotte.

LeadOff Sports Marketing hired Takuya Mihara as director of business development. Mihara was sponsor services director for the Staten Island Yankees.

People news
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Inaugural Illinois Golf Day

The inaugural Illinois Golf Day took place Sept. 13 at the new Ronald McDonald House – Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. From left: Illinois PGA President Casey Brozek, PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Ryder Cup General Chairman Don Larson.

Front Row, Mango take in rugby match

At Aviva Premiership Rugby featuring London Irish vs. Gloucester on Sept. 8 at Madejski Stadium, Reading, U.K. (from left): Mark Wise, Front Row Marketing Services & Analytics director of strategy and insights; Chris Lencheski, Front Row president; Richard Marsh, London Irish Rugby Club commercial director; Rick Gorne, Mango Sports Management president; and Tim Gilbride, Mango director.

Gold medalists join USA Today event

Olympic women’s soccer gold medalist Heather O’Reilly (left) and Olympic swimming gold medalists Missy Franklin (center) and Katie Ledecky (second from right) join USA Today Sports columnist Christine Brennan and USA Today Sports Media Group President Tom Beusse at USA Today’s 30th anniversary gala at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. USA Today also unveiled its redesigned logo and print and digital layouts at the event Sept. 13.
Photo by: USA TODAY

Charlotte groundbreaking

Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf (left) joined Charlotte Knights owner Don Beaver on Sept. 14 for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Knights’ new downtown home, BB&T Ballpark. The Knights are the Class AAA affiliate of the White Sox.

Selig, stars Stand Up

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig (center) at the Stand Up 2 Cancer telethon Sept. 7 with Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet of “Modern Family.” MLB is a partner of the initiative, which raised more than $81 million for cancer research through the telethon.
Photo by: MLB

Executive Women's Day at East Lake

Sept. 18 was Executive Women’s Day at the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. A breakfast panel included former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia CEO Lisa Gersh and Bea Perez, Coca-Cola VP and chief sustainability officer. Among those in the group photo are the Eastlake Foundation Crew Teens (front).

In the house for Giants-Cowboys

At the New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys game Sept. 5 at MetLife Stadium (from left): Fox Business Network senior correspondent Charles Gasparino; Genesco Sports Enterprises CEO John Tatum; Playbook CEO Reed Bergman; PepsiCo Americas Beverages CEO Al Carey; and Fox Sports studio analyst Michael Strahan.

White Sox receive Patterson Award

The Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy was presented to members of the Chicago White Sox organization — Stacy Tsihlopoulos (left), Marty Maloney (second from left), Jerry Reinsdorf (fourth from left), Christine O’Reilly (third from right) and Scott Reifert (right) — at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J., on Sept. 13. Presenting the award were Carlette Patterson (third from left), president of Patterson Sports Ventures, and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Also honored were the Notah Begay III Foundation and the Women’s Sports Foundation.

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Michael Belot

2012 Ryder Cup


Michael Belot doesn’t work in the traditional office setting. His office is a triple-wide trailer in the parking lot at Chicago’s Medinah Country Club, and it’s been that way for the last three years for Belot, the director of this week’s Ryder Cup. “It’s not nearly as bad as it sounds,” Belot, 34, said with a laugh.

Belot joined the PGA of America slightly more than 10 years ago and began working on the PGA Championship and other PGA-run events. After overseeing the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine, he was assigned to the Ryder Cup.

Belot lives in nearby Wheaton, Ill., with his wife and two sons. His time in golf has given him great opportunities, as evidenced by the memorabilia in his office, but he hopes his most extraordinary experience is still to come — this week.

Lorene King was recently named executive director of the NASCAR Foundation. King joins the nonprofit after seven years as senior director of corporate alliances at ALSAC/St. Jude, the fundraising organization of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. She spoke with SportsBusiness Journal staff writer Anna Hrushka.

New title: Executive director, NASCAR Foundation.
Previous title: Senior director of corporate alliances, ALSAC/St. Jude.
First job: Part-time office clerk at a library.
Education: Bachelor of arts in marketing, University of South Alabama; master’s in business administration, University of Memphis; certificate from the American Bar Association, paralegal studies, Louisiana State University.
Resides: Daytona Beach, Fla.
Grew up: DeFuniak Springs, Fla.
Executive most admired: Richard Shadyac Sr., former chief executive officer of ALSAC.
Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii.
Last book read: I’m currently reading “Water for Elephants.”
Last movie seen: “Act of Valor.”
Favorite movie: “Gone With the Wind.”
Favorite musician/band: Josh Turner.

What will be your biggest challenge?
With NASCAR and everyone involved — organizations, owners, teams, drivers and fans — there is a long history of philanthropic support. … My challenge, I believe, will be to learn the many ways that all of these entities work together.

What is the biggest career risk you've taken?
It was a risk and a blessing to shift careers from for-profit to nonprofit. … There’s a strong connection between the success that you have in the for-profit world and the ability to make the shift into nonprofit. In our world of doing good, you have to have the ability to do more with less.

Biggest professional accomplishment?
I had the opportunity to be part of a team that created the very first corporate campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, “Thanks and Giving.” In just eight years, that campaign garnered support from more than 60 national brands and now raises nearly $70 million annually.

Biggest disappointment?
Up to this point, I’ve not had the opportunity to work internationally.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Focus your efforts on what you do best. … It’s almost like the 80/20 rule. A lot of people try to focus on their weaknesses and improve those, but you can achieve more by focusing your attention on your strengths and leveraging the 80 percent that you have in that realm 

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
Right now I’m becoming immersed in NASCAR, so I’m watching the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.