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Volume 21 No. 1

People and Pop Culture

The New York Mets hired Mark Fine as senior director of marketing. Fine was vice president of live event marketing for the Harlem Globetrotters.

The Arizona Diamondbacks promoted Karina Bohn to vice president of marketing, Josh Simon to ticket operations director, Jamie Gostyla to season-ticket services manager, Brandon Buser to senior CRM analyst and Brendan Domaracki to assistant director of scouting.

The San Diego Padres promoted Tyler Epp to senior vice president of business development, Jarrod Dillon to vice president of corporate partnerships and Jeremy Walls to vice president of ticket sales, service and operations.

The Class AAA International League’s Charlotte Knights named Sean Owens ticket sales and hospitality director, Margie Burleson special events/sales executive, Mark Krizanik account executive and Audrey Stanek sponsorship services manager.

Bradley University promoted Heidi Wegmueller to associate athletic director of external affairs and Beth Dean to director of ticketing and apparel.

California State University, Bakersfield, hired Lisa Ravotti as director of ticket sales.

Oral Roberts University hired Jon Klein as director of ticket sales.

Siena College hired Joseph LaVare as director of ticket sales.

St. Mary’s University hired Elizabeth Dalton as athletic director, effective Feb. 11. Dalton is deputy athletic director and senior woman administrator at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Texas A&M University-Commerce hired Ryan Ivey as athletic director. Ivey was associate athletic director at McNeese State University.

Jacksonville University hired Rob Bogardus as associate athletic director for external operations and Todd Vatter as director of athletic media relations. Bogardus was assistant athletic director for external operations at Bradley University, and Vatter was director of athletic communications at Kent State University.

Eastern Tennessee State University Athletic Director Dave Mullins will retire June 30 and become a special assistant to the president for athletics.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga hired Rachel Blunt as director of compliance. Blunt was compliance assistant at Southeast Missouri State University.

Penn State University-Abington named Shawne McCoy athletic recreation director. McCoy was assistant athletic director at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Sonoma Raceway named Gary Phillips vice president of marketing.

VenuWorks hired Curtis Webb as executive director for the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn., and Michael Silva as general manager for the Convocation Center at California University of Pennsylvania. Webb was general manager for the Ralston Arena in Ralston, Neb., and Silva was general manager for the Cambria County (Pa.) War Memorial.

The Indianapolis Colts named Jimmy Raye vice president of football operations. Raye was player personnel director of the San Diego Chargers.

The Carolina Panthers hired Dave Gettleman as general manager. Gettleman was senior pro personnel analyst for the New York Giants.

The San Diego Chargers hired Tom Telesco as general manager. Telesco was vice president of football operations for the Indianapolis Colts.

Billy Casper Golf named Frank Denniston vice president of food and beverage and national partnerships.

Collegiate Consulting promoted Heather Ould to chief operations officer and hired Jason Lai as vice president of ticket sales and services and Megan Graves as client services coordinator.

Tupelo-Honey Raycom promoted Jennifer Greechan to executive producer of all live sports programming.

BermanBraun hired Jeff Berman as president. Berman was general manager of digital media for the NFL.

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment hired Bruce Gilbert as senior vice president of sports operations. Gilbert was vice president of news, talk and sports programming for CBS Radio Dallas.

Ustream hired Joellen Ferrer as director of communications. Ferrer was head of U.S. communications for StubHub.

Sports USA Media hired Bob Moore as president.

Fox Sports Networks named Francois McGillicuddy senior vice president and general manager of Fox Sports Ohio. McGillicuddy was vice president of finance and business operations for Speed.

Tim Griggs left his position as general manager and senior vice president of Root Sports in Denver.

Canadian Paralympic Committee Chief Executive Officer and Director General Henry Storgaard stepped down.

Olympic Committee of Israel President Zvi Varshaviak will step down effective in February.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Prince Global Sports hired Miguel Rosa as business development manager for Latin America. Rosa was with the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy.

Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards

The San Diego Sports Commission hired Kyle Jones as sales manager. Jones was senior sales manager at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley.

The Women’s Tennis Association promoted Matthew Cenedella to chief operating officer, Ashley Keber to vice president of player relations and player development, Emily Wright to senior director of sponsorship marketing, Melissa Pine to director of WTA Events and Eva Scheumann to manager of sports sciences and medicine operations.

The ATP Tour promoted Jeff Reel to general counsel.

Bridgestone Americas executive director of motorsports Al Speyer will retire after 38 years with Bridgestone and Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.

DEI Holdings hired Blair Tripodi as chief marketing officer of its Polk, Definitive Technology, and BOOM Movement business units. Tripodi was managing director of Under Armour Europe.

England Rugby 2015 named Joanna Manning-Cooper communications and marketing director. Manning-Cooper was head of public relations and media for LOCOG.

American Gaming Association President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Fahrenkopf will step down from his position, effective June 30.

FanVision promoted Tasso Koken to chief executive officer.

The Upper Deck Co. named Jason Masherah president, after the death of co-founder and Chairman Richard McWilliam.

Awards and Boards
Coverity named Fred Gerson, San Diego Padres executive vice president and chief financial officer, to its board of directors as chairman of the board’s audit committee.

The Orange Bowl named Sunrise Sports & Entertainment President Michael Yormark a member of the Orange Bowl Committee.

Sports Car Club of America named Lisa Noble board chairman, Dick Patullo vice chairman, Todd Butler secretary, Michael Lewis treasurer, John Walsh assistant treasurer and Jerry Wannarka as the fifth member of the executive committee.

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.

Football royalty at the Sugar Bowl

At the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 2 (from left): College Football Hall of Fame inductees John Wooten (Colorado), Emmitt Smith (Florida and a member of the 2006 class), Otis Armstrong (Purdue), Scott Thomas (Air Force), and foundation President and CEO Steve Hatchell.

Ready for the Oreo flip

At midfield for the coin flip at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29 were Sen. John McCain (center) and Stephen Chriss (right), senior director at Mondelez International, formerly Kraft Foods North America. They flipped a specially designed Oreo before the game, which pitted Navy and Arizona State at AT&T Park.

Suite mates for BCS title game

In the IMG College suite at the BCS national championship game (from left): Tom Lamb, Lowe’s CMO; Alan Pinkett, Notre Dame IMG Radio Network; Eric Wiseman, VF Corp. chairman, president and CEO; Andy England, MillerCoors CMO; Dr. Joseph Zuhosky; Ben Sutton, IMG College president; Don Criqui, Notre Dame IMG Radio Network; and Scott Baxter, VF Imagewear activewear division president.

Connecting at AT&T Cotton Bowl

AT&T Cotton Bowl Chairman Tommy Bain (left) and President and CEO Rick Baker (right) speak to referee Tom Zimorski on the field at the game Jan. 4 in Arlington, Texas.

Grand opening for NASCAR center  

NASCAR and HP unveiled the new NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center presented by HP at NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte on Jan. 14. From left: Brett Jewkes, NASCAR VP and chief communications officer; Charles Salameh, HP Enterprise Services VP and GM of communications; Stephen DeWitt, HP SVP of enterprise; Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO; and Steve Phelps, NASCAR SVP and CMO.

Flyers deliver good news

Comcast-Spectacor President and COO Peter Luukko (second from right) shares news of the return of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey season during a Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey luncheon with (from left) Richard Miller, president and CEO of health care system Virtua; Robert Segin, Virtua EVP; and Debra DiLorenzo, Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.

Networking in Charlotte

Colin Smith, managing director of NASCAR Digital, was the featured speaker at GMR Networking Breakfast in Charlotte on Jan. 9. With him is Sarah Davis, GMR Marketing VP of client management.


Above, at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month (from left): Chris Lencheski, Front Row Marketing Services president; Academy Award-winning producer Jon Landau; and Pete Kranik, founder and CEO of the CMO Club.

Below, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (left) and Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO, talk during a keynote address at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 8.


Scouts Foundation gala scores again

The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation held its 10th annual “In the Spirit of the Game” gala Jan. 12 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Above from left: Foundation President Dennis Gilbert; former Fox Sports executive Ed Goren; Los Angeles Dodgers scout Brian Stephenson; Cindi Gilbert, Dennis’ wife; and Dodgers hall of famer and special adviser to the chairman Tommy Lasorda.

Below: Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts presents the Scout’s Dream Award to Cubs pitching great Ferguson Jenkins during the ceremony.
Photos by: JON SOOHOO

Play that funky music, Hot Stove

At the Hot Stove Cool Music concert at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Jan. 12, benefiting the Foundation to be Named Later (from left): Foundation co-founder Paul Epstein, actor and comedian Mike O’Malley, baseball journalist Peter Gammons, musician Tanya Donelly, and foundation co-founder and Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein.

CBS' multiplatform Super Bowl team

CBS held its Super Bowl XLVII Media Day on Jan. 7 at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York. Front (from left): Bill Cowher, Aisha Tyler, Scott Pelley, Leslie Moonves, Sean McManus, James Brown and Charlie Rose. Back: Kevin Frazier, Dana Jacobson, Brandon Tierney, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tiki Barber, Julie Chen, Greg Gumbel and Jim Rome.

Selig salutes Beeston

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig (left) presented the Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence to the Toronto Blue Jays on Jan. 10 at the baseball owners meetings in Paradise Valley, Ariz. Club President and CEO Paul Beeston accepted the award.

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.

Rob Simmelkjaer is a unique sports business executive who stays behind the scenes and cuts deals for NBC Sports Group while also being out in front and hosting television and radio shows for the company. Simmelkjaer joined NBC Sports Group as senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures in the fall of 2011 after a 10-year stint at ESPN. He oversees NBC Sports’ radio, action sports and international investments.

Photo by: NBC SPORTS
Social media is really not that complicated. It’s a new way for people to do what they’ve been doing since we lived in caves, which is sit around and talk to each other. Now we have the opportunity to have instantaneous conversations with an incredibly broad and wide set of people all around the world.

On radio in 2013?:
We don’t think of it as radio in the traditional sense. We think of it as audio entertainment. It is an opportunity to reach fans when their eyes are otherwise occupied: They’re at work, driving, walking down the street. We’re planning to roll out later this year an extensive digital platform. The network is already being streamed online. We also will be rolling out an app and on-demand audio content. This is a digital play as much as it’s a terrestrial radio play.

On standing out in sports media: Three things — live events, news and information, and storytelling — are going to be what draw large audiences to every platform. Events clearly are a difference maker and will bring large and diverse audiences to our networks week in and week out. Secondly, news and information is crucial. Third is storytelling, which is a huge part of what brings people to sports media. Look at the Olympics. NBC has created a way of presenting the Olympics that is driven by storytelling.

On covering league partners: Leagues have understood the fact that their partners have a duty to their viewers and to the journalists in their organizations to tell stories as they see them — to engage in legitimate journalism. There’s no question in my mind that you can do both of those things at one time. ESPN has had a long track record of storytelling and hard-hitting journalism. NBC has done the same.

On industry trends: I’m watching the continued diversification of the audience that we see for sports entertainment in the United States. This is a country that’s becoming more and more diverse, which is going to have real ramifications for live event rights.

On being on-air: I love doing business deals as a lawyer. [But] being on the air and being a part of the storytelling and the creativity of the people I get to work with on that side of the business … is hugely satisfying to me.

Jef Schmidt has spent a career in beer marketing, working 22 years at Anheuser-Busch followed by a stint with Pabst. He’s now handling the MillerCoors account for GMR Marketing.

Age: 51.
New title: Vice president of client management, GMR Marketing.
Previous title: Brand manager, Pabst Brewing Co.
First job: Media buyer, D’Arcy MacManus Masius Worldwide, St. Louis.
Education: MBA, Keller Graduate School of Management, 2001; B.A., St. Louis University, 1983.
Resides: Kildeer, Ill., with wife Valorie, son Maximilian and daughters Sophia and Hannah.
Executive most admired: Richard Branson.
Last book read: “Who I Am: A Memoir,” by Pete Townshend.
Favorite movie: “Slap Shot.”
Favorite bands: Thin Lizzy, Kiss, The Gaslight Anthem, The Who, Foo Fighters, Cheap Trick, The Clash. (It’s impossible not to mention at least 7 favorites!).

What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
Developing a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the taste profiles of ALL the MillerCoors brands. A daunting challenge but one that I will definitely work my way through!

What is the biggest risk you've taken in your career?
Leaving Anheuser-Busch Inc. after almost 22 years to start Black Rose Consulting Group, my marketing consulting firm.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Being able to work in the marketing/advertising business my entire career. I knew that I wanted to be in marketing since I was in the sixth grade when I had the opportunity to “help” create newspaper ads for my mother’s retail stores in Alton, Ill.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?
Not being drafted to play for the St. Louis Blues.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Network, network, network! Meet and interact with as many people as possible within your chosen area of concentration, even if those people are not who you are targeting to work for.

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
How the NHL fares after the lockout and whether or not it impacts attendance, ratings and fan interest.

What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
Player salaries. I would love to see players responsible for performance-based pay and incentives. It’s not fair to fans to only compete in a contract year.


What I Like …

Trager’s Jacksonville-based company powers the e-commerce sites of MLB, NASCAR, the NBA, the NHL, the NFL and others.
An insight: “If you are going to fail, fail fast.”
An influential person in my career: Ken Schwaber, a software developer and consultant. He taught me that it’s OK not to have everything planned; organization and prioritization are more important.
An out-of-the-box idea: Letting your employees take company time for independent thought and work. A great way to empower your workforce.
Chief Operating Officer,
Fanatics Inc.

Where I'm from: Jacksonville, Fla.

Where I Went to School: University of Florida.

My First Job: I sold insurance.

A timeless idea: The Golden Rule, which in business would equate to treating people the way you would want to be treated. A fundamental thing that gets lost.

A business deal: Nike returning as the NFL’s on-field licensee. It was good for the fans and both brands.

A sports event: I’ve been going to Gator games since I was a little kid, so Florida-Georgia is always a highlight for me.

A strategy: Get there as quickly as possible and then adapt quickly as times change.

A hire: I like to hire people that are better than me in at least one thing.

A brand: Colleges themselves. They mean more than just sports.

A trend: Digital media and online retail making it so displaced fans aren’t really displaced anymore.

Favorite team as a fan: Other than my Gators, either the Atlanta Braves or the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Favorite team from a management/marketing perspective: You have to respect what Robert Kraft has done with the Patriots.

An innovation: New and better fabrications from athletic-apparel manufacturers over the past decade.

A sports facility: When I take my own fandom out of it, probably Fenway Park. There’s just something about the ambiance there.

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: I am an operations and warehouse guy, so Amazon bought this company called Kiva Systems, where the racks move to the people in the warehouse instead of vice versa. A simple solution to a warehouse problem that had been around forever.

A fantasy job: If I couldn’t do what I was doing today, I would probably want to teach business.

What I Like about …

My job: Building team and motivating people. There’s a lot of rewarding moments when I read customer appreciation letters.

Sports: Like business: team play, sacrificing for a common goal, and ultimately succeeding because you worked together.

Sports media: It has never been more available or more customizable.

Sports technology: Technology has really enabled a business like ours to focus on consumers in a way that wasn’t possible 10 years ago. We can engage sports fans in a way that didn’t used to be possible.

What I’d Like To …

See more of in sports business: More focus on the long term. It seems everyone is focused in maximizing dollars for today. In sports, that could crowd out the younger generation. So I’d like to see more value pricing for the non-wealthy fans.

See different: Eliminate: Cheating, like the Lance Armstrong thing, comes to mind. You want a level playing field and when it is not, no one should be happy.


What I Like …

That would surprise those who know me: I coach soccer for 7-year-old girls, including mine. I am no soccer guy, but it is amazing how much growth you can see on the field.

Favorite memento: I have a painting from the 1986 Florida-Georgia game hanging on the wall of my office.

Favorite sports T-shirt: I have a Jacksonville Jaguars AFC Champions T-shirt I wear all the time, which is great, since they haven’t won an AFC Championship.

Heroes: My uncle, Alan Trager, who’s our CEO. He taught me to think big picture, not to sweat the small stuff, and to build for the long term.

Book: “The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization.” by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.

iPad app: Yahoo’s fantasy football app.

Trips: Italy was probably my favorite trip of all time.

Movies: I am a “Star Wars” buff.

TV: I am not a crazy right-wing lunatic, but I like watching Bill O’Reilly. I TiVo it every night.

Concerts: I just saw Train, but my tastes are all over the place.

Food: I am a sucker for dessert. A cookie brownie pie mixture with some ice cream makes me happy.

Drink: The mango iced tea at Chili’s.

Vacation spots: The Bahamas. Atlantis is really easy for us to get to.

Quotation: “A man is going to be about as happy as he puts his mind to be.” There’s a guy in India with a dirt floor who’s happy and a guy in New York City with a mansion who’s miserable.