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Volume 20 No. 42
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Six-week series to tell Champions’ stories

In a change since we’ve introduced the program in 2010, this year we are profiling our “Champions: Pioneers of Sports Business” in six separate issues, beginning next week with a look at the career of Ron Shapiro. The main reason for this is to allow readers to spend more time with each of these profiles. Previously, we featured all six extensive stories in the same issue, and our concern became that they were getting lost: overwhelming readers and preventing them from being able to learn about each honoree’s accomplishments.

I believe the stories about the lives and careers of these individuals represent some of the finest pieces we feature all year. They are consistently among the stories I receive the most feedback on — from fellow colleagues who have worked with these people to young students in college looking to start a career in sports business. These are the stories we invest the most time and energy on, and we felt, at the end of the day, the presentation was short-changing the subjects, our staff and, most importantly, our readers. We can never do enough storytelling on interesting people, so we decided this year to run six extensive profiles over six successive weeks.

We will start next week when Bill King takes you into the home of Shapiro, a longtime agent and business leader, as King was able to spend time with Ron and his wife, Cathi, at their farm in Butler, Md., followed by a day in Baltimore talking to those who know him best. The following week, John Lombardo will chronicle the career of NBA team pioneer Pat Williams, as Lombardo spent time with Williams inside the Chairman’s Club at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando. True to his promotional nature, Williams did not come empty-handed, as the prolific executive-turned-author brought a stack of his latest books to the interview.

Our series of profiles concludes with Tripp Mickle’s look at the diverse career of Harvey Schiller in the issue of March 11. See table at right for the full schedule:

The reason we started this program was to provide long-overdue recognition of the trailblazers of the sports industry, because without their ideas, the chances they took, and the entrepreneurial spirit they displayed, there may not even be a need for publications like SportsBusiness Journal/Daily. By profiling each of these Champions individually, we hope all of our readers will benefit from being able to spend more time learning about these people and realizing their full influence and impact.

Abraham D. Madkour can be reached at