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Volume 20 No. 42

People and Pop Culture


The Class AAA Pacific Coast League’s Nashville Sounds promoted Jason Franke to assistant general manager of sales and marketing, Drew Himsworth to director of group sales and hospitality, A.J. Rockwell and Kevin Samborski to senior account executives and Brandon
to corporate partnerships and promotions manager, and hired Alex Wassel as media relations manager and Josh Barnes and Justin Webster as account executives.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena promoted Len Komoroski to chief executive officer and Kerry Bubolz to president of business operations.

The independent Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs named Mike Marshall commissioner.

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

The San Diego Padres named Ronda Sedillo senior vice president and chief financial officer. Sedillo was chief accounting officer at Arrowhead General Insurance Agency.

Duke University promoted Joe Manhertz to assistant director of athletics/Iron Dukes major gifts.


The Washington Redskins hired Jane Rodgers to lead the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation. Rodgers was a vice president for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.

The Cleveland Browns named Sashi Brown executive vice president and general counsel. Brown was general counsel for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Sunrise Sports & Entertainment promoted Matthew Rickoff to vice president of partnership marketing for the Florida Panthers and the BB&T Center.

GroupM ESP hired Sarah Ax as an account manager.

Aquarius Sports and Entertainment named Kerri Hadden client services manager, Joe Hendele and Megan Hossler client services coordinators and Curtis Fields to an administrative support role.

Panther Racing and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing named Tino Belli technical director.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway promoted Doug Boles to chief operating officer.


The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games hired Rachel Gary as director of communications.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Paramount Apparel International named Rick Oleksyk president.

Hi-Tec Sports USA named Simon Bonham chief executive, replacing Brad Gebhard.

The U.S. Tennis Association named Jeffrey Harrison chair of its Section Delegates for 2013-14. Harrison is managing partner of Prism Partners.

Awards and Boards
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan was named chairman of the World Golf Foundation board of directors. He succeeds Mike Davis, executive director of the U.S. Golf Association.

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.

It’s been 11 years since Jay Cicero oversaw his last Super Bowl as president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. Eleven years ago, the Super Bowl in New Orleans was the first post-9/11 Super Bowl. This year’s game is New Orleans’ first post-Katrina Super Bowl. Cicero has been with the sports foundation since 1995, and before that between 1990 and 1992. In the interim years, he was general manager of the Class AAA New Orleans Zephyrs. He talks here about plans for this year’s Super Bowl, and why one of the more memorable features from last year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis won’t be seen overhead this week.

Only the Super Bowl gives the opportunity to tell [our] story to the rest of the world.

On the first Super Bowl in NOLA after Katrina: It is absolutely huge for us. Having been involved with the last two New Orleans Super Bowls (1997 and 2002), I can tell you the city and state and our citizens are so excited about this. We may have taken for granted in the past that Super Bowls are coming and they are just part of the business of New Orleans tourism. The Super Bowl has just grown so much in the last 11 years, and we have such a story to tell — and the story is recovery and resiliency.

About the planned Super Bowl Boulevard: It is more of a boardwalk-type event. It has got that type of sense where it is [like] a boardwalk: You are going through, you might see the NFL Network do their show, Roman numerals will be there, go over to a tent to take a picture where Verizon is giving something away for free, go over and get some New Orleans crawfish, etouffee … some incredible music you can’t hear anywhere else — and then you can go to one of the sponsors’ tents next. And it will just be a great place for people to come.

The role of the sports foundation: Our model is a bit different than other cities in that we are the actual managing group. We do the men’s Final Four, women’s Final Four, the New Orleans Bowl. Our model is different from other cities for Super Bowls in that they create host committees and work for four years, and then three months after the Super Bowl, they disband. And for us, we bid out big events as far out as we possibly can, and fill in with quality midsized and smaller events.

On if New Orleans considered a zip line: We have a zip line 365 days a year. It’s called Bourbon Street.

Tupelo-Honey Raycom promoted Jennifer Greechan to executive producer of live sports programming. Greechan worked as a freelancer for three years before joining Tupelo-Honey as supervising producer in August 2011. Greechan has also worked as the programming coordinator for the NFL and as the film and television licensing coordinator for MLB. She spoke with staff writer Anna Hrushka.

Age: 33.
New title: Executive producer of live sports programming, Tupelo-Honey Raycom.
Previous title: Supervising producer, Tupelo-Honey Raycom.
First job: Intern at Merill Lynch.
Education: Bachelor’s in communications, New York University, 2002; Master of arts in media/sports business, New York University, 2004.
Resides: New York.
Grew up: Armonk, N.Y.
Executive most admired: Roger Goodell.
Brand most admired: Apple.
Favorite vacation spot: Aspen, Colo.
Last book read: “Into Thin Air,” by Jon Krakauer.
Favorite movie: “The Notebook.”
Favorite band: U2.

What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
To continue growing the company while maintaining our current client base and ensuring that we are still executing our current events — we do 175-plus events a year — at the highest level possible.

What is the biggest risk you've taken in your career?
Freelancing is definitely a risk, and it was definitely scary for me at first. But it ended up being a really great thing because it allowed me to broaden my horizons and work outside of the world of mainstream sports.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
I was brought into Tupelo-Honey as a freelancer. … So I think being able to parley that into this current role that I’m in now where I’m overseeing all of our live sports business is definitely one of my biggest accomplishments.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?
I’m fascinated by the Olympics. I’m always one of those people that watches every single minute of coverage. I think I’m disappointed that I have yet to work on one. It’s been on my bucket list for a long time.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
I think interning is by far the most important thing you can do. As we all know, the sports industry is very competitive. You really need to get your foot in the door and make sure that you’re unique and you stand out from the crowd.

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
The return of the NHL. How they handle it and what kind of reception the media and the fans will have on their return and if there are going to be any lasting negative effects from the lockout. It was definitely nice to see hockey on television this weekend.


here’s an avalanche of new technology
and new competitors, so the biggest challenge is how a brand can fundamentally center itself and not go astray, simply because there are newfangled ideas.

You see many brands now doing good [with cause-related work], but honestly, if the cause they are involved in is not fundamental to their brand, what good does it do?

Brands are like humans. You can see quickly if somebody or some brand is faking it.

There will be much more competition in electronic payments, but we see ourselves with tremendous strength. We have 1.8 billion cardholders in 200 countries.

We will transfer from plastic to digital eventually, but we are not paranoid about it.

The payment card is not extinct, so while dematerialization will be a fact eventually, it doesn’t matter. It matters that the music is Mozart; it doesn’t matter as much how you are distributing Mozart.
One of the first things I learned at P&G about management is that as an individual, you may have a really difficult moment once or twice a year. When you manage 50 people, you have a difficult moment every week.

You have to focus more on philosophy and go way beyond what is material in any brand or any benefit it provides. The functional piece is important, but you need to go several layers beyond that to find out what matters to consumers.

In an ideal sense, it’s not about brand affinity; it should be about brand love.

You and your favorite sport are like you and your buddy. It is a major passion that we want to be a part of. Usually, we are looking for something that is really meaningful locally or regionally and has a lot of frequency, a daily passion, like the Yankees in New York: strong passions and 81 home games.

We do larger associations … but generally we want [sports] to be local or regional and connect on a daily basis, instead of big events every four years.

I manage very inclusively. I love to think that a team of 10 people can be worth more than 100.

I will admit to being completely and unashamedly biased toward creativity. However, in consumer marketing, creativity that’s not based on insight is meaningless.

I always want to know what our ultimate objective is, instill that in the team and always know where we are on that path.
When you are doing a puzzle, it’s fun to find a piece that fits, but what are you building; what is the vision?

If you want something badly enough and it is fundamental to the brand, just pay the price. What you pay will be multiplied a hundred times, because you will make it flourish.

The worst thing is to piss off your partner by bargaining to death. Afterwards, there will be no creativity.
When I am considering hiring someone, I have one thing in mind. It’s not, “Should that person work for me?” I am thinking about whether that person is such a perfect fit that I would be happy to work for him or her.
We’ve moved from observing “Priceless” moments, like the father-son conversation in the first ad, to enabling “Priceless” experiences. We want to show how MasterCard can add a little bit of “Priceless” in your life.
Our first meeting with The New Yorker magazine, we thought they would open up the doors for us to all these great restaurants and events. Instead, they told us about teaching children how to do cartoons. That has created such incredible memories [through sponsored “Kidtooning” events], because it was something right out of their DNA, I could never have come up with that idea, and it was truly priceless.

The most important lesson from my time at P&G was to know exactly what you are shooting at and fire. They are extremely precise and driven to results. Understand what you’re doing at the end and focus on larger issues.

I get 99 percent of my ideas from just listening.