Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 1

People and Pop Culture

The Class AAA International League’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders promoted William Steiner to director of game-day operations and hired John Sadak as director of media relations and broadcasting, Cameron Wengrzyn as director of fan experience, Lindsey Graham as corporate services manager, Bryant Guilmette as ticket operations assistant and Andrew Kappes as media relations/broadcasting assistant.

The Los Angeles Sparks hired Stacey Mitch as director of communications. Mitch was director of communications for Spurs Sports & Entertainment.

The College of Charleston hired Shawn Bailey as assistant director of operations. Bailey was assistant director of baseball operations at Clemson University.

Arkansas State University promoted Doug Doggett to associate athletic director for corporate sales.

Penn State University named Dave Joyner athletic director for the remainder of President Rodney Erickson’s term in 2014.

The Cleveland Browns named Michael Lombardi vice president of player personnel.

The San Diego Chargers promoted John Spanos to executive vice president of football operations.

The PGA of America named Michael O’Donnell senior director of Golf 2.0 and player development and Mike Quirk senior director of merchandising.

LeClairRyan added Alfred “Chip” Sloan to its Sports Industry and Corporate Services Practice Area teams.


The Specialized Marketing Group Inc. promoted Scott Peterson to account director for motorsports.

Octagon promoted Brianne Ehrenkranz, Kyle Johnson, Lisa Ste. Marie, Jeff Meeson and Matt Murphy to group director, Adam Alterman, Sarah Bundy, Lindsay Curtis, Kate Jelus and Josh Green to account director, Chad Glidewell, Bill Havranek, Matt John and Justin Scheu to account manager, Connor Ginsberg, Joe Mason and Jen Tierney to senior account executive and Erica Arden to human resources assistant.

Learfield Sports promoted Pat Fagan and Chuck Schroeder to vice president. Fagan was general manager for Penn State Sports Properties, and Schroeder was general manager for Hawkeye Sports Properties at the University of Iowa.

Los Angeles-based KLAA-AM named Bob Agnew program director.


Sonoma Raceway promoted Michael Re to senior director of ticketing.

Green Savoree Racing Promotions promoted Terry Angstadt to president, Mike Morrisey to executive vice president and chief financial officer, Charlie Johnstone to president of Honda Indy Toronto, Tim Ramsberger to president of Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and Jeff Atkinson to vice president of sales and marketing at Honda Indy Toronto.

Awards and Boards
IPC Sports Corp. named Jack Smith to its board of directors. Smith is the founder of Sports Authority.

Online network security company Fortinet named San Francisco Giants Chair Emeritus Bill Neukom to its board of directors.

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.

U of P wins D-backs' Gold Glove

University of Phoenix was awarded the Most Valuable Partner Award — Gold Glove at the second annual D-backs Most Valuable Partner Awards on Jan. 17 at Gila River Wild Horse Pass Casino and Hotel in Phoenix. From left: Steve Mullins, Arizona Diamondbacks vice president of corporate partnerships; Rob Jennings and Hillery Jennings, University of Phoenix; Derrick Hall, Diamondbacks president and CEO; Bill Pepicello, University of Phoenix president; Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt; Nina Munson, Arra Yerganian and Kesa Zagar, University of Phoenix; Tiffanie Tallman, Diamondbacks corporate partnerships; David Fitzgerald, University of Phoenix; and Diamondbacks Executive Vice President Cullen Maxey.

Athletes on stage for Clinton speech

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke at the Clinton Foundation Health Matters Conference last month in Palm Springs, Calif. Joining Clinton in the closing session was Wasserman Foundation Chairman Casey Wasserman and (from left) U.S. Olympic medalists Rebecca Soni, Jen Kessy, April Ross and Kristin Armstrong Savola.

Real Salt Lake executive honored

Real Salt Lake President Bill Manning (right) was presented with the Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year award at the MLS SuperDraft in Indianapolis Jan. 17. He was presented the award by MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
Photos by: MLS

Rays greet their sponsors

At the Tampa Bay Rays annual Sponsor Summit last month, Rays players mingled with corporate sponsors. From left: Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings; Bart Catmull, Sagicor COO/CFO; pitcher Jake McGee; pitcher Matt Moore; and James Burke, Sagicor vice president of corporate communications.

 Garden of Dreams event

The Garden of Dreams Foundation hosted an event at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 22 to launch  the sale of six one-of-a-kind, signed canvases, which are being auctioned on From left: Hank Ratner, president and CEO of the Madison Square Garden Co. and chairman of the board, Garden of Dreams Foundation; Oscar, a young child from Garden of Dreams; and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Singapore Sports Hub update

Gathering in Singapore for pre-opening meetings and construction update of Singapore Sports Hub is (from left): Mich Sauers, senior vice president of business development, Comcast-Spectacor; Mark Collins, managing director, Global Spectrum Asia; Fred Maglione, president, New Era Tickets; and John Page, Global Spectrum COO.

Reebok digs Spartan Race

Reebok and Spartan Race announced a multiyear partnership that includes title sponsorship of the global race series and the official apparel, footwear and accessories supplier for the Reebok Spartan Race series. The partnership was launched Jan. 17 at The Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge. From left: Spartan Race co-founder Joe De Sena; Tiki Barber, former New York Giants running back and Spartan Race participant; Yan Martin, head of global brand marketing, Reebok; Brooklyn Decker, actress and Spartan Race participant; and Chad Wittman, director of sports marketing fitness and training, Reebok.
Photo by: REEBOK

Global sports program at Georgetown

Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business held its new Executive Certificate course, The Global Business of Sports, Jan. 22-24. Surrounded by program attendees at Verizon Center are Monumental Sports & Entertainment owner Ted Leonsis (red tie); and Rita Benson LeBlanc, owner and vice chairman of the New Orleans Saints (on Leonsis’ right).

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.

While preparing for his assignment on a TBS broadcast during the MLB postseason last year, Cal Ripken Jr. got to the ballpark early to watch Robinson Cano of the Yankees go through a hitting drill he’d heard about but never seen. On that afternoon, Ripken realized what it was that he missed most about the big leagues. He speaks here about his debut in the broadcast booth last year, about the business he has built since retiring, and about what might come next.


What you know is what you spent your life learning, which for me is baseball at the highest level.

On what he discovered as a member of the TBS crew:
I didn’t [miss it] these 12 years since I’ve been out, I think because I didn’t have a purpose or reason to be at the ballpark. Now you’re part of the broadcast team and you’re playing a role in the event. Now it’s purposeful again. All that stuff you do and you talk about before the game is relevant and matters again. You’re trying to figure stuff out, trying to use your intellect in ways you did as a player. I enjoyed that.

On what roles might appeal to him: Is there a job that would get me going again? That’s how I look at it. There’s no specific job. It’s not that I want to be a manager or general manager. From a distance, I love what Nolan Ryan is doing. He has a great, broad understanding of baseball, and in his position he has a chance to apply that, from the minor league developmental system all the way through. That appeals to me.

What about manager?: I was asking Donnie Mattingly about it. He said, “Managing is a lot like being a player. You can really impact the day-to-day stuff.” That started making me think of it differently than I had, but I have no set plan.

What’s next for Ripken Baseball?: We’ve built a couple of models that have proven to be successful and we’re going to now look at applying those models in other parts of the country. … The first vision was all about using your influence with kids and helping give them an experience, both in tournaments and in passing along and teaching the game. That quickly turned into minor league baseball, because Aberdeen (Md.) was looking for a minor league team. Then I took over the stadium; that wasn’t my vision or my plan.  … [Now] after 10 or 12 years, we’re taking stock. We want to do more kids initiatives. We want to grow and produce our kids Myrtle Beach (S.C.) complex or our Aberdeen model in other parts of the country. That’s the focus of what we’re getting into. We don’t see ourselves expanding to operate 20 minor league teams.

The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games recently named Rachel Gary director of communications. Before joining the Special Olympics, Gary spent three years as a public relations consultant for various companies, including the Women’s Sports Foundation, Sports Management Resources and Test Football Academy’s 2012 NFL Combine Training. She spoke with staff writer Anna Hrushka.

Age: 41.
New title: Director of communications, 2014 Special Olympics USA Games.
Previous title: Public relations consultant; formerly senior public relations officer, United Football League.
First job: Cashier at Herman’s World of Sporting Goods.
Education: Bachelor of science, radio and television, Ithaca College (1993).
Resides: Springfield, N.J.
Grew up: Hamden, Conn.
Executive most admired: Donna Lopiano.
Brand most admired: Under Armour.
Last book read: “Sports Illustrated: Going Deep: 20 Classic Sports Stories,” by Gary Smith.
Last movie seen: “Rudy.” (“Over the holidays, I introduced my sons [9 and 11] to the movie. ... It’s a great movie for young athletes.”)
Favorite movie: “The Outsiders” and “Good Will Hunting.”

What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
Expanding the network of people who are already supporters of Special Olympics and showcasing our athletes’ abilities on a national scope. To do this and be successful, we need to work with a variety of media and corporate partners to help spread the message. It’s a really great time for Special Olympics right now. Our athletes are currently competing in South Korea. We have the 2014 USA Games in New Jersey, which is what I’m directly involved with, and the 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

What is the biggest risk you've taken in your career?
I would say taking time off to have children, but one that I would do again in a heartbeat. I never intended to be a stay-at-home mom. I always thought I would work all the way through, but it was the best decision for me and my family. I spent invaluable time with my two sons.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
I’m not sure that I have one quintessential moment, but more all the little accomplishments that I thought might never happen. The front-page story for a client that you worked really hard to get, helping a charity achieve its financial goals through your marketing efforts or advocacy work that helped to change legislation so that more people could participate in sports; all of those little moments are what make me excited to get up every morning and go to work.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Become involved in as many areas of the industry as you can, whether it’s public relations, social media, marketing, finance, operations, whatever it is. Because when you start to really specialize in one area, you’re going to touch upon all the other areas and you’ll have a greater understanding of each other’s needs. And network, network, network.

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
How to enhance the overall at-home spectator experience while simultaneously making people want to come to live events. I was just reading about how they are experimenting putting down the first-down line in-stadium because people love seeing it at home.

At the Sundance Film Festival, crisp corporate representation meets humble, independent spirit. The ambassadors of this event are the filmmakers, representing a spectrum of experience from seasoned veterans to rookies. And like an all-star game, when they convene here, there is a great, intangible magic in their ability to tell vivid stories through their films.
      The power of storytelling is tremendous in this mountain environment, and this festival of film brings more than 60,000 fans and industry folks to Park City, Utah, to experience it — together — for 10 days.
      “Storytellers broaden our minds: engage, provoke, inspire and, ultimately, connect us,” goes the quotation from Robert Redford, president and founder of the Sundance Institute, which puts on the festival.
      All film genres are invited to submit their works for the selection process. Among the 119 films at this year’s festival, Jan. 17-27, the two sports documentaries are solid standouts.


“Linsanity” didn’t know it had a star when filming began.

The movie follows Jeremy Lin’s sudden rise to superstardom in the NBA, and the “Linsanity” phase, in which Lin filled “SportsCenter” segments and Sports Illustrated covers after becoming the New York Knicks’ point guard last season, provides the unlikely ending to director Evan Jackson Leong’s three-year documentation process.

When Leong introduced the world premiere during the opening weekend of Sundance, he noted that Lin was playing in the D-League a year ago. Now Lin, who has since moved from the Knicks to the Houston Rockets, is beloved on the court and in his various communities, from family and friends to his fans who follow him via social media. His newfound stardom is fueled by his family and strong-willed upbringing, which keeps him moving forward, as well as by his treasured “Lion King” blanket.

A powerful quote from Lin opens the film: “I know God orchestrated this whole thing. The way it happened is miraculous.” And throughout the film you learn the devout practices of Lin and how religion shapes his life, along with the Asian-American community, music lessons and basketball.

His close family plays a huge role in how he developed his teamwork skills. After school each day, Jeremy and his two brothers would help one another finish their homework so they could all play basketball together outside in Palo Alto, Calif. Working hard is a family trait that is now refreshed every summer when they travel to Taiwan, birthplace of their parents, to see relatives but also to experience a culture that is appreciative of what they have, and proud.

From left: producer Allen Lu, director Evan Jackson Leong and producers Christopher Chen and Brian Yang.
Lin attributes experiences like these to a successful “personal progression plan,” an outline of his career goals, since his progress from Palo Alto High School to Harvard University to the NBA is the perfect representation of his tenacious fight to get on a team.

Lin will have some ribbing from friends and teammates about his “Lion King” blanket and his $10 zen-like water fountain. Both play a role in endearing scenes captured by Leong.

“This is a documentarian’s dream,” Leong said. “I have done a couple of documentaries, and things like this don’t happen, moments like these don’t happen. Stories like this don’t happen. You can’t script something like this.”

The film had not been picked up for distribution as of the end of the festival, but it is continuing to raise funds via Kickstarter.

■  ■  ■


For director Lucy Walker, “The Crash Reel” is rooted in a previous trip to the festival, for the premiere of her documentary “Wasteland” in 2010. It was then that she saw the communitywide support for champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who a few weeks earlier had suffered a traumatic brain injury after crashing on the halfpipe at nearby Park City Mountain Resort while in training for the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

Walker’s interest in learning about the story behind the “I Ride for Kevin” stickers and T-shirts that she saw was the first step toward connecting with Pearce and his close-knit family, and eventually making Pearce her next subject.

“This is a really emotional, compelling narrative journey that you take with Kevin, his family, his friends and the whole snowboarding and skiing world,” Walker said on the red carpet. “We set out to tell this incredible story to involve the audience and to make the audience really experience what life is like to be in the shoes of a top action sports star.”

Walker and her team reviewed more than 200 film sources to marry the best footage to tell Pearce’s story. The documentary follows Pearce from infancy to his professional career and through his recovery, which continues today.

Director Lucy Walker and friends from the Frends snowboarding crew support Kevin Pearce on the red carpet.
The film opens with Pearce, at the top of his sport, snowboarding with his Frends crew. For the premiere, they flew in from their X Games Aspen training to support Pearce, along with his entire family and even some of his doctors. With so many of Pearce’s family and supporters on hand, a strong emotional current ran through the theater.

Amazing footage shows the energy spent on landing insanely difficult tricks. This energy dramatically shifts into saving Pearce’s life, starting with a helicopter ride to the hospital.

A sweet, scene-stealer is Kevin’s older brother, David, who has Down syndrome, and valiantly shows love for his brother but no love for Kevin’s desire to get back on the snowboard.

Whether or not you are a winter sports fan, watch HBO this summer to catch the television premiere of this fantastic documentary.

Molly Mazzolini has been attending Sundance Film Festivals since she moved to Salt Lake City in 1998. She is a partner at Infinite Scale, official provider of the look of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.