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Volume 20 No. 42

People and Pop Culture

The San Francisco Giants promoted Dick Tidrow to vice president and assistant general manager for player personnel, Bobby Evans to vice president and assistant general manager, John Barr to vice president and assistant general manager for scouting and international operations and Jeremy Shelley to vice president for pro scouting and player evaluation.

The NBA hired Greg Taylor as senior vice president of player development. Taylor was president and chief executive officer for the Foundation for Newark’s Future.

The Atlanta Falcons promoted Nick Polk to director of football operations.

The Tampa Bay Lightning hired Suzy O’Malley as manager of partnership development. O’Malley was vice president of the metro Tampa Bay market for the American Heart Association.


Wasserman Media Group hired Rodrigo Morales as vice president of global media-Latin America. Morales was commercial director for Chivas USA.

Nimbus Sport promoted Sunil Manocha to chief operating officer.

Todd Krumholz launched athlete/celebrity procurement agency JTK Talent. Krumholz was in-house counsel and director of athlete negotiations for Genesco Sports Enterprises.

USA Today hired Jimmy Hascup as a digital producer for sports. Hascup was an online sports producer for the Washington Times.

Multiteam Companies
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment hired Ryan Brach as senior vice president of partnership marketing. Brach was senior vice president of business development and broadcasting for the Portland Timbers.

Andy Hunt stepped down as chief executive of the British Olympic Association.

Football Federation Australia hired Russell Sargeant as Hyundai A-League general manager of operations. Sargeant was senior director of partnership marketing for Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing.

Manchester United promoted Richard Arnold to group managing director.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Easton-Bell Sports named Terry Lee executive chairman and chief executive officer, Tim Mayhew president and chief operating officer and Bernie Doering senior vice president of global sales, IBD and action sports.

Kwik Goal hired Jamie Hartley as territory manager for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Hartley was a co-founder of sales group Hartley-Wohlleber & Associates.

Ticket Evolution hired Greg Doran as president. Doran was chief executive officer for Tipspring.

Ryan O’Hara will step down as president and chief executive officer for The Topps Co. O’Hara will join the company’s board of directors and serve as a strategic adviser.

Executive search consultants Seiden Krieger Associates hired Ted Gregory as executive vice president and head of its sports search practice.

The Association of Surfing Professionals International named Paul Speaker chief executive officer.

Awards and Boards
USA Triathlon named Barrett Brandon, Susan Haag, Jacqueline McCook and Michael Wien 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.

Fox goes upfront with new channel

Fox Sports Media Group delivered the talent for its upfront March 5 in New York City. Front (from left): Mike Pereira, Terry Bradshaw, Jimmy Johnson, Regis Philbin, Curt Menefee, Bill Wanger, David Hill, Toby Byrne, Jay Glazer, Erin Andrews, Darrell Waltrip, Tim McCarver and Chris Meyers. Back (from left): Troy Aikman, Charles Davis, Eddie George, Randy Freer, Howie Long, Michael Waltrip, Eric Shanks, Joey Harrington and Michael Strahan. Below photo, from left: David Hill, Randy Freer and Eric Shanks speak to the audience.

World Baseball Classic rings the bell

MLB celebrated the start of the World Baseball Classic with global sponsor MetLife and WBC MLB Fan Cave dwellers at the New York Stock Exchange’s Opening Bell on Feb. 28. From left: Fan Cavers Yuning (Vivian) Wang and Juan Sarmiento; Greg Bouris, MLBPA communications director; ESPN Deportes analyst Candy Maldonado; Paul Archey, MLB SVP of international business operations; Fan Cavers Kozo (Toshi) Sasa, Kelsey Shea and Julia Bol; MLB Network analyst Al Leiter; MetLife brand ambassador Snoopy; and Fan Caver Daryl Andrews.

NASCAR figures speak at Gannett upfront

USA Today Sports Media Group President Tom Beusse, NASCAR CMO Steve Phelps, USA Today Sports auto racing columnist Nate Ryan and NASCAR driver Brian Vickers led the discussion on making powerful connections with sports fans during the Gannett Co.’s first upfront event March 5 at the AXA Equitable Center in New York City.

Winners at San Diego State

A team of San Diego State graduate students won the SDSU International Sports MBA Case Competition this month, after working on a case centering on the Tijuana Xolos soccer team. They celebrated with SDSU College of Business Dean Michael Cunningham (second from left) and Xolos execs.

Home opener at Home Depot Center

MLS and AEG executives gathered before the Los Angeles Galaxy-Chicago Fire game at Home Depot Center on March 3, the first game of the season for each club. From left: MLS CMO Howard Handler, MLS EVP Dan Courtemanche, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, AEG CEO and President Tim Leiweke and Galaxy President Chris Klein.

IMG signs golfer Shanshan Feng

LPGA golfer Shanshan Feng (front right) signed for representation with IMG, the firm announced March 4. Signing with her is Guy Kinnings, global head of IMG Golf. Back (from left): Will Wei of IMG Golf; Seika Kunitsu, Feng’s personal assistant; and Grant Slack, Nic Hayllar, Jasmine Lim, Rob James and Ruby Chen, all of IMG Golf.

Bruin in the house

Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton (left) dropped by Boston’s Westin Copley Place hotel during Sun Life Financial’s national sales meeting to talk with Sally Bray, head of sponsorships; Mike Shunney, SVP/GM; and regional sales representatives from all over the country.

Galaxy at TWC

Time Warner Cable Sports Regional Networks GM and SVP Mark Shuken (left) and Time Warner Cable Sports, News and Local Programming President David Rone received personalized Los Angeles Galaxy jerseys for Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes during TWC Sports’ Galaxy Open House at their studios in El Segundo, Calif., Feb. 26.

DeVos speaker series

At the University of Central Florida in Orlando on March 1 for the DeVos Distinguished Speaker Series (from left): Scott Bukstein, Richard Lapchick, SportsBusiness Journal/Daily/Global Executive Editor Abe Madkour and Keith Harrison. Lapchick is the Chair of the Sport Business Management Program, assisted by Harrison and Bukstein.

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Bundrant is commercial director for AS Monaco FC, in France’s second division.
Photo by: AS Monaco FC
After five seasons with Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, Bruce Bundrant in November joined AS Monaco FC of the second-division French soccer league Ligue 2 as commercial director.
    Born and raised in Abilene, Texas, the 40-year-old Bundrant got his start in soccer with D.C. United. He progressed over his four years with the MLS club from intern to head of the sponsorship department. He moved on to Liverpool after a stint with GMR Marketing in San Francisco.
    Now, with AS Monaco FC in first place in Ligue 2 more than halfway through the season, promotion to Ligue 1 is very possible. The team is owned by Dmitry Rybolovlev, a 46-year-old Russian mining/fertilizer magnate with an estimated worth of $9 billion. Rybolovlev purchased the club in December 2011 and immediately began buying more accomplished players to help it climb in the standings.
    Bundrant spoke recently by phone with soccer reporter Christopher Botta, from his office in Stade Louis II.

Have you learned French yet?
I’m getting there, very quickly. I take two 90-minute classes each week with the teacher who instructs the youth players at our football academy. A big part of it is immersing myself in the language. At many of the business meetings I’m in, only French is spoken. Social situations — going to dinner, watching matches, watching films — help a lot. Perfect command of French isn’t completely required because so much of my business is international and English is spoken the most, but it is crucial for me to fit in as quickly as I can

Being in the second division this season, what are your biggest business challenges?
As commercial director, my goal is to increase all commercial revenue, whether it be ticketing, hospitality, sponsorship, merchandise and licensing — everything that generates revenue except player transactions. Ticket sales have historically been a challenge in Monaco because the town has a population of just over 36,000. Only 6,000 are locals; the other 30,000 come from other countries.

Where do you expect to succeed?
A sweet spot for us should be sponsorship. Brands want to align themselves with the attributes of Monaco: elegance and luxury and glamour and sunshine and fun. I believe we can attract luxury brands.

Did you take the job at AS Monaco with the expectation the club would be promoted to Ligue 1 in the near future?
There’s always the risk when you take a job with an organization and the team is in rebuilding mode, but I met with Mr. Rybolovlev during the interview process, and he told me about his vision for the club. I took his word that he was going to do everything he could to get us to Ligue 1.

What is the professional and cultural environment like for you in Monaco (nestled off the southeast corner of France)?
The winter in the southeast of France is obviously much nicer than the winters I spent in Liverpool, but the really great thing about Monaco is the opportunities you’re presented with. You can go out to a restaurant or a club and the people you meet are CEOs of businesses and celebrities. In a very small community, there are captains of industry everywhere. When I go to networking events, I always come out of them thinking, “I can’t believe I just met those people.” From a business perspective, this is one of the best places on the planet.


very aspect of our marketing now has a social element by design.
Certainly, that landscape is evolving as we sit here. So the most important thing is to be out there experimenting.

I wouldn’t say that we or anyone are experts yet, but one of the big learnings is that integrating it with content that is developed with social media in mind can be really powerful. That could be a TV spot or whatever, but if you are entertaining or telling consumers something they don’t know, it will be successful across social media. It’s all about engaging people, like any good communication.

Photo by: VISA
It used to be all about having the biggest social media community, but we have learned that the ultimate metric that matters in this space is earned reach. You are looking to extend something beyond a video on Facebook or a single tweet.

Everything is measurable online, so you can zero in on what works. For our NFL campaign this season, we generated in excess of 17 million earned impressions through our social media activities.

Mobile devices or the utility offered by them will become our product very soon, so harnessing them for marketing is absolutely one of our key priorities.

I’ve seen statistics saying that we spend 12 percent of our time looking at our mobile devices, but just 1 percent of ad dollars are going there. So I’ve told my team and agencies that we have to figure out what will be an engaging experience for a consumer on a mobile device and I’m not convinced it’s a tiny banner at the bottom of a small screen.

Like social, you’ve got to experiment, so we have some budget for that and I am forcing some people to test, learn and take some risk there. When you consider what can be done with mobile devices, stuff like streaming video that’s location-enabled, there has got to be 101 great ideas.

So often, your mobile device is something you turn to when you have down time. So if we can create something that fills that down time … it should be a great tool for any marketer.

As the product transitions to virtual, the real estate where consumers see the brand every day is going to get smaller. So it may be more about building brand equity than ever. But it means we have to figure out how to market and service consumers through mobile devices — that becomes paramount.

Visa has had very long-standing relationships with some large properties, so we understand how consumers engage with them and how to leverage that. The continuity we have built through those relationships is something we wouldn’t want to give up. Building properties means you have to start from scratch and it can be difficult.

We have billions of cardholders, and there are very few things that give you that kind of scale, outside of sports. That’s why we have Olympics, FIFA World Cup and NFL in the U.S. You get scale, reach and relevance with sports, and that’s why I don’t see us changing [to big-time entertainment properties] for the foreseeable future.

I like structure and agenda in meetings, but I also see my role as being the person who ensures that everyone speaks and shares their point of view. That convergence of ideas is where something spectacular comes from. If it’s just the usual suspects speaking, you’re probably missing out on something magical.

The best business advice I ever received is to take your time, which is more difficult than ever. Everyone and everything these days is a mad rush. The best thing you can do today is to think about continuity, as opposed to making one sprint after the next.

Technology is pervasive, but it shouldn’t force its way into things like sport. The role it should have is getting fans closer to the game.

It is also allowing us to engage directly with those involved — you can tweet directly to your favorite football star. As a fan, that’s golden.

Mark Verstegen founded Athletes’ Performance in 1999 in Phoenix as a training center for elite athletes. While the business may be best known for training top NFL draft prospects for their performances at the NFL combine and their respective pro days, Athletes’ Performance has expanded in sports as well as in other lines of business. Among those areas are training military special forces and helping corporations keep their employees healthy and happy.

Photo by: JASON WISE

Athletes are not just bigger. You are looking at athletes who are more efficient, leaner, they have more power per pound. They have way less dead weight and they know how to use it. Sport has gone from static and dial-up to high definition, and that is really what you are seeing.

NFL draft training:
Every year, Athletes’ Performance has trained between 60 to 90 players for the NFL draft. … The NFL combine training is always important to us, but it may be more important to others, because it actually [gets] the media attention. But what people don’t realize is not only are we industry-leading in the NFL combine, but the same is true across other sports.

Other growth areas: We support about 20 professional teams globally. Soccer, globally, is one of our biggest accounts.

Working with corporations: We are very involved in supporting the leading global corporations as well and helping to support their human capital, so we are essentially offering the same services: mindset, nutrition and recovery for employees of the leading global corporations. We started that around 2009. Intel is a client of ours.

What people don’t know: A lot of the areas that we have a lot of depth in are areas that we don’t talk a lot about. One is the support of our elite special forces. In the elite-level military, we did significant research there about seven years ago on the idea that the human is more important than the hardware. It is a great honor and responsibility to support our elite special operations groups.

Making sports safer: We are looking at the lifespan of active contact players, like players in the NFL. I have served as the director of performance for the NFL Players Association for the last decade. In this last CBA, we were able to reorganize the offseason training and practice schedule and in-season practice schedule that will save some of these rookies that you are talking about right now anywhere between 50,000 and 75,000 hits to their head in their career.