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Volume 21 No. 1

Forty Under 40



Renie Anderson, NFL
Christopher Brumm, MLB
Woodie Dixon, Pac-12 Conference
Matt Kamienski, PGA Tour
Hans Schroeder, NFL
Dan Spillane, NBA


Nick Arison, Miami Heat / AmericanAirlines Arena
Robb Heineman, Sporting Club
Sam Kennedy, Boston Red Sox / Fenway Sports Management
Merritt Paulson, Portland Timbers
Brent Stehlik, Cleveland Browns
Alex Sugarman, Chicago Cubs
Jed York, San Francisco 49ers



Alex Kaplan, DirecTV
Craig Karmazin, Good Karma Broadcasting
Mike McCarley, NBC Golf Media
John Papa, ESPN
Lisa Valentino, ESPN


Jay Adya, Evolution Media Capital
Ray Elias, StubHub
Karen Hoffman Lent, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Scott Milleisen, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Carl Mittleman, Aramark Sports and Entertainment
Mike Ondrejko, Legends Sales and Marketing
Martha Saucedo, AEG
Brent Trager, Fanatics Inc.



Rob Candelino, Unilever
Alexander Chang, American Express Co.
Amy Gleeson, Visa Inc.
Chris Grancio, Adidas
Dan Keats, Allstate Insurance Co.
Brett O’Brien, Gatorade


Derek Aframe, Octagon Worldwide
Steve Dupee, GMR Marketing
Greg Luckman, CAA Sports
Doug Manning, CSE
Drew Russell, Intersport
Bryce Townsend, GroupM Entertainment & Sports Partnerships
Lenah Ueltzen, Wasserman Media Group
Justin Zambuto, IMG Consulting



VOICES FROM THE PAST: Memories, advice from past Forty Under 40 honorees

More than a decade ago, eight NFL owners also owned Arena Football League teams. Nowadays, there’s little connecting the top indoor and outdoor football circuits. Renie Anderson may be the last link.

On her first day as assistant to former AFL Commissioner David Baker in 1998, Anderson was handed a list of three tasks: balance the commissioner’s checkbook, pick up his dry cleaning — and call NFL owners in an attempt to sell them AFL franchises. She clearly proved herself adept at sales and now is a vice president of sales at the NFL.

While Anderson went to college aiming to be a writer or journalist, “I’m still doing a lot of storytelling,” she said, “but there’s a rhythm to sales that I love. I love the pitch; I love getting everyone in sync internally. Negotiating the deal and the contract can be very tough, but once the ink is dry, it’s the most fulfilling thing.”

Having helped bring in big brands like Bridgestone, P&G’s roster of health and beauty aids, SAP, Lenovo, McDonald’s, and Papa John’s, Anderson is now walking the fine line of in-game integration, which many potential sponsors are asking for, while calls come from purists about preserving the game’s integrity.

In the meantime, Anderson is helping to augment the league’s sponsorship asset base, with things like the “NFL Honors” TV awards show on Super Bowl eve and an expanded basket of offerings on the NFL calendar around events like the NFL draft and combine. That’s pretty heady stuff for a girl who grew up on a Kentucky farm.

“Renie really tore it up on sales right away, because her belief in our product was just infectious,” said Baker, now working on a health care project in California. “I’m as proud of her as if she were one of my own, and in a way, I guess she is.”

— Terry Lefton

Age: 38    
Title: Vice president, business development, sponsorship and media sales
Education: B.A., journalism, Ole Miss
Family: Husband, Chris; daughters Callie (5) and Kate (4)
Career: Variety of positions, culminating in sales director, at Arena Football League, 1998-2006; NFL: manager, business development, 2006; director, business development, 2007; vice president, business development, 2011

FIRST JOB: Camp counselor in Branson, Mo.
How do you strike a work-life balance? We have organized chaos, but the fact that my husband (Chris McCloskey) also works in sports helps a lot because we both know and respect the demands of this business.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: “No job is too small,” from former AFL Commissioner David Baker
Worst advice received: “Keep your opinions to yourself.”
Favorite iPad apps: Houzz, a home decorating app
Farthest traveled from U.S.: Switzerland
Stress release: Swimming and reading
Pet peeve: When people tell jokes about my home state of Kentucky
Guilty pleasure: “90210,” the original
Favorite movie line: “Our pets’ heads are falling off.” (“Dumb and Dumber”)

Major League Baseball had its share of record-breaking transactions in 2012, including the $2.15 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the set of national TV deals the league secured with ESPN, Fox and TBS for a combined $12.4 billion, more than double the prior pacts.

Christopher Brumm, the league’s senior counsel, was a key fixture in each of those agreements, at several points helping to keep the deals from collapsing altogether. In the fractious Dodgers battle in particular, Brumm was part of the MLB team that negotiated the settlement with former team owner Frank McCourt, establishing the league’s legal strategy in the frequently shifting case and working to maintain baseball’s rights to select its own owners.

Brumm served in a similar role in the Texas Rangers’ bankruptcy case in 2010, a situation that while not as dramatic as the Dodgers’ case also presented significant risk to the league.

“Once you enter bankruptcy, it’s an entirely different world,” said Brumm, who worked at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison prior to joining MLB in 2007. “The big thing for us was to make sure the court still recognized the rights of the league, and those thankfully were retained in each instance. The constant theme running through these various cases was to protect the basic rights of the MLB constitution, particularly with regard to choosing owners. We were finally able to get to a good place there, and obviously the Dodgers’ sale price itself was a very healthy, surprisingly high number.”

The TV deals similarly presented layers of complexity, with each rights holder having different financial and operational issues, and each wanting to navigate the emerging landscape of TV Everywhere.

“There were definitely new issues here in the TV deals, which made for a very interesting set of challenges,” Brumm said. “We’re all working to sort of predict the future together, and working along with MLB Advanced Media, these deals were able to include additional digital rights.”

— Eric Fisher

Age: 39
Title: Senior counsel
Education: B.A., Haverford College; J.D., University of Michigan Law School
Family: Wife, Sarah
Career: Prior to MLB, worked at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (2001-07); gained senior counsel role at MLB in 2011

How do you strike a work-life balance? Weekend getaways
Best business advice received: The more difficult something is, the more rewarding it is in the end.

Worst advice received: Have another doughnut!
IPOD PLAYLIST: The National; Bob Dylan; MGMT; Zac Brown Band
Favorite iPad apps: Drop7; Super Stickman Golf; At Bat
Pet peeve: People who walk too slow
Guilty pleasure: Sno-Caps
FANTASY JOB: Architect or marine biologist
Favorite movie line: “In the court ruling U.S. vs. Fishbine, a man subjected to potential incineration while wearing another man’s suit is entitled to $10,000 worth of airline tickets. It’s an obscure ruling, but a very important one to me.” (“Fletch”)

Woodie Dixon remembers the day when Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott told the staff that they were about to start their own TV network.

“I looked around the room and thought, ‘Wait a second. Nobody in here has ever run a network before or hired on-air talent,’” said Dixon, the Pac-12’s general counsel, with a laugh. “To be running a conference one day and then jumping on a conference call about a TV network the next day has really been an entirely different experience.”

Dixon joined the Pac-12 from the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010, about the time that the college landscape was shifting. Schools were jumping from one conference to another, college networks were forming, huge rights fees were being paid. It hasn’t settled down much in his 2 ½ years with the conference.

“So many things are happening,” he said. “It’s a much more diverse and dynamic space than I thought it would be.”

As the conference’s lead counsel, Dixon, a Harvard Law School grad, oversees football and helps manage the conference’s new TV network, as well as the conference’s broadcast agreement with joint partners ESPN and Fox. One minute, he might be disciplining a coach for an outrageous comment; the next minute, he could be working with a network on a scheduling issue.

Growing up in Minneapolis, Dixon was an avid sports fan and played hockey and soccer. He went to law school because “when you grow up in a blue-collar, urban environment, the dream is to be either a doctor or a lawyer.”

The law career took him to a couple of firms early on before he caught on with the NFL and later with the Chiefs, where he managed the salary cap for the franchise.

Now, as one of the Pac-12’s top executives, Dixon finds himself “in a constant whirlwind of activity.”

“Conference realignment has most everyone hoping that things are going to settle down now,” Dixon said. “I know we’re done expanding. We have nowhere left to go. I think most people hope this much realignment won’t be the norm.”

— Michael Smith

Age: 40 (turned 40 Feb. 21)
Title: General counsel and vice president, business affairs
ORGANIZATION: Pac-12 Conference
Education: B.A., history, Amherst College; J.D., Harvard Law School; M.S., sport management, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Family: Wife, Nicole; son, Carver; daughter, Marina
Career: Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP and Dorsey & Whitney LLP before NFL (2003-04) and Kansas City Chiefs (2004-10); Pac-12 since 2010

FIRST JOB: Bagging groceries at Sullivan’s in Minneapolis
How do you strike a work-life balance? Having a clear understanding on how incredibly important it is to be a good dad and husband.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Be a great person; the rest will follow.
Worst advice received: Winning cures all.
Favorite iPad apps: Cali Traffic, Google Maps
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: To immediately tell my wife. She’s done so much to get both of us here; certainly more than I have.
Stress release: Getting to the outdoors
Pet peeve: Slow drivers, left lane
Guilty pleasure: Hitting the snooze button more than once
FANTASY JOB: Fishing guide or pro bass fisherman

When Matt Kamienski was younger, he was scared to death of flying.
“I used to say that I would never have a job that required me to be on a plane,” Kamienski said. “Look at me now.”

Look at him, indeed. He has so many frequent-flyer miles that he’s achieved Diamond Status on Delta, the airline’s highest level. More importantly, Kamienski is on the front lines of one of the PGA Tour’s most important initiatives: expanding the game and the tour’s brand internationally.

As executive director of the biennial Presidents Cup, Kamienski oversees the tour’s most visible international event. He also serves as the tour’s senior director of its four co-sanctioned World Golf Championships events. The four WGC tournament directors report to Kamienski, who is responsible for everything from budgets and operations to promotion of the events.
That puts Kamienski on the road, and in the air, a lot.

“I’ve been very fortunate because I got to the tour just as the WGC events were beginning,” Kamienski said. “A lot of what has happened internationally over the last 15 years has been a springboard to get us where we are now. The strategy has evolved over the years, and there’s a much greater understanding now of the need to be global in our approach.”

There was nothing in Kamienski’s past that would have predicted he’d be a globetrotting tournament director and events expert. He did take French in high school and college, but that really hasn’t helped him much in his travels to Japan, China and Australia for the tour’s events in those countries.

In fact, he was on his way to medical school until his junior year at Miami (Ohio) University. The track and field athlete decided to change course and pursue a sports-related career. He began working on golf tournaments in 1997 at the NEC World Series of Golf, an event that has since become the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. He joined the tour headquarters in 2000 to begin working across all of the tour’s WGC events.

“Going outside of our borders, I’ve experienced so much,” Kamienski said. “The ways people do business, the different cultures, so much is done differently. You can’t just come in and say, ‘This is how we do it.’”

— Michael Smith

Age: 37
Title: Senior director, World Golf Championships and international events; executive director, The Presidents Cup
Education: B.S., Miami (Ohio) University
Family: Wife, Stacey; daughters Sydney (9) and Tyler (7)
Career: Interned for Cleveland Cavaliers; worked for Championship Management Co.

First Job Food service at an assisted living facility for seniors: The Lutheran Home in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Served a lot of pureed food, and because of that, I can’t look at it. To tell you the truth, I actually have trouble with smoothies.
How do you strike a work-life balance? I’ve learned you need to take time for yourself, and the rest will take care of itself.

IPOD PLAYLIST: I’m stuck in the ’90s. Basically, it’s all music from my college days: Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews, The Samples, Big Head Todd. … [Also] Bob Schneider, Fun, Mumford & Sons, Kid Cudi, and The Black Keys.
TWITTER HANDLE: @MattKamienski
PERSONALITY IN A TWEET: Always ready to jump in and help, usually while smiling. #nojobtoosmall
Farthest traveled from U.S.: Tasmania, Australia
Pet peeve: Laziness … or when people take a drink while they are chewing and have food in their mouth.
Guilty pleasure: Ice cream
FANTASY JOB: NFL quarterback
Favorite movie line: “I’m sorry I ruined your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR.” (“Elf”)

The NFL under the guidance of Hans Schroeder has morphed from a heavily TV-centric league into a multimedia force with a significant digital presence.

Since the beginning of 2012, the league has elevated its online reach into a top-five entity in comScore’s monthly rankings. It began streaming the Super Bowl live to online and mobile audiences and proceeded to set audience records in the process. It also saw the marked expansion of its TV Everywhere strategy for the NFL Network and NFL RedZone.

In addition, the NFL, under Schroeder’s watch, has seen its smartphone presence grow with the release of its NFL ’12 application across multiple platforms and NFL Mobile through league partner Verizon. The league’s in-house fantasy platform on, now in its fourth year, has become a major industry presence as well, standing alongside category leaders from ESPN, CBS Sports and Yahoo.

“The appetite of our fans for more NFL content is insatiable,” said Schroeder, the league’s senior vice president of media strategy and development. “So it’s great to be able to grow in these emerging areas and give them new experiences like the Super Bowl online.”

Beyond the expanded distribution footprint for the NFL’s various digital elements, Schroeder has helped oversee the development of new products, such as footage from the All-22 coaches’ camera angle that was released to the public for the first time in 2012. Schroeder also is taking a lead role in pushing the NFL into advanced statistics and analytics.

“A lot of things, like [the] All-22 angle and the Game Rewind product, really help us engage with fans outside of the core Sunday and Monday game windows,” Schroeder said. “We see big opportunity going forward in those other parts of the week.”

— Eric Fisher

Age: 39
Title: Senior vice president, media strategy and development
Education: A.B., American history, Princeton University
Family: Single
Career: Merrill Lynch, investment banking analyst (Chicago and Sydney); Ask Jeeves (later, director of corporate development (Emeryville, Calif.); NFL since 2001

WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT: Recently, “Homeland.” Just started watching the show and could not stop.
How do you strike a work-life balance? Take pride in your work and put in your best effort, but force yourself to make time for the important things.

Best business advice received: Surround yourself with great people.
Worst advice received: Any action is progress.
PERSONALITY IN A TWEET: #interestingquestion. Not really a tweeter @SBJSBD, but here goes … Honest, direct, sincere, loyal and fun loving would probably cover it
Farthest traveled from U.S.: Ayers Rock (Uluru), Australia
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: Mostly, Wow, what a great honor! But also a little of, Yikes, I can’t believe I am almost 40!
Guilty pleasure: Desserts
FANTASY JOB: President of Australia’s first NFL franchise in Sydney
Favorite movie line: “Crabcakes and football. That’s what Maryland does!” (“Wedding Crashers”)

Unlike so many of his peers, Dan Spillane did not set out to have a career in sports. There were no internships or summer jobs, nor any connections that led to his current position as vice president and assistant general counsel for the NBA.

Instead, Spillane was cruising along in 2006 on a partnership track with the Manhattan law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton when a headhunter called about a job working as an in-house lawyer for the NBA.

“I was doing litigation and white-collar arbitration work and I was in a push to make partner,” Spillane said. “I applied on a lark, and it materialized into a job. I have always had an interest in entertainment and sports, but it wasn’t something I was actively pursuing. It was a great sounding job and it was worth the risk.”

The law firm’s loss turned into the NBA’s gain, considering Spillane’s key contributions since he joined the league in 2007. He played a particularly valuable role in shaping the league’s new collective-bargaining agreement and revenue-sharing plan. Both required heavy lifting, with Spillane deeply involved in the bargaining sessions while drafting various new CBA models. His work on the revenue-sharing system in particular involved taking part in internal discussions among owners who had differing opinions.

“Ultimately, we were trying to harmonize all the competing interests,” he said.

The result was a 10-year CBA and an overhauled revenue-sharing plan that helps balance overall team profitability among the NBA’s 30 clubs.

“We are happy how things turned out, on both fronts,” he said.

Spillane’s work on revenue sharing continues, making sure the plan is regulated properly, but he’s also turned his attention to league relocation matters, particularly as it relates to the Sacramento Kings’ potential move to Seattle.

“Dan has established himself as one of the top executives in sports,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. “He has been heavily involved in all of our most important legal and business matters. He is focused, hardworking, and extraordinarily intelligent in working with our owners and senior management on the most recent CBA and revenue-sharing negotiations.”

— John Lombardo

Age: 39
Title: Vice president and assistant general counsel
Education: B.A., economics/political science/legal studies, University of California; J.D., Harvard Law School
Family: Wife, Maggie; daughter, Fiona (5); son, Clark (3)
Career: One year with a federal district judge (Miriam Cedarbaum, Southern District of New York); Debevoise & Plimpton, litigation and white-collar investigations practice, 2000-06; NBA since 2007

First Job: Working the ring-toss at an amusement park (Yes, it’s impossible to win.)
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?: Our celebrity neighbor’s intense 3 a.m. sidewalk conversations.

How do you strike a work-life balance? Bring work home when I’m busy so I see the kids before their bedtime.
Best business advice received: Ask stupid questions. If something doesn’t make sense, there’s a reason.
Worst advice received: “Never admit you’re wrong.”
Favorite iPad apps: GoodReader is indispensable. Also Netflix, The New Yorker, Kindle and of course our [NBA] Game Time app.
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: I called my wife, and she said, “You need a new suit.”
Stress release: Tie between spending quality time with the kids and going out with no kids.
Pet peeve: Golf umbrellas on crowded Manhattan sidewalks
Guilty pleasure: Swedish Fish

As CEO of the Miami Heat, Nick Arison knows that hard work is the best way to silence anyone who thinks he was simply handed the top job by his father, Micky, who owns the franchise.

“From the beginning, I wanted to put my head down and work my butt off and earn anything I received,” Arison said. “I didn’t want anyone to think I was allowed to get away with what they wouldn’t have.”

Arison’s hustle and his humble approach define his executive style, leading the defending NBA champion’s operations both on the floor and on the business side. The Heat ranks near the top of the league in nearly every metric.

Arison is familiar with every aspect of the team’s business given that he has worked in nearly every department of the club, including spending high school summers in the mail room. He also has worked in player scouting and is just as comfortable on the basketball side of the franchise as he is on the business side.

Building from that experience, Arison was named CEO in July 2011 after Micky watched his son work his way up the organizational ladder.

“It gives you a much deeper understanding of the ins and outs of the organization and it gives you perspective in where people are coming from in terms of what they need,” Micky Arison said of his son’s path.

Arison’s hardworking approach plays well across the NBA, as well.

“It is a cliché, but Nick has held every single job at the team level, including washing laundry,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. “He is now steeped in every aspect of the business and is an active participant in every part of the Heat’s operation. There is a certain maturity to him far beyond his years.”

That maturity was beneficial for Arison, among the youngest top executives in the league, early in his CEO tenure. He assumed the job not long after the Heat had lost in the NBA Finals and as the league was beginning its 2011 lockout.

“My dad became chief executive officer of Carnival cruises at the same age I became CEO of the Heat,” Arison said, “and he said I was more prepared than he was.”

— John Lombardo

Age: 31
Title: Chief executive officer
ORGANIZATION: Miami Heat and AmericanAirlines Arena
Education: B.A., public policy, Duke University
Family: Single
Career: Duke basketball, USA Basketball, The Heat Group (since 2003); named CEO in 2011

First Job: Miami Heat ball boy
How do you strike a work-life balance? It’s a challenge when your hobby is also your job. It helps that my girlfriend, Jenna Green, is a huge sports fan.

Best business advice received: Don’t be too anxious to make a deal. Sometimes the best deal you make is the one you don’t make.
Worst advice received: There’s always next year.
IPOD PLAYLIST: A little of everything: Jay-Z, Lenny Kravitz, Lionel Richie, Parachute
Stress release: Playing with my two dogs, Duke and Gracie; shooting hoops
Guilty pleasure: Cookies and cream ice cream
Favorite movie line: “Rule
No. 76: No Excuses. Play Like a Champion.” (“Wedding Crashers”)

When Sporting KC was about to lose Kei Kamara, one of the club’s best and most popular players, on a short-term loan to Norwich City of the English Premier League in late January, Robb Heineman wanted to get in front of the story. So the president, CEO and co-owner of Sporting Club, the team’s parent organization, wrote an open letter to fans that was posted on the club’s website and linked on Twitter, explaining why Kamara was loaned and how the decision could lead to Sporting KC retaining him long term.

“Through social media, we’re trying to give fans a sense of ownership,” Heineman said. “They’re not just fans, but they help shape some of the decisions that we make. They deserve to know why we made decisions like the one with Kei.”

The move was typical of Heineman, whose leadership extends to Sporting Innovations, a software company focused on technology solutions for the sports industry. The company has collaborated with Cisco Sports & Entertainment on a product called StadiumVision Mobile that streams video to mobile devices in stadiums.

“We love Robb’s passion and entrepreneurial spirit,” said David Holland, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Sports & Entertainment’s Solutions Group. “The turnaround that club has experienced is a testimony to how big Robb had to think and how far he was willing to go in order to succeed.”

Heineman took over as CEO of the soccer franchise in 2006. The club, which was rebranded as Sporting KC in 2010, has qualified for the MLS playoffs in the last two seasons.

In January, Sporting KC signed a five-year deal with Ivy Funds that is the first revenue-generating jersey sponsorship in the club’s 16-year history. Last season, the team sold out 16 of its 17 games, and all 34 of its stadium suites are sold out through the end of the 2013 season. The franchise’s transformation has drawn national media coverage, but so have its challenges. Perhaps most notable among those is the need to find a new stadium naming-rights partner to replace Livestrong after Lance Armstrong, the charity’s chairman, confessed to performance-enhancing drug use.

Heineman plans to confront all challenges, and expand new business in Kansas City, where he moved 12 years ago.

“I’m a lifer,” said Heineman, who was raised in South Dakota. “This community is what I’m all about. I very much want to stay here forever.”

— Christopher Botta

Age: 39
Title: President, CEO and co-owner
ORGANIZATION: Sporting Club (parent company of Sporting Kansas City and Sporting Innovations)
Education: BBA, finance, University of Notre Dame
Family: Wife, Amber; daughter, Katherine; son, Charles
Career: Investment banking, mobile commerce, private equity, sports ownership management (including being co-owner, with family, of Sioux Falls Skyforce)

How do you strike a work-life balance? Have a “job” that seems like life.

Best business advice received: Follow your heart; it knows what you really want to become.
Worst advice received: Sell Amazon at $80/share
Farthest traveled from U.S.: Dubai
Stress release: Running
Pet peeve: False modesty
Guilty pleasure: Dark chocolate
Favorite movie line: “Vegas, baby!” (“Swingers”)

The last 18 months have been without question the most difficult in the career of Sam Kennedy, Boston Red Sox chief operating officer and Fenway Sports Management president. The same could be said, in fact, for anybody on the staff of the Fenway Sports Group parent company.

A historic free fall for the Red Sox out of the 2011 pennant chase. The chicken-and-beer clubhouse drama. A disastrous, 93-loss experiment last year with Bobby Valentine as manager. Sagging interest in Red Sox tickets, and a league-record sellout streak poised to soon end. Rising fan anger directed toward lead executives John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino.

Through it all, though, the Red Sox’s struggles were the type for which most other MLB franchises would gladly trade their own. Boston ended the 2012 season with 3.04 million in attendance, eighth in MLB and the club’s fifth straight year above 3 million. The franchise opened JetBlue Park, the club’s new spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., that seeks to re-create the eccentricities of Fenway Park, to rave reviews.

In addition, Boston last spring engineered a tasteful commemoration of Fenway’s 100th anniversary; hosted several successful concerts at the ballpark, including Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters; brought sister club Liverpool FC from England to Fenway for a match in its North American summer tour; and deepened its ties with NBA superstar and FSM client LeBron James.

In short, the business of the Red Sox and FSM remained essentially on track, thanks in large part to the steady guidance of Kennedy.

“There were some real lessons through all of this in the power of chemistry, and the power of relationships,” Kennedy said. “This whole period really showed it’s all about the people in this business, and how you have to have the right people in the right places at all times. But we also learned very clearly that you can’t rely strictly on team performance. The business approaches in a lot of ways stay the same, winning or losing.”

A crisis such as what has occurred in Boston is precisely the kind of time when team sponsors often turn in other directions or reduce their activation. But in keeping with Fenway Sports Group’s profile as a sponsor-friendly operation, Kennedy made it his mission during the saga to stay closely engaged with each of the key clients of the Red Sox and FSM.

“Sam is so customer-focused,” said Marty St. George, senior vice president of marketing and commercial strategy for JetBlue. The airline, a Red Sox sponsor since 2008, two years ago closed on an eight-year contract extension that included the naming rights for JetBlue Park. It remains one of the club’s most active partners. “He’s simply not a ‘no’ guy. He hates the word. Partnering with the Red Sox is a long game for us. We’re in for the long haul, and Sam’s a big part of that.”

St. George tells a story from several years ago, when Kennedy dreamed up an idea for JetBlue to sponsor the departing of the team’s equipment truck each February for spring training. Truck Day, as it is often called in baseball circles, is an early sign of the coming spring and a major photo opportunity. JetBlue’s logo is now emblazoned on the Red Sox’s truck is it makes the nearly 1,500-mile journey south.

“Truck Day just hadn’t been done in sponsor circles, and it’s such a big deal in Boston,” St. George said. “But that’s Sam. He loves ideas and is so creative.”

The restoration of the Red Sox is far from complete, and the club is seen by many around baseball as still looking upward at a stacked AL East competition. But Kennedy says the organization is now more prepared for the coming challenges.

“We learned a lot. No question about it,” he said. “We’ve turned the page on the calendar and are very optimistic about what’s in front of us.”

— Eric Fisher

Age: 39
Title: Chief operating officer/president
ORGANIZATIONS: Boston Red Sox/Fenway Sports Management
Education: B.S., American studies, Trinity College
Family: Wife, Amanda; children Jimmy (9) and Ally (8)
Career: New York Yankees (1995); WABC-AM 770 (1995); WFAN-AM 660 (1996); San Diego Padres (1996-2002); current organizations since 2002
* Hall of Fame distinction is for three-time winners

First Job: Selling hats and T-shirts at Fenway Park for the D’Angelo family (’47 Brand) in summer 1987

Best business advice received: Get to people who can say yes.
Worst advice received: Sometimes it can wait until tomorrow.
IPOD PLAYLIST: Jason Aldean, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake (prepping for summer 2013 at Fenway)
Farthest traveled from U.S.: Tokyo
Stress release: Ice hockey every Monday night
Pet peeve: Lack of a sense of urgency
Guilty pleasure: Paying a company to snowplow our driveway
Hockey East commissioner
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “Maybe it’s something really cool that I don’t even know about. You know, and uh, and I started feeling … what? What? I thought we were in the trust tree, in the nest. Are we not?” (“Old School”)

After accomplishing so much as the owner of the Portland Timbers before reaching his 40th birthday, Merritt Paulson is ready to tackle a more personal challenge.

He plans on dialing down his outspokenness.

“I’m trying to be a little bit less of the face of the team this season,” said Paulson, who turned 40 just last week. “I don’t mind being out there, but if the owner is too much a part of the story of the team, that’s ultimately a negative thing.”

Paulson said it was often necessary to be a bit brash and in the public eye in recent years as he attempted to make a deal for a soccer stadium for the Timbers and then help sell tickets for his team — in other words, create press attention. But that charisma and candor have paid off. The 20,000-seat Jeld-Wen Field opened in time for the Timbers’ MLS debut in 2011 and has been sold out for every game. The team has become one of the league’s big success stories and a sensation in Portland. Season-ticket sales are capped at 15,000, and more than 8,500 people are on a waiting list.

Games featuring the Timbers’ reserve players last season averaged more than 8,000 fans, with one game attended by more than 14,000. Most MLS teams rarely get 1,000 fans at their reserve-league matches.

But Paulson’s penchant for speaking out has gotten him in some trouble, as well. After a questionable penalty call against his team last Sept. 29, Paulson confronted a referee and later vented his frustration with a series of officiating critiques on Twitter. He was fined $25,000 by the league for his actions.

Still, he has few regrets about his inclination to tweet.

“Twitter has been a positive,” said Paulson, who has more than 8,000 followers and is known to tease Timbers’ player signings on the social media site. “There are times when you’re better shutting yourself off. It’s essentially a press conference every time you hit, ‘Send tweet.’ But overall, I like Twitter. We want to be accessible, and I enjoy the interaction with fans.”

So now it’s time for more of a focus on his team, which failed to qualify for the MLS playoffs in its first two seasons. Paulson expects first-year coach Caleb Porter, a success at the University of Akron, to become more of a lead voice.

“I’m not shy and I’m not going to be shy,” said Paulson, who was an executive at NBA Entertainment before becoming owner of the Timbers in 2007. “You can’t tell a leopard to change his spots, but I worry about it becoming a little bit of a caricature. I’m not pointing fingers because I’m sure they’ve had their reasons, but there are some owners in pro sports who have become their team’s brand. I don’t want that to be the case here. This year, the team is going to speak for itself.”

Paulson, who earned an MBA at Harvard Business School and is the son of former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, said he never lacks for inspiration as owner of the Timbers.

“When you run a sports team that’s relevant in the market, you realize there are very few platforms that match it in terms of the profound impact you can have on your community,” he said. “We get to interact every day with leaders in the public and private sector. We get to make a difference with charitable work. I find it incredibly energizing. It’s also a lot of responsibility.”

The Timbers’ Stand Together initiative supports children’s and family charities in the Portland area through programs and philanthropic giving. Paulson is also on the board of many civic groups, including the Oregon chapter of the Nature Conservancy and the wild cat conservation organization Panthera.

This year, Paulson wants to see more victories by his soccer club and fewer quotes in The Oregonian and other media outlets by himself. As evidence of the new, more laid-back Paulson, he was reserved when asked for a prediction for the Timbers in the 2013 season.

“All I’ll say is I’m optimistic that the product we have on the field will match what we have in the stands,” he said.
Actually, when you consider the Timbers’ success at the box office, that’s a pretty lofty goal.

— Christopher Botta

Age: 40 (turned 40 last Wednesday)
Title: Owner/president
ORGANIZATION: Portland Timbers
Education: B.A., English, Hamilton College; MBA, Harvard Business School
Family: Wife, Heather; daughters Cassidy (4) and Adelaide (1)
Career: HBO, manager, HBO on Demand; NBA, senior director, marketing and business development; assumed ownership of the Timbers in 2007
* Hall of Fame distinction is for three-time winners

Best business advice received: Who you work with is often as or more important than what you do.

Worst advice received: Not to take risks
IPOD PLAYLIST: Guns N’ Roses, The Lumineers, The Killers, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac
Favorite iPad apps: MLS MatchDay, ESPN ScoreCenter, AroundMe
TWITTER HANDLE: @merrittpaulson PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: My personality is the type that should be banned from using Twitter. Ask Don Garber
Farthest traveled from U.S.: Australia
Stress release: Trail running
Favorite movie line: “Princeton can use a guy like Joel.” (“Risky Business”); “This is a very simple game: You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. Think about that.” (“Bull Durham”)

Brent Stehlik’s first apartment out of college had a milk crate, a 19-inch TV and a lawn chair. He slept on a blanket on the floor. Harnessing his $18,000 salary from the Tampa Bay Lightning, he didn’t splurge on a mattress for a few months.

Stehlik chuckles recalling his mindset at the time, when he figured that if he didn’t make any sales commissions, then he’d have to live on his salary — and thus the hard floor.

“What I didn’t understand is, if I didn’t have any commissions, I wouldn’t have a job anyway,” he said.

Stehlik, of course, made some commissions. Now, after a 14-year itinerant path that’s led him from ice hockey through minor league baseball and to MLB with both the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, he is the Cleveland Browns’ first chief revenue officer.

Stehlik and his young family had just recently established themselves in San Diego, so leaving earlier this year was not an easy decision. But Ohio is home, and his father, who when Stehlik was a boy took him around the country to see baseball parks, almost wept when hearing the news that his son was coming to Cleveland.

These are go-go times at the Browns under new owner Jimmy Haslam, and Stehlik sees nothing but opportunity. He is in charge of sponsorship, tickets, retail and concessions.

Changing cultures as much as changing business practices has been Stehlik’s early mission. With his bootstrap background in minor league baseball, he expects to liven up the process.

“In some ways, I think we took things for granted because we are the Browns,” he said.

Stehlik is living out of temporary housing, his family not due to meet up with him in Ohio until next month. They plan to build a new house, perhaps ending his vagabond journey. What’s certain, though, is that he’ll be able to furnish it slightly better than that first apartment.

— Daniel Kaplan

Age: 35
Title: Executive vice president, chief revenue officer
ORGANIZATION: Cleveland Browns
Education: B.A., sports business, University of Mount Union
Family: Wife, Molly; children Sophie (5), Boone (3) and Griffin (1)
Career: Tampa Bay Lightning, director, group sales; Frisco (Texas) RoughRiders, chief operating officer; Arizona Diamondbacks, vice president, ticket sales and service; Dallas Cowboys, director, business development; San Diego Padres, senior vice president, business operations; joined Browns earlier this year

WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?: Wanting to win.
How do you strike a work-life balance? Balance needs be a priority. When you are with your family you need to engage; simply being present doesn’t count.
Best business advice received: Always make the career decision that provides you the best chance to learn and grow, and the best chance to produce results.

Worst advice received: That monthly staff lunches and celebrating mediocrity to make people feel good creates a great workplace culture. (Results-based meritocracies, where people are treated with respect, can learn/grow, and where tangible contributions are celebrated — that’s great workplace culture.)
IPOD PLAYLIST: The National, Citizen Cope, O.A.R., Paulo Nutini, Huey Lewis and the News (only the classics), and the theme song from “The Greatest American Hero.”
PERSONALITY IN A TWEET: Humble. Driven. Creative. Thankful. Collaborative.
Stress release: Pizza and beer with my wife
Guilty pleasure: Occasional Saturday afternoon nap
Favorite movie line: “Hey … Dad. You wanna have a catch?” (“Field of Dreams”)

With the record-setting Los Angeles Dodgers sale to Guggenheim Baseball Management done and the club’s mammoth TV deal with Time Warner Cable soon heading to MLB for review, the Chicago Cubs are widely viewed as the next baseball franchise poised to reshape the industry.

Alex Sugarman, the club’s senior vice president of strategy and development, is already busily laying the groundwork for a coming wave of changes.

A key adviser to team owner Tom Ricketts, Sugarman recently played a lead role negotiating a broad partnership with Starwood Hotels and Resorts in which the Ricketts family and Starwood will co-develop a boutique hotel across the street from Wrigley Field. Sugarman is also a central figure in the club’s emerging $300 million plan to renovate Wrigley Field and is helping shape the team’s strategy for its future TV rights that will partially be in play following the 2014 season.

At once, Sugarman is a primary touch point in the Cubs’ intersection with facility development, media rights, ticketing and analytics.

“All the big areas of change in the industry are converging on this franchise right now,” Sugarman said. “It’s a very exciting time for us.”

As an associate with Galatioto Sports Partners, Sugarman advised the Ricketts family on the then-industry record $845 million purchase of the Cubs in 2009. He joined the club soon after the deal closed. He was promoted to his current role just last month.

“The dynamics of working with Sal [Galatioto, GSP president] and a club are completely different,” Sugarman said. “But the Cubs have a terrific platform and a very unique opportunity in front of us.”

— Eric Fisher

Age: 32
Title: Senior vice president, strategy and development
Education: B.A., Emory University; MBA, Columbia University
Family: Wife, Eileen
Career: NHL (2002-04), Galatioto Sports Partners (2006-10), Chicago Cubs (2010-present)

WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT: The fear that something may slip through the cracks
How do you strike a work-life balance? Try to get away a couple times a year with my wife and try to unplug for at least a few hours each weekend.

Best business advice received: It takes a career to build relationships and one bad decision to destroy them. If you treat people well and with respect, it will come back to you.
Worst advice received: If you want to work for a sports organization, business school doesn’t make sense.
IPOD PLAYLIST: Mumford & Sons, Avett Brothers, Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, Robert Earl Keen
Stress release: An exhausting workout
Pet peeve: People not being respectful of each other’s time
Guilty pleasure: Vince Flynn and David Baldacci novels
Favorite movie line: “So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.” (“Caddyshack”)

By Silicon Valley standards, one might ask Jed York what took him so long to succeed. After all, it took him until he was in his 30s to fully take over the San Francisco 49ers, orchestrate the first new football stadium project in California in four decades and get the club within 5 yards of a Super Bowl victory.

Of course, by NFL measurements, York’s ascendancy is nothing short of astonishing. In a league where heirs have a tall task measuring up — whether the name is Rooney, Kraft, Benson or Hunt — Jed York is one of the few to quickly take over and almost immediately improve the product.

York, son of 49ers Co-Chairmen John and Denise York, has made full use of Silicon Valley, hiring from Facebook to staff up for the scheduled 2014 opening of the team’s new stadium in Santa Clara. The venue is expected to be a technological showcase.

York has been bold in other areas as well, including hiring a college coach to run the team (Jim Harbaugh), watching his franchise switch quarterbacks midseason, assuming nearly a billion dollars of debt responsibility to build the stadium, and working the roster to give the team an increased number of coming draft picks.

Maybe it’s the brashness of youth that makes it all possible, but York hardly carries himself that way. Confident yet not arrogant, York is quick to try to spread credit around his organization, looking to shift the glare of public attention off himself even though he ranks as the youngest franchise owner in the NFL.

Under his uncle, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., whom Jed has brought back into the 49ers family, ownership was front and center in the 49ers success story in the 1980s and 1990s. Under York, that public ownership visibility for the franchise might be less, but it’s clear that success is part of the story in San Francisco again.

— Daniel Kaplan

Age: 32
Title: CEO
ORGANIZATION: San Francisco 49ers
Education: University of Notre Dame
Career: Began career as a financial analyst for Guggenheim Partners in New York; joined the 49ers in 2005; named team president in December 2008

Two years ago, NFL Sunday Ticket was starting to feel stale for DirecTV, the only distributor ever to have access to the league’s out-of-market TV package. The cable and satellite TV marketplace was mature, and some observers started to question whether Sunday Ticket still had the same power to attract new subscribers.

Alex Kaplan, DirecTV’s vice president of revenue and product marketing, came up with a plan that flew in the face of traditional marketing: In the third quarter of 2011, he decided to give the package to new subscribers for free. In the past, DirecTV would give new subscribers five free months of a premium programming package, like HBO, for purchasing Sunday Ticket.

“It’s all about sampling,” Kaplan said. “Sunday Ticket is the key cog from an acquisition standpoint. If you come into DirecTV, you are going to sample Sunday Ticket.”

A huge amount of DirecTV’s subscribers sampled it. Kaplan said 80 percent of new customers took the package for free. And while cable and satellite companies struggled to gain new subscribers, DirecTV saw big subscriber gains in 2011’s third quarter, a period that includes the NFL season openers. DirecTV doubled its net additions from the previous year’s third quarter (to 327,000) and lowered its monthly churn rate (to 1.62 percent) during the quarter.

“The question of whether it will work is how many people will keep it,” Kaplan said. “As the cost of the product goes up, it’s very, very hard to make money on that product from a DirecTV standpoint. So we need to drive value in other ways.”
Those new customers in 2011 who wanted to keep the package last year — as now-returning subscribers — had to pay $199. Kaplan said he was pleased with the resulting performance of that pricing plan. He now is considering what to do with the package for the 2013 season.

DirecTV paid $1 billion for exclusive access to the package through the 2014 season. Company officials are happy with the package and say they hope to renew.

“Alex does a great job managing what most people don’t realize is a complex business,” said Brian Rolapp, chief operating officer of NFL Media. “Managing a sports subscription business in an ever-changing and maturing pay TV market takes an analytic, creative and disciplined approach, and Alex does it as well as anyone.”

— John Ourand

Age: 36
Title: Vice president, revenue and product marketing
Education: B.A., Tufts University; MBA, New York University
Family: Wife, Jennifer; children Sophie (4) and Cooper (21 months)
Career: Octagon, 2002-05; American Express, 2005-06; DirecTV, 2006-present

First Job: Camp counselor
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?: My kids; hitting our revenue goals; rising cost of sports programming
How do you strike a work-life balance? With the kids: I try to be home for both breakfast and bedtime; with my wife: making sure we talk about things outside my work world (and hers).

Best business advice received: Always remember you can be a peacock one day and a feather duster the next.
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: Are you sure you have the right Alex Kaplan?
Stress release: Bad movies and reality TV
Pet peeve: Waiting in line
Guilty pleasure: Good red wine
FANTASY JOB: N.Y. Giants president
Favorite movie line: “Actually, pretty nice little Saturday. We’re gonna go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed Bath & Beyond. … I don’t know! I don’t know if we’ll have enough time!” (“Old School”)

Craig Karmazin draws his business distinction because of his stature in the world of sports radio. The son of former Sirius XM Radio CEO Mel Karmazin, he parlayed a $3.5 million loan in 1997 into a string of 12 sports radio stations across the country, stretching from Florida to Wisconsin, eight of which are ESPN-affiliated.

But one of the main areas of focus for Karmazin over the past year — which is only tangentially associated with sports talk radio — illustrates why Karmazin is being honored here.

A bank asked Karmazin to develop a radio marketing plan around the Green Bay Packers. Karmazin realized that radio alone would not be enough, so the executive hatched a plan to buy some of the homes that are adjacent to Lambeau Field. A week after starting a search, he closed on deals for three of the homes, which he now calls the Tundra Trio, and has set them up as luxury destinations for fans who want to see Lambeau.

“We have a unique ability to act on a dime and do something like that,” Karmazin said.

Another example of Karmazin’s knack of knowing his home market came in 2010, when he was negotiating an appearance deal with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, considering his company’s Wisconsin radio stations. Karmazin never wavered, signing the deal at a time when Rodgers had missed two games with a concussion and his team was only 8-6.

“Two months later, he was the Super Bowl MVP,” Karmazin said. “Aaron Rodgers had been unbelievable to us when we had no contract. We want to make commitments to the right types of people. He was the right type of person.”

Industry executives have taken notice of Karmazin’s resolve and tenacity.

“Some guys in his position might coast,” said Traug Keller, ESPN’s senior vice president of production and business divisions. “Craig goes full throttle and then some. His dad may be working for him someday.”

— John Ourand

Age: 37
Title: President/CEO
ORGANIZATION: Good Karma Broadcasting
Education: BBA, Goizueta Business School, Emory University
Family:Wife, Kelli; daughter, Harper (2)
Career: Upon graduating from college, Karmazin launched Good Karma Broadcasting with the purchase of three radio stations in Wisconsin. The company now operates 12 stations and their respective digital assets, including ESPN Cleveland, ESPN Milwaukee, ESPN Madison and ESPN West Palm (Fla.).

First Job: Selling bikes and exercise equipment at The Sports Authority
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?: My daughter and our dogs
Best business advice received: Be fair, be honest, be a good teammate, and create an environment where everyone has a voice.

Worst advice received: Don’t go into business with your degenerate friends from high school. (Those childhood friends now have prominent roles at Good Karma stations.)
TWITTER HANDLE: @craigkarmazin
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Team, family-oriented. Always raising the bar & rising to the next challenge. The game is never over & it’s all about winning the right way.
Farthest traveled from U.S.: Nagano
Pet peeve: People who think they are a finished product
Guilty pleasure: A terrible romantic comedy with Kelli every Sunday night
Favorite movie line: “I’ll have a bloody mary and a steak sandwich, and a steak sandwich.” (“Fletch”)

There are myriad reasons why Mike McCarley is entering the Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame this year. In the two years that he has run Golf Channel, the network has posted record high viewership, and last year it saw a double-digit increase in ad sales.

Plus, under McCarley’s direction, Golf Channel has worked with NBC’s broadcast network so well that it has been a model for the company’s other cable networks. From its logo (which incorporates the NBC peacock with Golf Channel’s logo) to its programming strategy (which shares talent across both platforms), Golf Channel has become a valued player in the professional golf world.

But when asked to reflect on his two years at Golf Channel, McCarley doesn’t talk about ratings, ad sales or the new shows he’s overseen. Rather, he talks about Arnold Palmer, the legendary golfer who was part of the team that launched the network in 1995.

Palmer is still involved with Golf Channel and has his own reserved parking space at the network’s Orlando headquarters.

McCarley says he frequently leans on Palmer for advice on how to move the network forward. But he also likes to sit back and listen to Palmer spin stories about everything from his time on the tour to his role in starting the network.

“He has been incredibly generous with his time,” McCarley said. “He’ll give me his view on a subject if I ask. As founder, he never weighs in on anything unless I ask him. For me, it’s been invaluable.”

The relationship McCarley has forged with Palmer is indicative of how the network executive operates in the business. McCarley decided against going to business school in order to work for Dick Ebersol, who ran NBC Sports for decades. McCarley viewed his opportunity with Ebersol as one where he would learn from a legend in the business.

But it wasn’t just Ebersol. While at NBC Sports, McCarley was able to spend time with, and learn from, broadcasting legends such as Jim McKay and John Madden.

“Dick helped my career, of course, and I’m incredibly grateful for that,” McCarley said. “Because of my time at NBC, I was lucky to learn from the icons of the industry. All these guys represent all parts of my career. They all share this absolute genuine quality that what you see is what you get. In this day and age, that’s absolutely refreshing.”

McCarley recalled spending a 2002 dinner with McKay and his wife at the Salt Lake City Olympics. At the time, McKay’s name was synonymous with Olympic hosting. But NBC had the rights to those Winter Games, not ABC, the network for which McKay worked.

NBC planned to use McKay for a small on-air role, as a way for the broadcaster to say goodbye to the Games. McCarley was the executive who became McKay’s main NBC contact.

“For eight months leading up to the Olympics, I talked to McKay four or five times a week,” McCarley said. “I felt lucky to be able to sit there and hear his stories.”

McCarley found himself in a similar situation at a 2008 dinner with Ebersol and Madden in a Chicago steakhouse. Madden was talking about his decision to join Fox in 1994 as the network started its first NFL contract. Madden talked about his negotiations, referencing a meeting he had with Rupert Murdoch just before completing the deal.

Madden asked Murdoch how he settled on the four-year, $1.58 billion bid to get the package, which was much higher than CBS was bidding. Murdoch’s answer: There’s a line where price overtakes loyalty.

“It was a great class in the business over a rib-eye,” McCarley said.

— John Ourand

Age: 39
Title: President
Education: B.A., University of Arizona
Family: Wife, Amy; children Tate (4), Emmy (2) and Carter (5 months)
Career: Dallas Mavericks, media relations assistant, 1997-98; USA Triathlon, communications director, 1998-2000; NBC Sports Group, ultimately senior vice president of marketing for NBC Sports and Olympics, 2000-11; Golf Channel, president, 2011-present
* Hall of Fame distinction is for three-time winners
First Job: Bicycle courier
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?: Generally one of the kids
How do you strike a work-life balance? I over-married. That helps.
Best business advice received: Listen more than you talk. Never settle.
IPOD PLAYLIST: The Rolling Stones
Favorite iPad app: Weather Channel
Stress release: Golf or working out
Pet peeve: Ambivalence
Guilty pleasure: “West Wing” marathons on DVD
FANTASY JOB: Anything on the beach

A nor’easter was barreling down in February, about to dump 3 feet of snow in and around ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters.

Preparations for what ESPN would put on air with a skeleton crew were developed by John Papa, the executive responsible for figuring out when and where to program on all of ESPN’s television channels and broadband platforms.

“People couldn’t get into work,” said Papa, ESPN’s vice president of program planning and acquisitions. “We had to start making programming decisions on the fly based on how many people we had in Bristol.”

ESPN wound up canceling two shows — “NBA Tonight” and “Highlight Express” — because crews could not make it into the studio. Papa said he also kept a keen focus on the Knicks-Clippers NBA game that was going to be played in New York’s Madison Square Garden. If the game would have been canceled — it went on, as scheduled — Papa would have had to come up with more than two hours’ worth of replacement programming for ABC on the fly.

That was just one day, but it illustrates the Rubik’s Cube of a job that Papa has in developing the on-air schedules around ESPN’s channels.

“It’s a gigantic puzzle that’s never completed,” he said.

And Papa’s role doesn’t end there. Over the past several years, he has helped negotiate media-rights deals. He was part of ESPN’s negotiating team that picked up Wimbledon rights in 2011 and the team that renewed MLB rights last year.

“John’s very bright and hardworking, with a wealth of programming experience, including scheduling, acquisitions, development — you name it,” said Papa’s former boss, David Berson, who now is the executive vice president of CBS Sports and president of CBS Sports Network. “Above all, he’s extremely collaborative and well-liked by everyone he works with internally and across the industry.”

— John Ourand

Age: 39
Title: Vice president, program planning and acquisitions
Education: B.A., communications, University of Hartford; master’s in sports management, University of Connecticut
Family: Wife, Tracy; children Katie (6) and Ryan (4)
Career: Entire career at ESPN (more than 16 years). First joined in June 1996 as a researcher for ESPN International’s production department; subsequent positions included senior director, international programming, and vice president, programming and acquisitions for ESPN Classic and ESPNews; named vice president, strategic program planning at ESPN in June 2007, with additional responsibilities added since.
First Job: Bagger at Stop & Shop
How do you strike a work-life balance? While the business is 24/7 for me, making sure that it isn’t for my family.
Best business advice received: Take the job at ESPN after college. Grad school can wait.
Farthest traveled from U.S.: Australia
Reaction to Forty Under 40 Selection: Didn't see that coming.
Stress release: Running
Pet peeve: Negativity
Guilty pleasure: Finding a good TV series and spending hours getting caught up.
FANTASY JOB: Radio play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox
Favorite movie line: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” (“The Godfather Part III”)

The Holy Grail for media companies these days is figuring out how to make money off of social media. At ESPN, Lisa Valentino, senior vice president of multimedia sales, is the executive leading that charge.

“Sports is social,” Valentino said, adding that Twitter’s most popular trending topics are dominated by sports, especially when games are being played. “The question is, How do we incorporate our advertisers into that?”

One way to incorporate advertisers came last year, when Valentino cut a partnership with Twitter. During college football’s bowl season, Twitter and ESPN embedded game highlights in tweets, which were sponsored by Ford.
ESPN also has been dabbling with sponsored tweets that are separate from the presentation of those bowl highlights, Valentino said.

“Social is very much a part of what we do,” Valentino said. “It’s woven into how we think about everything. Revenues from social will continue to grow over time.”

Valentino is a different kind of ad sales executive at ESPN. Rather than just selling ad time to interested sponsors, she is deeply involved in developing strategies around ESPN’s digital, social and mobile selling efforts.

Valentino joined ESPN six years ago after a stint at Yahoo. Earlier this year, she was promoted to oversee ESPN’s sales teams in Atlanta and New York. She reports to ESPN’s executive vice president of multimedia sales, Eric Johnson, and oversees digital sales for espnW, Global X Games and ESPN International.

“The digital advertising marketplace shifts at a frenetic pace, and Lisa has been a critical figure in the continued evolution of ESPN’s digital media strategy,” Johnson said. “She has been tremendous in leading us to success and positioning us ahead of the market. Her ability to see around the next curve reminds me of the famous Wayne Gretzky quote: ‘A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.’”

— John Ourand

Age: 38
Title: Senior vice president, multimedia sales
Education: B.A., English and art history, Lafayette College
Family: Husband, Amiram; children Liam (3) and Olivia (16 months)
Career: Before ESPN, Yahoo Inc., ultimately as sales director at Yahoo Sports sales, overseeing the East and Central regions of the country; prior to that, media buyer at TeleVest, including work on the Procter & Gamble account.

Best business advice received: “If you aren’t willing to risk it all, then you don’t want it bad enough.” — Dad

Worst advice received: “Act like you’ve been there.” (Because you don’t learn, ask questions, grow, etc.)
IPOD PLAYLIST: Pink, Barry Manilow, Madonna, Michael Jackson, to name a few.
TWITTER HANDLE: @valentil1
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Driven, a fighter, humble, eyes wide open
Farthest traveled from U.S.: Italy
Stress release: “The Real Housewives of New York”
Guilty pleasure: Sleeping in
FANTASY JOB: Professional soccer player
Favorite movie line: “Do, or do not. There is no try.” (“The Empire Strikes Back”)

Photo: EMC
Jay Adya has advised on some of the most groundbreaking TV agreements in the last few years, from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Time Warner Cable contract to deals for the Pac-12 Conference’s new network.

But it is the smallest deal he has handled that Adya finds most compelling. That would be the WTA Tour’s non-U.S. TV contract with Perform Group, a United Kingdom-based digital media platform with rights to more than 200 sports leagues, tournaments and events.

Perform is neither a cable distributor nor a channel, but a digital, Internet-based system that sells sports content it has acquired. Perform then either sells direct to consumer by streaming, or to another digital entity. If it finds that a traditional TV approach is better, then it sells the rights to that client.

In essence, it is the U.S. model in reverse: First come the digital rights, and then the TV rights.

“There are more and more places where people are going to view their content,” Adya said. “Traditional buyers of sports content are guys we have heard of. But if you look at Google, Apple — these are big companies with infinite dollars on their balance sheets that have only dipped their toes into sports.”

Adya got his start as a management consultant out of college before he started his own Internet company:, which focused on athlete recruiting. He sold Takkle in 2008 to Alloy Media, which had as a board member a senior executive of Creative Artists Agency. CAA at that time was just working to start Evolution Media Capital, and it’s through that connection that Adya found his way to the business. Since then, the firm has shown quick growth, becoming a key sports and media advisory firm.

— Daniel Kaplan

Age: 35
Title: Executive
ORGANIZATION: Evolution Media Capital
Education: B.A., Columbia University; MBA, Columbia Business School
Family: Wife, Sireesha; sons Kaiden (4) and Ayan (3)
Career: Management consulting, Internet/digital media; co-founder of, a social network for high school athletes.

First Job: Little League baseball umpire
Best business advice received: Keep an even keel. Things are never as bad or as good as they seem.

Worst advice received: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
IPOD PLAYLIST: Arcade Fire, Local Natives, Mumford & Sons, Miles Okazaki, and various children’s songs
Favorite iPad apps: Flipboard, Pocket, Yelp
Stress release: Playing tennis; being outdoors with my family
Pet peeve: Arrogance; self-centeredness
Guilty pleasure: Good red wine
Favorite movie line: “This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.” (“Bull Durham”)

Ray Elias has been at the forefront of turning StubHub into the No. 1 ticket resale firm in sports. The company’s chief marketing officer, he has been with StubHub since 2004, about four years after the business was founded in the Bay Area. He was promoted to CMO in 2009 after holding that title on an interim basis on two occasions, in 2005 and 2008.

During his time at the company, Elias has played a key role for StubHub in its signing of secondary ticketing deals with Major League Baseball and AEG. StubHub renewed its original deal with MLB in December for an additional five years. The AEG deal extends to naming rights for Home Depot Center, where StubHub takes over as title sponsor of the two-team MLS facility in June. The naming-rights element is tied to StubHub’s previous deal with AEG to become the official ticket reseller for Staples Center and several other venues.

Elias was principally involved in negotiating both deals alongside Danielle Maged, StubHub’s global head of partnerships and business development, and StubHub President Chris Tsakalakis.

“We’re busy integrating into Staples Center and working very closely with the [MLS] Galaxy and the [NHL] Kings,” Elias said.

During Elias’ tenure, StubHub has signed deals with 35 NCAA schools to sell tickets on the secondary market in conjunction with Paciolan, the primary ticketing provider for those institutions. Elias is also working to further develop StubHub’s mobile ticketing program. Twenty-five percent of StubHub traffic now comes via mobile, and the company wants to continue to draw in fans who might initially search for tickets on their smartphones but then are inclined to complete their transactions on a computer. StubHub’s goal is to provide a seamless process by providing consumers with the confidence to buy event tickets on their mobile devices.

“Today I would say our mobile experience is OK,” Elias said. “There is a lot more work we are doing to bring the two experiences together.”

Such elements are natural for Elias, given his background of e-commerce and Internet operations dating back to the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. But global expansion is also high on his list for expanding StubHub’s business. In addition to having signed deals with three EPL teams, the eBay-owned company has direct access to the O2 arenas in London and Berlin, two facilities run by AEG whose primary business is tied to concerts and special events.

“We’re going to keep up with our Nordstrom-like customer service and focus on the fan,” Elias said. “We believe if we keep doing that, then it’s a winning formula.”

— Don Muret

Age: 39
 Title: Chief marketing officer
EDUCATION: B.A., economics, University of Texas
FAMILY: Wife, Karina; son, Jagger (3 1/2)
CAREER: E-commerce, marketing and Internet startups, including (a weather forecasting site for surfers/action sports enthusiasts), and Esurance

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Focus on employee and customer satisfaction first.
WORST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Consistency is better than accuracy.

PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: #Somewhere shy of the most interesting man in the world
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: Wow … honored! I guess I am a one-and-done.
STRESS RELEASE: Running fast
PET PEEVE: People who lack self-awareness
GUILTY PLEASURE: Bourbon and tortilla chips, not necessarily together
FANTASY JOB: Playing soccer in the EPL

Karen Hoffman Lent found herself drawn to the world of sports law after a summer associate position at one of the top law firms in the country. That summer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom introduced Lent to the firm’s sports cases while working with associates in the antitrust group.

“I really had a dream that I could combine my desire to be a lawyer with my love of sports,” Lent said.

In addition to fueling her growing interest in sports-related cases, Lent, a former high school and collegiate athlete, enjoyed the camaraderie of the firm’s antitrust group.

“I ended up playing basketball with them every Monday night … and talking more about the kinds of sports work they do, which sounded great to me,” she said.

Lent joined Skadden in 1999 and has spent her entire legal career at the firm, becoming involved in numerous high-profile sports cases. From team relocation to player-eligibility disputes, Lent has built an extensive portfolio of sports-related law, representing the NFL, NHL and NBA during that time.

In her work with the NBA, she was instrumental in obtaining a dismissal of breach of contract claims filed by the Spirits of St. Louis against the league. She also represented the NBA as lead counsel in a class-action lawsuit during the 2011 lockout, ultimately playing a role in helping the league to reach a new collective-bargaining agreement with the National Basketball Players Association.

Lent’s breadth of work additionally includes representing the NHL during the Phoenix Coyotes’ bankruptcy case. Lent’s work on the case helped the NHL maintain its power in determining the owners and locations of its clubs.

As the only actively practicing female antitrust partner in the Skadden New York office, Lent serves as an informal mentor to her fellow female associates.

“I think it’s important to let them know that being at Skadden as a woman and succeeding doesn’t mean you just have to be an attorney and an attorney only,” Lent said. “I try to make it clear to them that you can have priorities outside of work. You can have a family that you see; you can take your kids to school; you can put them to bed at night; you can be involved in their lives and not sacrifice the quality of legal work you do.”

— Anna Hrushka

Age: 39
Title: Partner
COMPANY: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
EDUCATION: B.S., chemical engineering, Johns Hopkins University; J.D., Fordham University School of Law
FAMILY: Husband, Scott; children Jackson (6), Madeline (4) and Josie (1)
CAREER: Entire legal career has been at Skadden: summer association in 1998, started as an associate in 1999

FIRST JOB: Summer basketball camp counselor
HOW DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: I am up front with my priorities with respect to my family and am as flexible as possible to make sure that I can fit everything in.

  BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Responsiveness to client needs is the highest priority.
IPOD PLAYLIST: Everything from Psy and Justin Bieber to Frank Sinatra
PET PEEVE: Bad grammar
FANTASY JOB: GM of an NBA team
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.” (“Say Anything”)

Scott Milleisen concedes that he might not boast the most glamorous personal story in a field of executives such as this. On a typical day, he gets up at 5 a.m. to work out, he’s in the office by 7:30 a.m., and he’s home about 121⁄2 hours later to tuck in his twin boys.

A good year is when he closes more than three loans. His athletic claim to fame is being a stud football player from a Division III school in upstate New York.

But when you run sports finance at one of the biggest banks in the world, none of that really matters. You are a rock star to owners and team finance executives around the country because you can open the purse strings.

In 15 years at JPMorgan Chase, Milleisen has arranged deals worth $2.5 billion. He helps set the market for sports loan rates and terms.

“We have the ability to mold and lead the market,” Milleisen said. That statement, while bold, also rings true, given the size and power of the bank. In addition, so few banks specialize in sports. JPMorgan, through Milleisen, really plays a role in dictating the entire market.

Milleisen most recently has led loans to the new owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Browns and has refinanced complicated debt for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

But what is his biggest challenge? Is it navigating the glitzy, star-struck world of professional sports and its enlarged egos? Coming through with bank loans in the nick of time to save headline sports sales?

Not even close.

“The work-life challenge is my challenge,” he said. “Making family a priority.”

And for Milleisen, with his understated personal story, that sounds about right.

— Daniel Kaplan

Age: 37
Title: Managing director
COMPANY: JPMorgan Chase & Co.
EDUCATION: B.A., economics, Hamilton College
FAMILY: Wife, Amanda; children Jack (5), Ethan (5) and Kyle (3 months)
CAREER: At JPMorgan Chase since 1997
FIRST JOB: Credit analyst at JPMorgan Chase
HOW DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: Start my work day early and budget time in the evenings for family. Also make it a priority to take my allocated vacation time.
WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: That pursuing a career financing sports teams would be a dead end.
FAVORITE IPAD APPS: J.P. Morgan Mobile, Wall Street Journal, New York Times
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Balanced, family oriented, hardworking professional. Thoughtful and collaborative. A leader with a passion for sports and finance.
PET PEEVE: Lack of organization
GUILTY PLEASURE: Cookie dough ice cream
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “All right, now, I don’t want them to gain another yard! You blitz … all … night! If they cross the line of scrimmage, I’m gonna take every last one of you out! You make sure they remember, forever, the night they played the Titans!” (“Remember the Titans”)

Carl Mittleman’s start in the food business began at the age of 13, selling three bones for two bucks at a Cleveland rib fest. Three years later, he interviewed for a job at a local country club. He could either work in the golf shop or clear dirty dishes from the dining room.

Mittleman chose the bus-boy position — and he fell in love with the food service industry.

“I don’t know what it was. … I think most normal 16-year-olds would have worked in the golf shop,” Mittleman said.

Over his 16 years with Aramark, Mittleman has played a key role in bringing local flavors to arenas and ballparks across North America. It’s a movement tied to hiring well-known chefs in individual markets to recreate their best recipes in a sports setting.

In his hometown of Cleveland, Aramark took over the Browns’ premium dining last season at FirstEnergy Stadium. The vendor brought in three chefs/local restaurateurs, including “Iron Chef” star Michael Symon, to help Aramark upgrade the food operation. The new food concepts and Aramark’s makeover of club-level concessions resonated with Browns fans, generating more than 20 percent growth in food revenue over the 2011 season.

The theme has come a long way since Mittleman’s days as an Aramark intern at Coors Field, a point in time when the Rocky Mountain oyster stand was the best example of a local brand at the ballpark.

“What’s wild is the social media aspect of it,” Mittleman said. “These [chef] partners have great followers, and to see fans talking about going to a Browns game … that to me is changing the fan experience, when they’re relating the chef to the venue, the team and the food.”

Mittleman was promoted to regional vice president in 2009 and today oversees Aramark’s central region, a vast territory stretching from Colorado to Ohio, and from Texas to Saskatchewan. That oversight responsibility includes 11,000 employees, including 400 front-line managers.

In Denver, where he is based, Mittleman is not afraid to make in-season adjustments if there are improvements to be made, according to Greg Feasel, the Rockies’ executive vice president and chief operating officer. It’s a quality not lost on the Rockies’ brass.

“If something is not working in April or May, he’ll change it,” Feasel said. “He is really a stakeholder.”

— Don Muret

Age: 37
 Title: Regional vice president
COMPANY: Aramark Sports and Entertainment
EDUCATION: B.S., Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration; MBA, University of Denver
FAMILY: Wife, Jennifer; daughter, Dorie (7); son, Seth (4½)
CAREER: Lifer with Aramark; jobs at Coors Field; PNC Park; Dodger Stadium; and in Alaska and Germany

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.
WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: Alaska is really not that far away.
IPOD PLAYLIST: Lots of Zac Brown Band

FAVORITE IPAD APPS: NFL Sunday Ticket, Pandora, Twitter, United Airlines
TWITTER HANDLE: @carlorado
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Luvs family, food, travel; works hard,plays hard;high expectations,humor,loyal,
passion,puts others 1st;some say moody?,#DEN home,#CLE homer
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: Hey Mom, I told you selling hot dogs and beer is a real profession.
FANTASY JOB: The Chairman on “Iron Chef”
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.” (“Airplane”)

Photo by: AVI GERVER
Mike Ondrejko’s expertise in marketing premium seats helped push revenue to new heights at a pair of billion-dollar sports projects.

Ondrejko is chief operating officer of Legends Sales and Marketing, a firm that major league teams and colleges hire to sell suites and club seats for newly constructed and renovated arenas and stadiums.

In San Francisco, where the 49ers outsourced premium sales to Legends for their new stadium in Santa Clara, Ondrejko saw a gap to be filled in the premium model. He advised 49ers CEO Jed York to build some larger suites and a second club level on one side of the stadium. His recommendations helped the 49ers generate $100 million in new revenue after stadium architect HNTB made the necessary adjustments to the building design.

Before that effort, during his tenure at Madison Square Garden as senior vice president of corporate hospitality, Ondrejko suggested developing an all-inclusive club at stage end instead of building 10 suites he knew would be a struggle to sell long-term due to their smaller size and location. Working with Brisbin Brook Beynon, MSG’s architect, Ondrejko helped develop the 174-seat Madison Club, where premium patrons buy two to six seats in a larger group setting. The club opened in October, and by January it was sold out, with season-ticket packages starting at $42,500 a seat annually for Knicks and Rangers games.

Ondrejko has learned from some of the best in sports business, starting with the group at Palace Sports and Entertainment. It was in Detroit where Ondrejko first worked with Chad Estis, now president of Legends and his boss. Their careers went down similar paths to Tampa, working for the Lightning under Palace ownership, and in Cleveland for the Cavaliers. They separated for a few years (Ondrejko at MSG, Estis with the Dallas Cowboys), before reconnecting at Legends.

Ondrejko has been at Legends since June 2011. He has helped expand the company’s business, especially on the college side, by signing deals with Stanford, Nevada, Fresno State, SMU and Ohio. At those five schools, Legends oversees all season-ticket sales and suite sales.

“Mike is the best identifier, manager and developer of [sales] talent I’ve ever seen,” said Scott O’Neil, former president of MSG Sports. “He is equally skilled at recruiting. Mike is one of the few people I’ve ever lost where I thought … ‘I can’t believe he’s gone.’”

— Don Muret

Age: 36
 Title: COO
COMPANY: Legends Sales and Marketing
EDUCATION: B.S., business, LeMoyne College
FAMILY: Wife, Kate; sons, Luke and Shane; daughter, Quinn
CAREER: Palace Sports & Entertainment (1998-2002), Cleveland Cavaliers (2002-09), Madison Square Garden (2009-11), Legends (since 2011)

HOW DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: Trying to focus on being present. When I’m at work, I’m all in. When I’m at home, I’m all in.
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching. Sing like nobody’s listening. Live like it’s heaven on Earth.

WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: Show me the money. (The focus should be on perfecting the process.)
STRESS RELEASE: Playing hoops
PET PEEVE: Tardiness
FANTASY JOB: High school hoops coach / greenskeeper for the local muni
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “And I know what I have to do now. I’ve got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” (“Cast Away”)

Photo by: AEG
If the NFL ever returns to play in a stadium in downtown Los Angeles, Martha Saucedo may be the woman behind the scenes who played a key part in getting it done.

Saucedo, AEG’s executive vice president of external affairs, worked for two years to get all the government approvals in place and an environmental impact report completed so that an NFL stadium can be built adjacent to Staples Center, when and if an NFL club agrees to move there. Her work continues now on the company’s NFL effort in terms of both community engagement and political aspects related to the project.

Both California and Los Angeles politics have been blamed as the major reason the second largest city in the U.S. has been without an NFL club since 1995, but Saucedo has overcome that, said Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG.

“We are the only city that lost two NFL teams in the same year, and the reason the NFL is not here is not our support, our passion, our love of our nation’s pastime, it is because of [politics],” Leiweke said. “We have everything in order, and the fact that the community and political leaders and the business community came behind it is a great testament and tribute to Martha.”

Leiweke describes Saucedo as devoted, honorable, hardworking and charming. “Martha may interest you with her charm, but she closes the deal with her intelligence and work ethic,” Leiweke said. “She looks innocent and shy, but she packs a wallop.”

From joining AEG as community affairs manager in 2001, Saucedo has since worked as both director and vice president of community affairs before taking her current role last year. She also is the only woman on AEG’s 13-member executive committee.

In addition to representing AEG in political affairs, Saucedo in is charge of corporate giving and charity initiatives and has been responsible for AEG and its affiliated entities giving more than $85 million to charitable organizations over the years.

But as Luc Robitaille, president of business of operations for the AEG-owned Los Angeles Kings, pointed out, “Martha doesn’t just write checks.” Saucedo gets AEG employees — whether they are players on the Kings or the MLS Galaxy, or AEG corporate executives — involved in giving their time to the community. “She makes us all look good,” he said.

Saucedo said she loves her job because she is able to give to a lot of worthy people and causes and because she meets a lot of different people. “I have never had the same day twice,” she said. “I have a great job. We are providing resources to organizations that are providing opportunities to kids.”

— Liz Mullen

Age: 39
 Title: Executive vice president, external affairs
EDUCATION: B.A., political science, UCLA
FAMILY: Single
CAREER: U.S. House of Representatives, Office of Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), 1997-2000; Mattel Inc., 2000-01; AEG, 2001-present

WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?: Knowing there are kids who may never have the opportunities that I have had because of their life circumstances; wanting to maximize what we can do as an organization and what I can do personally to help change their course in life.

HOW DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: I take time to prioritize my family and friends, which means showing up when it’s important, like visiting my nephew for his 9th birthday in Oklahoma.
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Work hard, believe in yourself and maintain a strong sense of personal integrity
IPOD PLAYLIST: The Killers, The Smiths, Kings of Leon
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: I am hardworking, thoughtful, compassionate, caring, family-oriented, giving, friendly, warm, and loyal.
PET PEEVE: Dishonest people

Before becoming a dominant retailer of licensed sports merchandise, Fanatics Inc. was a sports apparel store run by Alan Trager and Mitch Trager in a Jacksonville mall in 1995. Brent Trager was a manager at WellSpring Resources, working as a third-party administrator for 401(k) plans, when he received an invitation from his father, Mitch, and uncle, Alan, to become the manager of their second retail store in 1997.

“We really are fanatics. The guy that they hired to run the store walked out on them,” Trager said. “The amount of inventory that we carry and our customer service policies — we’re very focused on the customer having stuff and doing things that a lot of companies don’t do.”

Since moving online, and shipping the company’s first online order in 1998, it’s been Trager’s push to increase Fanatics’ Internet presence, and that’s been key to turning the company into the business it is today, operating online stores for leagues, brands and more than 200 collegiate and professional teams. Among those properties are the NFL, NBA, NASCAR and ESPN.

While the focus now is on e-commerce and not brick-and-mortar stores, Trager says the company hasn’t changed much from those early days.

“We’re still running a retail business and we’re still trying to satisfy our customers and we’re still doing things a little bit crazy,” he said.

Chief operating officer since 2002, Trager still works alongside his uncle and father; Alan is CEO, Mitch is chief strategy officer. In total, Fanatics has more than 2,000 employees in product management, graphic design, technology and logistics as well as the customer service department.

“I’ve never been a great athlete, but I’ve always been a great fan,” Trager said. “That gives me a lot of pride and gets me excited about the opportunities that are before me now to continue to service the fan and bring assortments and collections together for large-market teams and small-market teams alike.”

— Anna Hrushka

Age: 40 (turned 40 Feb. 6)
 Title: Chief operating officer
COMPANY: Fanatics Inc.
EDUCATION: B.S., business administration, University of Florida
FAMILY: Wife, Alison; twins Brooke and Elli (7)
CAREER: Worked for John Hancock and as a manager at WellSpring Resources before joining Fanatics in 1997

FIRST JOB: Worked the bleach and bar soap aisle at a grocery store when I was 14.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Don’t sweat the small stuff.
FAVORITE IPAD APP: The kids love to play Video Star, and I get to be the director.
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Even keeled, calm, sociable and usually smiling or passionately trying to influence change for something important.
STRESS RELEASE: Pilates class
PET PEEVE: Those who look out the window instead of in the mirror.
GUILTY PLEASURE: Golden Corral with my kids
FANTASY JOB: Business teacher

Rob Candelino feels a connection as he listens to Magic Johnson, Joe Girardi, John Elway and others tell their stories in the Dove Men+Care brand’s Journey to Comfort ad campaign. Thirty-eight years old, with a demanding job, a toddler at home and another child on the way, he enjoys hearing the familiar athletes tell unfamiliar stories that are less about their sports than themselves, explaining why they’re comfortable in their “own skin.”

“This cross-section of athletes or icons across sports telling real stories about how they became real men and real dads — that’s powerful,” said Candelino, who ran the Dove brand beginning in 2010 and now is vice president of marketing at Dove parent Unilever, where he started as an intern 16 years ago. “This is the first time in my career where my professional life has collided so perfectly with my personal life.

“I am that guy. I’ve reached that point in my life. I’m not going to be a professional athlete or rock star or fireman or astronaut. I sell soap and lotion and some face cream. And I’m a good husband and dad. I try, at least. And I’m comfortable with that.”

Now in its third year, featuring 14 players and coaches from baseball, football and basketball, the Journey to Comfort campaign plays off research showing that 73 percent of men feel they are stereotyped or falsely portrayed in advertising. Candelino set to craft spots featuring sports figures that guys admired breaking that mold.

Girardi talked about wearing braces to make his daughter feel more comfortable about hers. Elway talked about embarrassing his kids with his goofy dance moves. Shaquille O’Neal talked about being made fun of as a child because of his name. Candelino is convinced the campaign has been a pivot point for how men are depicted in ads.

“Guys talk to each other about sports and about their jobs, but that’s not the only thing we think about,” Candelino said. “We think about things like being a good dad, and about work-life balance. I want to get home in time to bathe my son and I want to be a good husband. But I run a big business with 13 brands. How do you do all that well, or as well as you can? Guys don’t talk to other guys about this stuff. And I think we need to.”

— Bill King

Age: 38
Title: Vice president, marketing
COMPANY: Unilever
EDUCATION: Honours Bachelor of Commerce, University of Guelph
FAMILY: Wife, Carolyn; son, Christopher (20 months)
CAREER: All at Unilever, starting as an intern; in current role since last year
FIRST JOB: My best friend’s dad owned a pizza place. When I was 9, I washed dishes, scrubbed floors and helped make pizza dough for $25 a week and free pizza.
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Attitude determines attitude.
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Energetic. Glass half full. Comfortable in my own skin. Optimistic and happy.
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: Pride, gratitude and a bit overwhelmed. I’m a small-town kid from Canada; now I run Dove in America. That’s such a privilege.
PET PEEVE: Bad coffee.
GUILTY PLEASURE: A good pizza.
FANTASY JOB: If I were to be in a big civic role, like helping to bring the Olympics to Toronto or … a (NFL) franchise to the city, that’s really interesting to me.
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “What did you do for Paulie? Anything? Three years. Did you give me a job? This! You gave me a lousy, stinkin’ Ex-Lax watch!” (“Rocky III”)

There are sports marketers who plan their careers adroitly and long in advance, expertly zigging and zagging from college athlete to marketing MBA to the front office of a glamour team or brand.

Then there’s Alexander Chang, a doctor’s son who was originally a pre-med student, who veered to a master’s degree in public health policy when he found the “blood and guts” endemic to practicing medicine unpalatable, and who now helps leverage the sponsorship portfolio of American Express.

Medicine’s loss has been sponsorship’s gain. Some say Chang’s lack of pedigree within the sports marketing field is actually an advantage.

“He’s got such a varied background that Alex always looks at things from a unique angle and can usually find and appreciate other new solutions to challenges,” said Elizabeth Lindsey, co-president of Wasserman Media Group’s corporate consulting unit.

After initially putting his public health policy expertise to use within Ernst & Young’s health care consulting practice, the initial dot-com boom brought Chang to New York City. He was recruited to AmEx’s nascent interactive strategy group in 2000 and eventually rose through the advertising and marketing group, working on launches including the Plum Card and event-marketing platforms like Small Business Saturday. Two years ago, a sponsorship position opened up, and now the former biology major is leveraging world-class properties such as the U.S. Open (both golf and tennis), the NBA, Fashion Week and a pan-AEG sponsorship.

“I always liked sports. I just never thought about it as a profession,” said Chang. “Now, I think it’s an industry I want to stay in.”

So maybe more aspiring sports marketers will start taking organic chemistry in their freshman year.

— Terry Lefton

Age: 36
Title: Vice president, sports and entertainment marketing
COMPANY: American Express Co.
EDUCATION: B.S., biology, Emory University; MPH (master’s, public health policy), Emory University
FAMILY: Wife, Menaka; sons Kalin (3) and Dhilin (5 months)
CAREER: Senior consultant, Ernst & Young (1999-2000); American Express: senior manager, interactive strategy (2000-02); senior manager, new customer acquisition (2003-04); director, new customer acquisition (2004-06); director, U.S. advertising (2006-09); vice president, U.S. advertising (2009-11); vice president, sports and entertainment marketing (2011-present)
FIRST JOB: Marketing for a children’s hospital in Atlanta.
HOW DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: You have to make sure people around you know that it’s a personal priority, and act accordingly.
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: You can’t control the future.
WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: Try to control your future.
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: I’m like your local news team: dedicated, determined, and dependable.
STRESS RELEASE: Playing golf
PET PEEVE: People who get angry on the golf course
GUILTY PLEASURE: Reality TV shows, especially “Pawn Stars”
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”)

Visa’s “Go World” marketing campaign involved 70 markets, 25 marketing leaders, five marketing agencies and four marketing reports, but it had only one coordinator: Amy Gleeson.

As the global organizer of Visa’s marketing around the London Games, Gleeson went around the world daily starting more than a year before the Games began, trying to pull the company’s largest marketing campaign together. She was up early, fielding calls from London. She later transitioned to calls with Visa marketers in Russia and then closed her day with calls to Australia, Asia and other markets.

“The day really was 24 hours for a reason,” Gleeson said. “It’s not a challenge. It’s just how you get a job done.”

Without that dedication, it’s hard to imagine Visa Inc. getting the job done. The company wanted to create a centralized marketing platform for the London Games. It was the first time it had ever mandated that all 70 of its markets use the same tag line, “Go World,” and coordinate creative and athlete selection through headquarters.

Gleeson spearheaded the effort. Over the course of 15 months, she spoke with an average of 15 markets a day regarding athletes and creative. She helped manage Visa’s creation of 10 original creative spots with 75 adaptations, and worked with Facebook and Google on a social media application that ran in 36 countries. The effort was so successful that Visa plans to replicate it for other global events like the FIFA World Cup and future Olympic Games.

“This was partly her brainchild, and the execution has turned it into a model for a lot of our different work around the world. People view it as a huge success,” said Jennifer Bazante, Visa’s head of global brand and product marketing.
Just as amazing is the fact Gleeson, who attended both the Beijing and Vancouver Games, did the bulk of the work while she was pregnant.

“I just got to do everything and not go to the Olympics,” Gleeson said, chuckling at the fact that she missed the reward most Olympic marketers get for all their hard work. “But I got to watch at home with my older son (3), and he knows as much about Michael Phelps as anyone now.”

— Tripp Mickle

Age: 37
Title: Senior business leader, global sponsorship marketing, Olympics marketing team
COMPANY: Visa Inc.
EDUCATION: B.A., sociology, University of California, San Diego; M.S., sport management, University of Massachusetts
FAMILY: Husband, Frank; sons Emmett (3) and Connor (6 months)
CAREER: More than eight years at Visa in Olympics marketing; before that, seven years at Madison Square Garden

FIRST JOB: Summer camp counselor for pre-K students
WhHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?: The never-ending to-do list; I just add items on a nightly basis. And a teething 6-month-old.

HOW DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: Set parameters and make myself keep to them.
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Cherish relationships. The further I go in my career, the more I appreciate the relationships I have, be it for getting the job done on a daily basis or for the network of friends and colleagues from whom I seek advice and counsel.
IPOD PLAYLIST: Mumford & Sons, Adele, Fun, Dave Matthews, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi
TWITTER HANDLE: @tallgirl32
STRESS RELEASE: An afternoon at the spa and a few hours of quiet
PET PEEVE: Distracted drivers. Don’t text, check email, eat, dial, apply makeup, etc., while on the freeway please
GUILTY PLEASURE: People magazine
FANTASY JOB: Awarding grants for the Gates Foundation

When you are negotiating multimillion-dollar deals with NBA superstars, knowing the game brings a big advantage to the competition.

“It helps having an understanding of the sport and what the players go through,” said Chris Grancio, head of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas. “At the same time, I spend a lot of time with the players’ agents and with our partners to help build the brand.”

Grancio can relate both to the NBA and to big-time college programs doing business with Adidas because of his own playing career. He had a two-year stint playing pro basketball in Switzerland after a collegiate career at Harvard University, where he was a four-year starter on the basketball team in the mid-1990s.

Since joining Adidas in 2007, Grancio has played a critical role in managing the company’s basketball business. He handles player endorsement deals, the company’s partnership with the NBA, its 30 deals with major college programs and its international merchandise business.

“He is authentic, and that relevance has helped him do his job,” said Lawrence Norman, vice president of global basketball for Adidas.

Some of Grancio’s biggest accomplishments over the past year include re-signing Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose with a 14-year deal for a reported $260 million; creating innovative merchandise programs with the league surrounding its Christmas Day “Big” jerseys; developing the short-sleeved jerseys debuted by the Golden State Warriors last month; and helping rebrand the Brooklyn Nets. The result has been skyrocketing team merchandise sales for the company.

“It is a business I always thought I wanted to be in,” Grancio said, adding, “I had hundreds of pairs of shoes as a kid.”

Grancio came to Adidas after working for Staples in that company’s sports marketing division and then for New Balance, where he worked in product development. When Adidas approached him, he jumped at the opportunity, knowing that his mix of professional experience and love of the game would serve him well at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Portland.

“It was a no-brainer,” Grancio said. “I am motivated by how we can work with our partners to create campaigns that help us drive our business.”

— John Lombardo

Age: 37
Title: Head of global sports marketing, basketball
EDUCATION: B.A., Harvard University
FAMILY: Wife, Lauren; first child due in early April
CAREER: Played pro basketball in Europe for two years after graduation; five years at Staples in a variety of marketing roles; two years at New Balance in product management and marketing roles; past six years at Adidas: two leading U.S. Go To Market Basketball, two as head of the NBA partnership, and two as head of global basketball sports marketing

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Grow vines (from Ron Sargent, Staples CEO)

IPOD PLAYLIST: A$AP Rocky, Macklemore and The Gaslight Anthem join about 4,000 songs from the ’90s
FAVORITE IPAD APPS: Fly Delta, Open Table, Sonos, Facebook, ESPN ScoreCenter
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Type A Bostonian, mellowed by the Northwest who enjoys a good challenge, a good debate, and a good bottle of wine
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “We have a pool, and a pond. The pond would be good for you.” (“Caddyshack”)

Dan Keats didn’t have to look far to find a role model for hard work and perseverance. He grew up in Morristown, N.J., across the street from Brett and Michael Yormark.

As a young boy, Keats remembers Michael Yormark getting hit by a car while delivering newspapers and breaking his leg.

“The next morning, he was back on the paper route,” Keats said. “I’ll never forget that. Those guys are so driven.”

(Both of the Yormark brothers are past Forty Under 40 winners. Michael is now in South Florida, with Sunrise Sports & Entertainment; Brett is in Brooklyn, with the Nets and Barclays Center.)

Much of that same drive rubbed off on Keats, who now oversees one of the most recognizable marketing programs in all of sports: the Allstate field goal nets program. As director of integrated marketing communications at the Chicago-based insurance company, Keats has the opportunity to work on something that also fulfills a passion: college sports.

His playing days as an offensive tackle at Division III Kenyon College were cut short when he suffered a broken neck. He tried coaching but didn’t care for the lifestyle that came with it. So his mother, recalling her old neighbors across the street, suggested that Keats try sports marketing. Brett Yormark helped Keats land a marketing assistant position with the then New Jersey Nets.

His next 15 years were spent on the agency side, directing sponsorship for General Motors and more recently working with State Farm at The Marketing Arm. That provided the avenue for Keats to learn the marketing angles of insurance.

Keats left The Marketing Arm in 2011 to join Allstate and run its expansive college sports portfolio, most notably the Allstate Sugar Bowl and its NCAA corporate partnership, in addition to the field goal nets program.

“For a guy who ended his football career on the field with an injury, to now overseeing one of the top brands in the college space, it’s really amazing,” Keats said. “It’s such a fantastic medium to reach consumers, and I don’t know if there’s ever been a more exciting time in college football [with the playoff coming]. To be at the forefront of all that makes this an exciting time.”

— Michael Smith

Age: 39
Title: Director, integrated marketing communications
COMPANY: Allstate Insurance Co.
EDUCATION: B.A., Kenyon College
FAMILY: Wife, Sarah; sons Jonathan (3) and Gabriel (8 weeks)
CAREER: Marketing assistant, New Jersey Nets (1995-96); manager, corporate marketing, Integrated Sports International (1997-99); regional promotions manager, regional promotions director, then director of sports/entertainment alliances, General Motors R*Works (1999-2007); vice president, strategic account leader, State Farm, The Marketing Arm (2007-11); Allstate since November 2011
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Build and protect your relationships, especially the important ones.
WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: Don’t worry: No one will ever see that.
IPOD PLAYLIST: All Jersey, all the time (Bon Jovi, Springsteen) with some Whitesnake, Journey, Def Leppard and Poison sprinkled in
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Pretty even keel with a sharp twist of East Coast sarcasm
STRESS RELEASE: Insanity workouts and karate
PET PEEVE: Casual Fridays. I’m a little old school.
GUILTY PLEASURE: Homemade chocolate chip cookies
FANTASY JOB: Tight end for the N.Y. Giants
FAVORITE MOVIE LINES: “Don’t think. It can only hurt the ballclub.” (“Bull Durham”); “Now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.” (“Spaceballs”)

Brett O’Brien comes across as an understated and laid-back executive, but beneath that veneer is a bold marketer willing to take big chances.

Never was that more evident than in 2011, when Mountain Dew sat down to renegotiate its title sponsorship of the Dew Tour. O’Brien, then Mountain Dew’s vice president of marketing, and PepsiCo’s sports team wanted to make fundamental changes to the event designed to increase participation of top skaters and BMX riders. He pushed for overhauling the seven-event series and turning it into a three-event series that featured new contests and better TV production.

The resulting tour, which debuted last year in Ocean City, Md., San Francisco, and Breckenridge, Colo., generated record video streams, more athlete participation, and the most cohesive and interactive sponsor village in Dew Tour history. It was heralded as a success by marketers at PepsiCo and athletes alike.

“He wasn’t afraid of changing the total number of events,” said Wade Martin, the former president of the Alliance of Action Sports, which runs the Dew Tour. “He just wanted to create a great experience. He’s a bold thinker, and he isn’t afraid to go with his gut and listen to people around him.”

It’s those traits that have defined O’Brien’s entire career. He started in sports marketing at Advantage International (now Octagon) 18 years ago and spent four years activating golf events and consulting for Northwest Airlines. After earning a degree at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, he joined PepsiCo, where he worked in the company’s multicultural marketing group, trying to get brands involved in everything from fashion and car culture to hip hop and the And1 street basketball movement. He joined Amp in 2001 and later shifted to Mountain Dew, where he recently spearheaded the brand’s bold marketing partnership with Lil Wayne and its DEWeezy ad campaign, which has helped the brand boost sales in urban markets.

Late last year, PepsiCo tapped him to become the senior vice president and general manager of Gatorade.

— Tripp Mickle

Age: 39
Title: Senior vice president, general manager
COMPANY: Gatorade
Education: Education: B.A., Georgetown University, MBA, Northwestern University
FAMILY: Wife, Jessica; son, Trafton (7); daughter, Josephine (4)
CAREER: Advantage International, Pepsi-Cola N.A.

WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: Dress like your boss

IPOD PLAYLIST: Biggie, Weezy, Nas, Prince, Dropkick Murphys, UGK
FAVORITE IPAD APPS: ESPN Boston, Casual Hoya, Grantland
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: “Its all good in the hood!”
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: “Are you sure they mean me? Sweet!”
FANTASY JOB: Long snapper for the Patriots
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “It ain’t cool being no jive turkey so close to Thanksgiving.” (“Trading Places”)

Photo by: OCTAGON
When Derek Aframe joined Octagon in 2003 to work on MasterCard’s marketing of the FIFA World Cup in Germany, he was fulfilling a lifelong dream. The Brown University soccer player always wanted to work on a World Cup. The problem was, he landed on the MasterCard account in the twilight of its World Cup years.

MasterCard had been the exclusive payment services partner of FIFA since 1994 but lost its sponsorship to Visa ahead of the 2010 World Cup. Its stake in global soccer shrank in subsequent years.

Last year, Aframe helped reverse that.

He engineered a global sponsorship deal between MasterCard and the Brazilian national team. The partnership, which Aframe helped sell internally at MasterCard and worked with Octagon staff in Brazil to secure, gives the credit card company rights to market through the club, one of the world’s best-known teams and a key asset in a fast-growing market, Brazil. To top it off, MasterCard beat out Visa in landing the deal.

“A lot of people would think, ‘Brazil and football. Of course! How hard could that be,’” said Michael Robichaud, MasterCard’s vice president of global sponsorships. “But at a company where not everyone understands marketing and what a partnership should look like and what a deal needs to be and what activities we should be doing, selling that idea internally isn’t easy. Derek’s great at helping us as a client with that.”

That skill is a major reason Aframe has risen to senior vice president at Octagon Worldwide. He joined the agency after time at Harvard Business School and the New England Revolution. He now oversees 60 consultants in 17 offices on six continents and manages total client spends of more than $400 million.

The highlight of it all is the chance he has to continue to work in soccer. He loves the game and still considers one of his favorite sporting events to be a 1997 World Cup qualifier between Mexico and the United States in Boston. He was working with the Revolution and was struck by the sight of middle-income Mexican-American families seated alongside suburban soccer dads and their sons.

“There’s a universal denominator [to the sport] that cuts across socioeconomic and cultural boundaries,” Aframe said. “That’s what I love about sports and working in sports.”

— Tripp Mickle

Age: 38
TITLE: Senior vice president
COMPANY: Octagon Worldwide
EDUCATION: A.B., American history and English literature, Brown University; MBA, Harvard Business School
FAMILY: Wife, Jessica; son, Aiden (2)
CAREER: Rhode Island state manager, AP/Voter News Service, 1996 general election; vice president, New England Revolution; at Octagon since 2003

FIRST JOB: Soccer referee
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?: The plan of attack for the next day
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: “Most deals collapse over who gets the credit.” — Robert Kraft

WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: “Stay away from the sports business” — Numerous!
FAVORITE IPAD APPS: Ultimate Guitar Tabs, RunKeeper, GateGuru, AP and WSJ Mobile
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: ENTP. Strives for grace under pressure #Hemingway. If #Kipling hits home. Seeks to lead like Hannibal@Carthage and write as #Grantland Rice.
STRESS RELEASE: Playing catch with my son and golden retriever; strumming my Telecaster
GUILTY PLEASURE: Opening a pack of baseball cards
FANTASY JOB: Astronaut
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “It’s not the years. … It’s the mileage.” (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)

Steve Dupee was set to take a job selling newspaper advertising in Minneapolis when he heard that the convention and visitors bureau in nearby Eau Claire, Wis., where he went to college, wanted to hire someone to bring more sporting events to town.

Dupee took the job, which evolved into the creation of a sports commission, a trend that was taking off in midsized communities across the country. It gave him the chance to interact with people across amateur sports. Three years into the job, he married, and he and his wife wanted to move to warmer climes. Dupee tapped into his budding network and landed with the National Sports Forum in San Diego, selling trade show booths and conference sponsorships.

Three years later, when he and his wife wanted to move back to the Midwest to start a family, Dupee turned to friend Steve LaCroix, who is now CMO of the Minnesota Vikings. LaCroix connected him with Steve Lauletta, who then headed up sports marketing for Miller. The two had lunch and hit it off. Lauletta recommended Dupee for a job at GMR Marketing, the agency that worked with Miller.

“Both moves I made, it was all about networking,” said Dupee, who started on Miller’s NFL sponsorship but quickly built his portfolio out to handle all of Miller’s sports sponsorships. “It was up to me to make the most of those opportunities, but I owe a lot to the connections I’ve been able to make.”

Five years ago, Dupee moved into a broader role landing and managing new business for GMR. Now, as senior vice president of client management, he spends most of his time on clients Hershey, Northwestern Mutual and Comcast, the last of which never had a national sports marketing program before hiring GMR to build out a March Madness program four years ago.

“Sports is a great way … to change the conversation about the company,” Dupee said. “Instead of thinking about how the cable guy was two hours late, you think about how Comcast gives you all this video on demand and gives you streaming with WatchESPN. It’s a great opportunity.”

— Bill King

Age: 38
Title: Senior vice president, client management
COMPANY: GMR Marketing
EDUCATION: B.S., journalism/advertising, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
FAMILY: Wife, Sarah; son, Braden (8); daughters Olivia (5) and Norah (3)
CAREER: Senior sales manager, Chippewa Valley Sports Commission, 1998-2001; director,  business development, National Sports Forum, 2001-03; joined GMR in 2003 as NFL manager for client Miller Brewing; took on business development and broader client management role five years ago

WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?: Catching up on emails
HOW DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: I try my best to be home for dinner and to spend time with the kids every night.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Have a positive attitude about everything you do.
WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: Always look out for No. 1.
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: #focusontheimportantthings: #family #fun#friendship. #makethoseworkwith: #love #caring #kindness #compassion #optimism #positiveattitude
STRESS RELEASE: When I can sit down and read a physical newspaper with a cup of coffee on a weekend morning before anyone is up.
GUILTY PLEASURE: When I’m trying to get work done at night and my wife puts on reality TV; I can’t peel my eyes away.
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “Freedom!” (“Braveheart”)

Photo by: CAA
After capturing two Forty Under 40 awards at GroupM Entertainment & Sports Partnerships, Greg Luckman left the comfort of an established company within one of the world’s largest media-buying firms (WPP) in 2011 for what was essentially a startup. However, less than two years after establishing a sports consulting business at CAA, an agency far more renowned for entertainment than sports, Luckman is back in Forty Under 40 again, making it a hat trick that carries with it Hall of Fame accolades.

Call it a Lucky move.

“Honestly, CAA is the only agency I would have left for,” said Luckman, “but the opportunity to create and build something new has always been a prime motivator for me. To build something, you need a good platform as a foundation. … Even from the outside, I could see they had the right balance of substance and smarts. Now that I’m inside, I can tell you that CAA is a hard-charging, hardworking place, but they are also not afraid to have fun.”

Fun, so far, has encompassed bringing onboard corporate consulting clients including huge sports spenders like Emirates Airline and JPMorgan Chase, two of the most competitive sports agency reviews of the year.

That’s more than just Lucky, right?

“Lucky’s really creative, he’s a great counselor and he’s really cool under pressure,” said Steve Pamon, who heads sports and entertainment marketing at JPMorgan Chase. “Everyone working in sports has connections; Lucky has relationships, and that’s what makes things happen.”

Luck is the residue of design, and Luckman’s path to the Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame began in Australia, where he started his career in sports working for a fledgling baseball team in Melbourne. The importance of teamwork was something Luckman learned over a decade working on the American Express account at Momentum, a period during which he was Tiger Woods’ liaison with the payment card brand. As the sports agency business grew and matured, Luckman has grown with it. While CAA Sports has a powerful sales arm, Luckman insists his client recommendations remain independent.

Further, the agency business has certainly changed over the years. Luckman says any success at CAA has been because he has changed as the business has.

“This all used to be about sponsorship only. Everyone involved has gotten more sophisticated,” he said. “You’ve got all the new media and technology that every client is looking for. It’s just about finding ways to use passion points like film, music and sports as ways to connect targeted consumers, whether that is through sponsorship or not. You might connect originally through sports, but you can further that with music or whatever. If you really understand those passion points, you’ll understand and connect to consumers.”

Luckman becomes the second member of his clan to receive Hall of Fame honors. Sid Luckman, Greg’s great-uncle, who won four NFL championships with the Chicago Bears, is a Hall of Fame NFL quarterback.

Even as technology becomes increasingly important, Luckman never forgets that the sports agency business is about touch. People matter. Along with experience and contacts, personal skills are still paramount.

“Lucky is sound with his advice and really consistent as a person, which I believe has a lot to do with his success,” said JPMorgan Chase’s Pamon. “I’ve been with him in situations where we are around the most powerful names in sports, and I’ve been with him next to a bunch of tailgaters in parking lots, and he’s the same guy.”

— Terry Lefton

Age: 39
TITLE: Global head of consulting
EDUCATION: B.A., psychology, Tulane University
FAMILY: Wife, Beth; daughters Charley (6) and Casey (2)
CAREER: Started career with Melbourne (Australia) Reds baseball team; managing director of Momentum New York (joined company in 1997 as account executive on AmEx); hired by WPP to create GroupM ESP in 2007; hired as head of CAA Sports Consulting in September 2011
* Hall of Fame distinction is for three-time winners

HOW DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: Gym at 5 a.m., family breakfast at 7 a.m., office by 8 a.m.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: “Chance favors the prepared mind.” — Louis Pasteur
WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: Think me before we.
IPOD PLAYLIST: New Orleans funk, “Rocky” soundtrack
FAVORITE IPAD APP: Time Warner Cable TV app
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Constantly challenging our team, myself to take it to the next level #nextlevelchallenge
FANTASY JOB: Director, Brant Lake Camp (owned by three generations of my family)
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “There’s one thing I want you to do for me: Win. Win.” (“Rocky II”)

When a new class of interns starts at CSE in Atlanta, they get an inspiring speech from one of the company’s senior vice presidents.

“I love speaking with them,” said Doug Manning, “because many years ago, I was one of them.”

Nine months after earning a management degree at Georgia Tech in 1996, Manning realized that he wanted to work in sports. So he took a step back, leaving his entry-level technology job for an internship at CSE. By 2011, he had advanced up the company directory to senior vice president of marketing.

Manning now oversees work with all of the agency’s corporate clients, a field that includes Kellogg’s, Anheuser-Busch and Regions Bank. In the last two years, Manning secured and managed Pantech Wireless’s sponsorship of the Dew Tour and Aflac’s sponsorships of the Heisman Trophy and PGA Tour, the latter including the Aflac Invitational business-to-business event in September at TPC Sawgrass.

For client AT&T’s platforms with SEC football last fall, Manning was behind the creation of “Make the Call,” an on-screen prompt on game telecasts where fans could use their second screens to predict the outcome of each team’s possessions.

“Sometimes companies just put logos on events or teams, and it makes very little sense,” Manning said. “We told AT&T, the second screen is here to stay. That second screen is your product. We’re going to give you engagement over the course of an entire football game.”

The client was pleased.

“Doug ensured that our consumer-facing strategies evolved with the constant flux of digital marketing,” said Daryl Evans, vice president of consumer advertising and marketing communications for AT&T.

It’s the possibility of ideas like “Make the Call” that energize Manning more than 15 years after that internship at CSE.

“With social media, mobile and digital, the brands get to be part of the overall consumption of the games and events people love,” Manning said. “Making that more and more organic is really exciting to me.”

— Christopher Botta

Age: 39
TITLE: Senior vice president, marketing
EDUCATION: B.S., management, Georgia Tech
FAMILY: Wife, Erica; daughters Ava (3) and Emily (1)
CAREER: Worked in technology out of college; joined CSE in 1997

FIRST JOB: Summers working the warehouse at my dad’s restaurant supplies company
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT?: Wondering how much college will cost in 2027

WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: Don’t give up your paying job in technology for an unpaid internship in sports.
FAVORITE IPAD APPS: Pocket, WatchESPN, Next Issue
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: Serious with a splash of sarcasm. Genuine and honest with high integrity. Straight-forward and confident. And a little OCD.
GUILTY PLEASURE: A Fuente Short Story and a glass of Woodford
FANTASY JOB: Winery proprietor
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “Life all comes down to a few moments. This is one of them.” (“Wall Street”)

Drew Russell has shown more than a share of versatility in his young career. The vice president of properties for Chicago-based Intersport already has played key roles across a spectrum of events that include NASCAR, prep football and, most recently, outdoor hockey at Soldier Field.

He considers that flexibility just part of his job, though.

“The principles are all the same, whether it is a college venue or a NASCAR race,” Russell said.

Managing Intersport’s properties division is a long way from the Philadelphia native’s job as a program screener at ESPN in the mid-1990s after earning his journalism degree from the University of North Carolina. His job was to watch a variety of sports programs and edit for content and timing.

“I have watched more ‘World’s Strongest Man’ contests than you can imagine,” Russell said. “I don’t think the screener position even exists any more.”

The grunt work and night-shift hours paid off, as Russell parlayed his experience into a job at The GEM Group working on the Sears account, which included the brand’s sponsorship of the BCS Championship Trophy. He moved on to Wunderman in Chicago, where he managed accounts for clients activating through NASCAR, before joining Intersport in 2008.

Russell’s first project at Intersport was running the Under Armor-sponsored high school all-American football game, which has developed into one of Intersport’s leading properties. Along the way, Russell has helped the company expand its event business, with a college baseball home run derby that debuted in 2010 and this year’s inaugural Hockey City Classic doubleheader at Soldier Field, featuring top collegiate programs Minnesota, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Miami (Ohio). The Sunday afternoon event drew more than 50,000 people.

“Drew is highly competent in the management of major events as well as in managing important client relationships,” said Intersport founder Charlie Besser. “He matches those skills with a tremendous work ethic and humility, and it is really infectious. He is a terrific leader.”

Fresh off the heels of the successful hockey event, look for Russell to continue to add to Intersport’s properties portfolio.
“We benefited this year because unfortunately there was no [NHL] Winter Classic,” Russell said. “[The college hockey event] was an event I feel we needed, and now it is my responsibility to grow the division and look for revenue opportunities on both the sponsorship and ticket-sales side.”

— John Lombardo

Age: 38
TITLE: Vice president, sports properties
COMPANY: Intersport
EDUCATION: B.A., University of North Carolina; MSA, Northwestern University
FAMILY: Wife, Chrissie; daughter, Ellie
CAREER: ESPN (1996-97), National Pro Fastpitch (1997-2000); The GEM Group (2001-02); Wunderman (2002-08); Intersport (2008-present)

FIRST JOB: Stock boy at Rite Aid
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Be willing to face your fears.
WORST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: If you want a job done right, do it yourself.

IPOD PLAYLIST: Tupac, Dr. Dre, Notorious B.I.G., Pearl Jam
FAVORITE IPAD APPS: SlingPlayer, Inside Carolina
STRESS RELEASE: College football Saturdays
PET PEEVE: Emailing versus picking up the telephone
FANTASY JOB: Athletic director, North Carolina
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “I must break you.” (“Rocky IV”)

Bryce Townsend is a details guy, and that has served him well.

“When I think about Bryce, I think of his level of detail and his mindset,” said John Kristick, global CEO, GroupM ESP. “He knows where he needs to get to and he has a very, very methodical approach to getting it done. And that doesn’t leave a lot to chance. A lot of people try to get to the finish line too fast, and he doesn’t take those chances — and that makes him extremely dependable when it comes to delivering results.”

Townsend was promoted to CEO, North America, of GroupM in July 2011, succeeding Greg Luckman, who left the company to launch the corporate consulting business at CAA Sports. Townsend had worked under Luckman, having joined GroupM in 2007 as a senior vice president. He subsequently was promoted to general manager and then executive vice president before being named CEO of the North America operation.

“When [Luckman] left, there is no doubt there were big shoes to fill,” Townsend said. “But we never had a better year than we had in 2012, from a revenue perspective, from a profit perspective, and a client-activities perspective. It’s all been good.”

GroupM counts SAP, Xerox, Volkswagen, Discover and Unilever among its roughly 32 brand clients. Townsend said GroupM takes its accountability to those brand clients seriously, but that accountability also extends to its property partners, its talent partners and its media partners. All parties need to work together to make a partnership successful, Townsend said.

Ed Erhardt, president of ESPN global customer marketing and sales, said, “I think that Bryce has a unique gift in understanding what his clients are looking for and what his media partners also are looking for. His ability to make that marriage work is where he excels.”

The Discover Orange Bowl is an example of Townsend working to make the partnership more valuable for both Discover and ESPN, Erhardt said. That work included activating the property with Discover and ESPN on-site, using ESPN talent to engage Discover through appearances.

Said Townsend, “That to me is the ultimate mark of a successful agency: When all sides of the equation look at you as central to having created the partnership, enabled it to succeed and able to move forward, driving innovation.”

— Liz Mullen

Age: 36
TITLE: CEO, North America
COMPANY: GroupM Entertainment & Sports Partnerships
EDUCATION: BBA, Goizueta Business School, Emory University
FAMILY: Wife, Daniela; children, Lucas (4) and Leo (6 months)
CAREER: Began at Momentum Worldwide in 1999, advancing from group assistant to vice president; GroupM ESP since 2007; in current role for almost 2 years

FIRST JOB: Mailroom at Ammirati Puris Lintas
HOW DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: Identify little moments that I can make better for my family by me being there
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: “You can never personally want the deal.” (my dad); “You better know how to make what it is you want to sell.” (my father-in-law)

WORST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: “We’ll figure it out later.”
PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: A real-life mashup. Mr. Suit but love my crisp #AF1’s. #C.R.E.A.M but mesmerized when it’s #In The Air Tonight. Thankful but always hungry.
STRESS RELEASE: Couch and original “Law & Order” episodes on DVR
PET PEEVE: People who don’t move and operate with purpose. And those people who can’t have the good sense to simply say “Thank you” when you hold the door open for them.
GUILTY PLEASURE: N.Y. Post home delivery
FANTASY JOB: Working a Knicks game with Marv & Walt “Clyde.”
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “The secret is, you’ve got to coordinate.” (“Boomerang”)

Having grown up riding show horses in Virginia’s farm country, Lenah Ueltzen is accustomed to clearing hurdles. So establishing a beachhead for Wasserman Media Group Consulting overseas: That’s as easy as falling off a horse.

As you’d expect, soccer dominates the sports business landscape in London, where Ueltzen is based and where sports and entertainment consulting outside of European football is not a very familiar practice. However, since establishing the practice in 2010, Ueltzen has more than tripled revenue while servicing Wasserman clients that include Pepsi, Lenovo and Verizon.

What started as a one-person consulting operation now has six dedicated employees and does business throughout Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim.

“Consulting for sports and entertainment marketing is really a whole new industry outside the U.S., so we end up selling that idea as well as WMG itself, but that is one of the things that makes it fun,” Ueltzen said. “Lots of people over here are in awe of everything that makes up an American sports event. The important thing for us has been to balance our experience with local knowledge. It’s that old thing of knowing what you don’t know being so important.”

After earning her MBA, Ueltzen went to the NBA, servicing WNBA sponsors, including P&G, Sears and Nike. Then, as now, the women’s league is not an easy sell, but, Ueltzen said, “That had a lot to do with getting me to where I am now, since I got experience in every part of the industry, from events to sponsorship to TV to sales. It was like being at a startup.”

Ueltzen eventually went to the NBA side of the house, and familiarity with league sponsor American Express took her to Wasserman Media Group Consulting, a longtime AmEx agency, where she initially worked on entertainment marketing projects before taking the job as Wasserman’s global consulting ambassador. Turns out to have been a pretty easy jump.

— Terry Lefton

Age: 35
TITLE: Senior vice president, international consulting
COMPANY: Wasserman Media Group
EDUCATION: Bachelor of science in management, business, Tulane University; MBA, Georgetown University
FAMILY: Single
CAREER: NBA/WNBA marketing partnerships, 2002-08; WMG Consulting, 2008-present

FIRST JOB: Bartender in New Orleans
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: “You can’t fix ‘stupid.’”

PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: #livelifetothefullest
STRESS RELEASE: Getting lost in London and finding places you never knew
GUILTY PLEASURE: Sticky toffee pudding
FANTASY JOB: Owning a flower shop in New Orleans
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “I believe we have two lives: the life we learn with, and the life we live with after that.” (“The Natural”)

Photo by: IMG
Call him a Forty Under 40 oxymoron: As someone who has been with only one company his entire career, IMG Consulting Vice President Justin Zambuto is that rare winner with considerable seniority despite his age. With nearly 17 years at IMG, Zambuto has put in more years inside sports’ largest agency than many of those who are charged with running the company.

Zambuto always assumed he would work in his family’s trucking business, but he got bit by the marketing bug during his junior year at the University of Miami, while interning at a boutique Miami marketing agency. Zambuto gained enough knowledge and developed enough gumption that he presented a plan to Miami’s athletic department on how to increase attendance at Hurricanes basketball games by tapping into fraternities and sororities and providing them with transportation to the arena.

The athletic department gave Zambuto a budget, and that project was “at the top of my résumé,” Zambuto said. That résumé went to 22 offices of IMG; 21 sent it back. But the Boca Raton, Fla., office kept his materials, and soon after graduation, Zambuto was promoting and managing ATP, WTA and senior tennis tournaments across the country, rising to director of events and operations at IMG Racquet Sports.

In 2002, Zambuto was looking for a new challenge, and IMG was staffing up to service new client Verizon. The switch from events to consulting clicked. “I liked building and running things, but I wanted to be the person developing strategy,” Zambuto said. He soon moved on to other large clients, including RBS, DHL and more recently, NRG.

“Justin is the ‘velvet hammer’ of sponsorship negotiations,” said NRG/Reliant Energy Chief Marketing Officer Karen Jones, who has worked with Zambuto for more than 10 years. “He comes off as almost shy and innocent, but he knows how to go for the kill. He knows the value of every property and he knows how to get the best for his clients.”

— Terry Lefton

Age: 38
TITLE: Vice president
COMPANY: IMG Consulting
EDUCATION: B.S., double major: organizational communication and English literature, University of Miami
FAMILY: Wife, Euie
CAREER: IMG Racquet Sports, director of events and operations (1996-2002); IMG Consulting, account director/account manager (2002-08); vice president (2008-present)

FIRST JOB: Working in my dad’s freight forwarding business on Long Island
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Hire good people around you and give them room to grow.

WORST ADVICE RECEIVED: Do it, and we’ll figure out how to pay for it later.
IPOD PLAYLIST: Grateful Dead and Green Day
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: I didn’t think I’d have a chance until I turned 39.
STRESS RELEASE: A good bottle of pinot noir
GUILTY PLEASURE: Reading or watching TV shows about ancient Greece and Rome
FANTASY JOB: Head football coach for an SEC team
FAVORITE MOVIE LINE: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!” (“Jaws”)


Paul Bamundo, Subway
Michael Brown, IMG
Emilio Collins, NBA
Rick Cordella, NBC Sports and Olympics
Anastasia Danias, NFL
Alex Diaz, Madison Square Garden Co.
Denise Durante, Wasserman Media Group
Peter Fitzpatrick, Home Team Marketing
Charles Freeman, Orlando Magic
Brett Frood, Stewart-Haas Racing
Kip Fulks, Under Armour
Laura Gentile, ESPN
Chris Hannan, Fox Sports Media Group
Robb Heineman, Sporting Club
Billy Hogan, Fenway Sports Management
Nathan Hubbard, Ticketmaster
Evan Hunt, International Olympic Committee
Marc Jenkins, NASCAR
Dan Jones, Intersport
David Lehanski, NHL
Lawton Logan*, IMG
Chris McGowan, AEG Sports
David Nathanson, Fox Sports Media Group
Sarah Robb O’Hagan*, Gatorade
Jon Oram*, Proskauer Rose
Chris Park, Major League Baseball
Bob Pascal, Centerplate
Merritt Paulson, Portland Timbers
Sam Piccione III, AEG China
Trina Roffino, The Marketing Arm
Connor Schell, ESPN
Hans Schroeder, NFL
David Schwab, Octagon
John Tobias, Lagardère Unlimited
Brodie Van Wagenen, CAA Sports
Tyson Webber, GMR Marketing
David Wright, Major League Soccer/Soccer United Marketing
Eve Wright, Miami Heat/AmericanAirlines Arena
Jed York, San Francisco 49ers
Peter Zern*, Covington & Burling LLP


Jay Bauman, NFL
Zak Brown*, Just Marketing International
Greg Byrne, University of Arizona
Andrew Campion, Nike
Justin Connolly, Disney and ESPN
John Currie, Kansas State University
Paul Danforth, CAA Sports
Kern Egan, Richards Sports & Entertainment
Jeff Ehrenkranz, Octagon
Chad Estis, Legends Premium Sales/Dallas Cowboys
Mark Evans, Fox Broadcasting Co.
Jonathan Gilula, Boston Red Sox
Sophie Goldschmidt, NBA Europe
Todd Goldstein*, AEG
Eric Grilly, Comcast Sports Group
Matt Higgins, New York Jets
Barry Kahn, Qcue
Dave Katz,
Jason Kint,
Leah Buhl LaPlaca, ESPN
Rita Benson LeBlanc*, New Orleans Saints
Adam Lippard, GMR Marketing
Lawton Logan, IMG College
Greg Luckman, GroupM ESP
Scott Milleisen, JPMorgan Chase
Bob Myers, Wasserman Media Group
Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Gatorade
Eric Nyquist, NASCAR
Merritt Paulson, Portland Timbers
Irwin Raij, Foley & Lardner
Rob Reed, AEG Facilities
Chris Sanders, Helios Partners
Patrick Sandusky, U.S. Olympic Committee
Emmanuel Seuge, Coca-Cola Co.
Ron Skotarczak, Madison Square Garden Sports
Timothy Slavin, Major League Baseball Players Association
Kimberly Taylor, MetLife
Todd Taylor, Texas Rangers
Albert Vertino, NBA Digital
Andrew Walker, WTA


Steve Battista, Under Armour
Katie Boes, Reel Enterprises
Chris Brearton, O’Melveny & Myers
Marc Bruno, Aramark
Chris Canetti, Houston Dynamo
Andrew Cohen, Visa USA
Paul Danforth, CAA Sports
Jeff Eccleston, Sponsorship Research International
Max Eisenbud, IMG
John Entz, MLB Network
Todd Goldstein, AEG
Chris Granger, NBA
Kirby Hocutt, University of Miami
Matt Hong, Turner Sports
Joe Inzerillo, MLB Advanced Media
Derek Jackson, Florida Marlins
Rachel Jacobson, NBA
Sam Kennedy, Boston Red Sox/Fenway Sports Group
Mike Kerns, Citizen Sports Network
Todd Krinsky, Reebok
Elizabeth Lindsey, Wasserman Media Group
Lawton Logan, IMG College
Chris Mater, Red Bull USA
Mike McCarley, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics
Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets
Mike Mulvihill, Fox Sports
Matt Pensinger, Relay Worldwide
Damon Phillips, ESPN
Bastien Renard, Nike
Bill Rhoda, CSL International/CSL Marketing Group
Alec Scheiner, Dallas Cowboys
Bill Schlough, San Francisco Giants
Eric Shanks*, DirecTV
Thad Sheely, New York Jets
Shawn Tilger, Philadelphia Flyers
Julie Tyson, PGA Tour
Keith Wachtel, NHL
Cameron Hall Wagner, GMR Marketing
Mark Whitaker, Nixon Peabody
Jamie Zaninovich, West Coast Conference


Steve Battista, Under Armour
Dan Beckerman*, AEG
David Berson*, ESPN
Pete Bevacqua, U.S. Golf Association
David Bialek, ANC Sports Marketing
Robert Birge, IMG
Marshall Carlson, Hendrick Motorsports
Joie Chitwood III, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Jason Dial, Procter & Gamble
Derek Eiler, Collegiate Licensing Co.
Peter Farnsworth, NBA
Marc Fein, Versus
Greg Genske, Legacy Sports Group
Jeffrey Gewirtz, Nets Basketball/Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
Derrick Heggans, AOL Sports
Charlie Jacobs, Boston Bruins/Delaware North Cos.
Jerry Jones Jr., Dallas Cowboys
Janeen Lalik, ISP Sports
Greg Luckman, GroupM ESP
Mike McCarley, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics
Chris McGuire, Adidas America
David Mingey, Johnson & Johnson
Mary O’Connor, The Marketing Arm
Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Gatorade
Jon Oram, Proskauer Rose
Rohan Oza, Glacéau
James Pitaro, Yahoo! Sports
David Preschlack*, Disney and ESPN Media Networks Group
Mike Principe, BEST
Brian Rolapp*, NFL
Issa Sawabini, Fuse
John Shea, Octagon
Matt Silverman, Tampa Bay Rays
Ryan Steelberg, Brand Affinity Technologies
Jennifer Storms*, Turner Sports
Shawn Sullivan, Boston Celtics
Keith Wachtel, NHL
Robbie Weiss, NASCAR
Peter Zern, Covington & Burling LLP
Dana Zimmer, Comcast Networks


David Abrutyn, IMG Consulting
Steve Astephen, Wasserman Media Group
Dan Beckerman, AEG
David Berson, ESPN
Greg Busch, GMR Marketing
Steve Chiang, EA Sports
Brian Corcoran, NASCAR
Damon Evans*, University of Georgia
Steve Gaffney, Sprint
Tony Godsick, IMG
Todd Goldstein, AEG
Derrick Hall, Arizona Diamondbacks
Wally Hayward*, Relay Worldwide
Chris Heck, NBA
Sarah Hirshland, Wasserman Media Group
Jerry Jones Jr., Dallas Cowboys
Sam Kennedy, Boston Red Sox/Fenway Sports Group
Rick Kloiber, Fox Broadcasting Co.
Rita Benson LeBlanc, New Orleans Saints
Michael Levine*, CAA Sports
Warde Manuel, University at Buffalo
Howard Nuchow*, CAA Sports
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR
Jon Oram, Proskauer Rose
Rohan Oza, Glacéau
Scott Paddock, Gatorade
Tim Pernetti, CBS College Sports Network
Ed Policy*, Arena Football League
David Preschlack, Disney and ESPN Media Networks Group
Gabby Roe, AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour
Brian Rolapp, NFL
Eric Shanks, DirecTV
John Shea, Octagon
David Shoemaker, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour
John Slusher, Nike
David Sternberg*, Fox Cable Networks Group
Jennifer Storms, Turner Sports
Mark Tatum*, NBA
Shannon Terry*,
Peter Zern, Covington & Burling LLP


Ed Bennett, NASCAR
David Berson, ESPN
Brooks Boyer, Chicago White Sox
John Brody*, Major League Baseball
Zak Brown, Just Marketing International
Peter Carlisle*, Octagon
Kathy Carter, Soccer United Marketing
Jeff Fluhr, StubHub
Frank Gibeau, EA Sports
Wally Hayward, Relay Worldwide
Adam Holzer, Fox Cable Networks
Matthew Kauffman, Visa USA
Peter Lazarus, IMG
Rita Benson LeBlanc, New Orleans Saints
Rich Lehrfeld, American Express
Michael Levine, CAA Sports
Dan Mannix, LeadDog Marketing Group
Bernard Muir, Georgetown University
Sarah Nettinga, NASCAR
Howard Nuchow, CAA Sports
Scott O’Neil*, NBA
Doug Perlman*, IMG Media North America
Kevin Plank*, Under Armour
Ed Policy, Arena Football League
Gerardo Prado, HNTB Architecture
David Preschlack, Disney and ESPN Media Networks Group
Brian Rolapp, NFL
Ralph Santana, Pepsi-Cola North America
Darryl Seibel, U.S. Olympic Committee
Greg Shaheen*, NCAA
Eric Shanks, DirecTV
Matt Silverman, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Jennifer Storms, Turner Sports
Sam Sussman, Starcom USA
Mark Tatum, NBA
Shannon Terry,
Malcolm Turner, OnSport
Bill Wanger, Fox Sports
Casey Wasserman*, Wasserman Media Group
Kim Williams, NFL Network


Randy Bernard, Professional Bull Riders Inc.
John Brody, Major League Baseball
Zak Brown, Just Marketing International
Faust Capobianco IV, Majestic Athletic
Kathy Carter, Soccer United Marketing
Damon Evans, University of Georgia
Jeff Fluhr, StubHub
Todd France, France Athlete Management Enterprises Inc.
Frank Gibeau, EA Sports
Wally Hayward, Relay Sponsorship & Event Marketing
Sean Henry, Palace Sports and Entertainment
Paul Johnson, PGA Tour
Dave Katz, Yahoo!
Michael Kelly, South Florida Super Bowl XLI Host Committee
George Kliavkoff, Major League Baseball Advanced Media
Peter Lazarus, NBC Universal
Michael Levine, Van Wagner Sports Group
Ellen Lucey, Coca-Cola Co.
Burke Magnus, ESPNU
Peter Murray, NFL
Jon Niemuth, Ellerbe Becket
Scott O’Neil, NBA
Doug Perlman, NHL
Kevin Plank, Under Armour
Ed Policy, Arena Football League
Tom Proebstle, Crawford Architects
Michael Robichaud, Sprint Nextel
Perry Rogers, Premier Integrated Sports Management
Greg Shaheen, NCAA
Mark Shapiro, Cleveland Indians
Adam Shaw, NFL Network
Peter Stern, Strategic Sports Group
Jim Tanner, Williams & Connolly
Mark Tatum, NBA
Shannon Terry,
Dorothy Whitehouse, ESPN ABC Sports Customer Marketing and Sales
Russell Wolff*, ESPN International
Brett Yormark*, Nets Sports and Entertainment
Michael Yormark, Sunrise Sports and Entertainment
Alan Zucker, IMG


Mike Bartelli, Millsport
Ken Block, DC Shoes
John Brody, Major League Baseball
Paul Brooks*, NASCAR
Faust Capobianco IV, Majestic Athletic
Peter Carlisle, Octagon
Ben Dogra, SFX Football
Mark Donovan, Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Dunlavey, Brailsford & Dunlavey
David Ehrlich, Kroenke Sports Enterprises
Theo Epstein, Boston Red Sox
Damon Evans, University of Georgia
Ted Fikre, Anschutz Entertainment Group
John Galloway*, Pepsi
Neil Glat, NFL
Brian Grey, Yahoo! Sports
Mark Howorth, National Mobile Television Inc.
Tom Lewand, Detriot Lions
Dan Lozano, Beverly Hills Sports Council
Wade Martin, Dew Action Sports Tour
Peter Murray, NFL
Scott O’Neil, NBA
Jacqueline Parkes, Major League Baseball
Kevin Plank, Under Armour
Jon Podany, PGA Tour
Michael Robichaud, Nextel Communications
Drew Rosenhaus, Rosenhaus Sports Representation
David Samson, Florida Marlins
Greg Shaheen, NCAA
Mark Shapiro*, ESPN
Molly Solomon, NBC Universal
Dave St. Peter, Minnesota Twins
David Sternberg, Fox Cable Networks Group
John Tatum, Genesco Sports Enterprises
Clay Walker, Players Inc.
Casey Wasserman, Wasserman Media Group
Chris Weil, Momentum Worldwide
John Weisbrod, Orlando Magic & RDV Sports
Russell Wolff, ESPN International
Brett Yormark, New Jersey Nets & Brooklyn Sports


David Baxter, Reebok
Dan Beckerman, Anschutz Entertainment Group
Dan Champeau, Fitch Ratings
Bob Cramer*, MasterCard International
William Daly*, NHL
John Galloway, Pepsi
Neil Glat, NFL
Adam Helfant, Nike
Louis Jacobs, Delaware North Cos.
Billy King, Philadelphia 76ers
Jonathan Kraft, The Kraft Group and the New England Patriots
Sal LaRocca, NBA
Steve Lauletta, Miller Brewing Co.
Sam Levinson, ACES
Tom Lewand, Detriot Lions
Elliott McCabe, Bank of America
Patrick McGee, Octagon
Tom McGovern, OMD
Bruce Miller, HOK Sport
Howard Nuchow, Mandalay Sports Entertainment
Ethan Orlinsky, Major League Baseball
Jacqueline Parkes, Major League Baseball
Bea Perez*, Coca-Cola North America
Doug Perlman, NHL
Peter Pezaris,
John Pleasants, Ticketmaster
Jon Podany, PGA Tour
Jamie Pollard, University of Wisconsin and Collegiate Financial Services
George Pyne*, NASCAR
Jamey Rootes, Houston Texans
David Samson, Florida Marlins
Mark Shapiro, ESPN
Dave St. Peter, Minnesota Twins
David Sternberg, Fox Cable Networks Group
John Tatum, Genesco Sports Enterprises
Neal Tiles, Fox Television
Casey Wasserman, Wasserman Media Group
Chris Weil, Momentum Worldwide
Russell Wolff, ESPN International
Brett Yormark, NASCAR


Mark Abbott, Major League Soccer
Hank Adams, Ignite Sports
Paul Archey, Major League Baseball
Seth Berger, And 1
Paul Brooks, NASCAR
Anucha Browne Sanders, New York Knicks
Scott Brubaker, Arizona Diamondbacks
Peter Carlisle, Octagon
Ray Clark, The Marketing Arm
Bob Cramer, MasterCard International
Michael Crowley, Oakland A’s
William Daly, NHL
Joe Dumars, Detroit Pistons
Tom Fox, Gatorade
John Galloway, Pepsi
Tony Hawk, Tony Hawk Inc. and Birdhouse Projects
Ed Horne, NHL Enterprises
Wayne Katz*, Proskauer Rose
Jonathan Kraft, The Kraft Group and the New England Patriots
Steve Lauletta, Miller Brewing Co.
Mark Lazarus*, Turner Sports
Mark Lewis, Utah Athletic Foundation
Dan Lozano, Beverly Hills Sports Council
Elliott McCabe, Bank of America
Patrick McGee, Octagon
Tom McGovern, OMD USA
Alan Ostfield*, Palace Sports & Entertainment
Bea Perez, Coca-Cola North America
John Pleasants, Ticketmaster
George Postolos, Houston Rockets
George Pyne, NASCAR
Kris Rone*, Los Angeles Dodgers
Jamey Rootes, Houston Texans
Michael Rubin, GSI Commerce
Chris Russo*, NFL
Mark Shapiro, ESPN
Brenda Spoonemore, NBA Entertainment
Mark Steinberg*, IMG
Neal Tiles, Fox Sports Marketing Group
Heidi Ueberroth*, NBA Entertainment


Mark Abbott, Major League Soccer
David Baxter, Reebok
Billy Beane, Oakland A’s
Russ Brandon, Buffalo Bills
Paul Brooks, NASCAR
Willy Burkhardt, ESPN International and ESPN Enterprises
Bill Carter, Fuse Integrated Sports Marketing
Brian Cashman*, New York Yankees
Greg Clark, FleetBoston
Ray Clark, The Marketing Arm
Casey Close, IMG Baseball
Bob Cramer, MasterCard International
William Daly, NHL
Mark Dowley*, McCann-Erickson World Group and Momentum Worldwide
Tom Fox, Gatorade
Tim Hofferth, Nelligan Sports Marketing
Michael Jackson, YankeeNets
Jeremy Jacobs Jr., Sportservice Corp. and Delaware North Cos.
Kristi Jernigan, Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation
Wayne Katz, Proskauer Rose
Billy King, Philadelphia 76ers
Katie Lacey, Pepsi-Cola North America
Mark Lazarus, Turner Sports
Mark Lewis, Olympic Properties of the United States and Salt Lake Organizing Committee
Jon Litner*, NHL
Kevin McClatchy*, Pittsburgh Pirates
Duane McLean, Seattle Seahawks
Alan Ostfield, Palace Sports & Entertainment
Bea Perez, Coca-Cola North America
Steve Phelps, NFL
Scott Radecic, HOK Sport
Kris Rone, Los Angeles Dodgers
Robert Rowell, Golden State Warriors
Michael Rubin, Global Sports
Chris Russo, NFL
Jeff Shell*, Fox Cable Networks
Adam Silver, NBA Entertainment
Daniel Snyder*, Washington Redskins
Mark Steinberg, IMG
Heidi Ueberroth, NBA Entertainment


Katie Blackburn, Cincinnati Bengals
Colin Boatwright, Total Sports Inc.
Willy Burkhardt, ESPN International and ESPN Enterprises
Brian Cashman, New York Yankees
Casey Close, IMG Baseball
Bryan Colangelo, Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Arena Sports
Lee Ann Daly, ESPN
Mike Dee, San Diego Padres
Mark Dowley, Momentum Worldwide
Brian France, NASCAR
Tom Glick, Sacramento River Cats
David Grant, Velocity Sports & Entertainment
Michael Huyghue, Jacksonville Jaguars
Wayne Katz, Proskauer Rose
Barry Klarberg, KRT Business Management
Katie Lacey, Pepsi-Cola North America
Mark Lazarus, Turner Sports
Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
Jon Litner, NHL
Kevin McClatchy, Pittsburgh Pirates
Dan Meis, NBBJ Sports and Entertainment
Susan O’Malley, Washington Sports and Entertainment
Alan Ostfield, Palace Sports & Entertainment
David Paro, SFX Sports Group
David Payne, CNN/Sports Illustrated Interactive
Tony Petitti, WCBS-TV and CBS Sports
Steve Phelps, NFL Properties
Jeff Price, MasterCard International
Bob Reif, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League
Kris Rone, Los Angeles Dodgers
Chris Russo, NFL
David Salomon, Millsport
Jeff Shell, Fox Cable Networks
Adam Silver, NBA Entertainment
Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins
Mark Steinberg, IMG
Andrew Sturner,
Rob Tilliss, Chase Manhattan Corp.
Heidi Ueberroth, NBA Entertainment
Mitchell Ziets, Legg Mason


Rick Adams, East Coast Hockey League
Bill Allard, SFX Sports
Mark Bartelstein, Mark Bartelstein and Associates
Patrick Battle, Collegiate Licensing Co.
Seth Berger, And 1
August Busch IV, Anheuser-Busch Cos.
Brian Cashman, New York Yankees
Dockery Clark, Bank of America Corp.
David Cope, Washington Redskins
Lee Ann Daly, ESPN
Mark Dowley, Momentum Worldwide
Kathy Francis, Major League Baseball
Tony George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp.
Tom Glick, Lansing Lugnuts
Shawn Hunter, Phoenix Coyotes
Michael Huyghue, Jacksonville Jaguars
Gary Jacobus, IMG
Brian Jennings, NHL Enterprises
Bill Johnson, Ellerbe Becket
Michael Jordan, NBA athlete
Lesa Kennedy, International Speedway Corp.
Joe Leccese, Proskauer Rose
Jon Litner, ABC Sports
Kevin McClatchy, Pittsburgh Pirates
Dan Meis, NBBJ Sports and Entertainment
Marla Messing, Women’s World Cup
Percy Miller, No Limit Inc.
Susan O’Malley, Washington Sports and Entertainment
Curtis Polk, SFX Sports Group/F.A.M.E.
Jeffrey Pollack, NBA
Jeff Price, MasterCard International
George Pyne, NASCAR
Bob Reif, Miami Dolphins and Pro Player Stadium
Geoff Reiss, ESPN Internet Ventures
Wendy Selig-Prieb, Milwaukee Brewers
Jeff Shell, Fox Sports Net
Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins
Andrew Sturner,
Rob Tilliss, Chase Manhattan Corp.
Stacy Wall, Wieden & Kennedy

* Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame selection
Note: Companies are listed as they were at the time the recipients were selected Forty Under 40 winners. There were no 2004 winners because the award moved from being announced in the fall to being announced the following spring.


Sam Kennedy, Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management
Merritt Paulson, Portland Timbers
Mike McCarley, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics/NBC Golf Media
Greg Luckman, GroupM ESP/CAA Sports


Lawton Logan, IMG
Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Gatorade
Jon Oram, Proskauer Rose
Peter Zern, Covington & Burling


Zak Brown, Just Marketing International
Todd Goldstein, AEG
Rita Benson LeBlanc, New Orleans Saints


Eric Shanks, DirecTV


Dan Beckerman, AEG
David Berson, ESPN
David Preschlack, Disney and ESPN Media Networks Group
Brian Rolapp, NFL
Jennifer Storms, Turner Sports


Damon Evans, University of Georgia
Wally Hayward, Relay Worldwide
Michael Levine, Van Wagner Sports Group/CAA Sports
Howard Nuchow, Mandalay Sports Entertainment/CAA Sports
Ed Policy, Arena Football League
David Sternberg, Fox Cable Networks Group
Mark Tatum, NBA
Shannon Terry,


John Brody, Major League Baseball
Peter Carlisle, Octagon
Scott O’Neil, NBA
Doug Perlman, NHL/IMG Media North America
Kevin Plank, Under Armour
Greg Shaheen, NCAA
Casey Wasserman, Wasserman Media Group


Russell Wolff, ESPN International
Brett Yormark, NASCAR/New Jersey Nets & Brooklyn Sports/Nets Sports and Entertainment


Paul Brooks, NASCAR
John Galloway, Pepsi
Mark Shapiro, ESPN


Bob Cramer, MasterCard International
William Daly, NHL
Bea Perez, Coca-Cola North America
George Pyne, NASCAR


Wayne Katz, Proskauer Rose
Mark Lazarus, Turner Sports
Alan Ostfield, Palace Sports & Entertainment
Kris Rone, Los Angeles Dodgers
Chris Russo, NFL
Mark Steinberg, IMG
Heidi Ueberroth, NBA Entertainment


Brian Cashman, New York Yankees
Mark Dowley, Momentum Worldwide/McCann Erickson World Group
Jon Litner, ABC Sports/NHL
Kevin McClatchy, Pittsburgh Pirates
Jeff Shell, Fox Sports Net/Fox Cable Networks
Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins

Notes: Companies are listed as they were at the time the recipients were selected. Some Hall of Fame members had multiple jobs across their three-time win span. There were no 2004 winners because the award moved from being announced in the fall to being announced the following spring.

We asked past Forty Under 40 winners to share their thoughts on the award along with advice for the Class of 2013. Following are their comments.

What memories do you have of your selection as a Forty Under 40 recipient?

The best memory was receiving all the congratulatory phone calls, letters and emails from across the industry; notes from longtime clients, colleagues, former co-workers and friends. But what really stood out were all the notes and phone calls from other Forty Under 40 alumni welcoming me to the group. It gave you a real sense that it wasn’t just an individual honor but that you were joining a special group of great people from across the sports business community.

WINNER: 2008
JOB THEN: GMR Marketing, SVP and group account director
JOB NOW: GMR Marketing, EVP

I gathered a large group of friends that I had met through the business to that point — which included clients, buyers, colleagues, and even some competitors — to help celebrate the occasion. And we all had a blast, which is what makes it so memorable for me, since I consider my network and friends to be the most important ingredient in my career. We are lucky people who enjoy working together. I believe working in this business is a privilege.

WINNER: 2006, 2007, 2008
JOBS THEN: Van Wagner Sports Group, president (2006); CAA Sports, co-head (2007, 2008)
JOB NOW: CAA Sports, co-head

Attending the Forty Under 40 ceremony at the Waldorf in NYC with my wife, parents and co-workers was great fun. I won while I was at Miller, so we had a few cold Miller Lites to celebrate.

WINNER: 2002, 2003
JOB THEN: Miller Brewing Co., director, sports and event marketing
JOB NOW: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, president

As a part of the first class back in 1999, I guess my first thought is I now have more in common with your Champions [program] than Forty Under 40 recipients in terms of age. That said, it remains a true honor to have been a part of the inaugural class. The most lasting memories are the quality of the people and experiences shared with those who have become a part of the Forty Under 40 club.

WINNER: 1999, 2000
JOB THEN: MasterCard International Inc., VP, U.S. sponsorships and events (1999); MasterCard North America, VP, sponsorship and event marketing (2000)
JOB NOW: Sporting News, president/publisher

I received so many wonderful notes of encouragement from others in the industry. The one I remember most came from a young woman I had never met who indicated that she was inspired by my success.

WINNER: 2008
JOB THEN: Wasserman Media Group, senior vice president
JOB NOW: U.S. Golf Association, senior managing director, business affairs

“I remember being rejected for several years before I was accepted as a recipient. It made the award that much more exciting knowing how hard it was to be accepted. I also remember chatting with Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour, in line to go on stage to receive our awards.”

— Jeff Fluhr
WINNER: 2006, 2007
JOB THEN: StubHub, co-founder and CEO
JOB NOW: Spreecast, founder and CEO

“My favorite memory of my Forty Under 40 selection was attending the award ceremony with my parents, who traveled from Chicago to attend. It was a great chance to thank them for all of their support and guidance.”

— Chris Russo
WINNER: 2000, 2001, 2002
JOB THEN: NFL, SVP, new media and publishing
JOB NOW: CR Media Ventures, president

“I remember Georgetown getting beat by the Ohio University Bobcats in the first round of the NCAA tournament and Dikembe [Mutombo] and I suffering all the Ohio U grads in attendance. I also remember Abe [Madkour’s] incredible monologue when he somehow made fun of 40 people in less than 40 minutes.”

— Alec Scheiner
WINNER: 2010
JOB THEN: Dallas Cowboys, SVP and general counsel
JOB NOW: Cleveland Browns, president

“I have fond memories of my Forty Under 40 selection, even though it was eons ago. Back then there was no dinner … just a call from John Ourand.”

— Jeff Shell
WINNER: 1999, 2000, 2001
JOB THEN: Fox Sports Net, president (1999); Fox Cable Networks, president and CEO (2000, 2001)
JOB NOW: NBCUniversal International, chairman

What advice would you give to the members of this year’s Forty Under 40 class about being selected for this distinction?

Don’t mistake this recognition as any type of personal validation. If we are fortunate enough to find ourselves in a job in sports with big responsibility and visibility across the industry, then we should realize that the Forty Under 40 is first about the brand, club, team, league or agency we represent; second the success of our business; and then maybe, finally, how we handle the role we have being out front as the focus for these collective efforts. But make no mistake: Whoever is sitting in your chair at this time next year will be given the same consideration for the award that you have been given this year. It’s a good lesson to learn early in our careers.

WINNER: 2001, 2002
JOB THEN: Gatorade, VP, sports and event marketing
JOB NOW: Arsenal FC, chief commercial officer

First, remember that your selection is really a selection of the team and organization that you are a part of, not a trophy that puts you individually on a pedestal. Second, don’t take the award for granted, but use the honor to motivate yourself to tackle the next challenge ahead. You owe it to you and your team to do this. Third, don’t get comfortable or complacent. Find an opportunity to keep innovating or to do something disruptive. Put yourself in a space that is changing rapidly and that is perhaps a little (or a lot) ambiguous — these are the environments where you can create real value in the long haul.

WINNER: 2005
JOB THEN: Yahoo Sports, general manager
JOB NOW: Bleacher Report, CEO

The main message I would pass along to this year’s recipients of this prestigious award is, do not diminish the honor — and enjoy the experience to create and enhance the relationships with your peers. Being named to the Forty Under 40 class provides you with a rare opportunity to share a bond with the past, present and future recipients that you will enjoy throughout your career.

WINNER: 2001
JOB THEN: Buffalo Bills, VP, business development and marketing
JOB NOW: Buffalo Bills, president and CEO

No matter what department you work in, no matter your role or area of expertise, you are all stewards of the brand, which is never to be taken for granted. You have a responsibility to your fans, for they are the true owners of the game. If you are constantly focused on their needs and find motivation through their approval, you are exactly where you should be. That’s what makes sports so rewarding. You can walk through an arena and instantly see fans enjoying the experience you helped to create. If you get a sense of reward from that fan’s enjoyment, and it pushes you to do more and raise the bar, you will go far. Most importantly, have fun. If you aren’t enjoying your work, it will show.

WINNER: 1999
JOB THEN: NHL Enterprises LP, VP, consumer products marketing
JOB NOW: NHL, EVP, marketing

“My advice is to have a blast that night [at the awards event], and realize lots of people are happy for you and proud of you. Thank everyone you can, especially your parents. Be honored that you are being recognized, but also be your own judge as to how you are doing — and within that judgement consider criteria such as happiness, balance, fun, friends, family, personal growth and giving back.”

— Ray Clark
WINNER: 2001, 2002
JOB THEN: The Marketing Arm, founder and CEO
JOB NOW: The Marketing Arm, founder and CEO

“First, enjoy yourself. Use the honor as an opportunity to reflect upon, appreciate and thank the mentors, colleagues, family members and others who have supported you in your career and without whom your success would not be possible. Second, take advantage of the incredible network of co-honorees whom you will meet. It truly is a phenomenal group. I have forged many meaningful professional and personal relationships with my Forty Under 40 ‘class,’ and there is not a day that goes by where I don’t leverage what I have learned from one (or more) of these colleagues.”

— Jamie Zaninovich
WINNER: 2010
JOB THEN: West Coast Conference, commissioner
JOB NOW: West Coast Conference, commissioner

“The best advice I would give is borrowed from a quote that I really like: ‘You cannot ensure success, but you can deserve it’ ­— John Adams.”

— Bob Myers
WINNER: 2011
JOB THEN: Wasserman Media Group, managing executive, basketball management
JOB NOW: Golden State Warriors, general manager

“The individual recognition is nice, but finding a way to have enduring success with a team of people, company or brand is much more rewarding.”

— David Baxter
WINNER: 2001, 2003
JOB THEN: Reebok, COO, sports licensed division (2001); Reebok, president, sports licensed division (2003)
JOB NOW: Adidas, president, sports licensed division

“Put your iPhone down, breathe, and smell the roses just for one night. It’s a time to develop relationships with the leaders in sports. Accomplishments should be appreciated and should motivate us all to forge even more change in our business.”

— Tim Pernetti
WINNER: 2008
JOB THEN: CBS College Sports Network, EVP, content
JOB NOW: Rutgers University, director of athletics

“The advice I would give anyone in this year’s class is just to meet as many of the other winners as you can and stay in touch. Obviously, you’re surrounded by a lot of talented people. You’ll probably know half of them, but spend some time to get to know someone you don’t already know, and stay in touch with them.
“There will be business ideas that come out of it.”

— Paul Johnson
WINNER: 2006
JOB THEN: PGA Tour, VP of new media
JOB NOW: PGA Tour, SVP, strategic development, digital media and entertainment