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Volume 20 No. 42

People and Pop Culture

Virginia Hunt has spent her career in the television industry working at stations throughout the Los Angeles market. With her stops at various stations, she has been involved with sports programming ranging from USC and UCLA collegiate athletics to the Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Clippers and Kings. Now she will be focusing on one sport, tennis, as the executive director of programming for Tennis Channel. Hunt spoke with staff writer Brandon McClung.

Age: 62
New title: Executive director, programming, Tennis Channel
Previous title: Director of programming, KCBS-TV and KTLA-TV, Los Angeles
First job: Doughnut shop assistant — 5 a.m. before school, and, yes, we served police free.
Education: Bachelor of science, mathematics, San Francisco State University (1973)
Resides: Burbank, Calif.
Executive most admired: Greg Nathanson, Emmis Communications
Last book read: “Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry,” by Helaine Olen
Favorite movie: “The Hurt Locker”
Favorite musician/band: Jackson Browne

How is focusing on one sport going to be different?
Tennis is actually different for a very cool reason: Most of the sports we covered were all male-dominated sports in a lot of ways, but I have been a fan of tennis as a viewer and I really appreciate the gender balance that tennis offers. … More than just players, it is a gender balance of fans but also our viewers.

What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
Taking advantage of the gender balance. How do we maximize that? How do we make that into what it really is and take advantage of every aspect? … There are 3 R’s: ratings, revenue and relevance. My challenge is to take those 3 R’s and tie it back into [Tennis Channel slogan] Where Champions Live.

How do you plan to implement that?
Tennis Channel has already acquired all the key tournaments that have been available. … Now it is just how to make this picture a little prettier. Prettier in the sense that it opens up viewers, fans and distributors.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
While I was CFO, in 1989, I was KTLA’s employee of the year. Over the years I have won local Emmys, launched shows, negotiated significant rights contracts, but nothing is a bigger accomplishment to me than to be honored by my peers.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
The No. 1 thing you need to understand is that this is a business. We are a business that needs to know [it] is going to be profitable. … So I always strongly suggest get a good solid foundation in your education, which means know your math.

The Class AA Southern League’s Jacksonville Suns promoted Christian Galen to director of field operations and hired Brian Delettre as director of videography, Brett Andrews as director of merchandise, R.C. Reuteman as sponsorship sales manager, Karen Giles as business administrative assistant and Yogi Brewington and Richard O’Neill as account executives.

Fairmont State University hired Tim McNeely as athletic director. McNeely was tournament director for the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic.

Howard Payne University promoted Ken Carver to assistant athletic director for compliance in addition to his role as head volleyball coach, Abram Choate to assistant athletic director for sports information and game administration and Joshua Prock to assistant athletic director for development in addition to his role as women’s basketball coach.

The University of Memphis hired Maria Roth as senior associate athletic director for sports services and senior woman administrator. Roth was associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at New Mexico State University.

Southern Vermont College promoted Michael McDonough to athletic director.

SUNY Oswego hired Susan Viscomi as athletic director, effective June 1. Viscomi is athletic director at Hilbert College.

Xavier University hired Greg Christopher as athletic director. Christopher was athletic director at Bowling Green State University.

Rossetti promoted Deena Fox to principal and Doug Woodward to associate, and hired Ramon Corpuz and Rick Johnson as senior technical designers, Michele Robinson as an intermediate technical designer, Jon Disbrow as a project manager and architectural lead, Ben Luther as a junior designer and Lauren Williams as marketing coordinator.



The Century Club of San Diego hired Andrew Harmatys as director of operations. Harmatys was operations manager for the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Engine Shop promoted Jourdan Lawlor to account director and hired Chad Chatlos as vice president, Michelle Wilson as senior account director, Craig Grassi as director of entertainment and Patti Griffin as an account director.

Cenergy hired Brenda Palmer as interactive project manager and Nathan Zimmerman as business development manager.

Roush Fenway Racing hired Mike Mooney as vice president of partnership development, Garrett Hess as an account executive, Yasin Id-Deen as social and digital marketing manager and Rob DiFranco and Amanda Weis as account/public relations managers in sponsor operations.

The Football Association Board named Greg Dyke independent FA chairman, effective in July.

Chivas Guadalajara and Chivas USA hired Juan Francisco Palencia as director of soccer.

People news
To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information and photos to Brandon McClung at 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202, or email them to Electronic photos must be a jpg or tiff file for Macintosh, 2.25 inches wide at 300 dpi. Color only, please. News items may also be sent via fax to (704) 973-1401. If you have questions, call (704) 973-1425.

Sports executives gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Fla., last week for the annual World Congress of Sports. Events began with a VIP speakers’ dinner Tuesday night. The conference itself began Wednesday morning with panels, interviews and networking.


Jeff Price of Sporting News Media, Ken Fuchs of Yahoo and Igor Ulis of Omnigon Communications

Sandy Montag of IMG, broadcaster Mary Carillo and retired jockey Jerry Bailey

Stacey Allaster of the WTA and Tom Shine of XIX Entertainment

Sean McManus of CBS Sports and Lagardère Unlimited’s Donald Dell, a Champions of Sports Business honoree

Ben Sutton of IMG College, George Pyne of IMG, Randy Freer of Fox Sports Media Group and Abraham Madkour of SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily

Gregory Moore of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Steve Pamon of JPMorgan Chase

Rick Welts of the Golden State Warriors and Blaise D’Sylva of Anheuser-Busch, who participated in the day’s opening panel

Jennifer Biehn of Witt/Kieffer and Lyndon Campbell of Nielsen

From Cartier North America: Chad McKeehan, Matthieu Garnier, Christine Goppel and Cedric Tonello. Cartier sponsored the Wednesday-night reception.

Harvey Schiller, Roy Kramer, Pat Williams and Rosa Gatti, all Champions of Sports Business honorees, with Forty Under 40 winner Craig Karmazin of Good Karma Broadcasting, Sean McManus of CBS Sports and Champions honoree Donald Dell

Proskauer Chairman Joe Leccese, who moderated the panel “Building Business Enterprises In, Around and Outside of Sports”

Jim O’Connell of NASCAR and Rob Temple of ESPN Customer Marketing and Sales

Kit Geis of Genesco Sports Enterprises, Robbie Tran of Pepsi, Adam Harter of Pepsi, Tracie Rodburg of the NFL and Jennifer Dubin and Heidi Sandreuter of Pepsi

Ian Ayre of Liverpool FC

Charlie Besser of Intersport and Gabby Roe of YSC Sports Marketing

Scott Milleisen of JPMorgan Chase, Dennis Culloton and Tracey Mendrek of Culloton Strategies, and Wally Hayward of W Partners

Champions of Sports Business honoree Roy Kramer (left) and Sean McManus of CBS Sports (right)

Dan Mannix of LeadDog Marketing and Eric Guthoff, Dave Mingey and David Fuller, all of GlideSlope

Please submit photos for review of industry conferences, parties, product launches and openings showcasing the people and personalities at the event. Include the event date, location, names/titles of those featured along with credit information. The photo specifications are as follows: 300dpi, tiff, jpeg or eps color images. Submit digital photos for review at: or send color prints to: Faces & Places, c/o Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202.

Nonprofit group Women in Sports and Events has selected Coca-Cola’s Sharon Byers, StubHub’s Danielle Maged and ESPN’s Carol Stiff as the winners of its 2013 WISE Women of the Year Awards program.

A formal announcement is scheduled for this week.The trio will be recognized at an event in New York City on June 18.

Byers is senior vice president of sports and entertainment marketing partnerships for Coca-Cola North America. Maged is global head of business development and partnerships for StubHub. Stiff is vice president of programming and acquisitions for ESPN.

The three were selected from a field of 12 finalists based on voting by WISE members. Criteria for selection include women seen as visible leaders who have influential voices for women in the industry, as well as women who help to create opportunities and serve as a resource for other women in the industry.

Additionally, WISE has selected former NBC Sports & Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol to receive its Champion Award this year. Ebersol follows CBS’s Sean McManus last year and HBO’s Ross Greenburg in 2011 in receiving the award. The Champion Award recognizes an executive for showing consistent commitment to the promotion of women’s careers in the industry and for fostering new mentoring, networking and job opportunities.

WISE, founded in 1993, has about 1,000 members nationally.

— Staff report

As CEO and secretary general of U.S. Soccer for the last 13 years, Dan Flynn develops the organization’s business strategy. A former player at Saint Louis University, where he was part of an NCAA title team in 1973, Flynn previously spent more than a decade in sports marketing and management positions at Anheuser-Busch, where he was involved with the beer company’s sponsorship of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. With the men’s national team celebrating its centennial while playing seven more qualifying matches this year for the 2014 World Cup, and a women’s league starting up (again) — U.S. Soccer is organizing and administering the league — the 57-year-old Flynn is a busy man.

— By Christopher Botta

Photo by: U.S. SOCCER

The match is what matters, but we’re expanding the footprint beyond the stadium and the 90 minutes of play.

Lessons from A-B:
You learn that it’s always about the people you hire and implementing a strategy. I’m proud of the growth we had in my time in the beer business and have a lot of fond memories about the passion and focus we brought to the job. I brought those lessons with me to U.S. Soccer.

From the pitch to the executive suite: When I was done as a player, I was done. Nothing duplicates that experience. But even as an executive, these games can be emotional. I just try to keep those emotions in check and control what I can control.

U.S. Soccer sponsorship: We have five major partners activating at our World Cup qualifiers: Budweiser, Castrol, McDonald’s, Allstate and, of course, Nike, with our centennial kits. Sponsorship continues to grow as the game in this country has grown.

A change in event philosophy: When we come to a city for a World Cup qualifier now, we’re having pep rallies the night before and other events. They won’t be revenue-centric, but it’s about creating an atmosphere around the matches.

On the eight-team National Women’s Soccer League, starting this spring:
It takes a lot of people, along with some good timing, to make something work, and we’ve had a lot of starts and stops with women’s leagues. But we believe in it, so we’re going to keep on chopping wood. We’re running the league and subsidizing the salaries of 23 American players.

On Major League Soccer: MLS having two teams in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League is big for them and great for U.S. Soccer. We’re big supporters of MLS and proud of what they’ve accomplished over the last decade.