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Volume 21 No. 1
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Korn/Ferry hired to find new leader for hall

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has hired Korn/Ferry International to find a new executive director to replace Steve Perry, who will be stepping down from the position, sources said.

Neither Perry nor a spokesman for the hall replied for comment. Korn/Ferry’s Jed Hughes, the firm’s global sector head of its sports practice and who recently did the search for the New York Jets’ general manager position, declined to comment.

The hall hired Perry, a former administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, in 2006. Under his leadership, the hall has developed closer ties with the NFL and undergone renovations paid for in part by the league. It’s unclear why he is stepping down or how immediate his departure will be.

WHO WILL LEAD NEW YORK?: This meeting featured the NFL awarding Super Bowls 50 and 51 — that’d be Super Bowl L and Super Bowl LI — to Santa Clara, Calif., and Houston, respectively. But the coming Super Bowl (XLVIII) for this season in New York/New Jersey has more pressing matters, and that means more than just any possible snow, ice or cold temperatures for what will be the league’s first outdoor cold-weather championship game. New York City voters in November will elect a new mayor to succeed Michael Bloomberg, who championed hosting the game as well as the plan to shut down Broadway for 10 blocks as part of Super Bowl Village.

Come Super Bowl week next year, any number of issues might arise that need the attention and influence of the new mayor.

“We have the challenge of an outgoing mayor in New York; it is something we have to deal with,” said New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch. “Bloomberg won’t be mayor Super Bowl week, so we have been talking to the potential mayoral candidates, bringing them up to date.”

There are at least eight formal candidates for mayor vying to step into City Hall on Jan. 1.

Bob McNair (left) and Houston get Super Bowl LI; Jed York (center), with John York and Daniel Lurie, won Super Bowl L for Santa Clara.
Photos by: AP IMAGES (2)
On the weather, conventional wisdom has been that the big concern is a blizzard coming in the day before the game or the day of, but Tisch last week said, “The one thing that would hurt us is a serious midweek blizzard.”

BIGGER IN TEXAS: Houston officials are expecting 100,000 fans to come to downtown Houston for Super Bowl LI, in 2017. That’s up from 75,000 fans in 2004. The increase is due to an increase in green space downtown, and new hotels and amenities that have been built over the past decade or will soon be built. While the game’s host site, Reliant Stadium, is outside downtown, the city’s center is where most of the related events (such as Super Bowl Village) will be based.

NOT SO SUPER: It is rare, if not unheard of, for a losing Super Bowl bidder to hold a press conference after the owners vote on their selection of host sites. Not only did the Miami contingent do that here, but it even jumped ahead of Houston in stepping up to the podium, making Texans owner Bob McNair wait in the hallway until finished. (Santa Clara representatives went first).

The south Florida crew, of course, wanted to make a statement about not getting a state stadium-funding vote for desired improvements to Sun Life Stadium and how failing to have that vote doomed its chances for bringing the Super Bowl back to Miami. Even later, bid chairman Rodney Barreto, who called out individual politicians by name during the press conference, was holding court in the lobby of the hotel that was hosting the meeting, blasting local Florida politicos.

HEALTH AND SAFETY: At the owners’ annual meeting in March, San Francisco 49ers co-chairman John York, chairman of the league’s player health and safety committee, told reporters he was unsure a survey that the NFL Players Association touted at the Super Bowl (saying players largely did not trust team doctors) actually existed. He said he had asked to see it and had not.

Well, last week, he said he still had not seen the survey, and he now considers the matter a dead issue. He also took umbrage at a comment an NFLPA spokesman made in March that York’s comments should be dismissed because his organization had “denied [quarterback] Joe Montana’s workers’ compensation benefits for years.” York, a retired cancer research pathologist, pointed out he did not even begin ownership of the team until 2000, well after Montana’s playing days. He declined to comment in greater detail as he left the hotel.

STADIUM FUNDING PLANS: The Cleveland Browns expect to begin renovations of FirstEnergy Stadium after the coming season, a key source said. The team may spend as much as $100 million, if not slightly more, on the plan and expects to hire an architect shortly.

The Browns have been somewhat hesitant to put too much money into the stadium, because it already is 14 years old and the club could seek a new stadium within a decade. However, the nine-figure sum suggests more than just cosmetic changes are ahead.

Speaking of renovations, the Philadelphia Eagles’ redo of Lincoln Financial Field will hit $120 million, sources said. The NFL here awarded about $60 million in league stadium financing for the effort. Another $26 million was awarded to the Carolina Panthers for their planned refurbishment of Bank of America Stadium.

BIG DAY FOR BLANK: Last Tuesday was certainly a good day for Arthur Blank. Not only did his Atlanta Falcons receive $200 million in league stadium financing for the team’s $1.1 billion stadium project, but on the same day, stock in Home Depot hit an all-time high share price. Blank is the co-founder of the home improvement company.
The Falcons have begun talking to bankers about how to manage the team’s share of the stadium cost. The Falcons are getting $200 million in public funds, so that means there is $700 million of responsibility on the club. Not all of that will be debt; some will come from personal seat licenses and sponsorships.

The new stadium is expected to open in 2017.