Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 2

People and Pop Culture

The Houston Astros named Reid Ryan president of business operations. Ryan was president and chief executive officer of Ryan-Sanders Baseball, which owns and operates the Class AA Corpus Christi (Texas) Hooks and the Class AAA Round Rock (Texas) Express baseball clubs.

Arkansas State University named Mickey Ryan associate athletic director for external relations.

Mississippi State University named Scott Wetherbee senior associate athletic director for external affairs. Wetherbee was assistant athletic director for marketing and ticket operations for East Carolina University.

Northern Arizona University named Mark Urick and Ryan Weigand directors of development. Urick was acting director of development for the University of Delaware, and Weigand was athletic club coordinator for Long Beach State University.

Southeast Missouri University named Rachel Blunt assistant athletic director for compliance. Blunt was director of compliance for the University of Tennessee.

Syracuse University promoted Brady Rourke to associate director of the Stevenson Academic Center for Student-Athlete Development.

Texas A&M International University named Gilbert Zimmermann athletic director. Zimmermann was the athletic director at Lake Erie College.

The University of Arkansas named Mike Waddell senior associate athletic director. Waddell was athletic director at Towson University.

The University of South Dakota named Dave Williams senior associate athletic director for external affairs. Williams was athletic director at Kentucky Wesleyan College.

The University of Virginia named Steve Pritzker chief financial officer and associate athletic director for business operations.


The Madison Square Garden Co. promoted Ron Skotarczak to executive vice president of marketing partnerships.

The Kansas City Chiefs promoted Mike Borgonzi to assistant director of pro scouting, Dom Green to assistant director of college scouting, Brett Veach to pro and college personnel analyst and Ryan Poles to college coordinator. The Chiefs also hired Will Lewis as director of pro scouting, Randy Ball as pro scouting assistant, and Trey Koziol as an area scout.

The Atlanta Falcons promoted Mark Olson to national scout.

The Buffalo Bills promoted Doug Whaley to general manager and hired Jim Monos as director of player personnel and Kelvin Fisher as director of college scouting.

The Chicago Bears promoted Mark Sadowski to senior national scout.

The College Football Playoff named Gina Chappin senior director of communications and brand management. Chappin is the owner of Dolce Sports Media.

The California Golf Course Owners Association named Marc Connerly executive director. Connerly is vice president of Connerly & Associates.

The ECHL hired Rich Bello as director of team business development. Bello was director of ticket sales at Seton Hall University.

The Boston Bruins hired Kevin Stone as season-ticket account executive.

Scarinci Hollenbeck named Moe Vela director of the firm’s new Washington, D.C., office.


Learfield Sports named Brian Gabel general manager of Northern Iowa University Panther Sports Properties. Gabel was general manager at Drake University for IMG College Sports Marketing.

Cox Group named Brad Brown partner. Brown was vice president of sports and entertainment marketing for Anheuser-Busch.

KemperLesnik named Christie Zielinski group account director and Curt Gruber vice president of sports and event marketing. Zielinski was vice president of communications for Cushman/Amberg Communications, and Gruber was vice president of business development for the Chicago Wolves.

Madison Sports Partnerships named Aiyana Welsh account executive.

Headline Media Management promoted Mark Zimmerman to vice president of talent and marketing and Brian Jacobs to vice president. Jon Stein was hired as associate director of talent and marketing.

Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic hired Clifton Brown to cover the Baltimore Ravens. Brown covered the NFL for Sporting News.

Tennis Channel named Ross Schneiderman senior coordinating producer. Schneiderman was an NFL producer for CBS.

Universal Sports promoted Scott Brown to chief executive officer, replacing David Sternberg, who stepped down from the position, and named Robert James vice president of programming. James was the regional director of content and general manager for Comcast Entertainment Television.

Horizon Media named Marianne Gambelli executive vice president and chief investment officer. Gambelli was a broadcast sales executive for NBC.

Fox Sports 1 named Andy Roddick co-host for “Fox Sports Live.”

LockerDome named Keith Cutler senior vice president of strategic partnerships. Cutler was the senior vice president of sales and business development at CBS Television Stations Digital Media Group.

New England Sports Network senior coordinating director Mike Narracci is stepping down from the position.

Multiteam Companies
Fenway Sports Management named John Clark senior vice president of sales. Clark was vice president of team sales for the New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty at Madison Square Garden Co.

DHR International named Adrian McBride executive vice president in the firm’s St. Louis office.

Professional Bull Riders promoted Ellen Newberg to vice president of event marketing. named Cristine Hurley chief financial officer. Hurley was a partner at Pro Forma Advisors.

NYC & Co. named Jeff Mohl vice president of sports marketing.

Awards and Boards
Good Sports named Amy Latimer to its board of directors. Latimer is president of TD Garden.

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.

Activation was the word last week as 350 industry professionals
gathered at The Westin Chicago River North for speakers,
panels and more.


Taco Bell President Brian Niccol discussed the need to create innovative, culturally relative marketing, “so that they don’t just buy your brand, they buy into your brand.”

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts talked about a renovation that will allow Wrigley Field to retain its charm: “We are not going to fix what isn’t broken.”

Intersport President and CEO Charlie Besser (left) interviewed ESPN Executive Chairman George Bodenheimer, who discussed topics including ESPN’s competitors and rights acquisition.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel opened Thursday’s proceedings with a discussion of sports’ importance to the economic development of the city.

Tom Haidinger (left) of Advantage International and Derek Gamble of MLS spoke during a break at the conference.

AECOM’s Brett Fuller takes a swing at the golf simulator as part of Intersport’s Ultimate Golf Challenge. The person whose ball landed closest to the pin won tickets to the 2014 Masters and full Double Eagle Club hospitality.

The summit moved north Wednesday afternoon to Wrigley Field, where attendees took in a Cubs-White Sox game.

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.

Jaws rounds up stars for charity golf

At the 2013 Ron Jaworski Celebrity Golf Challenge, which raised money for football analyst Jaworski’s foundation, Jaws Youth Playbook (from left): Basketball hall-of-famer Julius Erving, football analyst Herm Edwards, golfer Michelle Wie, Jaworski and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

Upfront time for ESPN Deportes

ESPN Deportes brought a big lineup for its upfront presentation May 15 in New York City (from left): Soccer analyst Alexi Lalas, “SportsCenter” anchor Hannah Storm, correspondent Pedro Gomez, soccer analyst Jared Borguetti, boxing analyst Julio Cesar Chavez, baseball commentator Ernesto Jerez, program host Adriana Monsalve, soccer analyst Mario Kempes, program host Carolina Guillen, program co-host Bernardo Osuna, boxing analyst Juan Manuel Marquez, baseball analyst Ozzie Guillen and soccer analyst Fernando Palomo.

Dalai Lama visits Portland

Chris McGowan (left), Portland Trail Blazers president and CEO, and general manager Neil Olshey (center) met the Dalai Lama during his Environmental Summit on May 11 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Among other gifts, McGowan and Olshey presented the Dalai Lama with a No. 14 Trail Blazers jersey (he’s the 14th Dalai Lama) and a Trail Blazers hat.

Welcome to Paris

At the 2013 French Open players party, held recently at the U.S. Embassy in Paris (from left): U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin, ATP Tour No. 8-ranked player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tennis Channel Chairman and CEO Ken Solomon.

Suffolk University honors Kraft

Robert Kraft (center), chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, was honored by Suffolk University with an honorary doctor of public service degree during commencement ceremonies at Boston’s Bank of America Pavilion on May 19. Reebok founder Paul Fireman was also among those honored. From left: Suffolk University President James McCarthy, Kraft and Andrew Meyer Jr., chairman of the university’s board of trustees.

Stern on hand as Collins is honored

Attending the GLSEN Respect Awards at Gotham Hall in New York City on May 20 (from left): Actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, NBA player Jason Collins and NBA Commissioner David Stern. Collins was presented with the 2013 Courage Award.

IMG College welcomes partners

IMG College played host to more than 550 university and business partners at the IMG College Partner Symposium delivered by UPS recently in Atlanta. From left: Ron Rogowski, UPS VP of global brand and sponsorship; Hunter Nickell, IMG College SVP of partnership management and business development; Rich Luker, founder of Luker on Trends and the ESPN Sports Poll; and Ben Sutton, IMG College president.

Impact of Sports in Philadelphia

At The Impact of Sports Presented by Rothman Institute on May 22 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia (from left): Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko, Philadelphia 76ers CEO Adam Aron and Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman.

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.

Anybody in the business of selling tickets understands the threat and appeal of at-home viewing for fans. Atlanta-based Experience has developed a way to provide fans with a better time at the game and help teams unload leftover ticket inventory. Ben Ackerman, 40, with an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, is president of Experience, which launched 17 months ago and now claims more than 30 college and pro teams as clients.

— Compiled by Michael Smith


We work with the teams to figure out what is available to deliver to the fans and put it in their hands to access. Do they want better seats, seats in the shade, seats in the sun, club level, amenities? We can leverage technology to make all of that available.

Experience begins:
I’ve been working on early stage technology for the last 15 years, and the last several years of that were focused on building consumer-facing mobile apps for sizable partners at a company called Firethorn. Tripp Rackley, the founder of Firethorn, sold that company and began ideating on what became Experience, which launched in January 2012.

The flagship product: We provide an app that fans can open or [they can] go to a specific URL. The teams use a handful of social channels — Facebook, Twitter, emails to ticket holders, in-venue signage, PA announcements — to let the fans know this is available. Through the app, fans can upgrade their ticket or choose from a variety of experiences to purchase at the game.

About the fan experience: The experience at home is so good, and the fan expects it to be as good or better at the game. Fans go to events to create memories and then share those memories in their social network. Access to batting practice or access to a shoot-around, or upgrading a ticket: That’s what we do.

Adoption in the college space: [There] is the challenge of getting students and young alumni to the games, even with some of the top universities that have incredible programs. Students aren’t always showing up. There are also implications from that, because that could indicate problems with the next generation of fans.

On improved in-venue technology: DAS [distributed antenna systems] are beginning to proliferate, and with that, the amount of content being delivered is proliferating. Now it’s not uncommon to see a fan bring an iPad to the game. Teams are leveraging that.

Why MIT?: I went to MIT to change what I was doing and focus more on entrepreneurship and technology. I had been in manufacturing, working in South and Central America, and Mexico. This is not really the job I was thinking about 15 years ago, but being involved in early stage technology, that’s why I went to school there. … To be able to work in sports and live events now is one of the highlights of what I do now. We’re just scratching the surface of what we can provide to customers.


he environment
in soccer is a very dynamic environment. It’s an environment where there’s change happening every day. If you want to get a program — a national team program or maybe a club — to the next level, you can’t do it the way you’ve done it before.

Soccer is a little bit different than other American sports because the race [for success] is global. I need to know what happens in South America. I need to know what happens in Europe, where the big money is, and even other continents, whether it’s Asia or Africa. I have to be constantly on my toes.

Photo by: AP IMAGES
You only grow by taking risks and trying things out and seeing if it plays out well or it doesn’t.

Motivation in our world is coming out of the athlete himself. I can’t motivate an athlete. It’s not my job. You either have that inner drive to get to the next level or you don’t.

I always lived in a way that you never know what happens tomorrow. I am fine with that. I don’t know what happens after the task with the U.S. team.

I had no idea all the different components of a coach’s world. Running a staff. Running topics like the medical side, the science side, the IT side, the scouting world. You suddenly have 10 or 12 or 14 components. As a player, you only have one: Play your next game and focus on it. Suddenly, you see you’re missing a lot.

I admire people like Coach K. He’s a role model in … pulling the best people in different topics and learning from them. That’s why I went to his seminars and I went to meet with Phil Jackson for a day or go to Pete Carroll at USC. I understood after the playing days were over, you have a world to learn.

I’d rather bring in experts and kind of connect those dots between experts. I also have to give them the acknowledgment and empower them to show their expertise. I don’t want to take any credit away from them. It’s more an American way of doing it. It’s definitely not the German way of doing.

You take [criticism]. You evaluate it. You discuss it with your people. You say, is it right or wrong? If it’s something that’s just invented and purposefully done to damage you and be offending, I go after them. I fight back. But usually, I try to understand where that message comes from and why.

A national team has a different chemistry than a club team because a national team only meets [a few times] per year.

Too many takers can take the air out of the whole energy cake — I call it an energy cake — and we are done. Our task is, how can we create an inner circle environment that’s full of support? We’re looking more for givers. Even if we have one or two or three takers, can we compensate with them? If we can, good, because they have certain qualities that make them belong in that group. But if they pull too much energy, I will drop one of the takers even if I lose quality, soccer quality, overall.

Because soccer is so fast-paced, you have to give people also deadlines. Our deadline is the World Cup 2014. If we don’t put in place the exact perfect environment, then I’m probably going to fail. I’m going to lose my job, and the team will fail.

You have to make sure the people with you pick up their pace and learn quickly. If it’s that team administrator, if it’s the media side of it, if it’s the medical side of it, and I see they can’t pick up their pace, then I have to be honest with that person and say, “It’s simply not working.”

Self-motivation and hardworking, that is just the base for a good hire. What you want to see is the person is always curious; curious to see where he can improve himself.

You will never hear me making negative comments in a public way about anybody. … If it’s doable in person, I will meet them.

It is important to make public comments [about players] because they’re publicly driven. The generation today is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. They’re far more receptive to anything that comes out there publicly.

Arrogance is when you underestimate your opponents, when you think you’re better than you actually are. You see it as a coach. You see it as a player on the field. You’re going to lose games because the other team is going to smell that. You smell that in soccer. You smell it on the field. When you smell an arrogant player who thinks you can do it easily, you’re going to hit him twice as hard. You just want to give him a message.

Franz Beckenbauer is an amazing example of how charisma and just pure personality can open doors, can calm down very hectic environments, can give people confidence without actually saying a word because of what he achieved in his life. He walks in the room and convinces CEOs to write a check for $10 million of sponsorship and there’s no plan. That’s because of what he did as a player and a coach.

Charisma can achieve anything.