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Volume 20 No. 42

People and Pop Culture

Minor League Baseball named Eric Chisholm to its corporate partnerships division. Chisholm was director of sales and strategic alliances at School of the Legends.


The Phoenix Suns promoted Zaheer Benjamin to vice president of business planning and basketball analytics, Dan Costello to vice president of sales and activation, Nina Daily to vice president of marketing, Carlissa Henry to vice president of sales and operations, and Aaron Nelson to vice president of athletic care and head athletic trainer, and hired Steve Reese as vice
president and chief information technologist.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx named Brad Ruiter vice president of communications. Ruiter was a media consultant.

The Atlantic 10 promoted Lucas Feller to assistant commissioner for championships, Tom Waterman to operations assistant for championships and media relations, and gave senior associate commissioner Ed Pasque the added responsibilities of external brand management and marketing. The Atlantic 10 also hired Henry Archuleta for the newly created position of director of compliance and Beth Bradley as an administrator.

Florida Gulf Coast University named Jason MacBain director of athletic communications. MacBain was sports information director at St. Bonaventure University.

Long Beach State University promoted Roger Kirk to assistant athletic director of media relations.

Ohio University named Ryan White senior associate athletic director for development. White was associate director for the Virginia Athletics Foundation at the University of Virginia.

Syracuse University named Joe Giansante executive senior associate athletic director for external affairs/chief communications officer. Giansante was director of media and communications for the Triton Management/Endeavor Capital Group.

Miami University named Dave Meyer assistant athletic director for athletic communications. Meyer was assistant director for athletic communications at Bowling Green State University.

Mississippi State University named Leah Beasley assistant athletic director for marketing. Beasley was associate athletic director at Louisiana Tech University.

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke promoted Patrick Sterk to associate athletic director for compliance, business operations and administration.

The University of Texas at San Antonio named Tamica Smith-Jones senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator. Smith-Jones was athletic director at Clark Atlanta University.

GroupM ESP hired Andrew Shahadi as vice president and Nathaniel Walsh as account director.

USA Gymnastics promoted Scott Bregman to director of content and communications.

USA Wrestling national teams director Mitch Hull stepped down from the position. Hull will be executive director of the Wisconsin Regional Training Center.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Arena North America named Chris Duplanty director of sales.

Nike promoted Craig Cheek to vice president of men’s training and named Reenie Benziger vice president of young athletes.

CytoSport named Rob King chief executive officer. King was president of North America at Pepsi Bottling Group. hired David Marcus as senior vice president of partnerships and Eric Wilson as vice president of technology and product.

Teneo Strategy named Kristina Schaefer a managing director. Schaefer was senior vice president of consulting and head of Olympic clients for IMG.

Awards and Boards
The DeVos National Policy Advisory Board named Tony Schiller chairman. Schiller is a founding partner at Paragon Marketing Group.

People news
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On hand for the Cosmos’ reboot

From the New York Cosmos’ opening day at Shuart Stadium on Aug. 3: Cosmos legend Carlos Alberto, state Sen. Jack Martins, Cosmos legend Pelé, State Assembly member Earlene Hill Hooper and Giorgio Chinaglia Jr., son of Cosmos legend Giorgio Chinaglia.

In the house for Beyond the Green 

At the Beyond the Green presentation for the PGA Championship on Aug. 5 at Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, N.Y.: Sandy Cross, PGA of America; Kathryn Carson, U.S. Golf Association; Gretchen Geitter, Buffalo Bills; Lauren Dixon, Dixon Schwabl; Nancy Henderson, LPGA; and Cathy Crowther, Golf Channel

Meeting Rachel Robinson

Garry Howard, Sporting News Media editor-in-chief, with Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, at the National Association of Black Journalists’ Convention in Orlando on Aug. 2. Robinson’s daughter, Sharon, received a Sam Lacy Pioneer Award from the NABJ Sports Task Force, of which Howard is a past chairman.

Motorsports 2.0

The Charlotte Business Journal hosted Motorsports 2.0 at The Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte on Aug. 6.

ABOVE: CBJ’s Erik Spanberg (left) moderated a panel featuring Marcus Smith of Speedway Motorsports Inc., Michael Waltrip of Michael Waltrip Racing and J.D. Gibbs of Joe Gibbs Racing.

BELOW: A Fireside Chat featured NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Dale Jarrett.
Photos: NANCY PIERCE (2)

Straight talk from McEnroe

Tennis hall of famer and four-time U.S. Open singles champion John McEnroe (center) with Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series general manager J. Wayne Richmond (right) and New York Times sports editor Jason Stallman before the TimesTalk question-and-answer session featuring McEnroe and Stallman at The TimesCenter on July 23.

Heads Up announcement

USA Football Chairman Carl Peterson, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Pop Warner Executive Director Jon Butler announce that the NFL and USA Football will provide their Heads Up program, aimed at cutting concussion risks, to Pop Warner coaches. They were at the Cleveland Browns’ training camp in Berea, Ohio, on Aug. 1.
Photo by: JOHN H. REID III

Emmy night in L.A. for TWC Sports

Time Warner Cable Sports executives Pablo Urquiza, David Rone, Mark Shuken and Larry Meyers arrive at the Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards on Aug. 3 at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre. TWC SportsNet took home five awards and TWC Deportes won another.

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.

Cordaro at far left in 1999 as a member of the Class AA West Tenn Diamond Jaxx staff and on the mound (below) at the Storm Chasers’ Werner Park.
I went to the baseball winter meetings in Nashville
, and went through a job fair. I was fortunate to get several job offers. At that time, I was not thinking about doing anything else. [Before baseball, Cordaro was a drummer in a band called Stonybridge.]

Everyone thinks they’re pretty smart when they get their first job, but I didn’t know what I was getting into.

No outfield sign gets viewed unless there’s

someone sitting in the stands. Group sales are at the core of things; it’s how the community gets engaged.

We started with a staff meting on a Monday morning, Jan. 4, 1999. I knew no one. … The GM, David Hersh, stood up and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to be 0-140 this year.” I thought, “Golly, I didn’t realize we would be that bad.” But I also knew that MiLB is about entertainment and fun. He went on to say that it’s about how cold the beer is and how warm the hot dogs are and how many laughs we get from our promotions. And if we win, that’s a bonus.

You prepare the ballpark every night, whether it’s Friday or Monday, and you put on the same show. It’s like inviting 5,000 of your closest friends over to your house.

I was naïve. I didn’t understand all the ins and outs and how much I would be told no. I was humbled a lot.

In my first year, we had a lobster tail giveaway with the local fish market. We needed a vehicle to transport tails from the market to the game. I had a Jeep Cherokee, so I raised my hand. The tails were in coolers, so no big deal. After seven or eight trips, with the tails in Styrofoam boxes inside large cardboard boxes, the smell just became awful. It was a 100-degree day, and those tails were just sloshing around in that Jeep. Every June, I wonder who has that Jeep and if they can smell the lobster.

I’m not an enjoy-the-moment kind of guy. It’s always about the next challenge, the next opportunity, how we improve, how we make it better. I had been in group sales and then I was promoted to director of sales for the club. I started to think, “OK, I’ve got a decent chance for a career in baseball.” It was becoming a career.

In late April 1999, there was a situation where some suite clients wanted to see me. They had no food. When I began checking, I met [my wife] Sara, who was working for Ovations, our caterer, to put herself through college. Three months later, we started dating. It took 90 days for me to get the courage to ask her out.

Young (far right), with industry colleagues, started in concessions nearly 50 years ago.
I got to the point that I could maybe sell nine or 10 loads of dogs at Eagles games and I could end up coming home, with tips … you made in those days, I think it was 12 percent a load. Hot dogs were only 35 cents, so it was $21 a load. I could have come home with $50, pretty good money.

Back in those days, you didn’t have pre-wrapped hot dogs. They were in a kettle with hot water. Rolls and a cup of mustard with a tongue depressor to slap it on. Used to work the upper

A long way from the hot dog kettle, Ken Young prepares one of Ovations’ signature dishes, Ballpark Bananas Foster.
deck. After learning the ropes, I would take three loads before halftime, because especially in the end zones, there is no place to buy stuff at Franklin Field — it’s not like they had concession stands — so you just set up.

We used to sell Cokes with the shrink wrap. No lids. Soda would drip down your leg holding those trays. By the end of the day you were drenched from the thigh down.

I loved doing it, to the point that when I was in 11th grade, we needed to do a term paper in U.S. history class and I did it on the business of vending. I still have it.

I put that on a résumé when I was at Penn State and started looking for jobs, and it led me to my career. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and I ended up in February of 1972 having an interview with Aramark, then Ara Services. … They looked at my résumé and said you might be interested in our recreation division. … I looked up at them and said, “That’s what I want to do.”

My very first day, I had no idea what I was doing, none at all. I was selling hot dogs and … I went back to pay for my last load, and they said, No, you already paid for it. I knew I hadn’t paid for it. I’m just a 16-year-old kid, not ready to beat the system, you know. I actually argued with them there. They said, no, we’ve got you checked off, you already paid. Finally, I just shrugged my shoulders and said OK. I left with an extra 15 bucks that day.

I have thought about that so often that, OK, that was my first experience of learning how accountability can screw up an account. When I first got my first job with Aramark at Providence [College], I used to challenge those vendors. I knew most of the tricks.

I had a load of hot dogs and walking through the concourse [at the 1968 Penn Relays]. … Next thing I know I’m in the middle of a circle and basically two guys are trying to rob me and I am scared to death. … One of the guys who pushed me had on this green suit and my mustard tongue depressor flew out and onto him so he got mustard all over himself. At that point, he doesn’t care about the money as much as he cared about his suit. Fortunately, there was a policeman who stepped in and broke it up.

I can’t tell you how often, I think back: What if I never vended? Would I have gotten into this profession because I would have showed a résumé to somebody and there wouldn’t have been anything about recreation on there. When I look back, I know I did it right. There was no question in my mind that this was the career for me. I’m 61 years old and I still think it’s the career for me.

Taking career risks has led Tim Zue to his dream job. After working for Bain Consulting and as a middle school teacher, he sent a blind email to Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino and landed an unpaid internship working on business analytics projects. Now a vice president with Fenway Sports Management, he spoke with Boston Business Journal correspondent Keith Regan.

What are your top three goals for the year?
My top goal is to ensure the success of our new Red Sox Rewards program for our season-ticket holders. A lot of sports teams have tried loyalty programs, and some have done better than others because it is challenging to design and to get high engagement. … A second goal is to continue to get to know our fans, gain their insights and hear their feedback. And on a personal level, I think I’m on track to set a Guinness record for most pictures taken of a baby before her first birthday. My daughter is 10 months old and I think I’m up to 5,000 photos.

What is the toughest business decision you’ve made?
The decision to leave Bain Consulting after less than two years … to pursue a job teaching middle school math. It was a risky decision at the time to leave a well-compensated job to try my hand in a field I was passionate about, but in retrospect it was the right decision, and I had a great four years in teaching.

What has been the most influential book you’ve read?
One that stands out is Steve Jobs’ biography. I was fascinated by his life story and his view on success, and one point that really resonated was his focus on simplicity versus complexity. Sometimes people like options, but not necessarily too many.

What are your guiding principles for good management?
You have to give employees room to think independently and room to fail. I know some of my best learning has come through challenges and failing. I also encourage consistent communication, both in groups and one-on-one, and I believe in always recognizing great effort or job performance.

Do you have a motto you follow?
The analyst inside of me, the one that loves data, follows “that which can be measured can be improved.” I also believe in the quote from Wayne Gretzky that you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. I guess I was following that motto when I sent that email to Larry.

Who are your mentors?
Larry is certainly one. I am grateful for him for giving me my start in sports and I have learned from his sensational drive to always make improvements and never be satisfied. My direct boss is Chief Operating Officer Sam Kennedy, and I really admire his ability to develop deep relationships and his management style. And finally my dad. He has always been a role model and mentor to me, but it is only recently that I have begun to recognize a lot of traits and characteristics in myself as things I observed in him growing up.

Beth Hutter studied finance at the University of Virginia, but it took her only three months of working on Wall Street to know that wasn’t her future. Instead, she found her way into TV, ultimately landing at her current home, the Golf Channel, in 1999. She’s been the network’s producer on LPGA events since 2006. On the eve of the Solheim Cup this week, Hutter talked about televising women’s golf and the game’s personalities.

— Compiled by Michael Smith


Even though the LPGA has many world-class players, it’s still a U.S.-based tour and it still takes Americans playing well to see a spike in ratings. … As long as the players produce compelling golf, what we’ve found is that people will watch.

On producing the Solheim Cup:
The main difference is the number of hours of coverage. We schedule 11½ hours [daily] on Friday and Saturday, and we know that those days will actually go long. On Sunday, it’s 12:30 to 7, so that’s at least 6½ hours. One thing we’ve started doing is scheduling relief breaks for the people in the truck so that everyone can get a break. It’s a long day.

Viewership trends: It’s increasing. We came on with LPGA coverage right after the men’s British Open finished, and that Sunday we had one of our highest-rated shows. When people flip over and see golf on, they’ll leave it on, especially as long as it’s interesting and compelling.

Who moves the needle?: Michelle Wie moves the needle, whether you like it or not. It is what it is. She hasn’t won since Canada a few years ago, but if she’s sniffing the hunt or in the top 10, people watch. I know players get frustrated with me for showing her when she’s playing like a dog, but you also want viewers. You just have to grin and bear it. Stacy Lewis is starting to catch on. People know her story about playing with scoliosis. Americans, in general, move the needle.

Innovations at Golf Channel: The players are very good about trying new things. … They understand they’re not the PGA Tour and they never will be. They know they have to do something different to get people to watch. If that means coming into the truck and trading places with us for a day or being interviewed in the middle of a round, they’re totally up for it. A lot of times, you learn something about the player you didn’t know when you try new things.