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Volume 21 No. 1

People and Pop Culture

Lisa Cotter has spent her career with well-known companies such as Hershey and Walt Disney, and most recently with the Pebble Beach Co. as vice president of marketing, but it has been her lifelong professional pursuit to break into the sports industry. Cotter is now the vice president of marketing for the Orlando Magic and she “couldn’t be more thrilled to have this opportunity, and I would just tell everybody that it is possible to achieve your dreams.”

Age: 49
New title: Vice president of marketing, Orlando Magic
Previous title: Vice president of marketing, Pebble Beach Co.
First job: Salesperson for a department store in the children’s department
Education: Undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Southern California, 1985; master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan, 1989.
Resides: Orlando
Grew up: Las Vegas
Executive most admired: Matt Ouimet, president and CEO of Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. When I worked with him, he was the president of Disneyland
Brand most admired: Google
Favorite vacation spot: Any wine region around the world
Last book read: “A Wanted Man,” by Lee Child
Last movie seen: “Despicable Me 2”
Favorite movie: “101 Dalmatians” — the movie inspired me to get Dalmatians and I’ve had them for the past 20 years
Favorite musician/band: Coldplay

What is the biggest challenge in your new position?
Attracting casual fans to attend games when there are just so many other entertainment options in our area. We happen to be in a destination that’s got a lot of other entertainment.

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
I left an executive-level position with a Fortune 500 company to become an independent consultant and be on my own. I really wanted to apply my entrepreneurial spirit and see where I could take the experience and lessons that I had learned throughout my career and put them in a different stage.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
I was integrally involved with the 50th anniversary at Disneyland, so I would say my biggest accomplishment was inspiring millions of people around the world to come and celebrate the 50th anniversary with us.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?
Getting into the sports industry has been a lifelong dream of mine, and in 2010 I interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers to be their head of marketing and I did not get the job. I was very disappointed by that.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Don’t give up. Keep applying, keep building your résumé in your field, even if it’s not in sports, and one day a team will give you a chance.

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
I’m a big Dodger fan, so I’m following Yasiel Puig and how he’s doing because I really want him to be the National League Rookie of the Year.

What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
I would encourage the industry to be more open to hiring sales and marketing talent from outside of the industry. Sports are what I’m passionate about, so for me being a marketing professional and getting into the sports industry is the perfect intersection of my experience and professional interests with my personal passion.

The Chicago Cubs named Allen Hermeling senior director of corporate partnerships. Hermeling was director of corporate partnerships for the Washington Nationals.

The Class A Florida State League’s Daytona Cubs promoted Josh Lawther to general manager.

The Detroit Tigers promoted Aileen Villarreal to director of media relations.

Historic Dodgertown named Brady Ballard vice president. Ballard was general manager of the Class A Florida State League’s Daytona Cubs.


The Golden State Warriors promoted John Beaven to vice president of ticket sales, Jeff Addiego to senior director of youth basketball, Nick Bisho to senior director of suites and hospitality solutions, Kevin Cote to senior director of digital marketing, Chris Murphy to senior director of group sales, Ari Glick to senior manager of digital content, Marisol Maldonado to senior manager of human resources, Alicia Smith to senior manager of game operations, Maria Valdehueza to manager of group sales, Ben Draa to manager of finance and development, Tony Melendez to manager of youth basketball, Andrew Rossi and Jake Young to premium sales account executives, Anthony Silva to senior coordinator of ticket operations, Stacey Baca and Danielle Hallam to senior account services executives, Janet Fong to coordinator of digital content, Ben Clarfield to coordinator of youth basketball, and Aaron Leavitt, Clay Biggerstaff and Evan Howard to season ticket account executives.

Harold Kaufman resigned as New Orleans Pelicans vice president of communications.

The Los Angeles Lakers promoted Daniel Ramirez to public relations coordinator for the D-League L.A. D-Fenders and named Calder Hynes public relations manager. Hynes was public relations manager for the Brooklyn Nets.

The San Antonio Spurs promoted Brian Pauga to general manager of the D-League Austin Toros and Will Hardy to video coordinator. Pauga will continue in his role as Spurs director of scouting.

Sherman Morris resigned as Arizona State University assistant athletic director for recruiting.

Florida Gulf Coast University named Johnna Strenchock director of the student-athlete learning center. Strenchock was assistant director of student-athlete academic support at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Jacksonville University hired April Taylor as senior associate athletic director for compliance. Taylor was assistant athletic director for compliance and student-athlete welfare at Southern Methodist University.

Stanford University promoted Kevin Blue to senior associate athletic director for external relations, Brian Risso to director of athletic communications, David Sertich to director of business strategy and Matt Doyle to associate athletic director for football operations.

All American Games named Col. Thomas Nickerson vice president of operations.

The AFL L.A. Kiss hired Schuyler Hoversten as president. Hoversten was a business development executive for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Marc Riccio resigned as New York Jets senior vice president of business development.

The Boston Bruins named Whitney Delorey assistant to hockey administration and Elizabeth Rosenthal as digital marketing specialist.

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League named Trina Crosby to its board of directors.


Deep Alliance Marketing promoted Elise Kokonas to account executive.

MKTG Inc. named Scott Malaga senior vice president of business development and Ryan Carter vice president of client service, both in the Chicago office, and Katie Kirby to the newly created role of director of communications. Malaga was senior vice president of strategic partnerships for Intersport, Carter worked on Nike’s Central territory brand team, and Kirby was integrated communications programs manager at DKC Public Relations.

Fenway Sports Management promoted Frank Huckabone to executive vice president and chief revenue officer.

IMG College promoted Alisen Urquhart to account executive of national sales and named Andrew Dean and Jose Duverge account executives of national sales.

ProStar Sports Agency named Brian Goodwin vice president of its coaching representation division.

The Aspire Group promoted Melissa Altmix to team leader and Chris Raburn to senior sales consultant, both for the NCAA, and hired Arieon Trinity, Kevin Mays and Brody Whitlock as sales consultants for the NCAA, Ian Haynes as sales consultant at Florida
International University, Michael Kennedy and Trent Wade as sales consultants at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, and Robert Stevens as sales consultant at the University of Minnesota.

Priority Sports & Entertainment hired Chris Silva as director of communications and brand strategy.

NBC Sports Group named Andy Miller West Coast director of sales for NBC Sports Ventures and Lorelei Wall senior director of integrated media for Alli Sports. Miller was assistant general manager for IMG Sports Marketing, and Wall was associate director of consumer marketing at ESPN.

NESN named Howard Zalkowitz director of production and senior coordinating producer, Jim Daddona coordinating producer for Red Sox baseball, and Denny Iott coordinating producer for news.

Rodale promoted Molly O’Keefe to publisher of Runner’s World and Running Times and Zack Grice to associate publisher for sales and marketing for Bicycling magazine.

Sportsman Channel named Tom Caraccioli director of public relations. Caraccioli was public relations manager for Turner Sports.

Universal Sports Network named Rachel Richman director of distribution and affiliate marketing. Richman was point of sale manager for Showtime.

World Fishing Network named Neil Brubaker senior director of affiliate sales. Brubaker was a syndication distribution executive for ESPN.

NASCAR Technical Institute promoted John Dodson to vice president of NASCAR and community relations.

Multiple-Entity Firms
The Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center promoted Josh Pruss to senior vice president of partnership marketing.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Billabong International named Neil Fiske chief executive officer. Fiske was Eddie Bauer president and chief executive officer.


The U.S. Tennis Association named Mark Stenning to the Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Olympic team events committee. Stenning will step down as chief executive officer of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum in September.

The LA84 Foundation named Robert Wagner to the newly created position of vice president of partnerships. Wagner was corporate vice president of strategic alliances at Cedar Fair Entertainment Co.

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation named Nichol Whiteman executive director. Whiteman was the Southern California executive director for College Summit.

People news
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Getting down to business in Milwaukee

Good Karma Broadcasting’s ESPN Milwaukee presented The Business of Sports, a panel discussion featuring Green Bay Packers hall of famer Gilbert Brown, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Craig Counsell; Milwaukee Bucks broadcaster Jon McGlocklin, Good Karma founder Craig Karmazin and Packers tight end Jermichael Finley on Sept. 26.

WISE hosts diversity event in San Diego

Women in Sports and Events hosted “WISE Words: A Conversation About Diversity,” featuring guest speakers Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter, Callaway’s Tina Mickelson, San Diego State volleyball coach Deitre Collins-Parker and Mary Lou Schell, founder and owner of LATAM Fitness & Wellness Education Development on Oct. 1 at the offices of McKenna Long & Aldridge in San Diego.

Coaches vs. Cancer

TNT analyst Greg Anthony (center) joins co-chairmen Magna Global CEO Tim Spengler and Greg D’Alba, president, CNN News Networks and Turner Digital Ad Sales and Marketing, at the fourth annual American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer Dinner Benefit last month in New York.

FedEx delivers the cup

Henrik Stenson of Sweden celebrates his FedEx Cup championship and victory at the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola with FedEx SVP Patrick Fitzgerald on Sept. 22 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Photo by: PGA TOUR

Look at it shine

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones examines his National Football Foundation Leadership Hall of Fame ring with NFF Chairman Archie Manning and Jones’ grandson, Shy, during induction ceremonies Oct. 3 at the Omni Dallas Hotel.

Brailsford & Dunlavey mark anniversary

Brailsford & Dunlavey celebrated its 20th anniversary with a special event for clients and partners at Nationals Park on Sept. 24. From left: Jim Bailey, former Baltimore Ravens executive; B&D CEO Paul Brailsford; Hunt Construction Group’s Ken Johnson; and B&D President Chris Dunlavey.

Uniting behind Sports Museum in Boston

The Sports Museum’s 12th annual fundraising event brought together the owners of all four professional Boston sports teams. Steve Pagliuca (Celtics), Tom Werner (Red Sox), Bob Epstein (Celtics), Wyc Grousbeck (Celtics), Jeremy Jacobs (Bruins), Robert Kraft (Patriots) and Charlie Jacobs (Bruins) participated in “The Tradition” program last month at TD Garden. The Celtics ownership group was presented the Basketball Legacy Award.

NBA business partners gather

NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, Coca-Cola’s Bob Cramer and Jamiese Miller and broadcaster Ahmad Rashad attend the NBA Partner Forum on Sept. 24 in New York City. The forum brought together the NBA’s business partners across marketing, media and merchandising to discuss the business of the NBA, the start of the new season and how partners work together with the league and reach basketball fans globally.

Game Day Gala raises more than $1M

Game Day Gala raised more than $1 million for Team IMPACT, which pairs children who are facing chronic or life-threatening medical conditions with team-based collegiate support networks throughout the nation. Team IMPACT Executive Director Dan Walsh; ESPN’s Wendi Nix; Dan Kraft, executive vice president of The Kraft Group and founding member of Team IMPACT; and Jim Calhoun, former UConn basketball coach, took part in the event Oct. 3 at The Westin Copley Place in Boston.

MSG set for new seasons

At MSG Networks’ NHL and NBA season kickoff party: MSG Networks’ Daniel Ronayne; Mike Breen, Knicks play-by-play announcer; MSG Media’s Ryan O’Hara; and Ken Daneyko, Devils analyst, at The Park in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District on Oct. 1. MSG is the home of Rangers, Devils and Islanders hockey and Knicks basketball.

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Bob Basche

Principal, Connect Sports & Entertainment

All photos by: Patrick E. McCarthy

In 35 years in the industry, Bob Basche has proved to be an “inveterate collector of memorabilia.” In fact, former Millsport Chairman Basche has more interesting artifacts than one office can hold.

His work space in Stamford, Conn., highlights America’s Cup and Wimbledon history, fitting for the man who coined the phrase “Breakfast at Wimbledon” during his years at NBC Sports. Fifteen minutes away in Norwalk, his home office prominently features items from Basche’s time in the U.S. Navy.

The sea also touches one of Basche’s current projects: He’s a consultant for Sail Newport, as Newport, R.I., prepares to be a stopover port for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2015.

Curtis Francois is revving the engine at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., with an $11.5 million investment in the 200-acre complex and more to come. A retired race car driver and the owner of Tamar Development, Francois, 49, bought Gateway in a complex real estate deal. Francois also got the NHRA to sign a 20-year deal to race at Gateway and plans to invest $20 million within five years at the complex, which includes a drag strip and a NASCAR oval.


I would not consider myself a risk taker. Others may see it as risk. I see it as careful preparation before moving forward, whether for a race or a business deal. It’s just part of my life.

Why make this investment?:
We want to improve the fan and racing experience with added amenities and re-energize the grass roots. I have a passion for St. Louis, and I felt it was the right thing and the right time for St. Louis.

About those racing days: I started racing [at Gateway] in 1989 in club racing, then pro. I raced here maybe not hundreds of times, but close — everything from Formula cars, to LeMans vehicles, to Indy cars, to NASCAR. If it had four wheels and a steering wheel, I probably raced it.

Why get into racing?: When I was a teenager, I gave a professional racer a ride to the Lake of the Ozarks. Let’s just say I was driving faster than I should have. He didn’t say anything until we arrived. He set me up with a Sports Car Club of America driving school. It changed the course of my life. Fast on the street pales in comparison to fast at the racetrack. I drive slowly on the street.

Racing against Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Robby McGehee, even Paul Newman. What was that like?: You get to know all the racers in a competitive way. It was great to talk with legends in the sport.

About the deal with the NHRA:
When I realized I was probably going to buy Gateway, I reached out to [NHRA President] Tom Compton and discussed my plans. I asked him, “If I do it, will you come?” We struck what was a handshake deal at first.

Career lessons learned from racing?: Being prepared: Doing your homework on car prep, learning the tracks, knowing your competition. Secondarily, it taught me to concentrate intently.

— Greg Edwards, correspondent