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Volume 20 No. 42

Most Influential


Our annual list of the people who set the tone of the industry, the ones who dictate the action and make the decisions that everyone in sports watches.

{podcast}

SBJ Podcast:
Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why media executives dominate this year's list.


From the Executive Editor:
The Thinking Behind Our Influential List

1. Randy Freer / Eric Shanks, Fox Sports
2. Roger Goodell, NFL
3. John Skipper, ESPN
4. David Stern / Adam Silver, NBA
5. Bud Selig, Major League Baseball
6. Dick Costolo, Twitter
7. Robert Kraft, The Kraft Group
8. David Levy, Turner Broadcasting System
9. Mark Lazarus, NBC Sports Group
10. Sean McManus, CBS Sports
11. Gary Bettman, NHL
12. Brian France, NASCAR
13. Phil Anschutz, AEG
14. Tim Finchem, PGA Tour
15. Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
16. Mark Walter, Los Angeles Dodgers / Guggenheim Partners
17. Mark MacDougall, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld / Mike Dolan, IMG / George Pyne, IMG Sports & Entertainment
18. Mark Parker, Nike Inc. / Trevor Edwards, Nike Brand
19. Casey Wasserman, Wasserman Media Group
20. Sepp Blatter, FIFA
21. Tim Brosnan and Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball
22. Don Garber, Major League Soccer
23. Mike Slive, Southeastern Conference
24. Jim Delany, Big Ten Conference
25. Melinda Witmer, Time Warner Cable
26. Kevin Plank, Under Armour
27. John Henry, Fenway Sports Group
28. Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo
29. Larry Probst / Scott Blackmun, U.S. Olympic Committee
30. Michael Levine / Howard Nuchow, CAA Sports
31. Tim Leiweke, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
32. Paul Chibe / Blaise D'Sylva, Anheuser-Busch
33. Mark Emmert, NCAA
34. Jeff Pash, NFL
35. Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago White Sox / Bulls
36. Ed O’Bannon, O’Bannon v. NCAA
37. Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee
38. Don Fehr, NHL Players’ Association
39. Herbert Hainer, Adidas
40. Bob Bowman, MLB Advanced Media
41. Chris Tsakalakis, StubHub
42. Andy England / Tom Long, MillerCoors
43. Sean Bratches, ESPN
44. Jed York, San Francisco 49ers
45. Rick Dudley, Octagon
46. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees / Fred Horowitz
47. DeMaurice Smith, NFL Players Association
48. Stephen Espinoza, Showtime
49. Asim Pasha, Sporting Innovations, Sporting KC
50. Vladimir Putin, Russian president



WILLIAM HAUSER / FOX SPORTS 1

WILLIAM HAUSER / FOX SPORTS 1
1
RANDY
FREER

President & COO

Fox Networks Group

Eric
Shanks

President & COO

Fox Sports

CHANGE FROM 2012: +5

The Fox duo seems an unlikely pair to take the top spot. But under the direction of Freer and Shanks, Fox Sports dictated, shaped and in some cases inflated the sports media marketplace in recent years, gobbling up rights in a buildup to the August launches of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. The nuts and bolts of the three-month-plus life of Fox Sports 1 don’t matter much to us. We’re looking more at a long-term, deeply funded programmer with multiple networks and platforms that will continue to be an aggressive bidder on sports rights — and will help maintain the inflated, lucrative media market that is driving the sports business today.
{podcast}

SBJ Podcast:
Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why media executives dominate this year's list.

No. 2: Roger Goodell

Seat At The Top
SportsBusiness Journal’s selections as the most influential people in sports business

2004    Paul Tagliabue
2005    George Bodenheimer
2006    George Bodenheimer
2007    Brian Roberts
2008    George Bodenheimer*
2009    Jacques Rogge
2010    Roger Goodell
2011    Steve Burke
2012    John Skipper
2013    Randy Freer & Eric Shanks

* President-elect Barack Obama was named #1(a).


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2
roger
goodell

Commissioner

NFL

CHANGE FROM 2012: NO CHANGE

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying the imprint Goodell has on the NFL, and thus sports and media in America. Goodell is the unquestioned leader of America’s most powerful game, and nothing — not concussions, player misconduct, replacement refs, even the lights going out at the Super Bowl — appears able to dent his armor. The problem is that it increasingly seems as though Goodell is managing from one crisis to another rather than leading through innovation, but his influence on the overall sports business is undeniable.

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PHIL ELLSWORTH / ESPN Images
3
John
skipper

President

ESPN

CHANGE FROM 2012: -2

In his two years as president, Skipper has struck a balance between forging new paths while remaining forcefully proud of ESPN’s heritage. This year, Skipper completed strategic on-air hires and media rights deals to meet challenges from Fox Sports and NBC Sports Group. But the year was not without missteps, the biggest of which came from Skipper’s decision to distance ESPN from PBS’s “Frontline” special, “League of Denial.” Skipper made the move after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell voiced concern about the tone and tenor of the piece, a decision that put ESPN’s perch as a journalistic force and league partner under close scrutiny.

{podcast}

SBJ Podcast:
Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks over ESPN's John Skipper as No. 1 on this year's list.

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NBAE / getty images

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4
david 
stern

Commissioner

NBA

CHANGE FROM 2012: NO CHANGE

Adam
Silver

Deputy Commissioner

NBA

CHANGE FROM 2012: +16

The NBA power duo is in the midst of a seamless transition come February when Silver officially takes over as NBA commissioner. Arguably one of sport’s most accomplished executives, Stern leaves the league in the trusted hands of the well-liked Silver, who spent two decades training for the top job. While some might think the changing of the guard would move them down this list, it’s coming at a pivotal time, as the league’s media rights negotiations begin. Those discussions figure to be among the most important in memory, with multiple networks hoping to get a piece of the action.
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BUD
SELIG

Commissioner

Major League Baseball

CHANGE FROM 2012: -2

Now beginning the victory lap of his deeply impactful tenure as commissioner, Selig has plenty of the league’s operations in place for the foreseeable future. But he will continue to wield tremendous power — his voice will be key in terms of who will succeed him, and he still has plenty of unresolved issues in front of him for his final year in office, including Alex Rodriguez and the stadium issues in Oakland and Tampa.

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dick
costolo

CEO

Twitter

CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

To many, this ranking will seem high. But every sports league, network and sponsor is trying to figure out a strategy around Twitter’s powerful platform, putting Costolo in a very powerful position. The NFL’s far-reaching pact with Twitter that was announced in September is one every other league is looking to as a revenue generator and audience driver. Costolo has positioned the company as an ally and advocate of sports and has methodically built out his sports group to help properties, teams and organizations build audience.

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robert
kraft

Founder, Chairman & CEO

The Kraft Group

CHANGE FROM 2012: NO CHANGE

Few in the NFL can influence the league like Kraft. He is credited with saving the 2011 season and striking a 10-year labor deal, his team is a Super Bowl contender almost every year, and his is one of the most respected voices in NFL ownership circles.

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8
david 
levy

President

Turner Broadcasting System

CHANGE FROM 2012: +2

During a year that saw him promoted to president of TBS, where he oversees much more than sports, Levy still is in the middle of every conversation about sports rights. Look for Levy to be a major player when the NFL comes to market with a new package of games.
{podcast}

SBJ Podcast:
Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why David Levy moved up on this year's list.

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9
mark 
lazarus

Chairman

NBC Sports Group

CHANGE FROM 2012: +3

With a sports media portfolio that includes prime-time TV’s top-rated show, plus two national and 10 regional sports channels, Lazarus’ spot on this list is secure. His adept handling of EPL rights and the coming Sochi Olympics puts him in the top 10.
{podcast}

SBJ Podcast:
Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why Mark Lazarus moved up on this year's list.

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GORT PRODUCTIONS
10

sean
mcmanus

Chairman

CBS Sports

CHANGE FROM 2012: -1

McManus and CBS haven’t been involved with the bidding wars for sports rights. Instead, McManus has been focused on expanding the events CBS already has. It’s no surprise, then, that he oversees the top-rated college football package and his network’s NFL viewership continues to climb.

{podcast}

SBJ Podcast:
Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why media executives dominate this year's list.

Previous Next


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11
gary 
bettman

Commissioner

NHL

CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

It took another lockout in 2012-13 to earn a 50-50 split of league revenue between the owners and the NHL Players’ Association, but the NHL commissioner now has labor peace for the next decade. Bettman will use it to strengthen markets, develop more big events and increase the popularity of his league globally.
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TIFFIN WARNOCK / STAFF

12
Brian 
France

CEO & Chairman

NASCAR

CHANGE FROM 2012: +1

If there was a sport that would lose out on escalating rights fees, conventional wisdom said it would be NASCAR. Ratings and attendance had both fallen by double digits in recent years. But NASCAR’s chairman orchestrated a deal with Fox and NBC that will pay a 40 percent increase in 2015, money that will keep the industry healthy for years to come.
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PHIL
ANSCHUTZ

Founder & Owner

AEG

CHANGE FROM 2012: -8

Anschutz shocked the sports world in March by pulling his global company off the market and parting with powerful CEO Tim Leiweke in an organizational shake-up. He vowed to be more involved in the company, and while AEG seems to be quieter as a result, Anschutz remains a pivotal figure in the NFL’s possible return to Los Angeles as well as in facility development, management and live entertainment programming throughout the world.

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tim 
finchem

Commissioner

PGA Tour

CHANGE FROM 2012: -3

Finchem’s global strategy has led the PGA Tour into new businesses with tours in Latin America and Canada, as well as a joint venture in China. These developmental tours, while hardly eye-opening by themselves, provide a pipeline for the best young players around the world straight to the Web.com Tour and eventually the PGA Tour. It’s all part of a global vision that Finchem has employed to expand the PGA Tour beyond its U.S. borders and into new uncharted ground.
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jerry
jones

Owner

Dallas Cowboys

CHANGE FROM 2012: +3

There is no one like Jerry Jones in sports. He oversees arguably the top brand in American sports, both as owner and general manager, turning the Cowboys maybe not into a Super Bowl contender recently, but certainly into a runaway financial winner.

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Mark 
Walter

Chairman, Los Angeles Dodgers

Founder & CEO, Guggenheim Partners

CHANGE FROM 2012: -8

The Dodgers’ on-field dreams this year ended in the league championship series. But off the field, Walter has led an expected transformation of the club that has included a record TV deal with Time Warner, substantial improvements to Dodger Stadium, aggressive spending on players, and big spikes in ticket, merchandise and sponsorship sales.
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COURTESY OF AKIN GUMP STRAUSS HAUER & FELD

IMG

GORT PRODUCTIONS
17

mark
macdougall

Partner

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld


Mike
Dolan

Chairman & CEO

IMG

CHANGE FROM 2012: -3


George
Pyne

President

IMG Sports & Entertainment

CHANGE FROM 2012: -3

It’s the deal that everyone is talking about and one that will have significant impact across sports. The sale of IMG literally could come any day, and it’s a process that is being run and overseen by MacDougall. Dolan and Pyne have played key roles in the sales presentations, with Pyne being the one most industry observers are watching closely in terms of any new IMG organizational structure.
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Mark 
Parker

President & CEO

Nike

CHANGE FROM 2012: -2

Trevor
Edwards

President

Nike Brand

CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

For years, it was an artful combination at what’s arguably the world’s top sports brand. Charlie Denson and Mark Parker: Parker, whose heritage is in footwear design, and Denson, whose marketing background dovetailed nicely with responsibilities for the Nike brand. But with Denson retiring and Nike veteran Trevor Edwards as the new president of brand, there’s a new cast. They’ll still combine fashion and function, along with global marketing, better than anyone in the category.
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casey 
wasserman

Chairman & CEO

Wasserman Media Group

CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

Wasserman’s clout continues to grow, with trusted friendships and connections at the highest levels in sports. His power base was also evident by glowing profiles on both coasts in The New York Times and Hollywood Reporter. We’ve talked about his advocacy for sports and strong philanthropy and social responsibility initiatives, but don’t overlook the fact that his agency continues to be behind many of the most innovative deals in sports, including Verizon’s billion-dollar extension with the NFL.
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20
sepp
blatter

President

FIFA

CHANGE FROM 2012: NOT RANKED

Controversy always seems to surround the FIFA president, but there is no argument that he is one of the most powerful figures in sports. While everything about the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been questioned — from allegations of bribes and financial mismanagement to whether the tournament schedule should be moved to avoid the hot climate — Blatter and his organization are preparing for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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LAVONNE HALL
21

Tim 
Brosnan

Executive Vice President, Business

Major League Baseball

Rob
Manfred

Chief Operating Officer

Major League Baseball

CHANGE FROM 2012: +3

Two of the leading candidates to be the 10th commissioner of baseball, Manfred and Brosnan each saw their stature within baseball continue to rise. Manfred in October was promoted to COO and is the point figure on the Alex Rodriguez saga, while Brosnan followed a big flurry of deals in 2012 with marked growth this year in nearly every index of fan avidity.
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GORT PRODUCTIONS

22
don 
garber

Commissioner

Major League Soccer

CHANGE FROM 2012: +6

The MLS commissioner added a 20th franchise, the Manchester City and Yankees-owned NYCFC, which will begin play in 2015 after paying a league-record-obliterating $100 million expansion fee. Garber also navigated a return to Florida, with Orlando City also starting in 2015, and is planning for three more expansion clubs by 2020.
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ICON SPORTS MEDIA

23
mike 
slive

Commissioner

Southeastern Conference

CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

In less than a year, the SEC Network will fire up with perhaps more optimism than any league channel has ever known. Slive took a more cautious approach to a network than his friends at the Big Ten or Pac-12, but the SEC and ESPN also have a road map that might clear the path for a smoother launch. He also this year reaffirmed his leadership position among the commissioners by openly questioning the makeup of the NCAA’s board and advocating for more funds to be part of the athletic scholarship.
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ICON SPORTS MEDIA
24
jim
delany

Commissioner

Big Ten Conference

CHANGE FROM 2012: +5

Never afraid of a good debate, the Big Ten commissioner has been an outspoken voice against any sort of pay-for-play model in college sports. Delany has led the charge against compensating athletes beyond the $2,000 stipend model by saying that the Big Ten might just go Division III and play without athletic scholarships if such a model were forced on the conferences. That’s the sort of rhetoric this issue has generated, and even if Delany didn’t mean it, he’s been a leading and forceful figure as the issue has unfolded.

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TIME WARNER CABLE

25
MELINDA 
WITMER

Executive Vice President & Chief Video and Content Officer

Time Warner Cable

CHANGE FROM 2012: -3

In years past, Witmer has made this list in her role as a gatekeeper, holding the purse strings for the sports channels that get carriage on the country’s second-biggest
{podcast}

SBJ Podcast:
Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why media executives dominate this year's list.

cable operator. She’s on this year because of her industry-changing deals with the Lakers and Dodgers.
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26
kevin 
Plank

CEO & Founder

Under Armour

CHANGE FROM 2012: +6

Having built a $2 billion brand, Plank is now focused on innovation. Already a touchstone brand for any marketer looking to connect with youth, Under Armour and Plank must achieve success in footwear and expand offshore sales to really challenge Nike.
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27
JOHN
HENRY

Owner

Fenway Sports Group

CHANGE FROM 2012: +13

Not long ago, Henry was accused of being distracted and uninterested in the Red Sox. Now with a third title in hand, Henry has helped engineer one of the strongest turnarounds in recent baseball history. Also this year, he added to a powerful sports, media, marketing and entertainment portfolio by acquiring The Boston Globe.

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28
indra
nooyi

Chairman & CEO

PepsiCo

CHANGE FROM 2012: NOT RANKED

Nooyi is easily one of the most involved CEOs when it comes to sports matters, along with being somewhat sports-obsessed herself. Sports and music are the tentpoles on which Pepsi differentiates itself, but combining them for a true “Power of One” remains the challenge.

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29

larry 
probst

Chairman

U.S. Olympic Committee


scott
blackmun

CEO

U.S. Olympic Committee

CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

The U.S. Olympic Committee continues to bolster its standing at home and abroad. At home, it added new domestic sponsors Smucker’s and USG this year and created a new foundation to boost its fundraising revenue. Abroad, it chipped away at its goal of improving its influence in international sport when Probst was named a member of the International Olympic Committee.
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caa
30

michael 
levine

Co-Head

CAA Sports


howard
nuchow

Co-Head

CAA Sports

CHANGE FROM 2012: +1

Levine and Nuchow are still trying to make CAA’s name as meaningful in sports as it is in entertainment. On the rep side, the agency has some big names, like Peyton Manning, David Beckham and Shaun White. On the corporate side, it has made some big gains, too. Watch this space.
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31
tim
leiweke

President & CEO

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

CHANGE FROM 2012: -26

It’s been a roller-coaster year for the hard-charging Leiweke, with his sudden departure from AEG in March and his arrival in Toronto to head the vast Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment in June. It hasn’t been the smoothest transition, as Leiweke’s candid, off-the-cuff style has made waves in Toronto’s traditional sports mindset. But he has a big canvas and deep pockets behind him to draw up his ambitious plans, and his actions still drive agendas and followers among team and league executives.

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roxxe ireland / marc bryan-brown
32

paul 
chibe

U.S. Chief Marketing Officer

Anheuser-Busch


blaise
d’sylva

Vice President of Media, Sports and Entertainment Marketing

Anheuser-Busch

CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMERS

Beer is the lifeblood of sports marketing, Bud’s the king of beers, and Chibe and D’Sylva are the marketers with the biggest budgets in sports. However, category sales have slowed and spirits and craft brews have been stealing share. Will they eventually push A-B off its top perch among sports marketers?
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33
mark
emmert

President

NCAA

CHANGE FROM 2012: -8

The NCAA’s president has declared 2014 as a year of change, and Emmert is going to be right in the middle of it. The NCAA is re-evaluating its governance structure, which means the way it makes decisions through its executive committee and Division I board of directors. While the schools from the five power conferences say they’re not looking to create their own division, it’s clear that they want a level of autonomy that they’ve never had before in Division I. How Emmert handles that will be watched and scrutinized closely.

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roxxe ireland
34
jeff
pash

Executive Vice President & General Counsel

NFL

CHANGE FROM 2012: +2

After Roger Goodell, no league executive holds more sway at the NFL than Pash. The low-key and amiable general counsel has his fingers in almost any significant matter at the league.

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marc bryan-brown
35

jerry
reinsdorf

Owner

Chicago Bulls & Chicago White Sox

CHANGE FROM 2012: NOT RANKED

Perhaps baseball’s ultimate insider owner, Reinsdorf will likely play a major role in who succeeds Bud Selig as commissioner of baseball in 2015. His Bulls, meanwhile, remain an NBA power on and off the court.

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36

ed
o’bannon

Lead plaintiff

O’Bannon v. NCAA

CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

The O’Bannon case has morphed into something more than just a lawsuit. It has come to represent both a threat and an opportunity to the future of intercollegiate athletics, depending on which side you talk to. The former UCLA basketball player filed the lawsuit in 2009 seeking the rights to his likeness, but it could lead to a completely new economic model for college sports if a court decides that athletes are entitled to a share of licensing royalties from TV, jersey sales or other revenue-producers. O’Bannon could be flipping over the business of college sports as we know it.

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37
thomas 
bach

President

International Olympic Committee

CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

After being elected president, Bach has moved quickly to consolidate power, holding a closed-door meeting with leading Olympic figures to outline his goals for the organization. Stronger anti-doping efforts and a task force to combat illegal betting top the list, but there’s also a move to overhaul the way the bid city process works and how sports are chosen for participation in the Olympics. Changes to the current system could have a major effect on U.S. efforts to host another Olympics, as well as efforts by baseball and softball to return to the Games.
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38
don
fehr

Executive Director

NHL Players’ Association

CHANGE FROM 2012: -19

Long seen as the most powerful union leader in sports, Fehr continues to run the NHLPA after negotiating an agreement this year that ensures labor peace until at least 2020. It’s not clear how long Fehr, 65, will stay in that role, but he has shown no signs of slowing down, and has always been willing to give advice to players in all sports who ask for it.

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herbert
hainer

Chairman & CEO

Adidas

CHANGE FROM 2012: -2

After a strong 2012 fueled by the London Olympics, 2013 was a difficult year for the No. 2 sporting goods brand. However, Adidas does well in FIFA World Cup years, and Hainer is forecasting $2.7 billion in additional sales from the 2014 World Cup in Rio. If so, that should deflect some of the advances Nike has made on Adidas’ home European turf.

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roxxe ireland / marc bryan-brown

40
bob 
bowman

President & CEO

MLB Advanced Media

CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

Bowman led MLBAM to further dominance on mobile in 2013, with MLB.com At Bat surpassing 10 million downloads and app starts on the product running roughly equal to the prior five years combined. But Bowman’s influence is now strongly being felt in the ballpark, where he’s working with the likes of Apple, T-Mobile, Qualcomm and others on major ticketing, data connectivity, content, commerce and instant replay innovations.
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courtesy of stubhub

41


chris 
tsakalakis

President

StubHub

CHANGE FROM 2012: +4

By changing the way people can buy tickets, StubHub has changed the way properties sell them. From season-ticket pricing to single-game pricing to the emergence of dynamic pricing, StubHub and Tsakalakis bear watching as surely as the prices on the company’s exchange.
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millercoors

millercoors
42
tom 
long

Chief Executive Officer

MillerCoors


Andy
england

Chief Marketing Officer

MillerCoors

CHANGE FROM 2012: -1

Where Anheuser-Busch isn’t, MillerCoors is — or at least that’s the goal. And across the sports landscape, it’s generally true. A-B and MillerCoors combine for almost 75 percent of beer sales in the U.S., but beer marketers have been losing their longtime hold on the young adult market. Long and England hope to turn that around.
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rich arden / espn
43
sean
bratches

Executive Vice President,
Sales and Marketing

ESPN

CHANGE FROM 2012: -9

The executive who oversees all revenue that comes into the biggest media company there is, Bratches has led ESPN’s efforts to sell across all of the company’s platforms. It’s no surprise that more than 80 percent of ESPN’s sales involve more than one platform.

{podcast}

SBJ Podcast:
Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks over ESPN's John Skipper as No. 1 on this year's list.

Previous Next


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44
jed 
york

CEO

San Francisco 49ers

CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

He’s the boy wonder of NFL owners: York, along with his new, high-tech Levi’s Stadium, the first new NFL stadium built in California in four decades. Look for it to be the talk of the NFL next year.
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roxxe ireland / marc bryan-brown

45
rick 
dudley

President & CEO

Octagon Worldwide

CHANGE FROM 2012: +2

Octagon brings its global expertise to bear as a key player in both of next year’s major events — the Olympics in Sochi and World Cup in Rio. As the company’s CEO, Dudley has long worked toward this, positioning the agency — with touch points in virtually all areas of sports business — to be a first mover and thought leader in both developing markets.
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46

ALEX 
rodriguez

Third Baseman

New York Yankees


fred
horowitz

Chief arbitrator

Rodriguez grievance

CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMERS

Rodriguez, MLB’s highest-paid player, is involved in a nasty legal fight with the league over charges of using performance-enhancing drugs. Horowitz will determine the outcome. It’s a critical test of the power of an individual athlete and his union against a sports property that will echo across all pro sports and define the careers of both A-Rod and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. It’s also a case that MLB’s business partners are scrutinizing closely.
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DEMAURICE
sMITH

Executive Director

NFL Players Association

CHANGE FROM 2012: -5

Smith is in his fifth year as executive director of the largest sports union, which has in place a labor deal that extends through the 2020 NFL season. But even with labor peace, Smith is likely to continue to be in the headlines as he represents players’ interests in health, safety and workplace issues in the NFL.

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stephen
espinozA

Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sports and Event Programming

Showtime

CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

The former Golden Boy Promotions attorney got our attention last year when he wrestled Floyd Mayweather from HBO with a six-fight contract that could make him the highest-paid athlete in the world over the next few years. Espinoza cemented his spot on this list when Showtime delivered the most lucrative fight in history in September, a $200 million-plus event featuring Mayweather against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

{podcast}

SBJ Podcast:
Abe Madkour & John Ourand on the selection of Fox's Randy Freer and Eric Shanks as No. 1 and why media executives dominate this year's list.

Previous Next


BRIAN DAVIDSON
49
asim
pasha

CIO & Chief Architect, Sporting Kansas City

Managing Partner, Sporting Innovations

CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

Pasha has been at the forefront of upgrading mobile technology in sports. As Sporting Kansas City’s chief information officer and chief architect, and managing partner of Sporting Innovations, Pasha has developed mobile applications that enable fans to control their experience at a game through exclusive content and unique viewing angles on smartphones and tablets.

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vladimir
putin

President of Russia

CHANGE FROM 2012: NEWCOMER

Moments after Thomas Bach was named president of the International Olympic Committee, he received a call from Putin. The call came as no surprise. Russian delegates to the IOC were a major lobbying force behind Bach’s election, and the political future of Bach and Putin will be determined by the success of the Sochi Games. Putin picked Sochi, put it forward as an Olympic host city and has remained heavily involved in all aspects of its development, from pushing oligarchs to develop resorts and hotels in the area to firing a member of the Russian Olympic Committee because of cost overruns.

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