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Volume 21 No. 1

People and Pop Culture

The Akron Aeros/RubberDucks promoted Sierra Sawtelle to director of suites and community relations.

The Detroit Tigers named former manager Jim Leyland special assistant to general manager Dave Dombrowski.

The Houston Astros promoted Kevin Goldstein to director of professional scouting, Pete Putila to coordinator of baseball operations and Stephanie Wilka to specialist of international operations and associate counsel.

The MLB Players Association named Kevin McGuiness chief operating officer. McGuiness was president of McGuiness Group.

The St. Louis Cardinals promoted Gary Larocque to director of player development, Chris Correa to director of baseball development, Tony Ferreira to baseball operations assistant for player development and pro scouting, John Vuch to director of baseball administration and Linda Brauer to senior administrative assistant to the general manager.

The Washington Nationals named Valerie Camillo chief revenue and marketing officer, effective Feb. 18. Camillo was vice president with the team marketing and business operations group of the NBA.

The Minnesota Lynx promoted Ashley Carlson to public relations manager.

The University of Maine named Karlton Creech athletic director, effective Feb. 10. Creech was senior associate athletic director at the University of North Carolina.

Auburn University named David Benedict chief operating officer. Benedict was deputy athletic director at the University of Minnesota.

The University of Nebraska hired John Jentz as senior associate athletic director and chief financial officer. Jentz was senior associate athletic director and chief financial officer at UCLA.

Long Island University Post hired Debbie DeJong as associate athletic director and senior woman administrator. DeJong was associate athletic director for facilities and recreation and softball coach at Dowling College.

Georgia State University named Brad Horton associate athletic director for student athlete development. Horton was assistant athletic director for student athlete academic services at Florida State University.

Montana State University named Scott Jurgens associate athletic director for marketing and operations. Jurgens was director of marketing at East Carolina University.

The University of Wyoming named Julie Manning senior associate athletic director for sport administration and senior woman administrator. Manning was associate athletic director for compliance, financial aid and administration at the University of Colorado.

Global Spectrum promoted Joe Sheridan to general manager of The Liacouras Center.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame named David Baker president and executive director. Baker is former commissioner of the Arena Football League.

The PGA of America named Wendell Haskins senior director of diversity and multicultural initiatives.

The Phoenix Coyotes named Bill Makris vice president of ticket sales and service.

Dynasty Sports and Entertainment named Brian Levy general counsel.

Ketchum Sports & Entertainment hired Eryn McVerry as senior vice president.

Learfield Sports named Hank Cobb associate general manager at Clemson University and Ann Brett Strickland associate general manager at Mississippi State University.

Conde Nast Entertainment named Lisa Valentino chief revenue officer. Valentino was senior vice president of multimedia sales at ESPN.

Global Golf Post promoted Mike Purkey to the newly created position of executive editor and hired Mike Cullity as senior editor and Steve Eubanks as special contributor.

Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic hired Keli Fulton as anchor and reporter.

ESPN promoted Carrie Brzezinski to vice president of marketing solutions.

SportsNet New York named Kevin Sornatale director of communications. Sornatale was senior account executive at Dan Klores Communications.

Red Horse Racing named Jody Jennings Letourneau director of marketing and communications. Letourneau was director of communications for Sharp-Gallaher Racing.


Minnesota United FC hired Kreg Blair as special projects and event coordinator and Justin Borrell as community outreach manager. Borrell was assistant event manager at the University of Minnesota.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Adidas Head of Global Brands Erich Stamminger is stepping down from the position.

The International Tennis Federation’s executive director of commercial, Jan Menneken, stepped down from the position, effective Jan. 31.

The Grand Prix RFL named Frank Grant commissioner.

Gatorade named Molly Carter senior director of consumer engagement.

The North American Sports Group hired Kevin Bovet as its director of development for Hoop It Up.

Ovations Food Services named Steve Gregosky senior vice president of client relations and Charles Lawrence as senior vice president of business development.

The Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center named Andy Goldstein chief financial officer and executive vice president, Brad Shron executive vice president and general counsel, Jim Leonard senior vice president of community investment, and Tim McDermott chief marketing and innovation officer for the Sixers. Goldstein was executive vice president and chief financial officer for Intermedia Outdoors Holdings, Shron was an associate with Proskauer Rose, Leonard was chief of staff of the New Jersey Department of the Treasury, and McDermott was chief marketing officer and senior vice president for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Major League Lacrosse’s Rochester Rattlers hired Brad Ford as chief operating officer. named David Goldberg chief executive officer and Adam Kanner executive chairman.

The Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC’s chief commercial officer, Eric Mastalir, stepped down from the position.

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.

Scenes from NHL Winter Classic

Actor Matthew Perry joins NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman during the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium.

NHL COO John Collins checks out the seats at Michigan Stadium during the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Build-Out on Dec. 30.

PepsiCo Canada President Richard Glover and Keith Wachtel, NHL EVP of global partnerships.
Photo by: NHL IMAGES

With the Rivalry on Ice trophy

Former New York Gov. George Pataki, Yale President Peter Salovey, Secretary of State John Kerry, Leverage Agency CEO and founder Ben Sturner, and former New York Ranger Mark Messier attend the Rivalry on Ice college hockey game between Yale and Harvard on Jan. 11 in New York.
Photo by: AP IMAGES

A night out at the Sugar Bowl

Allstate Sugar Bowl President Jay Batt, Alabama Athletic Director Bill Battle, Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione, Allstate Insurance SVP of integrated marketing Lisa Cochrane, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on stage at the Sugar Bowl Gala on Jan. 1 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Starting the day at Chik-fil-A Bowl

Duke University AD Kevin White and Chick-fil-A Bowl Chairman Steve Riddell were on hand for the Chick-fil-A Bowl FCA Breakfast on Dec. 27 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

Playoffs bring out NFL owners

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell joined Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson at the Panthers’ playoff game vs. the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 11 in Charlotte. Also on the sidelines was 49ers owner John York, below.

TD Garden hosts U.S. Figure Skating

TD Garden President Amy Latimer, U.S. Figure Skating President Patricia St. Peter and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh attend the opening ceremony at TD Garden for the Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 9.

Celebrating TD Place naming rights

At the announcement of the TD Place naming rights earlier this month: Premier Partnerships’ Jeff Marks (seated), TD Bank Group’s Chris Stamper, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group’s Bernie Ashe and Roger Greenberg, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Premier Partnerships’ Spencer Wolf, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group’s Adrian Sciarra and TD Bank Group’s John Ratoff.

CSN recognizes Shining Stars

Attending Comcast SportsNet’s fourth annual Shining Star Awards to benefit the March of Dimes on Jan. 9: Comcast-Spectacor executive adviser and Lifetime Achievement Award winner Sonny Hill, Wanamaker Tickets President Paul Conaway, Comcast SportsNet anchor Ron Burke and Time Warner Cable Sports VP Dan Finnerty.

On stage at CES

Formula E driver Luca di Grassi with Front Row Marketing Services President Chris Lencheski during a Qualcomm event at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Samsung Electronics America President Tim Baxter and PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua meet on stage at the Consumer Electronics Show at the announcement of Samsung’s partnerships with the NBA and The PGA of America.
Photo by: SAMSUNG

Octagon welcomes Goodell

At Octagon’s company meeting Dec. 13 in Stamford, Conn: Octagon Worldwide President and CEO Rick Dudley, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Jeff Shifrin, Octagon president of marketing for the Americas.
Photo by: OCTAGON

Devil’s draw

Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center, with N.J. Devil and Norbert Teufelberger, CEO of digital entertainment, announce a partnership with as the official online gaming partner at a recent news conference.

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.

A former competitive mogul skier, Michael Spencer became an agent just as skiers began migrating from the mountain to the terrain park. He landed his first freeskiing client, Simon Dumont, in 2003, and he’s been working with freeskiing athletes ever since. In 2008, he became a co-founder of the Association of Freeskiing Professionals, which played an integral role in getting the sport onto the Olympic program. Freeskiing will make its debut with halfpipe and slopestyle competitions at the Sochi Games, and Spencer, an executive with Wasserman Media Group, will be there.

There will be a large audience watching this. The question is: How do you capture that audience afterward? My thought is that our group as a whole really needs to bond together and create new opportunities to tell the story and continue to engage fans. How we do that, I’m not sure, but we have to do that.

On freeskiing joining the Olympics vs. snowboarding joining in 1998: It’s very different. In ’98, the X Games had only been around two or three years. Now, with snowboarding being in X Games as long as it has and it being in the Olympics as long it has, there’s already a larger audience tuned in to freeskiing.

How to measure that?: If an American wins halfpipe or slopestyle, we’ll be able to tell based on the corporate demand and media demand afterward.

How is that demand in advance of the Games?:
The media demand is there, without a doubt. USA Today and others have taken an interest in sending writers to [freeskiing’s] U.S. Grand Prix events. The corporate demand hasn’t been as good as I thought it would be, but the corporate demand for freeskiers was already great. ... I thought [freeskiers] might be bombarded with opportunities because it’s a new sport and it’s skiing, but I’ve heard they had so many other sponsors that [new sponsors] were afraid they wouldn’t have access to those athletes.

On Tanner Hall, Simon Dumont and the Olympics: The sport of halfpipe was elevated by Tanner (age 30) and Simon (27), no question. The days of turning on X Games and watching them go head to head, people loved that. ... Tanner [who opted not to compete in Sochi] will be missed, but Simon’s still in a good spot to be there. He started at 14 and has been at every X Games since ski superpipe was added. Hopefully, he can make it.

— By Tripp Mickle

T he energy between two people is what makes great marriages, great families, great teams, great organizations.

When two people connect, there are legendary results. If I can get two people, just two, to agree, that’s the common denominator of all success. Just two people to agree, we can change the entire organization. Two people who really, really love each other.   

My dad started the executive search industry back in 1967 and my dad started to introduce me to this concept of energy early. My dad was my best friend, he was my dad, my partner.

What if each of us were given specific people in our lives to help us in ways we never imagined? What if those people weren’t happenstance acquaintances? What if they were strategically given to you, to help you find that place in life you always dreamed about?

Mr. Rogers wrote a quote that’s just amazing. “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of the people you meet.”

Men after the age of 35 stop adding new friends. … This has become an epidemic problem, this whole relationship thing. Women get relationships, men are just terrible at it.

There is this study of fleas where they put these fleas in a little glass jar and put holes in the top. And for the first two days, they like bounce off the top, but then slowly they just sit at the bottom. Then they take the lid of the jar off, and they don’t come out anymore. And that’s what’s happened today.  

Everything changes in a moment’s flash. One idea, one thought, one friend can change your life. But we’ve got to stop being where we have lids on our life.

We work with people who tolerate us, they never celebrate us. We work in environments that are less. You’re not necessarily doing the job you love, in a place you love, with people you love or where your family loves it. The answer is, That day has got to stop. You can never be successful in an environment where you are not celebrated.

I can’t get CEOs in the country to declare their one friend. This is a disaster we’re in. They are all isolated and when you’re in trouble and you’re in a spot, there has to be one person. You’ve got to be able to call one person.

You do one thing so much better than anybody and together we could kick butt. But we hinder ourselves; why? Because we won’t go deeper in our friendships.   

I don’t have any clients that I am not friends enough with that I couldn’t look at them and tell them I love them. None. It’s so awkward for some people.

We live in a world that says we can’t have friends and actually do business together. Because friends and business are taboo. So let me get this correct, we are supposed to work with people we don’t know and don’t trust?  

Only 18 percent of corporations have a program that promotes friendship. Eighty-two percent don’t. If you had just one friend in your organization, you are 40 percent more productive.  

The fact is, people want to do business with people they really like. That’s the way this is. People do business with people.

Do you know that you have friends right now that are out of a job that will never tell you? They’ll never tell you that they need help. Why? Because we don’t want to ask. You don’t mind helping someone, so if you and I are best friends and I ask for help, would you help me? So why would you deny me the same joy of helping you? It never works in reverse.

I tell everyone when they come into my office, ‘Congratulations. Greatest day of your life.’ They say, ‘What? I just got canned!’ I say, ‘You didn’t like that job. You got divorced in that job. You were a pain in the butt at that job. Do something now that you love. Let’s change everything. How great would it be to come home with joy on your face and happiness in your heart?’

When I started to understand who I had that God gave me specifically in my life, my business quadrupled. I started to stop all this crap of networking, websites, handing out business cards to strangers, sending “dear recruiter” letters. All this stuff is embarrassing. We have been given people.  

I’ve got 5,365 names in my database. It took me 6.4 million miles on American Airlines to do it. Then I did a study on who’s touched my life or given me any business. Eighty-seven out of 5,365. I took “Dumbass” off my forehead. I started focusing in on my 87 and my business went through the roof. Why? Because friends help people.  

We don’t have 50 friends. If you had 12 friends, three are close, one is best, and that’s your inner circle. Jesus had 12 friends, three close, one best, and everyone knows who he is. Two thousand years later the guy is still signing new recruits and doing deals.