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Volume 21 No. 2

People and Pop Culture


The Cleveland Indians hired Brian Barren as executive vice president of sales and marketing. Barren was director of Procter & Gamble’s Kroger customer business development team.

The San Diego Padres hired Gordon Cooke as senior director of Padres Premium Plus. Cooke was director of sales and marketing for the Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe.

The Texas Rangers promoted Gil Kim to director of international scouting and Rafic Saab to director of Latin America scouting.

The Class A Midwest League’s Fort Wayne (Ind.) TinCaps promoted Abby Naas to director of promotions and community relations, Brad Shank to vice president of ticket sales, Erik Lose to facilities manager and accounting manager, and Justin Shurley and Brent Harring to senior ticket account managers. The team hired Evan Ashton as a corporate partnerships manager, Jen Wall as merchandise manager, Tara Cahill as a ticket account manager and Dan Preuett as assistant ticket office manager and reading program manger.

Women’s Basketball Coaches Association manager of communications Andrea Kane is leaving the organization.

The Sunshine State Conference hired Ed Pasque as commissioner. Pasque was senior associate commissioner for external affairs at the Atlantic 10 Conference.

American University hired Doug Dull as associate athletic director for communications. Dull was founder and president of DGD Communications.

Fresno Pacific University named Leslie Schuemann athletic director.

Saint Peter’s University named Bill Stein athletic director emeritus. Stein served as the school’s athletic director from 1981-2008.

UNLV senior associate athletic director Jerry Koloskie resigned from his position.

The University of Minnesota promoted Dan O’Brien to senior associate athletic director overseeing the football program and athletics facilities.

The University of Northern Colorado hired Darren Dunn as athletic director. Dunn was deputy athletic director at the University of Houston.

The University of Tennessee at Martin hired Julio Freire as athletic director. Freire was associate athletic director for development at UNLV.

Global Spectrum named Fran Rodowicz general manager for Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center and Ron Rideout general manager for the Bicentennial Center in Salina (Kan.) Rodowicz was general manager for the Global Spectrum-managed Liacouras Center at Temple University, and Rideout was assistant general manager for the CFE Arena at the University of Central Florida.

Sonoma Raceway promoted Michael Re to vice president of ticket sales and operations and Chris Palmer to ticket operations manager. Tony Capretto was hired as an account representative.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course named Steve Beckman ticketing manager for all Mid-Ohio events and the Mid-Ohio School driving and riding programs. Stephen Timms was named event operations coordinator for the track’s parent company, Green Savoree Racing Promotions.

Fiesta Bowl Executive Director Robert Shelton resigned.


Buffalo Communications and Billy Casper Golf named Joe Steranka chief global strategist. Steranka is the former PGA of America chief executive officer.

The Buffalo Sabres promoted Randy Cunneyworth to special assistant and player development coach for the Rochester Americans and hired Tim Murray as general manager and Craig Patrick as a special assistant and adviser to the hockey department.

The Ottawa Senators promoted Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee to assistant general managers.


The Aspire Group hired Mike Scherr as business development consultant, Ben Iliff as group events consultant, and Katelyn Schwartzkopf and Justin LaLone as ticket sales consultants at Arizona State University.

GroupM ESP promoted Autumn Nazarian to senior vice president, Evin Dobson to vice president, Meghan Harrigan and Erin Thompson to account directors, Sarah Ax to senior account manager, Christopher Wallace to account manager, and Margot Freedman to account executive. Amanda Soto was hired as an account executive.

LeadDog Marketing Group hired Kevin Marotta as vice president of client partnerships. Marotta was vice president of media strategy for Madison Square Garden.

Regan Communications Group hired Julie Kahn as executive vice president for sports and media, and as a special adviser to President George Regan Jr. Kahn was a senior vice president for New England at Entercom.

Sports Marketing Partners launched with Steve Schwartz as principal and founder.

Learfield Sports promoted Andrew Wheeler to senior vice president.

Sports agent Gustavo Vasquez formed SPSports Group, a full-service sports and entertainment company.

Active Interest Media named Rory Strunk president of Warren Miller Entertainment and the rebranded AIM Studios Powered by Warren Miller.

ESPN consolidated its programming and production departments and named John Wildhack executive vice president of programming and production; Norby Williamson executive vice president of production, program scheduling and development; Burke Magnus senior vice president of programming acquisitions; Rob King senior vice president of “SportsCenter” and news; and Mark Gross senior vice president of production and remote events. Patrick Stiegman, vice president of editorial for digital and print media, will take over King’s previous role.

One World Sports hired Randy Brown as executive vice president of distribution. Brown was executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing for Outdoor Channel.

Sports USA Media hired Brandon Randazzo as director of social media.

Petty Holdings Chief Marketing Officer Mike Bartelli will leave his position, effective Feb. 14.

Turner Scott Motorsports hired Kevin Ray as director of business operations. Ray was team manager for Red Horse Racing’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams.

Nelson Rodríguez will step down as Major League Soccer executive vice president of competition, technical and game operations, effective Jan. 31.

The North American Soccer League’s Minnesota United FC promoted Eric Durkee to director of public relations.

Comcast-Spectacor named Dan Gallagher chief of staff. Gallagher was vice president of learning and development operations for Comcast.

Fantasy Alarm named Rick Wolf president.

Getty Images named Ethan Green senior director of global events and sponsorships. Green was vice president of global sponsorships and marketing for Citi.

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association named Rachael Cole Oats associate executive director. Oats was director for the NATA Research and Education Foundation.

Rugby Canada hired Mark Lemmon as chief marketing officer.

Moss Sports named Scott Lange executive director of venues and events. Lange was vice president of media and marketing for The Active Network.

Awards and Boards

Golf 20/20 named Darrell Crall, PGA of America chief operating officer, 2014 chair.

Adidas named Eric Liedtke to its executive board of directors in Germany, effective March 6.

Joseph Hunt was named to the Edwards Jones Dome board of directors.
The LPGA named Mike Trager chairman of the board of directors.


The World Golf Foundation named Tim Finchem, PGA Tour commissioner, 2014 chair.

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.

2014 Business of Sports

The inaugural 2014 Business of Sports earlier this month brought together some of the brightest minds in Tampa Bay sports to discuss the local industry and its impact. At a panel titled “Competition From the Couch,” Brian Ford, COO, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; and Steve Griggs, Tampa Bay Lightning COO.

At a panel titled “Tampa Bay is increasingly gaining ROI on its investment in the business of sports,” are Alexis Muellner, editor, Tampa Bay Business Journal; Rob Higgins, executive director, Tampa Bay Sports Commission; Scott Blackburn, founder,; Jerry Kulig, director of sales, Outback Bowl; and Tim Ramsberger, president, Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Jeff Price, Acorn Sport Ventures founder, sat down for a one-on-one interview with Matt Hayes (right), Sporting News college football senior writer.

National meetings for Ovations

Attending Ovations Food Services national meetings in Palm Harbor, Fla., are, from left: Ovations EVP Doug Drewes, Comcast-Spectacor SVP Mich Sauers, Ovations President Ken Young, Comcast-Spectacor President Dave Scott, Global Spectrum SVP Frank Russo and Global Spectrum COO John Page.

NCAA honors captain Pyne

George Pyne, president of IMG Sports and Entertainment and former captain of Brown University’s football team, received the 2014 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award at the NCAA Convention in San Diego. The award recognizes individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletic careers. Pictured with Pyne (left) is Jack Hayes, Brown University director of athletics.
Photo by: NCAA

Smithfield extends with Petty

ABC/ESPN announcer Allen Bestwick spoke during the Jan. 15 announcement in New York of a three-year extension and increased investment in Smithfield Foods’ NASCAR program with Richard Petty Motorsports on the No. 43 Ford Fusion driven by Aric Almirola. Seated, left to right: Smithfield Foods’ Larry Pope, Petty, Richard Petty Motorsports’ Brian Moffitt, Almirola and NASCAR’s Jim O’Connell.

Leaders Breakfast in London

Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark (left); Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One team principal Christian Horner; and Arsenal FC Chief Commercial Officer Tom Fox participated in The Leaders Sport Breakfast on Jan. 15 at Bloomberg’s European Headquarters in Finsbury Square, London.

Diamondbacks honor MVPs

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ third annual Most Valuable Partner Awards were held Jan. 16 at Wild Horse Pass Casino in Phoenix. Sanderson Ford was the MVP Silver Winner. Left to right: First baseman Paul Goldschmidt; Sanderson President David Kimmerle; Jenny Kester, Sanderson marketing; Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall; and Max Sirstins, Sanderson director of advertising.

Gila River Casinos was the MVP Gold Winner. Left to right: Goldschmidt; Gila River Indian Community Gov. Gregory Mendoza; Hall; and Gila River Casinos CEO John James.

Dunkin’ sets up shop in Premier League

Liverpool FC and Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. announced a multiyear partnership, which sees the American brand break into the Barclays Premier League. Left to right: Liverpool FC legend Ian Rush, midfielder Philippe Coutinho, Dunkin’ Brands Chairman Nigel Travis, and Liverpool FC Managing Director Ian Ayre.

Athletes join Clinton at conference

Former President Bill Clinton and Wasserman athletes joined forces at the Clinton Foundation’s annual Health Matters Conference in La Quinta, Calif., to announce a national out-of-school time initiative with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Clinton’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Left to right: Cyclist Ty Magner, snowboarder Eddie Wall, Clinton and boxer Danyelle Wolf.

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.

Dave Pear, 60, picks up the phone, and when asked how he is doing, he replies, “Not so good.” Pear is the author of, the popular blog among NFL retirees that largely takes the league office to task on matters of former players. Pear has had 15 surgeries since he retired more than 30 years ago. While he has both a Super Bowl ring and a Pro Bowl to his name, his efforts now focus on the blog, through which he’s documented his own attempts to get disability support from the NFL despite what he says is $600,000 he has spent on medical bills.

The problem is you can’t make the game safer; it is a dangerous business. At some time, the NFL is going to have to be honest with parents that getting hit in the head causes brain damage.

Dave Pear in 2008 at the Gridiron Greats news conference and in 1979 with the Oakland Raiders.
Do you watch the NFL?: Not really. I guess the thrill is gone. And I watch it just enough so I can speak about it as far as what is going on. … We were taught to hit with our heads, and if you didn’t hit with your head you weren’t going to play in the NFL.
Do you plan to watch the Super Bowl?: Just a little.

Any communications with the league?: [Commissioner] Roger Goodell called me a few years ago. … I made him listen to my grievances. I took 28 minutes to explain why I was doing what I was doing. After 28 minutes, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? God?’ I said,

‘No, Roger. You have the power to fix this mess.’”
When was that call?: 2008.
(Pear said he has not communicated directly with the league since then. The league declined to comment on Pear’s statements.)

Thoughts on the proposed concussion settlement?: It came at the start of the season so people could say it was all taken care of.
Will you opt out if it gets preliminarily approved?: How can you begin to make a decision if you don’t know the details? I rely on my lawyer, Jason Luckasevic, to help guide me through this, and he thinks it stinks. And it does.

— Daniel Kaplan

W e have an engineering culture, and it tends to sort of start late in the day and go late into the night. Engineers tend to arrive, like, after 10 and they tend to leave after 8.

But on [the day of the IPO] and only this day, we had basically the entire employee base, well north of a thousand people in San Francisco, all show up to work at 6 in the morning. There was a huge traffic jam leading into the parking lots around our office in downtown San Francisco.

We’re viewing the occasion of becoming a public company as not the end, rather as a means to an end. It’s an ability to raise capital at a scale that allows us to continue to invest in innovation and growth, and to make the product better and better for our users around the world.

This is a milestone that signifies, for a company like ours that’s been a private company for so long, there’s no longer any place to hide. All of the metrics and all of the things you try, like whether they work or don’t work, they’re all pretty much now in public view.

We really hope that the pressure and visibility of being a public company will make us better and will hold us more accountable, will lead us to think bigger and really try to maximize the value of the company for our users and thereby for the investors.

You think about the process of meeting with investors as a process where they’re sort of interviewing you, but the truth is, you’re also interviewing them, to try to figure out “Who are the investors?” Do they understand the long-term value of the business?

An advertiser would prefer to put their advertising against an audience that’s more engaged. … Sports overindexes for the engagement of the audience.  

Sports programming … is going to be viewed as an even more valuable place to put television advertising, particularly if content owners like the NFL can make the case clearly that they have huge amounts or disproportionate amounts of engagement on social platforms like ours.

We have a metric in the marketplace that Nielsen has developed called the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating, and it’s designed precisely to allow broadcasters and advertisers to value the engagement that television programming drives. And when the NFL sort of put those dots together, they realized, “Wow, this really makes a lot of sense for us, and the more we can drive conversation on Twitter, the more valuable it’s going to be for us.”

[Amplify] allows rights owners to publish short-form video directly into Twitter, and have that video appear in-line in user streams and more and more be played with a one-click play. The content owner gets compensated for the advertising that gets sold … then the advertiser pays Twitter for reach and targeting. … So a brand like the NFL might have 5 million followers on Twitter, but a sponsor allows them to target a much bigger audience, and that’s why we call it Amplify.
One thing that’s fascinating about [Nielsen’s] work is it shows that the reach of tweets on Twitter is live, meaning something like 75 percent of the tweets created about a given program are consumed within an hour of the creation of the tweet.

We have the 140-character constraint, which means that content can be created and consumed on our platform faster than it can on any other platform. We display content in a time-filtered way.

Why that’s so important for television is that is the heart of why we drive tune-in, because you hear about what’s on TV while it’s still on. And we’ve recently announced a partnership with Comcast where you’ll actually be able to tune your television from a tweet.

If we can be a driver of consumption — driver of consumption of great content that people are interested in — and create a perpetual connection between that content and the audience, then we’ve succeeded.

Imagine if, like, 10 years ago, I’d said, “Hey, guess what, there’s going to be this service, it’s going to be creating this data in real time that’s going to tell you at any moment in time what the world is thinking.”

As a space matures and gets more competitive, you really have to focus on what differentiates you as a service, and why is that differentiation valuable. … We are today the only platform at scale that’s the combination of being live, public, conversational and widely distributed.

Think of Twitter as a tool… to accomplish the goals that you have. That goal could be … to create a persistent connection, to create a sense of engagement, to draw their attention to things that you want the audience to be focused on.  

View it as an asset. View it as something that you can control, optimize and grow and get value from, whether that value is more tune in, whether that value is a better case to your advertisers why your programming is unique and deserves to be valued as such, whether that values the engagement from the audience.