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Volume 21 No. 1

People and Pop Culture

The Major League Baseball Players Association hired Bob Tewksbury as director of player development.

The Tampa Bay Rays’ senior vice president of development and business affairs, Michael Kalt, stepped down from his position to lead a New York-based private investment office.

Minor League Baseball promoted Robert Fountain to associate counsel and Andy Shultz to manager of baseball and business operations, and hired Cory Bernstine as marketing research coordinator for MiLB Enterprises, Jessica Merrick as marketing coordinator and Jess Vera as coordinator of trademarks and intellectual property.

The independent Pacific Association’s San Rafael (Calif.) Pacifics hired Jennifer Clark as director of business and community relations.

NBA China named Raymond Tao senior vice president of global marketing partnerships. Tao was president for Ogilvy & Mather Advertising China.

The Golden State Warriors named Laurence Scott host and commentator for Warriors TV and

The Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center promoted Barry Baum to executive vice president and chief communications officer, Elisa Padilla to senior vice president of marketing, Randy Lewis to senior director of analytics and social marketing, Ashley Kahler to director of partnership marketing and Chris Harrington to manager of legal services. The Nets promoted Tyrel Kirkham to senior director of merchandising, Joyce Jelks to senior director of human resources, Victor Pereira to director of information technology and Tom Kolker to manager of broadcast and digital. Barclays Center promoted Lisa Brefere to vice president of food and beverage service and Logan Meier to senior director of facilities presentation.

The Atlanta Dream hired Angela Taylor
as executive vice president and general manager. Taylor is owner and president of NetWorks Sports Consulting.


Colgate University hired Jeff Falardeau as associate athletic director for external operations. Falardeau was assistant athletic director for the Athletics and Events Center at Ithaca College.

University of South Florida Athletic Director Doug Woolard will retire at the end of his contract in June 2015.

Washington University in St. Louis Athletic Director John Schael will retire, effective June 30.


Icon Venue Group promoted Art Aaron to president and chief operating officer and Marc Farha and Charlie Thornton to executive vice presidents.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway promoted David McGrath to vice president of corporate sales and Jessica Ferreira to director of events.

Watkins Glen International hired Levi Palmer as a corporate sales executive. Palmer was with the Philadelphia Eagles in premium services ticket operations.

The Atlanta Falcons hired Scott Pioli as assistant general manager. Pioli was with NBC Sports Network and SiriusXM Radio.

The San Francisco 49ers promoted Paraag Marathe to president, replacing Gideon Yu, who stepped down from that role. Al Guido was named chief operating officer. Guido was senior vice president of global sales for Legends.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Jason Licht as general manager. Licht was vice president of player personnel for the Arizona Cardinals.

Horse Racing

Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby hired Jason Potter as manager of partnership development.

Omnigon Communications promoted Nick Arcuri to director of sports products and Manish Dayal to director of its project management office, and named Joanna Levine director of marketing and communications and Alex Chamberlen Omnigon U.K. managing director.

Learfield Communications promoted Aaron Worsham to senior vice president of affiliate relations and operations, Tom Boman to vice president of broadcast operations and Jennifer Heim to vice president and corporate controller at its Missouri headquarters. Learfield Sports hired Adam Levinson as director of sales at Texas A&M. Levinson was corporate sales manager for the Houston Rockets.

Synergy Events hired Lisa Tobia as an executive associate.

Back9Network hired Scot Thor as senior vice president of programming. Thor was senior vice president of development and production for Intersport.

Time Inc. named Brendan Ripp publisher of Sports Illustrated and Ripp was vice president of sales and marketing for Fortune magazine.

Turner Broadcasting System hired Frank Wall as senior vice president and national sales manager for its Turner Sports Ad Sales division. Wall was publisher of Sports Illustrated.

LA2015, the organizing committee for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, hired Brian Erickson as senior vice president of sales and Susan Pollack as senior vice president of development.

FC Dallas named Dan Hunt president.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Under Armour hired Nick Carparelli Jr. as senior director of college sports. Carparelli was senior associate commissioner for football and marketing for the American Athletic Conference.

New York Road Runners named James Grooms vice president, legal and general counsel. Grooms was vice president, general counsel and assistant secretary for Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Richard Andersen stepped down as president and chief executive officer of Northlands.

The Professional Bull Riders hired Bob Chasse as vice president of partnership marketing. Chasse was principal of Genuine Partners.

Awards and Boards
Special Olympics Missouri named Roger Gardner, Learfield Sports executive vice president, to its board of directors.

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.

Macy’s Super Bowl lineup

Holding their custom jerseys at the opening of the NFL Shop at Super Bowl at Macy’s Herald Square on Jan. 22 are Macy’s Chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren; Lids Sports Group President Ken Kocher; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson; and NFL CMO Mark Waller.

Arsenal, Puma shake on long-term deal

Puma CEO Bjoern Gulden and Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis were at Emirates Stadium in London on Jan. 27, the day that Arsenal’s new long-term uniform deal with Puma was announced.

Grubman at Super Bowl prep

NFL EVP Eric Grubman speaks to the media at MetLife Stadium Jan. 22 during preparations for Super Bowl XLVIII Feb. 2.

Stadium Series scenes

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (left) and Wayne Gretzky arrive at the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25 for the game between the Kings and the Ducks. The next day, NHL CMO Brian Jennings (below) was outdoors at Yankee Stadium for the Rangers’ game against the Devils.

Feherty plays host to diverse lineup

Golf Channel’s David Feherty sat down with golf legend and entrepreneur Greg Norman, 1980 U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning hockey team captain Mike Eruzione and best-selling author James Patterson as a part of “Feherty Live presented by UL,” a special back-to-back night airing of his prime-time show. “Feherty” was staged in front of a studio audience at Universal Studios Orlando on Jan. 21 and 22.

Comcast, NBC Universal, 49ers strike deal

Comcast and NBC Universal recently announced a 10-year partnership with the San Francisco 49ers. From left: Ted Girdner of Comcast California, Ted Griggs of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, the 49ers’ Jed York, Hank Fore of Comcast California and Rich Cerussi of NBC Bay Area.

BAT Award for Michael Weiner

Randy Winn, Baseball Assistance Team president, and master of ceremonies Harold Reynolds of MLB Network present Diane Margolin, widow of former MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner, with Weiner’s BAT Lifetime Achievement Award. BAT held its “Going to Bat for BAT” fundraising dinner Jan. 21 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Golfing buddies

At the Wasserman/eBay event at Icebar Orlando during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando: Kevin Ring of the PGA of America; David Fay, formerly of the USGA; Malcolm Turner of Wasserman and James Lane of eBay.

Liverpool signs deal with airline

At the announcement Jan. 27 of Liverpool’s deal with airline Garuda Indonesia to become the team’s official training kit partner: Harry James Kandou, deputy chief of mission for the Indonesian Embassy; Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers; Garuda Indonesia CEO and President Emirsyah Satar; and Liverpool’s Ian Ayre.

Scouts’ night out

The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation held its annual “In the Spirit of the Game” gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on Jan. 18. Among those on hand were Los Angeles Dodgers President Stan Kasten, hall of famer Joe Morgan and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

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.

Seth Jacobs joined CAA Sports in late 2012 to help build the agency’s sports consulting practice. He previously worked in leadership positions with Momentum and GroupM ESP. With that perspective of more than 15 years in the industry, he sees how brands, now more than ever, are focused not just on sports or entertainment, but on pop culture.

Ultimately what the brands hire us to do is to market through pop culture to the consumer audiences, so as a consumer you are not just thinking, ‘I just care about sports,’ or ‘I just care about music.’ You don’t necessarily separate those things. It’s all a part of pop culture and it’s all about the things that you, as a consumer, are passionate about.

Photos by: CAA
What he does: Half of my job is real client service and real strategic consultation for clients, investing in the world of sports and entertainment. And then the other half of my job is helping this new group we have started within CAA Sports, which is CAA Sports Consulting, to floor-plan and grow the business. We consult with brands about how to invest in sports; how to maximize the investments they make in sports; how to actually activate the partnerships they have; how to measure the results they have.
How it works: Sometimes it can be through the simple act and announcement and PR of associating yourself with another great brand, like the U.S. Open or like Madison Square Garden or the Super Bowl. That can play itself out within an actual ad or PR announcement. And more and more, trying to combine the kind of live event and experiential world with social media, so that you can actually interact with consumers one-on-one and in a real direct way, and also get the multiplier effect.

Two trends he’s watching: TV rights deals in general: There has been talk over the past couple of years and rumors about new and additional players getting involved, like a Google or something like that, which would fundamentally change the landscape. Will that happen and will those TV rights deals continue to grow and expand? And I am very interested to see what will happen with the new college football championship.

— Liz Mullen

I went to Villanova. I did not have any internships. I was a liberal arts major. I was a 280-pound tight end who wanted to play in the NFL. That was my goal. But I got injured.

Downes greets NASCAR legend Richard Petty.
Photo by: NASCAR
I was shooting hoops at Villanova in 1995. I saw Ron Skotarczak [now senior vice president of sales at MSG]. … He told me I should talk to Scott O’Neil. He was with the Nets as director of sales.

I met with him and he said, “If you want to work in sports, you need to know how to generate revenue.”

Once I got in front of the right people, they wouldn’t hire me. I had no experience and they made that perfectly clear. I said to them, “I will come and work for free under the agreement that if I prove myself, you’ll put me on payroll.”

I was a salesperson making zero dollars going out to a territory every day doing cold canvassing. I would walk into accounting firms and law firms and would ask the receptionist for the name of the person at their firm who entertained clients. I would give them tickets and get that name. I was kicked out of buildings. I was threatened with arrest. It was all a big game.

I was completely out of money. I had two suits. I was living with my grandfather in Jersey City. I went into the VP of sales. I said I have led the sales team for three months. I think I’ve proven myself. He said, “You did. I put you on the payroll last week.”

Downes with his father on the sidelines at Veterans Stadium during his time with the Eagles.
I walked into one of my first sales calls. It was one of the largest accounting firms in New Jersey. … [The office] was covered in posters of the New Jersey Devils. He said, “You were really persistent. I just had to meet you in person and laugh in your face about the New Jersey Nets.” At that point, I knew I had nothing to lose. … I walked out of there after he bought four season tickets.

We had to be at our office by 7:30 a.m. If we were there at 7:35 a.m., the vice president of sales would walk over and say, “Good afternoon. Now go home.”

By 8:30, we had to make 40 phone calls. Of those 40, 20 had to be connections with a live voice. Of those 20, 10 had to be decision-makers. Of those 10, you had to get two appointments for the next week.

Once 8:30 a.m. hit, you were out in your territory. We had to have 12 meetings a week, documented. There were about 15 ticket salespeople. It was great.

I was just ecstatic I could actually work in a career where a suit and a baseball cap were completely acceptable to wear in the office. The God’s honest truth. I always thought that was the coolest thing. I’d be in my best suit with a baseball cap on.

Lencheski during his time with the Scranton/
Wilkes-Barre Red Barons
I opened up the new baseball stadium in Scranton, now PNC Field. At the time [in 1989], it was a pretty big Triple-A facility.

Opening night of the ballpark. Matthew Futterman, now at The Wall Street Journal, wrote a story. … For some reason, Scranton had never built one of these stadiums. The phones in the dugout were actually working phones, they weren’t single lines, so guys from the opposing team were ordering pizzas from Domino’s. Futterman wrote a whole story about that.

In 1989, the Phillies were not a very good baseball team, mathematically out of it by May. I went down to Prism, [a network] started by Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider, way ahead of regional sports networks. … It had the Flyers, Phillies and movies. I convinced Prism to air the games — the Phillies loved it because it took a little focus off of how bad the team was doing that year. We did these segments in Philadelphia of the Triple-A games, which had never been done, never been on pay cable.

Jim Fregosi was a scout with the Phillies at the time. My job was to pick up these guys at the airport. I’m the young guy doing whatever they need me to do. Fregosi rode me hard just to bust my balls.

He was leaving Scranton to go to Buffalo and said to me in the dugout, “Where do I need to go?” For whatever reason, I plainly said, “You go out of the stadium, take a right, head on [Highway] 81 and go this way.” Essentially I gave him the absolute wrong directions. In Scranton, he would have probably been 100 miles into State College before he realized he was going in the wrong direction. … Fregosi comes back and said … “You did that deliberately, right?” I didn’t say anything. He goes, “That’s pretty good, I’ve been riding your [butt] for four days … you put me in my spot.”

I remember interviewing with [former general manager] George Young of the New York Giants. I got to the meeting and I told Mr. Young that I had this opportunity with the Olympics and I had whatever I was going to interview with him for. We went to Rutt’s Hut, a hot dog stand off Route 3.

Lencheski today
He looked at me straight up and says, “You know, I have to be honest with you, you’re welcome to come here, but the Olympics, that’s pretty special. If you take that job, a job with us or someone in the NFL will be here whenever you’re ready, because those five rings will leap off your résumé your whole life.” He could not have been more right, he could not have said it any better. I took the job with the [1996 Summer] Olympics and I’ve never looked back.

My first [unpaid] job was an internship with Dennis Murphy, founder with Gary Davidson of the ABA and the WHA.

I was asked to call Mr. [Howard] Cosell, who was still at ABC at the end of his career. We were going to do this event at the Meadowlands and I had to call people to confirm they were sent the invitations and if they were going to show up. I called him and got him on the phone and he sounded just like he’s heard on “Monday Night Football.”

Even though we weren’t affiliated with the Giants at all, you know that he wasn’t ever happy that the Giants left New York. He was doing everything he wrote about the “New Jersey” Giants. He said to me, “Do you mean to tell me the Mara family, and everybody involved with that stadium, have the audacity, the chutzpah” … and he goes through this whole thing. I put it on speakerphone so people could hear … “Listen to this guy, he’s just reeling into me.” It was one of the coolest things that ever happened to me.

See also: My Start in Sports — Sean Downes