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Volume 21 No. 2

People and Pop Culture

The San Francisco Giants promoted Shane Turner to director of player development.

The Baltimore Orioles hired Ray Naimoli as senior manager of corporate partnership sales, Cathy Jerome as senior manager of partnership marketing and Bill Marriott as manager of corporate partnership sales.

The New York Mets hired Haeda Mihaltses as executive director of external affairs. Mihaltses was director of intergovernmental affairs for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Minor League Baseball hired Brian Sinclair as a field evaluator and instructor for the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp.

Ohio State University promoted Gene Smith to vice president in addition to his role as athletic director.

The University of Texas at Arlington hired Liz Franklin as marketing and promotions coordinator. Gregg Elkin left the position of senior associate athletic director for external relations.

Awards and Boards
The Southern California Sports Broadcasters awarded former Los Angeles Dodgers President Peter O’Malley the Gil Stratton Lifetime Achievement Award.


The John Wooten Leadership Awards awarded the firm Garvey Schubert Barer the Community Leader Award to honor the efforts of their late colleague, Keven Davis, for the firm’s commitment to diversity.

The Los Angeles Sports Council named Los Angeles Dodgers President and Chief Executive Officer Stan Kasten the 2013 Sports Executive of the Year.


Turnkey Sports & Entertainment named Melissa Dean chief financial officer and chief administrative officer and Emily Huddell vice president of marketing. The company promoted Carolyne Savini to senior vice president and Diana Busino to vice president of Turnkey Search and Evelyn Dwyer to senior manager of consumer research for Turnkey Intelligence. Turnkey Intelligence hired Marissa Razzante as senior manager of consumer research.

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.

Inaugural IOC President’s Dinner

IOC President Thomas Bach (third from right) welcomed international leaders to the inaugural IOC President’s Dinner in Sochi on Feb. 7, the eve of the opening ceremony. Among those attending were Russian President Vladimir Putin (second from left), Chinese President Xi Jinping (second from right) and IOC member Prince Albert II of Monaco (third from left).

Omega ribbon cutting

Omega President Stephen Urquhart, IOC President Thomas Bach, Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek and swimming legend and IOC member Alexander Popov cut the ribbon at the Sochi pavilion of official timekeeper Omega.

Airweave aligns with USOC

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun and Airweave CEO Motokuni Takaoka announce Airweave’s sponsorship with the organization on Feb. 12. Airweave becomes the USOC’s first sponsor in the mattress category.
Photo by: USOC

Victory leap

Circe Wallace of Wasserman Media Group hugs client Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland after he won the gold medal in the men’s halfpipe competition in an upset victory over Shaun White. “I’m so happy,” she said. “This is kind of a
big deal.”

Bach in the USA

U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst and IOC President Thomas Bach attend a gala at the USA House in the Olympic Village on Feb. 10.

Chairman of the board

Burton Snowboards founder and CEO Jake Burton does an interview in Sochi at the halfpipe competition. Despite news reports suggesting that snowboarding has peaked in popularity, Burton told SBJ “the sport is healthy, and the business is doing great,” though “it’s not as easy as it used to be.”

Every Step of the Way with Citi

At the unveiling of the Citi “Signature Step” installation Feb. 7 at USA House: 2010 figure skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek, 2014 luge bronze medalist Erin Hamlin, USOC CMO Lisa Baird, Olympic legend Dan Jansen and Tina Davis, Citi director of corporate sponsorship and marketing. Hamlin, Jansen and Lysacek are among the nine U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls participating in Citi’s Every Step of the Way program.

Travels with Tripp

SBJ Olympics reporter Tripp Mickle talked to a halfpipe full of sports executives during his first week in Sochi. Among them were Burton Snowboards head of global alliance and partnerships Nick Sargent (above) and Michael Payne, former director of commercial operations for the IOC. Podcasts of conversations with both of them, as well as stories and interviews from the Games, can be found on SBJ’s On the Ground blog at

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.

The University of Oregon honored alumnus and mega-booster Phil Knight at a recent men’s basketball game against USC. The celebration included a giant birthday card, video tributes and free Phil Knight bobbleheads for everybody in attendance.

Knight acknowledges the crowd at Oregon.
Photo by: AP IMAGES
Knight rarely gives interviews, and he largely built Nike into one of the world’s biggest brands while out of public sight. But he sat courtside on this particular Saturday night, offering a rare glimpse at the social, as well as other, skills that have made him one of the world’s most successful businessmen.

Here are five takeaways from watching Knight and seeing how the evening played out.

1. Be approachable
Knight was flanked by a friend and a representative of the university’s athletic department, but that didn’t stop numerous fans from asking him for an autograph or a picture. Knight indulged all takers. An approachable personality has been a key asset for Knight, who has had to quickly establish relationships around the globe as he built Nike into a Fortune 500 company.

2. Have fun
Executives work long hours. In his 50-plus years peddling shoes, Knight has had his share of exhausting meetings. He often breaks the tension with jokes. At the basketball game, he even tossed peanuts into the student section.

Bobbleheads were part of the tribute.
3. Cut to the chase
Whether he’s running Nike’s annual meeting or talking to a reporter, Knight gets to the point quickly. I didn’t have any luck setting up an interview with him in advance of the basketball game, but he gladly gave me a quick quote during a halftime interview.

4. Be gracious
With a $16.3 billion fortune, Phil Knight doesn’t need a long-sleeved T-shirt with his name on it (one of the gifts given to him by the university), but he seemed touched by all of the university’s efforts. He even high-fived several fans as he left the arena. Making those around him feel important has helped Knight maintain key relationships for decades.

5. Little stuff matters
Figure on Knight being one of the handful of fans in attendance who had a stat sheet with him during the game. His reputation says that he’s always paid attention to details, whether it’s who has the most rebounds or the music in Nike commercials.

Matthew Kish writes for the Portland Business Journal, an affiliated publication.

As he celebrates 20 years as owner of the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch, Howard Dolgon is taking on an additional role as chief marketing officer of LED lighting company Ephesus Lighting. “You’re going to see the arenas and stadiums across the country recognize that this type of LED lighting is just better,” he said. He spoke with SportsBusiness Journal staff writer Bryan Ives.

Age: 56.
New title: Chief marketing officer, Ephesus Lighting. Dolgon has also been the owner of the Syracuse Crunch hockey team since 1994.
Previous title: Founding partner, Alan Taylor Communications.
First job: Baskin-Robbins ice cream scooper.
College education: Brooklyn College, 1978. B.A. in English.
Resides: Boca Raton, Fla., and Long Island. Wife and five kids. The youngest is in college.
Grew up: Brooklyn. “I’m glad I got my college degree, but I think everything I’ve done in my life I credit more my street education and learning how to think on my feet.”
Executive most admired: Alan Taylor, Alan Taylor Communications, David Stern, NBA, and Gary Bettman, NHL.
Brand most admired: Wheaties.
Favorite vacation spot: Aruba.
Last book read: “Once We Were Brothers,” by Ronald Balson. “But I’m a fanatic of dog books. I love reading anything about dogs.”
Last movie seen: “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans.”
Favorite bands: Fun, the Who and Pearl Jam.

What is the biggest challenge in your new position?
I’m starting to gain knowledge of the whole LED lighting arena, but I think really it’s an educational challenge because it’s such a new product and our company is really leading the charge in that field. It’s really probably to educate arenas, stadiums, different facilities about just how good this type of lighting is and what it does from both a quality standpoint, from an entertainment standpoint and economically what a huge money saver it is to the facilities that operate it.

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
Back in 2010, we were the first American Hockey League team to put on an outdoor game and unlike subsequent games, we did it at the New York state fairgrounds and we built a rink on a dirt racetrack. … We had to build locker rooms. We had to bring in video boards. You talk about from the dirt up, that’s what we did. The game was aired on the NHL Network and we wound up breaking the single-game attendance record for the American Hockey League.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Starting a team in [a city] labeled as a hockey graveyard, and there were a lot of naysayers and that only fueled and made me personally more determined to succeed and to take it more personally. Getting the team on board and keeping it and now we are the senior independently owned team of all 30 teams in the American Hockey League.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?
I was one of the founding members of the National Lacrosse League. The first year [in Syracuse] we didn’t do well as a team on the field or off the field and then the second year I thought we did a better job putting a better team together, but we still didn’t win and we really struggled financially for fan support. Instead of at that time selling the franchise and say it’s not working, that was the first time professionally I let my ego get in the way and I said I can turn it around. I gave it one more year and it just didn’t work, and then I wound up selling the franchise.

What career advice do you have for people wanting to get into the sports industry?
If you really want to learn the business and want to learn a lot of aspects of it and learn what it is you’re good at and want to do with it, get in with a minor league team. Get in with a smaller staff where you’re really going to be hands on from the marketing and promotions to the PR to the selling to maybe even working on the team side, because you’re not going to go from college to work with the New York Giants or the New York Yankees.

Michael Rowe knows development through sports. The former executive vice president and COO of the Meadowlands Sports Complex has also been president and a part-owner of the New Jersey Nets, where he helped launch the YES Network. For the past 16 years, he’s led sports consulting firm Positive Impact. The company has worked to help potential owners of sports teams form business plans and has advised in the negotiations of those properties. It also has sold sponsorships for promoters and managed special events, including the North Carolina-Michigan State college basketball game on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego in 2011.

One of the marks of success for towns [in the past] was to acquire a sports franchise and arenas and major events. I think that worked fine in the ’80s and ’90s, but our clients are really looking to have the events or brands or sponsorships be much more effective and have ROI. People aren’t building arenas and buying teams just for the heck of it anymore.

What’s new with Positive Impact: We’ve been doing a lot of asset management and advisory services. [We] participated down in Orlando for the city on lease negotiations for the prospective MLS team; just finished a Super Bowl assignment with MainGate [where] we handled retail sales in the New Jersey hotels for them. We’re still in the middle of representing a party examining an NBA team, going through due diligence and building pro formas that will need to form the basis for investment.

Hoops and aircraft carriers: Everybody seems to be taking another look at whether basketball should be played outdoors and on water, where there might be wind and moisture. The one two years ago [in San Diego] in particular is one of the coolest events I have worked on. A lot of people think that it was a convergence of one-of-a-kind things: unique battleship, the one bin Laden was buried from at sea; the president was available to come to the game; first time ever an NCAA game was played outdoors on an aircraft carrier. It might have been just the stars lining up. If it doesn’t happen again, we understand.

The current state of sports team ownership: There are teams losing $20 million to $40 million a year, and you wonder, What are they in the game for? You better have a good plan if you want to get in this business and succeed. Sports is becoming a very expensive business. It’s not a hobby anymore. These things have to work. For prospective team owners, people buying in don’t just want to sit in the owner’s suite anymore. They’ve made money in their other businesses and they don’t want to lose money on a sports team.

— Don Muret

Photo by: USSA
After 18 years leading the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, Bill Marolt will step down as CEO after the Sochi Games. He joined USSA, where he had been a member of the 1964 Olympic ski team and later the alpine skiing director, after working as the athletic director at University of Colorado. He set a goal of making the organization the best in the world in Olympic skiing and snowboarding. It achieved that goal at the 2010 Vancouver Games when 17 of its athletes won 21 medals. SportsBusiness Journal writer Tripp Mickle spoke to him before his final Olympics.

When I graduated from the University of Colorado, my professional plans were to go into ski area management and ski area development, but the job as ski coach at CU was open. I took the job thinking it was a transition job, and two years turned into seven.

People encouraged me to take the AD job. It was a weird change of direction. The athletic program at CU at the time needed leadership and it needed some attention. I knew what the challenges were and what the solutions were so I just jumped in.

I came from the coaching side. I didn’t know a lot about the business side. I didn’t know about television, sponsorship, fundraising. All of those things I learned on the fly.

“Bode is, at core, a really good person,” Marolt says of U.S. skiing star Bode Miller.
Photo by: SARAH ELY / USSA
KOA radio booms all over the West. They approached me about broadcasting CU football and basketball. I walked into the meeting and I didn’t know what a 30-second spot was, and when I walked out of the meeting, I was selling them. That’s how naïve I was. The whole idea was KOA would put together the network and provide the talent. We would sell it. That’s where I learned about packaging radio and television.

My first year as AD we were a 1-10 football team. The biggest decision I made in my first year was to extend Coach [Bill] McCartney’s contract and give him two more years. That was probably the most key decision the whole time there. That gave him a chance to continue to recruit and improve. We went from 1-10 to a 7-5 team going to a bowl. By 1990, we won the national championship.

We had gone through a period of time with the football program where you get in a cycle of hiring and letting guys go. When I looked at where we were, Coach McCartney had a good coaching background. I looked around the country and couldn’t see a better guy to do it. A lot of ADs would want to find their own guy, but I had a lot of confidence in him.

Marolt stuck with McCartney, who delivered a national title.
We talk about goal setting and that’s one of the things I brought [to USSA] from Colorado. This is a McCartney-ism, so to speak. Mac always said, “If you have a goal, you’re not committed to it unless you write it down and put it on the wall for everyone to see.” That’s what I brought to USSA. I brought a goal and when we put it on the wall, few thought it was attainable. But when you have a goal and are focused on the goal, it works. It has served us and will continue to serve us.

Before I got here, we had a foundation. The foundation board still exists. But we weren’t sure who we were when I got here. We weren’t sure if we were a fundraising org or an event org. Really what we are is an athletic org. We’re an org about winning. But we have to do all of those things well. We have to do a great job in sales and marketing. We have to do a great job in fundraising. We have to do a great job in managing events. That’s all to support the organization. And as we’ve found success, our sales have gotten better, our fundraising has gotten better.

The key is having the stars that are easy to identify with. It doesn’t matter if it’s fundraising or sales but having the stars there — whether it’s Julia [Mancuso] or Lindsey [Vonn] or Bode [Miller] or Lindsey Jacobellis — those personalities and the results they get motivate people. What our public wants to hear, a corporate sponsor or a donor, is excitement. They want to hear that we have a chance to have someone standing on the podium. We have to stay focused on athletic results and winning.

Marolt celebrates a strong run by Ted Ligety at Soelden, Austria, in 2009.
Photo by: USSA
Bode is, at core, a really good person. He is a challenge because he’s a contrarian. But he’s a really good guy. He’s not arrogant. He’s just looking for opportunities to win.

One of our values is team. We believe we’re stronger if we have everybody working together. But all of these sports are individual sports. When they get in to the starting line, they’re individuals. But getting them there takes a community and a team. It takes not only coaches but the teammates, the nutritionists, doctors.

We had conversations with [Miller] and his agent [after Miller left the team in 2007]. We opened the doors and said, “Look, we’d like to have you back.” We didn’t put any conditions on it other than, “You have to be part of the organization and what we do going forward.” He was fine with all of that. It wasn’t a complicated situation because I didn’t make it complicated.

[After Torino] we felt that as a staff and an organization we needed to put a better face on the organization. That’s when we sat down and thought about values. You talk about what competition teaches you, but a lot of organizations don’t write that down. Out of 2007 came a recommitment to values and what we wanted to be and look like. It was important we did [create a new code of conduct] because it sent a message to the public about what we were. It made a difference leading up to ’10.

Marolt in the U.S. Ski Team Day pro-am race in 2012 at Squaw Valley
All the success we’ve had at world cups and the Olympics — those moments are the greatest.

I grew up in Aspen and had a super opportunity to get involved in skiing. My mom and dad and family were supportive. But I had a coach named Gale Spence who coached me from fourth grade to high school. He was a competitive skier. He started me in it, and that’s where a lot of my philosophy started.

I want to stay involved in skiing. I’m on the board of directors of the USOC, I’m on the FIS council. I’ll do that the next few years. I’ll do some fundraising for USSA. I’ll be involved from a distance. I’d like to stay involved through membership on those boards and fundraising.