Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 2

People and Pop Culture

The Chicago Cubs named Darnell McDonald baseball operations assistant. McDonald played seven seasons in MLB.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx promoted Steve Beno to senior manager of Lynx sales and service, and Mike Fuhrman to senior manager of group events.

The Portland Trail Blazers’ director of sustainability and public affairs, Justin Zeulner, left his position to work with Vulcan, the team’s parent company.

The Little East Conference named Megan Erbes assistant commissioner. Erbes was a communications assistant for the American Athletic Conference.

The Philadelphia Big 5 named Steve Bilsky executive director, effective in July. Bilsky will retire as athletic director at Penn in June.

The University of Arkansas named Julie Cromer senior associate athletic director for administration and sports programs, and senior woman administrator. Cromer was executive associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at Indiana University.

Penn State University named Tom McGrath associate athletic director for business relations and communications. McGrath was vice president of international business development for Jet Set Sports.

Princeton University named Mollie Marcoux athletic director, effective Aug. 4. Marcoux was executive vice president and executive director of Chelsea Piers’ complex in Connecticut.

Rutgers University named Tom Luicci senior director of digital media, effective May 5. Luicci was a sportswriter for the Newark Star-Ledger.

Worcester State University named Michael Mudd athletic director, effective June 9. Mudd was previously president of the American Hockey League’s Worcester Sharks.

Barclays Center named Marco Fabozzi director of food and beverage operations. Fabozzi was senior director of food and beverage at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis.

Centerplate promoted Adrian Dishington to chief operating officer of its U.K. operations.

SMG named Marc Mulherin general manager of the Branson (Mo.) Convention Center. Mulherin was assistant general manager, director of food and beverage operations, and director of capital and special projects for Savor at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The Miami Beach Bowl named Blake Guthrie assistant executive director of operations and events. Guthrie was associate manager of events for ESPN.

The New England Patriots named Dr. Matt Provencher the team’s medical director. Provencher is the chief of sports medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. He replaces Dr. Thomas Gill, who stepped down to focus on his private practice.

The Tennessee Titans named Tre’ Stallings director of player engagement and Amie Wells communications coordinator. Stallings was assistant director of championships for the SEC.

KemperSports named Mark Mattingly and David Kupstas regional operating executives.


Tennis Channel named Adam Ware senior vice president, head of digital media. Ware was founder and principal of Aware Media Consulting.

Hendrick Motorsports named David Harris automotive communications manager. Harris was a senior manager for Fox Sports 1 communications.

Andretti Autosport named Roger Griffiths director of motorsport development. Griffiths was technical director for Honda Performance Development.

International Speedway Corp. promoted Craig Neeb to senior vice president of business development and chief digital officer.

NASCAR named Peter Jung senior director of growth segment marketing and Nicole Smith director of growth segment marketing. Marcus Jadotte, vice president of public affairs and multicultural development, is leaving the organization but will remain a consultant.

The U.S. Equestrian Federation named Chris Welton chief executive officer, effective June 1. Welton was with Teneo Holdings and is the former chief executive officer of Helios Partners.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
The Adidas Group promoted Mark King to president of Adidas Group North America, effective June 1. King replaces Patrik Nilsson, who leaves to become CEO of fashion brand Gant. The company also promoted Ben Sharpe to chief executive officer of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf.

Fanatics named Doug Mack chief executive officer. Mack was chief executive officer for online marketplace One Kings Lane.

Ultimate Fighting Championship named Lou Lauria vice president of governing body relationships and International Fight Week. Lauria was with Helios Partners.

Awards and Boards
The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts-Amherst named Mike Slive executive-in-residence. Slive is the commissioner of the SEC.

The National Association of Sports Commissions named Kevin Smith board chair. Smith is director of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater (Fla.) Sports Commission.

The USA Triathlon board of directors elected Barry Siff president, Mike Wien vice president, Kevin Sullivan secretary and Jack Weiss treasurer.

Gator Bowl Sports named Vince McCormack chairman.

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.

New name and logo for Atlanta bowl

The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl announced its new name and logo April 21 as part of its inclusion in the new College Football Playoff. From left: Steve Riddell, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Board; Michael Kelly, College Football Playoff; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl; Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A; and Rob Temple and Burke Magnus, ESPN.

Kicking it in Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Atlanta team owner Arthur Blank at the news conference April 16 announcing the granting of an MLS franchise to Atlanta.

In support of diversity

Commissioner Bud Selig speaks at MLB’s Diversity Business Summit on April 14 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

FishBait’s captain sounds off

Rick Jones, founder and CEO of FishBait Marketing, stopped by the SportsBusiness Journal/Daily offices in Charlotte on April 15 to share his thoughts on sports marketing and some of the issues facing college athletics.

Cynopsis honors France

At the April 17 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, recipient of the Vision Award as sports executive of the year, with wife Amy and Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Motorsports.

Hall of fame day in S.F. for Dolich

Veteran sports executive Andy Dolich was part of the class inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California on April 13 at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. Dolich (left) with Joanne Pasternack of the San Francisco 49ers and the 49ers Foundation and her father, former Special Olympics International President and CEO Bruce Pasternack. BELOW: Dolich (center) with Comcast SportsNet’s Jim Kozimor (left) and 49ers broadcaster Ted Robinson.
Photos by: JEFF BAYER

A Yankee welcome

The New York Yankees announced April 21 that Yankee Stadium will be the first home to New York City FC. From left: NYCFC’s Tim Pernetti, Jason Kreis and Claudio Reyna, retired Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, and the Yankees’ Randy Levine and Lonn Trost.

Safe place to play

Redskins owner Dan Snyder (second from left) and wife Tanya (right) joined with CPDC’s J. Michael Pitchford and KaBoom’s Stela Patron to build a new playground in D.C.’s Cedar Heights community on April 4.

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.

As vice president and general manager of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Phil Bedella leads a regional sports network that is co-owned by four of the city’s pro teams: the Blackhawks, Cubs, White Sox and Bulls. Bedella, who was with the network for its launch in 2004, was named vice president/GM in 2011, and he has run the day-to-day operations of the network since then. That means guiding CSN’s coverage during unique periods like last week, when the four co-owner clubs were all playing concurrently, with the Bulls and the Hawks in the postseason.

We are seeing a significant shift in how people consume media. Live sports is more important to cable and satellite affiliates and more so to the advertising community. I don’t see any reason why the rights won’t escalate. There is demand not just from consumers but from affiliates and advertisers.

On balancing coverage among the teams: Playoffs take priority over the regular season, but you have to be fair and consistent in the number of games that you slide over to the [CSN] Plus channel. All the teams who own the channel are interested in the same thing in providing a great opportunity to watch their teams while driving revenue. Everyone has the same goals, and it has been pretty easy to get everyone on the same page.

On the challenge of covering those teams: If something unfortunate happens with our teams, we are going to report it. Our goal is to stay fair and consistent. Most of the conversation is initiated by us. We will be proactive about it. We are a news-gathering organization and we have to deliver that to the fans.

On the importance of live, local streaming rights: I see it every day with how my children consume content. I look at the next generation of viewers, and it is a must-have. We hope to have streaming deals worked out with the NBA in time for next season. There are a lot of moving pieces, and it is not something that is solved overnight. The teams and the league don’t want to get left behind and miss a generation of young fans because they don’t have the content in the vehicles where they want to consume it.

On working with other Comcast RSNs: A lot of what we talk about is cross-promotion. Right now, we are playing the Washington Wizards in the NBA playoffs and we are speaking with the general manager of [Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic] to use each other’s assets to cross-promote. We may have their beat writer on our sports talk shows, and we also share ideas. If we have a program that we have negotiated to carry, it may come with rights we can pass on to the other regionals. That takes place pretty regularly

— John Lombardo

C ommunity engagement and involvement is very important. What I frankly want to challenge people to do is to get beyond the one-offs, to get beyond the photo ops, to get beyond the few tickets for a few kids and the autograph sessions. Those are all nice, but for me, that is not change at scale and not meaningful change.

In every one of your communities we can help, and we have all the data; partner with you — here are the relatively small number of schools but that need desperate help — and it could start to become much more focused, much more strategic.

What we’re looking for is a much more strategic investment. Frankly, a greater focus on your return on investment, on your ROI, but do it in a way that is going to not just feel good but is going to provide a set of opportunities that kids and communities have not had historically.

“I obviously have this huge love for basketball, but there is no way I could be doing what I do today had I not had the opportunity to be on all those teams throughout my upbringing.”
I’m from the South Side of Chicago; grew up playing there. Juwan Howard is also from the South Side of Chicago. He and I have partnered for years. He has run summer camps back home for years. He stays in touch with kids.

His summer camps are half-the-day basketball, half-the-day academic/technology skills. … The kids there know he is going to be there and has been there for the long haul.

We know by any measure what we’re doing for our young boys of color, our black and brown boys, in this country is woefully inadequate — and whether it is increasing high school graduation rates, whether it is reducing dropout rates, whether it is reducing incarceration rates, we need to, at scale, provide a set of opportunities that haven’t existed.

The president announced My Brother’s Keeper. It’s a very direct and strategic focus there. We have already a couple hundred million dollars from the private and philanthropic side.

[The] NBA, NFL, obviously who your athletes are, who your fan base is — huge chance to play there.

I think so many of us were able to sit down in class only if we had some recess. If we had PE, we were able to run around a little bit and burn off some steam.

Schools need to do more: More PE, more recess, more before school, after school. My daughter goes to a wonderful public school. They have a Girls on the Run program where they have young former college athletes come doing this amazing stuff in the mornings, so we all have a role to play.

I want us to be much more strategic, much more proactive … telling our young people in general, but particularly our young boys of color, that you cannot drop out of high school. It is absolutely unacceptable. We’ll get you what help you need to be successful, but there is no way we’re going to allow you to drop out.

I wish we had more people kicking down my door and other folks’ doors saying we have to get better faster. The pressure we generally feel is that we’re going too fast. I think quite the opposite is true. In a place like South Korea, it frankly doesn’t matter who the leadership is. The people won’t allow education not to be a top priority.

We’ve stagnated, and 11 other countries have passed us by. On no international benchmarks, none, are we frankly close to where I think we want to be. I think we’re living on our past glory days from 30 and 40 years ago.

[Following video highlights of Duncan at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game]: Thank God for Skylar Diggins. She could actually cut. Just so folks know, this was not real basketball. This was against Snoop Dogg. Take it with a grain of salt.

We play in a league in D.C.; play with a group of guys Saturday mornings. My son is starting to play, so I play with him some. Mix it up a little bit.

Bill Bradley wrote a book … “Values of the Game.” The hard work, the perseverance, the thinking long term, the thinking not about what’s good for you but what is good for the team: Those are all skills that are tough to teach in algebra and biology.

I obviously have this huge love for basketball, but there is no way I could be doing what I do today had I not had the opportunity to be on all those teams throughout my upbringing.

I thought the idea that so many teams were going to postseason tournaments with graduation rates that were horrendous was just absolutely irresponsible. People thought we were crazy, but we worked really hard and got the NCAA actually to raise the bar.

The fact that a coach can run a program into the ground and then leave and then double his salary at the next institution and the university he left be decimated, they lose scholarships … If I commit a crime, my wife shouldn’t pay for it and the person next to me shouldn’t pay for it. I need to pay for it.