Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 22 No. 3

People and Pop Culture

Ripken foundation tips off with luncheon

The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation hosted its fifth annual College Season Tip-Off benefit luncheon at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront on Oct. 26: former UConn coach Jim Calhoun, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, event honorary chair Jay Bilas of ESPN, former Maryland coach Gary Williams, Cal Ripken Jr. and Villanova coach Jay Wright.
Tiffany trophy

Charles Schwab and Champions Tour President Greg McLaughlin show off the new Tiffany-crafted Schwab Cup trophy as part of the tour’s announcement of the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs and the 2016 schedule on Nov. 11 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Photo by: PGA TOUR
Presidential presence

The George W. Bush Presidential Center annually hosts the Warrior Open, a golf tournament for wounded U.S. military personnel. This year’s tournament took place Sept. 28-30 at Las Colinas Country Club in the Dallas area. From left: ClubCorp CEO Eric Affeldt and former President George W. Bush.
Collegiate leadership symposium

The Collegiate Athletics Leadership Symposium was held Oct. 18-20 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. One panel discussion included University of Georgia AD Greg McGarity; Todd Stansbury, Oregon State AD and vice president; and Greg Brown, CEO and president of Learfield Sports.
ANOC welcome dinner in D.C.

The general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees was held in Washington, D.C., last month, and Events DC played host throughout the week, including the welcome dinner held on the roof of the American Pharmacists Association on Oct. 27. From left: Bob Sweeney of the host committee, ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, Events DC CEO Greg O’Dell, and IOC committee member Sunil Sabharwal.
Photo by: EVENTS DC
AKTIV award for Wittenberg

Mary Wittenberg, global CEO of Virgin Sport and former New York Road Runners president and CEO, received the first AKTIV Against Cancer Award at the Blue Water Grill in New York City on Oct. 27: Jack Waitz, AKTIV Against Cancer; Wittenberg; Michael Capiraso, NYRR; Helle Aanesen, AKTIV Against Cancer; and George Hirsch, NYRR.
T-Mobile at the Series

T-Mobile President and CEO John Legere (second from right) joined MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger, Dan Plesac and Mark DeRosa on the set for “MLB Tonight” presented by T-Mobile live after Game 5 of the World Series at Citi Field on Nov. 1.
Ashland at Breeders’ Cup

Valvoline Oil President Samuel Mitchell Jr. (center) and wife Beth (second from left) hosted Ashland Inc. Chairman and CEO Bill Wulfsohn (second from right) and wife Stephanie (third from right) at the 2015 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., where the group witnessed Triple Crown winner American Pharoah achieve horse racing’s first Grand Slam and claim the $5 million purse. Also attending were Ashland Inc. corporate director Vada O. Manager (far left) and Heidi Matheys, vice president, global brands, Valvoline Oil (far right).
Revving up at Advertising Week

NASCAR hosted a panel on Oct. 1 in New York as part of Advertising Week featuring, from left: Kevin Harvick, 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion; Adam Tucker, president of Ogilvy & Mather Advertising; Jill Gregory, SVP of marketing and industry services, NASCAR; and John Miller, CMO, NBC Olympics.

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.

Stan Conte resigned as Los Angeles Dodgers vice president of medical services and head athletic trainer.

The Washington Nationals promoted Jacqueline Coleman to vice president of broadcasting and game production.

The Seattle Mariners promoted director of pro scouting Tom Allison to oversee all scouting operations and hired Andy McKay as director of player development, replacing Chris Gwynn, who resigned. McKay was peak performance coordinator for the Colorado Rockies.

The Class A Lexington (Ky.) Legends hired Jesse Scaglion as senior corporate sales executive.

The Class AA Jacksonville Suns hired Noel Blaha as assistant general manager and Andrea Williams as community relations manager.

The Seattle Mariners named Joe Bohringer special assistant to the general manager.

The Los Angeles Angels hired Eric Chavez as special assistant to general manager Billy Eppler.

Ripken Baseball named John Bramlette as executive vice president of amateur baseball.

The Minnesota Twins promoted Dustin Morse to senior director of communications and Chris Iles to senior director of content. Kevin Smith, senior director of corporate communications and broadcasting, left the organization.

The Baseball Writers Association of America named Derrick Goold president. Goold is the Cardinals beat reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Class AA Frisco (Texas) RoughRiders named Breon Dennis vice president of community development and executive director of the RoughRiders Foundation; Austin Cain, Jeff Clark, Johnny Coenen, Kaitlyn Cox and Kanavis Wright group sale executives; Hillary Adams, LaJewelia Lewis and Jacob Sappington ticket sales coordinators; and Adam Dolezal ticket operations and box office coordinator.

The Charlotte Hornets’ Greensboro, N.C., NBA D-League team named Steve Swetoha president. Swetoha is former president of the WNBA Tulsa Shock.

The National Basketball Players Association named Erica McKinley chief operating officer.

The Utah Jazz named Linda Luchetti vice president of basketball operations.

The Philadelphia 76ers hired Jeff Neal as director of digital and ticket marketing. Neal was manager of social media for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Atlanta Hawks hired the Rev. Toussaint Hill Jr. as a community consultant. Hill is senior pastor of the West Hunter Street Baptist Church.

Rice University named Lizzie Haldane director of branding and Matt Anderson assistant director of marketing.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis hired Roderick Perry as athletic director. Perry was deputy athletic director at Wright State University.

The University of Texas hired John Bianco
as associate athletic director for football media relations.

Kean University promoted Jack McKiernan to athletic director.

Pocono Raceway named Bob Pallo vice president of military affairs and hired Mike Evranian as senior director of business development and Ryan Yanoshak as senior director of communications.
RBB Communications hired Marlon Lewinter as an account director. Lewinter was an account director at Catalyst IMG.

Learfield Sports hired Bob Derda as general manager and Arielle Love as coordinator of business development at Duquesne University.

Team One promoted Jamie Elliott to management supervisor and Kaitlin Kerns to account supervisor.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago hired Leila Rahimi as anchor and reporter.

Nickelodeon named Leslie Byxbee manager of corporate communications. Byxbee was manager of corporate communications and publicity for WWE.

Fox Sports hired Barbara Blangiardi as senior vice president of strategies and creative partnerships.

Activision Blizzard hired Mike Sepso as senior vice president of e-sports. Sepso was co-founder and president of Major League Gaming.

AMA Pro Racing promoted Michael Lock to chief executive officer.

Hugh Robertson was elected vice chair of the British Olympic Committee. Annamarie Phelps, Hew Chalmers and Ian Howard were elected to the board as National Governing Body representatives. Outgoing Vice Chair David Hemery was named life vice president.

The Philadelphia Union hired Earnie Stewart as sporting director. Stewart was director of football affairs at Dutch club AZ Alkmaar.

Awards and Boards
The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame named Mark Ball, Marc Hudak, Richard Lewis, Gerry McGuire and Tom Taradash recipients of the 2015 Chapter Leadership Awards.

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.

The International Premier Tennis League begins its second season in Kobe, Japan, on Dec. 2, and over the next 18 days it will bring an all-star band of nearly three dozen tennis players to a host of global locales. Morgan Menahem is in charge of securing the players, and with a budget of more than $20 million, he’s assembled a who’s who of the tennis world, including Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams. The native Parisian, who attended Florida State and previously ran his own player rep business, was part of the IPTL through its planning and the debut of the league last year.

The first year was very unique, and very enjoyable for the players. The feedback from the players was fantastic; all of them really enjoyed the team spirit. … They don’t get that during the year.

On the IPTL’s commercial structure: Our teams are individually owned. The teams split revenues between the IPTL and the teams on everything, from TV revenues to sponsorship revenues to the ticket sales. We run the league as the IPTL, and they have the players. They pay the players; we do the draft and organize the travel.

Photo by: ACE DE COEUR
On TV and sponsor commitments: We have got deals in more than 100 countries. Coca-Cola is our naming sponsor, Qatar Airways our presenting sponsor.
On profitability: Our teams will start to break even or make money this year. … IPTL for us last year, we lost a bit of money, and this year, we are looking at breaking even or making a bit of money, which is fairly quick for a new venture like this.

On reaction to the IPTL from the pro tours and concerns about player injuries: We had a lot of people doubt we could ever get off the ground, and when we started, when they realized what it was and they saw what it was and the players’ feedback came back in, the reaction was pretty good. … Both tours, the ATP and WTA, never said anything negative about the IPTL. We are trying to do something for tennis in Asia. These countries don’t have professional tennis available to them. In Manila [last year], we played in an NBA-style arena for three nights, and people went crazy. They loved it, because they have never seen it before.

On the promotion of Serena Williams playing her first match since the U.S. Open with the IPTL: The promotion is in Japan. She is coming to Kobe, and locally we will have something. People are looking forward to seeing Serena.

— Daniel Kaplan


What I Like …


An insight: Reasonable minds will disagree, but there is always a way to find common ground.

An influential person in my career: My mentor and former law partner, Cliff Schaffer. He taught me how to be firm and always look for the positive in every situation. Also, UFC President Dana White, as his passion for our sport and the business is the fuel that allowed us to grow UFC’s brand on a global scale.  

An out-of-the-box idea: In a world full of so many apps, who will figure out how to deliver everything we want by just thinking about it?    

A timeless idea: Give the people what they want.

A business deal: When high-definition was first launched, I negotiated a deal to convert the Olympic films library to HD. The deal involved both the International

Marshall Zelaznik
Executive vice president and chief content officer, UFC

What I do:
I oversee media deals in more than 150 countries while managing our direct-to-consumer business of pay-per-view and UFC Fight Pass.
Where I’m From: Originally from New York; grew up in Los Angeles; reside in Los Angeles, but I work out of UFC’s global headquarters in Las Vegas.
Where I Went to School: Bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University, Long Beach; J.D. from the University of San Francisco.
My First Job: Busboy, store crew member/cashier, Trader Joe’s.

Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee. We moved the film library in Lausanne, Switzerland, to the NFL Films lab in Mount Laurel, N.J. It was like moving the crown jewels.

A sports event: My favorite event is the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. For a high-energy great time, nothing beats a live UFC event in Las Vegas. Every sports fan should experience a UFC event here.

A hire: Theo Epstein. After leading the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series in 86 years, he now has the Chicago Cubs positioned for future success.

A brand: Starbucks. I find myself in a Starbucks each week and I don’t drink coffee. They have found a way to create an

UFC in Las Vegas can’t be beat
environment that actually relaxes you when you are waiting for your tea in line.

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: Uber.

A fantasy job: U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

What I Like About …

My job: The ability to learn about new markets and business every day. I get to

Theo Epstein, a good hire
work with the development and growth of what effectively is a new sport. It makes things very interesting and presents amazing challenges.

Sports: I am a firm believer that people who have participated in team sports understand the need to sacrifice for the good of the team. This can easily translate into success in your business life.   

Sports technology: The ability to track and monitor an athlete and their performance has not only helped the athlete, but also increased the fans’ appreciation of their capabilities.  

The direction of sports business: Sports leagues and teams are now evolving into media companies. They will all need to build a wider infrastructure to grow their business in this space to be more relevant in the future.   

Sports fans: The thrill and agony. In 2009, my son and I were so disappointed

when Arsenal lost in the semifinals of the FA Cup against Chelsea. My son began to cry and I remember telling him “This is the pain you feel at times when you are a true fan. This pain will make the victories down the road that much sweeter.”

What I Would like to …

Change in what I do: I want to see everyone succeed. As a result, I have a tendency to not let people fail, which can prevent them from learning from their mistakes.

See: More female athletes achieve the levels of success of Ronda Rousey and Serena Williams.  

See more of in sports: More technology to assist officials in making the right in-game calls. Do we really need to bring out the chains to see if there is a first down?

Dream job: On the bench in D.C.
See less of in sports: Officials huddling. We want them to make the right calls, but we have to find a way to use more advanced technology to help speed up the games.

Eliminate: Doping from sports. I’m proud of how UFC has tackled this issue.

What I Don’t Like …

In general: Ego.


Pet peeve: When I don’t get TSA PreCheck at the airport.

In sports: Arena parking costs.

In business: Opinions without basis.


What I Like …

People: Doers. I like people who do things and not just talk about them.

That would surprise those who know me: If I hadn’t gone to law school, I was on my way to culinary school.  

About myself: I grew up in a single-parent home and owe my success to my strong mother. I was lucky to have great friends and I’m proud of the relationships I’ve maintained with friends from elementary school. For more than 25

years, I’ve been in the same Rotisserie baseball league with my friends from law school.

Heroes: Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and my mom.

Players: Dan Marino, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente and LeBron James.

Teams: Miami Dolphins, Arsenal and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Possessions: iPhone and BlackBerry. Yes, I have a BlackBerry Q10.

Memento: My father’s watch. It is an old Benrus with a gold band that I wore at my wedding.  

Time of year: Spring. There is so much anticipation that comes with this time of year, from the start of baseball season and the entry to summer.

Music: Old-school rap (Ice Cube and Public Enemy) and classic rock (the Rolling Stones and AC/DC).

Books: “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Jungle.”

Authors: Laura Hillenbrand, Michael Lewis and poet Edgar Guest.

Magazine: The Economist.

Gadgets: iPhone and Bose headphones.

Apps: UFC.TV, theScore, Twitter, Pandora and U-verse TV Anywhere.

Trips: Tokyo, New York and Brazil. For personal, I am all about Europe.

Movies: “Jaws,” “Whiplash” and “The Big Lebowski.”  

TV: ESPN “SportsCenter,” “Homeland,” “The Leftovers” and “Frontline.”

Concert: The Rolling Stones’ VooDoo Lounge Tour in 1994.

Artists: Damien Hirst and Banksy.

Dessert: Hot fudge sundae.

Drink: Iced green tea.

Vacation spots: Amalfi Coast or Tuscany.

Cars: 1964 GTO or BMW M3.

Quote: “We are stronger together than we are alone,” Walter Payton