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Volume 21 No. 1

People and Pop Culture


The Class AAA New Orleans Zephyrs hired Preston Hayden and Daphne Hernandez in corporate sales, Jesse Bastion and Sarah Wells as account executives, Faith Enenbach as multimedia coordinator, Danni Eckstein as director of marketing and creative services, and Paul Kleinhans as director of group sales.

The Brooklyn Nets hired Trajan Langdon as assistant general manager. Langdon was director of player administration and basketball operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Atlanta Hawks promoted Melissa Proctor to chief marketing officer, Peter Sorckoff to chief creative officer and executive vice president of brand and innovation, Garin Narain to senior vice president of public relations and Meg Ryan to senior director of marketing strategy. The team hired Thad Sheely as executive vice president of real estate and chief financial officer and Janet Smith as senior director of brand communications.

The University of San Francisco hired former NBA player Bill Cartwright to director of special initiatives.

The Colonial Athletic Association named Joe D’Antonio as commissioner. D’Antonio was senior associate commissioner for administration and NCAA relations for the Big East Conference.

The New England Patriots promoted Dave Ziegler to director of pro personnel.
The Canadian Football League promoted Glen Johnson to senior vice president of football, Kevin McDonald to vice president of football operations and player safety, Christina Litz to senior vice president of content and marketing, and David Cuddy to senior vice president of finance and business operations.

DLA Piper hired David Pahl as senior counsel. Pahl will join the firm’s media, sport and entertainment practice after retiring from ESPN as chief counsel.
Jackson Lewis hired Thomas Dorer as principal. Dorer was vice president, general counsel and secretary at the University of Hartford.

The Aspire Group promoted Doug Bean to ticket sales and service manager at the University of Massachusetts. The company hired Jon Belfiore as sales consultant at Florida Atlantic University, Allyson Bradshaw as sales consultant at Georgia Tech, Chelsea Weiss as sales and service manager at the University of California, Riverside, Raheem Odomes as sales and service consultant at the University of California, Riverside, Brent Gultz as sales consultant at the University of South Florida and Ryan Halter as sales associate at the University of South Florida.
Legends hired Nicole Jeter West as chief marketing officer. Jeter West was managing director of ticketing and digital strategy for the U.S. Tennis Association.

Wyn Experiences hired Billy Catlin as vice president of business development.
AEG Global Partnerships promoted Jon Werbeck to vice president of sales for facilities, Josh Gold to senior director of sales for AEG Live and Dan Raffety to sales account executive for facilities.
IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions promoted Brad Drummond to general manager at East Carolina University and oversight at the University of South Carolina, and hired Andrew Granozio as general manager at Rutgers University. Granozio was senior manager of ticket sales for the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Premier Partnerships hired Dan Shuftan as director of corporate partnerships, Jacob Lenz as senior manager of marketing services, John Forsyth as assistant for corporate partnerships, all in the new Chicago office, and Josh Goldblatt as senior manager of corporate partnerships in the New York office. Shuftan comes from Brain Box Intelligent Marketing, Lenz from BMO Harris Bank and Goldblatt from the Miami Dolphins.

Learfield Licensing Partners hired Matt Dyste as director of strategic initiatives. Dyste was director of brand management at the University of Oregon.

CSM Sports and Entertainment hired Matt Grandis as senior vice president of business development in North America.

ESPN promoted Carol Stiff to vice president of women’s sports programming.

MotorsportNetwork hired John Neff as editor-in-chief of

Orlando City SC hired Jackie Maynard as communications manager. Maynard was communications and marketing manager for the NWSL’s Western New York Flash.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Asics America hired Roeya Badri Vaughan as vice president of marketing. Vaughan was vice president of global sun for Oakley.

Hibbett Sports hired Bill Quinn as vice president of digital commerce. Quinn was vice president of digital for David’s Bridal.

Sports Commissions and Tourism
The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance hired Ashlee Kirk as coordinator. Kirk was industry relations manager for Visit North Carolina.

UFC hired Jim Sorenson as director of equipment and Lisa Garrett as general manager of UFC Gym’s flagship location in Dubai. Sorenson led equipment operations for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Whoop hired Gary McCoy as senior vice president of applied sports science.

Awards and Boards
The Sport and Recreation Law Association named Michael Carroll of Troy University president-elect, Dylan Williams of the University of Alabama finance officer and Doug Manning of the University of Southern Mississippi member at large.

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.

An executive with more than 13 years in the cable industry, Vin Zachariah makes the programming decisions for Vyve Broadband, a midsized multisystem operator that targets rural markets in select states. Nearly two years ago, Zachariah made the decision to drop Viacom’s channels. He says he wants programmers to grant Vyve more flexibility to roll out smaller program bundles.

ESPN brings national carriage and national deals that don’t necessarily involve sports [with Disney’s nonsports channels]. Regional sports networks tend to have their value wrapped into the individual teams and the ebbs and flows you have with them.


On the importance of sports programming:
In our markets, which are more rural and skew older, the need to watch big-market sports isn’t what it once was. There isn’t as much value around marquee events. An example is the MLB All-Star Game. Thirty years ago, it was the biggest sports event of the summer. Does the value of some of the sports outside of football still draw? That’s our concern.

On cord cutting: We don’t think it’s a huge threat right now. We think people still want a way to view programming through cable. There are disparate ways to view programming in a traditional setting. Folks want to sit around and have a good experience around their primary or secondary TV or video device. We don’t see that changing.

On skinny bundles: We’re supportive of them. We’re constantly looking for flexibility. That’s what our customers want. The skinny bundle is a way to offer more options than we’re allowed to offer today. It’s frustrating that we can’t do more of that.

On dropping channels: We dropped Viacom in May 2014; it’s still off. Comedy Central and some of these other stations don’t play as well when you’re out in the heartland. We’re comfortable with that decision and would do it again. When we don’t get the flexibility we want, we’ll make tough decisions because it’s the right thing for our customers.

Looking ahead 10 years: Interactivity is going to be bigger and bigger. Today, we view that as a second device, but folks want to be able to get all of their information at the same time. For example, when you watch Amazon today, there’s information at the top of the screen on the actors, director, even the music that’s playing. That’s the type of service that our customers are going to want and expect with sports programming.

— John Ourand

Tisch Institute launches conference at NYU

The NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business on March 14 hosted its first Social Responsibility of Sports Conference on the campus of New York University. Participants included (front row) NBA Commissioner Adam Silver; MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred; LPGA CFO Kathy Milthorpe; MLS Commissioner Don Garber; NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France; (back row) NHL CFO Craig Harnett; Dennis Di Lorenzo, Harvey J. Stedman dean of the NYU School of Professional Studies; NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell; and Arthur R. Miller, associate dean of the Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business.
On the panel “Public Policy: When Do Sports Leagues, Teams, and Organizations Get Involved?: moderator Arthur R. Miller; Big East Conference Commissioner Val Ackerman; New York University President Emeritus John Sexton; Brian Ellner, EVP and group head for public affairs, New York, Edelman; former NFL Players Association President Domonique Foxworth; Pat LaFontaine, NHL VP for development and community affairs; and Charles Baker, partner at DLA Piper.
Kathy Behrens, NBA president of social responsibility and player programs, receives the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business Social Responsibility in Sports Leadership Award from NBA global ambassador Dikembe Mutombo.
UFC Gym readies site in Dubai

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony recently to officially launch UFC Gym’s flagship Middle East franchise, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: UFC CFO Nakisa Bidarian; UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta; Maktoum bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, ­deputy ruler of Dubai; and UFC Gym ­Middle East CEO Hamad M. Al Sayer. The gym will hold its grand opening on Friday.
Photo by: ZUFFA LLC
Delta in the air

New York Yankees great Mariano Rivera and Gail Grimmett, Delta Air Lines SVP-New York, were on hand earlier this month for the unveiling of the Delta sign now atop the Yankee Stadium scoreboard as part of a sponsorship renewal between the airline and the team.
Solid chic of ice

The wives and girlfriends of the Boston Bruins played host to the Fashion Power Play charity fashion show last month at Copley Place, benefiting the Boston Bruins Foundation and the Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Photo by: IGGY PHOTO
Silver at Trudeau dinner

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and wife Maggie Grise arrive at the White House on March 10 for a state dinner hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, of Canada.

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.


We have a very successful league in cricket in India. [The Indian Premier League] shows a shorter format of the game and it mixed a very big entertainment component to it.

Because of its success, I wanted to see if we could potentially do something along the lines in tennis. That’s how the idea [for the IPTL] came about. Obviously tennis is an individual sport, so it came with its own challenges, but in general I think the players love being part of a team.

Our concept has the team atmosphere. We have men, women and legends playing on the same team. I think that’s a big part of why it has been successful so far.

Cricket and tennis are two totally different sports. We shortened the format. We made it TV friendly so broadcasters can schedule it and know exactly when a match will finish. That’s the biggest challenge for broadcast because in regular tennis you never know when the match is over.

Plus we made innovations to make the game fast, with no breaks. Fans really love it.
This year is an Olympic year, so the schedule is already tight. Our draft is on April 13 in Dubai. We will announce the teams probably by the 15th.

We are not going to add teams this year, but next year we will again look at it. Our goal is to take this to cities that don’t get to watch world-class tennis. We are definitely looking to expand in 2017.
Europe and America are big markets, especially for our sponsors. We’ve got some of the biggest brands associated with us in Coca-Cola and Qatar Airways. We were on the Tennis Channel, which circulates to literally every tennis fan in the continental U.S., so we are pretty happy with it and hopefully continue to stay there.
The players obviously drive any property in any sport. If you have big players, the broadcasters are excited, the sponsors are excited and the fans are excited. That was a big ingredient in making this work.
We were live in 154 countries last year. All these deals were done separately and individually with different countries and different broadcasters.
It’s very difficult for tennis to evolve because of the structure at the top. But I think different events like this will keep new fans coming to the sport, which is very important.
We are able to play less. We are able to run down the shot clock to 20 seconds. We are able to make rules and regulations that are strict when it comes to guidelines on time. Time is what dictates TV, and TV is what dictates revenue. It’s all interconnected.
We have a very strong social media team. We do a lot around the events — behind the scenes and cutting some unique content with players.

[Zeven is] a multidimensional, multifaceted sports line. India doesn’t have one.

China has over the last 20 years proved that [athletic brands] can be homegrown and can be successful. They have so many brands like Li Ning, Anka, Erke and 361 that have become very successful and build a lot of value.

We don’t have one in India, and our demographic compared to China is very similar. It’s a very deep market. It’s a big growth market when it comes to sport.

We created a new category called “speedwalk” because our research showed us that 80 percent of Indian households use walking as an exercise instead of running.
A close friend [Hemchandra Javeri], someone who is extremely experienced in retail and set up Nike India for the first seven years it was in the country, is my partner. He’s the chairman of the company, so he runs the operation. The IPTL takes most of my time.

Paul Finebaum of ESPN and the SEC Network stopped by our office for a wide-ranging conversation on everything from student-athlete activism to social media to how SEC coaches should have responded to Michigan's Jim Harbaugh.