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Volume 20 No. 42

People and Pop Culture

Action Sports

Nitro Circus hired Greg Jacobs as global head of media distribution. Jacobs was chief executive officer for Street League Skateboarding.

Major League Baseball promoted Billy Bean to vice president and special assistant to the commissioner, Renée Tirado to vice president of talent acquisition and diversity and inclusion, and Melanie LeGrande to vice president of social responsibility.

Little League hired Angela Garcia as southwestern region director. Corey Wright will become eastern region director in June upon the retirement of Don Soucy.

The Boston Red Sox hired Spencer Bingol as baseball research and development analyst, Fred Hubert as senior baseball systems developer and J.T. Watkins as advance scouting assistant. Patrick McLaughlin was named minor league video and Florida baseball operations assistant.

The Washington Nationals hired Ryan Bringger as vice president of ticket sales and service. Bringger was senior director of new business development for the Tampa Bay Lightning.


The College of Charleston hired Jamaal Walton as associate athletic director for external operations. Walton was director of marketing and promotions at the University of Alabama.

High Point University hired Nick Stenger as assistant director of facilities and operations. Stenger was game operations and facilities assistant at Western Carolina University.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette named Bryan Maggard athletic director. Maggard was executive associate athletic director at the University of Missouri.

Oregon State University promoted Sara Elcano to associate athletic director for fan engagement and revenue generation.

The University of Missouri hired Nick Joos as senior associate athletic director for strategic communications. Joos was executive associate athletic director for external affairs at Baylor University.

The University of Southern Mississippi hired Jon Gilbert as athletic director. Gilbert was executive senior associate athletic director at the University of Tennessee.

Combat Sports
UFC promoted Isabelle McLemore to vice president of corporate communications. Senior Vice President and General Manager Eric Winter stepped down from his position.

Alliance MMA hired James Byrne as chief marketing officer.

AEG Facilities named Jose Davila Carlos vice president of partnership sales and entertainment at District Live! in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Auto Club Speedway promoted Chris Carlson to senior director of corporate sales and marketing, Ryan Relucio to director of corporate sales and Roxanne King to senior corporate hospitality manager.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame added the title of chief executive officer to President David Baker, and promoted George Veras to chief operating officer and executive producer, Joe Horrigan to executive director and Steve Strawbridge to chief administrative officer.

The Metro Atlanta Host Committee for the 2019 Super Bowl named Carl Adkins executive director and Brett Daniels chief operating officer. Adkins was formerly general manager for the Georgia Dome, and Daniels was deputy athletic director at Georgia Tech.

The Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes promoted Catherine Raîche to assistant general manager of football operations, and hired Joe Mack as assistant general manager of player personnel.

The Indianapolis Colts hired Chris Ballard as general manager. Ballard was director of football operations for the Kansas City Chiefs.

USRowing Chief Executive Officer Glenn Merry will retire, effective April 15.

Tanya Joseph and Dr. Rosie Webster joined The Playbook’s ‘Change Network’ as behavior change consultants. Joseph was Sport England director of business partnerships.

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.

As regional director of operations for Professional Sports Catering, Pat Delaney  covers a lot of ground among the firm’s 32 minor league baseball and spring training accounts, including Ballpark of the Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla., the new spring training home of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals. Delaney’s background as an independent concessionaire on the fair and festival circuit presented weekly challenges for Rosie’s Diner, which he ran for 16 years before getting into the sports food industry.

I’m the go-to person to make sure we stay on track and hit our metrics. I enjoy it, especially the ‘putting out the fires’ part. It’s what I’ve done all my life … helping to put it all back together again.

On PSC’s growth over the past four years: It’s been explosive. I started in 2013 with a boutique company that had identified a niche in minor league baseball. The next thing I know, we’re signing teams as fast as we can get them. Levy Restaurants [which acquired PSC in May 2014] knows we’re really good at what we do. It’s been quite a ride. Now we’re picking up more business from clients we already have, such as Dave Heller. He owns Main Street Baseball [owner of four minor league teams], and PSC has become his exclusive food provider.

On the possibility of PSC expanding to other sports: There have been some conversations about it. Levy’s all about continued growth, and I can see PSC looking at other avenues of revenue.

On the dynamics of stadium food pricing: Given what I do for a living, I never complain about prices, but if given a choice of paying $12 for a beer, I would not go to a game. … But our expenses don’t change and the margins get thinner with less profitability. We do a lot of specials at the minor league level and most of them drive a ton of revenue. Thirsty Thursdays in Davenport, Iowa, are often better than Saturdays because it drives traffic.

On “Food Fight,” Minor League Baseball’s wacky food promotion: It’s good for the media but not for us. It gets you followers [on social media] but it’s a pain in the butt and it drags the bottom line. You have to produce a specialty item from perishable foods and it takes a long time to make and reduces turnover rates. But food is fun now and fans love the promotion. Last year, we did Porkzilla, a giant pork tenderloin [in Davenport]. The difference was, when the client came to me, I was able to put something together on a portable cart from stock I already had, turn it around quickly and avoid the long lines. I got lucky last year. One year, we did a bacon-wrapped corn dog and it didn’t sell well. There were less than 100 sold for the season.

— Don Muret

Seen at the Super Bowl
Houston was the place to be as Super Bowl LI delivered an endless supply of big-ticket events and experiences. From the host committee to the league, and sponsors to agents, red carpets and VIPs were plentiful. We gathered a few of the highlights of these memorable moments.

Presidental moment

President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush arrive for the coin toss before the game.
The award goes to . . .

NFL Network’s Rich Eisen received the Pat Summerall Award at the annual Legends for Charity Dinner benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: Richard Shadyac Jr. of ALSAC/St. Jude, Mike Tirico of NBC Sports, Stuart Braddie of KBR, Cheri Summerall, Suzy Shuster, Rich Eisen, Cheryl DeLeonardis of Ocean 2 Ocean Productions and St. Jude patient Austin.
Clutch move

Thuzio Executive Club co-founder Tiki Barber, agent Drew Rosenhaus and Thuzio Executive Club CEO Jared Augustine arrive at the Thuzio Executive Club and Rosenhaus Sports Representation Party on Feb. 4 at Clutch Bar.
Jerry meets Harry

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. talk before the game.
Host pays tribute

Ric Campo, chairman of the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee, congratulates Houston Texans owner Bob McNair and wife Janice McNair, honorees at the committee’s Luminaries of the Game gala benefiting Touchdown Houston on Feb. 1 at the Marriott Marquis Houston.
Power lunch

Fred Fried, Team Services principal, and 16W Marketing partners Steve Rosner and Frank Vuono at the Merlin Olsen Hall of Fame Luncheon sponsored by Built Ford Tough on Feb. 3 at the Marriott Marquis Houston.
Soaking it in

Jamie Horowitz and Katie Nolan, both of Fox Sports and Patriots Nation, celebrate New England’s victory after the big game.
Smooth Rida

Fanatics Executive Chairman Michael Rubin and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft onstage with rapper Flo Rida at the Fanatics Super Bowl Party on Feb. 4 at Ballroom at Bayou Place.
Check for charity

NFL Players Association President Eric Winston (right) presents Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles, winner of the Byron Whizzer White Award, with a $100,000 check at the NFLPA press conference Feb. 2 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Hanging with Leigh

Clark Hunt, chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs, and sports agent Leigh Steinberg at the 30th annual Leigh Steinberg Super Bowl Party on Feb. 4 at Hughes Manor.
Connecting at the concert

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, attend the DirecTV Now Super Saturday Night Concert on Feb. 4 at Club Nomadic.
Super Saturday night

Also at the DirecTV Now Super Saturday Night Concert on Feb. 4 at Club Nomadic: Attorney Michael Cancienne and wife Lauren Cancienne, San Francisco 49ers President Al Guido and wife Thea Guido, and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York and wife Danielle Belluomini.
Gospel’s glow

NFL hall of famer Emmitt Smith and his wife, Pat, react during the BET Presents Super Bowl Gospel Celebration on Feb. 3 at Lakewood Church.
Ushering the owner

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and wife Angela Macuga speak with Usher before the game Feb. 5 at NRG Stadium.

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.


What I like …

Before becoming a professor, Stroman played and coached college basketball.

An insight: Everybody has a story. Most people don’t take the time to listen.

An influential person in my career: Dr. Joseph DeSimone, innovative scientist and diversity champion.

An out-of-the-box idea: One game a year each pro team provides lower-level seating at a significant discount to mentors who bring their mentee.

A timeless idea: Giving thanks to those who have helped you along the way.

A business deal: Venus Williams negotiates for pay equity at Wimbledon.

Deborah Stroman
Director, Center of Sport Business, University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School

What I Do: Director, Center of Sport Business, University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Where I’m From: I grew up in suburban Philadelphia (aka Main Line), but now call Chapel Hill, N.C., home.
Where I Went to School: B.S., history and social studies education, University of Virginia; M.A., sport administration, University of North Carolina; Ph.D., business, Capella University.
My First Job: Cleaning offices in corporate buildings during high school. First industry position: National director of the NCAA’s Volunteers for Youth program.

A sports facility: AT&T Stadium.

A sports event: College Football Playoff National Championship.

A strategy: Invest in students. The return in loyalty, kindness and brain power is priceless.

A trend: Athletic departments’ extreme interest in analytics to improve poor game attendance, marketing tactics, and team performance.

An innovation: Professional sport teams developing their own sport business education programs.

A pro league or team business initiative: NBA D-League.

A story that bears watching: Athletes

with their own venture funds.

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: New York Yankees logo.

A fantasy job: All powerful czar of professional, collegiate, and interscholastic girls/women’s basketball.

A Thing I teach: “It’s not what you know. It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you on a favorable basis.” Relationships count.

Stroman and Bill Rhoden with group at CFP title game

What I like about …

My job: I can be innovative while working on a variety of exciting projects on campus and beyond.

Sports: Competition is character revealing. Can’t hide who you are.

Sports business: Titles don’t matter; what value can you add to the team or project?

Sports technology: Gives nerds a legitimate and respected place in the industry.

Competing: Opportunity to weed out the do-nothing talkers or haters.

The future of sports business: Provides a major assist to foster more cultural understanding.

Joseph DiSimone with President Barack Obama
Venus Williams

What I would like to …

Change in what I do: Increased time to help more students and alumni advance in their career.

See: Less polarization of U.S. citizens in our democracy.

See more of in sports business: More African-Americans with control over a budget.

See less of in sports: Broadcasters who think they are more important than the players or the game.

See less of in sports business: Championship athletes refusing to go to the White House.

See different: More universities valuing sport business curricula.

Eliminate: NCAA DI WBB Final Four on the same weekend of MBB Final Four


What I Like …

That would surprise those who know me: I own a luxury massage chair.

Above all else: People who look out for the underrepresented who lack access and voice.

About myself: I state daily affirmations to stay positive and bolster my creative nature.

Heroes/Heroines: God.

Players: LeBron James, Serena Williams, Walt Frazier, and Wilma Rudolph.

Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Charlotte Hornets, N.Y. Yankees.

City: Athens, Greece.

Possession: Cross given to me by my mother.

Memento: Refrigerator magnets from trips.

Music: Gospel and jazz.

Books: Leadership, positivity, and history genres.

Authors: Maya Angelou, John Maxwell, James Baldwin, Daniel Goleman, Seth Godin, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alice Walker.

Websites: ESPN, SBJ, SportTechie, ESPN The Undefeated, and Reuters.

Chores: Vacuuming and washing dishes.

Hobbies: Playing basketball (National Senior Games), reading, and traveling.

Trips: Greece, South Africa, Dominican Republic and Hong Kong.

Movies: “E.T.,” “Remember the Titans,” “42,” “12 Angry Men,” “Crash,” “Midnight Express,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Spotlight” and “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

Artist (musical): Bob Marley; John Legend; Earth, Wind and Fire; Jill Scott; and Adele.

Food: Italian and Mediterranean cuisines, vegetarian dishes, green vegetables.

Dessert: Cookies and Cream ice cream.

Vacation spots: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic; Virgin Islands; Tampa.

Cars: Lexus SUV and Mazda Miata.

Quote: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all,” Aristotle.