Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 20 No. 42

People and Pop Culture

Anna Prosser Robinson is one of the most prominent women in esports, a world typically valued by marketers as a vehicle to reach young men. As an esports casting star and lead producer for Twitch Studios, Robinson helps develop original content internally and with Twitch partners. But she’s also embraced a mission to make the world of online gaming safer for women and to promote women in more visible roles, whether it be in casting, the business or participating in the competition itself. Four years ago, she helped found misscliks, a Twitch channel described as “a community working toward a future where all people can participate in geek and gamer culture without fear or prejudice or mistreatment.”

  If someone wants to sponsor a woman pro gamer, the questions are always, ‘Are you sponsoring her because she’s a woman? Is she good enough?’ Whereas our male colleagues don’t have to worry about that. And that’s purely because there aren’t that many women in those spaces, which is why we started misscliks — to get more women’s faces being shown doing these things, so it will become less mystifying.

On the marketing perspective that it’s mostly men: I wouldn’t say they’re wrong, but I would say there’s a huge missed opportunity, because the women’s gaming community at large is waiting for that brand who wants to step in and say, “Hey girl gamers, I see you, and I’m marketing to you.” We’re so used to seeing the ads for men’s deodorant, and men’s body spray, and the man’s man’s jerky treats. We’re so used to seeing that and being told this isn’t actually your space. … If there’s that one women’s brand who comes in and says, “Here’s a women’s razor,” or “Here’s a tampon brand,” and doesn’t make it a special thing, I think that brand is going to get a swell of loyalty that’s characteristic to the esports community.

On raising the profile of women in esports casting: I think it’s important to actively seek out women who are talented and put them on these broadcasts, to foster the growth of more women who will be at the level they need to be for those broadcasts. It’s very important not to point out, “Oh, hey, also we have a girl, isn’t that great?”

On the influx of money into esports: The cool thing about esports becoming more professional is that brands and outlets — people who are broadcasting major tournaments — are responsible to sponsors and to professional contracts, which make them want to be sure the community experience is positive and shows the best side of the community. So the fact that esports is getting more professional is definitely a huge help in that sense.

On gender-based harassment in gaming: For me personally, it has gotten better, but it’s hard to say whether harassment overall has gone down because I’m in a very privileged position now. … The advent of Gamergate showed us how deep a lot of that ill will and sexism still does run, and that’s why I’m really grateful for places like Twitch that give me the tools to protect myself.

                                                                                                                           — Ben Fischer

Little League International named Tyler Knopp East Region assistant regional director.

The San Diego Padres hired Bill Johnston as special adviser to Executive Chairman Ron Fowler. Johnston was public relations director for the San Diego Chargers.

The San Francisco Giants named Joe Shapero CRM manager and data analyst. Shapero was CRM manager for the Oakland Raiders.

The St. Louis Cardinals promoted John Mozeliak to president of baseball operations and Michael Girsch to vice president and general manager, hired Matt Gifford as vice president of stadium operations, and moved Joe Abernathy to vice president of facility planning and engineering.

The Indiana Pacers named Chad Buchanan general manager. Buchanan was assistant general manager for the Charlotte Hornets.

The Milwaukee Bucks promoted Jon Horst to general manager, hired Ryan Hoover as vice president of global scouting and Matt Bollero as director of scouting, and promoted Dave Dean to vice president of basketball operations and general manager of the G-League Wisconsin Herd.

The Charlotte Hornets promoted Buzz Peterson to assistant general manager.

The Toronto Raptors promoted Bobby Webster to general manager, Dan Tolzman to assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel and Keith Boyarsky to vice president of basketball strategy and research.

Clemson University hired Elliott Charles as associate athletic director for compliance. Charles was deputy athletic director at Florida A&M University.

Colorado State University hired Jeff Schmidt as a communications coordinator. Schmidt was a communications assistant at Oregon State University.

DePaul University promoted Jill Hollembeak to senior associate athletic director.

Eastern Michigan University named Scott Wetherbee athletic director. Wetherbee was senior associate athletic director for external affairs at Mississippi State University.

Indiana University named Stephen Harper senior associate athletic director for administration and external alliances, and promoted Kristin Borrelli to senior associate athletic director for compliance services and Kris Fowler to senior associate athletic director for sports administration.

Michigan State University named Stephen Anthony associate athletic director. Anthony was senior associate athletic director for finance and administration at Valparaiso University.

Montana State University hired Casey Fox as senior associate athletic director for development. Fox was director of development for the Washington State University Foundation.

Turner promoted Amit Chaturvedi to executive vice president of revenue operations and product management.

CSN Chicago promoted Jill Fields to general sales manager.

ESPN named Mike Foss director of social media and YouTube. Foss was vice president at Fox Sports.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment communications coordinator Akasha Di Tomasso left her position.

Social media platform Milnaa named former MLB player Mike LaCoss vice president of sports marketing.

Sensory Interactive named Steven Snyder a senior associate on the project management team. Snyder was chief technology officer and chief information officer for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

The Players’ Tribune named Jeff Levick chief executive officer. Levick was Spotify chief revenue officer.

Topps Digital promoted Deniz Gezgin to vice president and general manager of digital.

Upstage Video hired Craig Amhaus as vice president of business development. Amhaus was vice president of corporate partnerships for the Philadelphia Union.

Sporting goods and apparel 
Columbia Sportswear promoted Tim Boyle to president and chief executive officer, Tom Cusick to executive vice president and chief operating officer, Franco Fogliato to executive vice president and Americas general manager, Joe Boyle to executive vice president and Columbia brand president, Doug Morse to senior vice president of emerging brands and APAC, and Matthieu Schegg to vice president and EMEA general manager. Chief administrative officer, general counsel and secretary Peter Bragdon will assume oversight of the international distributor business.

Data company EdjAnalytics named Tony Defeo president of its EdjSports division. Defeo was the director football operations and analytics for the University of Michigan.

Kevin Gilmore was re-elected to a four-year term on the Canadian Olympic Committee board of directors.


Gator Bowl Sports named David Long chairman and Jamie Shelton chairman-elect.

StubHub hired Olivier Ropars as vice president and chief marketing officer. Ropars was head of global performance marketing and customer acquisition for eBay.

Valvoline named Dwayne Watts senior marketing, sponsorship & IP counsel. Watts was an attorney for Nelson Mullins Sports & Entertainment.

Awards and Boards
The Pac-12 CEO Group named University of Southern California President Max Nikias chair.

The American Athletic Conference appointed University of Houston Chancellor Renu Khator as board of directors chair; University of Memphis President David Rudd as board of directors vice chair; University of South Florida Athletic Director Mark Harlan AAC chair; and Memphis Athletic Director Tom Bowen AAC vice chair.

University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst will begin a four-year appointment representing the American Athletic Conference on the NCAA board of directors.

Children’s Healthcare Charity, the host organization of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, added former National League President Leonard Coleman to its board of directors.

The National Sports Marketing Network named Taylor chief operating officer and managing partner Bryan Harris to its New York chapter board.

The International Skiing History Association added Blumenfield and Associates PR President Jeff Blumenfield, former Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chris Diamond and Bob Beattie Foundation Chairman Mike Hundert to its board.

Fanatics added new Weight Watchers International Chief Executive Officer Mindy Grossman to its board of directors.

EY, formerly Ernst & Young, named Learfield President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Brown a Southwest winner in the Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Award, Technology and Media Services category.

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.

McCormack alums at NACDA

Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management alumni joined Associate Department Chair Steve McKelvey (far right) for a networking breakfast event at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Conference in Orlando: Jonathan DeAndrade, Ben Rosenfeld, Gloria Nevarez, Ryan Pierce, Leigh Torbin, Jack Woodbury, Thorr Bjorn, Noreen Morris, Mark Wilson, James Paquette, Leslie Wurzberger, Casey Stark, Craig Fink, Todd Nebeker, Amy Coleman and Jamie DiLoreto.
NFF ceremony

The National Football Foundation presented Clemson University with the MacArthur Bowl, its national championship trophy for the FBS, at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta last month: NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell, College Football Hall of Fame CEO Dennis Adamovich, Coach Dabo Swinney and Athletic Director Dan Radakovich.
Photo by: KAT GODUCO
Ice to pitch

The New York Red Bulls welcomed the New Jersey Devils’ Nico Hischier, No. 1 overall pick in last month’s NHL draft, to Red Bull Arena for the club’s match versus NYC Football Club presented by Audi: Red Bulls GM Marc de Grandpre, Hischier, Red Bulls midfielder Sean Davis and Sean Lyons, senior director of region operations for Audi of America.
Women of Fox Sports event

Nearly 50 college students and recent grads attended the second annual Women of Fox Sports Leadership Series sales training event June 24 at Fox Studios in Los Angeles. Among those providing inspiration were Karina Herold of Pepperdine University, Lindsay Amstutz of Fox Sports, Alex Mallen of the PGA Tour, Rachel Grushkin of Fox Sports and Lagen Nash of Fox Networks Group.
Big East summit

Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman and former WNBA and Tennessee basketball standout Chamique Holdsclaw, now a mental health advocate, attend the conference’s inaugural Mental Health Summit last month at Georgetown University.
Hurling coming to Fenway in November

Fenway Sports Management, American International Group, the Gaelic Players Association, the Gaelic Athletic Association and the city of Boston held a kickoff event June 27 at Fenway Park to announce the return of hurling for a doubleheader Nov. 19: Dublin hurler Gary Maguire, Boston Red Sox President Sam Kennedy, FSM Managing Director Mark Lev, U.S. GAA Vice Chair Bernie Connaughton, Clare hurler Bobby Duggan, AIG Boston Managing Director Tom Allen, GPA CEO Dermot Earley, Galway hurler Johnny Glynn and Tipperary hurler Daire Quinn.
L.A. legends

The LA84 Foundation welcomed Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the first women’s Olympic marathon in 1984, and Anita DeFrantz, IOC member and LA84 president emeritus, to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Court of Honor on June 21. LA84 President and CEO Renata Simril, DeFrantz and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas.
Photos by: LA84 FOUNDATION
Joan Benoit Samuelson with her plaque.
A homer for D.C. kids

Washington, D.C., nonprofit Horton’s Kids played host to numerous politicos at its annual Home Runs for Horton’s Kids at Nationals Park on June 21. Nationals mascot Screech with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.
The charity’s development director, Billy Fettweis and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

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.

Managing partner, Wasserman

What are you reading now?
Just started “The Next 100 Years,” by George Friedman. Figured with how quickly this world is changing, I ought to read ahead a little to get prepared.

Tell us about a recent favorite.
“Big Little Lies,” by Liane Moriarty. Great read — she’s a compelling writer. And despite the heavy subject matter, it was uplifting reading about such different women who ultimately came together to take care of each other.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
“Postmortem,” by Patricia Cornwell. I’m a sucker for a good mystery, and she’s one of the best there is at writing them. This was her first novel to introduce the inimitable Dr. Kay Scarpetta as a character. And boy — what a character.

What book that you read as a young person has stuck with you?
The Nancy Drew series. As a little girl in the late ’70s/early ’80s, there weren’t a ton of strong female characters to identify with. We were supposed to be princesses — and, shocker, I just didn’t see myself in that. Nancy Drew showed what smart, tenacious and independent could look like in a young woman. It gave me something to look up to and to strive for.

What’s a business book you would recommend to everyone?
“Outliers,” by Malcolm Gladwell. Real insight into what drives success and the hard work it takes to hone a craft. Nothing does — or should — come easy.

Paper or digital? Or both?
Both. Digital while flying is fine, but I still prefer paper sitting on a beach or by the pool, something I try to do as often as I can.

What’s next on your list?
“Chaos,” the most recent Scarpetta novel from Cornwell. I’m waiting to pick up the paperback for summer vacay reading.

Principal, The Whitener Co.

What are you reading now?
“Kitchen Confidential,” by Anthony Bourdain, was lying around my house for years and I just picked it up. Great read.

Tell us about a recent favorite.
“More Than Rivals,” by Ken Abraham, is an inspiring true story and terrific book. It’s a sports story but has a much broader message.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
“Liar’s Poker,” by Michael Lewis. I am a big fan of Michael Lewis, and this inside look at Wall Street in the late 1980s stands the test of time. I recently reread the book and it was as gripping and funny as the first time I read it.

What book that you read as a young person has stuck with you?
All of the Dr. Seuss books. I loved the crazy pictures and rhymes.

What’s a business book you would recommend to everyone?
“The Hard Thing About Hard Things,” by Ben Horowitz. Funny, straightforward and filled with great advice.

Paper or digital? Or both?
Both. I like the feel of a book, but digital is so much easier when I travel.

What’s next on your list?
“Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of ‘Saturday Night Live,’” by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales. I like the oral history format — getting the inside scoop from the people involved.

EVP, TeenNick and Nicktoons

What are you reading now?
“The Lincoln Myth,” by Steve Berry … along with every month’s U.S. and British GQ magazines, and U.S. and U.K. Men’s Health magazines. And let’s not forget all of the various sports news outlets. I have to keep up with the exciting offseason sports news.

Tell us about a recent favorite.
“1Q84,” by Haruki Murakami. It’s big, dense, layered, smart, visual, thoughtful and provocative.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
There’s no single answer, but “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, comes to mind. It’s still so relevant to many of today’s biggest topics and issues.

What book that you read as a young person has stuck with you?
“Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing,” by Judy Blume, and short stories about John Henry and his strength with his hammer. Plus, any sports bios or stories that I could get my hands on.

What’s a business book you would recommend to everyone?
I don’t read business books, but much of what I read guides my thoughts on being an emotionally intelligent and thoughtful leader.

Paper or digital? Or both?
Hard cover! Old school. I love the weight of it, and they look nice on my bookshelf at home.

What’s next on your list?
Not sure, but I think I have a Haruki Murakami book next to my bed waiting for me.