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Volume 20 No. 46

People and Pop Culture

Former San Diego Padres owner Jeff Moorad has joined Morgan Lewis as a partner, where he will help oversee the law firm’s sports practice.

Along with fellow partner Jack Concannon, Moorad will be chairman of the sports practice, overseeing a group of 50 lawyers that counts the NFL, UFC, Oakland Raiders and Boston Red Sox as clients.

Moorad will keep positions with his investment management and hospitality ventures.
Morgan Lewis has worked on stadium and team finance, mergers and acquisitions, and media rights. Moorad said he wants to help focus those relationships.

“Despite doing an extraordinary amount of work in the industry representing clients like the NFL, MLB and DraftKings, the firm has never pulled out a particular focus on the sports industry,” Moorad said. “Our initial challenge is to identify the mass of work that’s being done in the industry. … The interest is as much to be of service to the other components of the industry, whether it be finance, or broadcast. There’s an endless list of involvements that we intend to focus on in a more developed way than the firm has done in the past.”

Moorad lives in Newport Beach, Calif., and has an office in Costa Mesa, which is where he will work. He will remain chairman and CEO of his investment management company, Moorad Sports Partners, and chairman of PrimeSport, a premium hospitality company he owns with Carlyle Group and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ RSE Ventures.

“When I got involved in sports initially representing players, the average salary in baseball was $300,000 in 1984. The average salary in the NFL was $160,000,” Moorad said. “There are a number of data points that suggest how significant the growth of the industry has been. Today, what once was a bit of a cottage industry is now a multibillion-dollar mega industry that touches virtually every corporation around the globe.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers hired Michael Wandell as senior vice president of corporate sponsorships. Wandell was vice president of international business development and global market partnerships for the NBA.

The Chicago Bulls promoted Arnold Lee to assistant athletic trainer and hired Shawn Respert as director of player development.

The NBA G League Agua Caliente Clippers promoted Dee Brown to general manager, in addition to his role as director of player programs of the Los Angeles Clippers, and hired Kyne Sheehy as director of sales, Cara Wright as director of business operations, Heath Bennett as president and Scott Schroeder as director of basketball operations.

The NBA G League Delaware 87ers promoted Matt Lilly to director of basketball operations and scouting, and named Elton Brand general manager.

The University of Massachusetts promoted Darrice Griffin to deputy athletic director, Jeff Smith to senior associate athletic director for sport administration and internal operations, Matt Komer to director of student academic success, Joe Connolly to assistant athletic director for sports performance, Jennifer Brodeur to director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer, and Sean Quinn to associate athletic director for finance and administration, and named Joan Hopkins associate athletic director for student-athlete development and Kate DiSanto assistant athletic director for administration.

The Big 12 Conference hired Kelvin Smith as senior associate commissioner and general counsel, and Catrina Gibson as controller. Smith was vice president of business and legal affairs for Learfield, and Gibson was associate commissioner and chief financial officer for Conference USA.

University of Texas at El Paso Athletic Director Bob Stull will retire.

Appalachian State University hired Bret Strelow as a director for strategic communications.

Fairfield University named Paul Schlickmann athletic director. Schlickmann was athletic director at Central Connecticut State University.

Grambling State University hired Brian Howard as sports information director. Howard was director of athletic strategic communications at Alabama State University.

The University of New Mexico named Eddie Nuñez athletic director. Nuñez was deputy athletic director at Louisiana State University.

University of Virginia executive associate athletic director Jon Oliver is leaving the athletic department to pursue other opportunities.

Yale University Athletic Director Thomas Beckett will retire in June.

The Buffalo Sabres promoted Chris Bandura to vice president of media relations and Rich Jureller to vice president of community relations.

The Florida Panthers promoted Nicole Meloff to vice president of client service, John Markiewicz to vice president of ticket sales, Adam Summerell to vice president of ticket operations and Stephen Gerhard to senior director of group sales and development.

Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment promoted within its client services division Michelle Folts to senior director, Michael Miller to director, Samuel Park to senior manager and Vincent Yeager and Chester Maxson to account managers.

Motorsport Network named Dominic Good to its international ad sales and commercial team and named Adam Waxman vice president of digital sales and partnerships, Adam Mills global commercial director, Chris Ruppel director of sales, Guido Hakkenberg international sales manager and Matteo Bisicchia marketing and commercial director for France.

NBC Sports Regional Networks promoted Brett Sullivan to director of national digital sales. Sullivan was CSN Mid-Atlantic digital sales manager.

The International Motor Sports Association hired Gregg Elkin as director of communications. Elkin was media relations manager for Texas Motor Speedway.

Virtual reality firm Strivr hired Nathaniel Jewell as chief financial officer.

EBay promoted Scott Cutler to senior vice president of the Americas. Cutler was president of eBay-owned StubHub.

Combate Americas hired Mike Pine as chief revenue officer. Pine was general manager of integrated partnerships for FanDuel.

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.

Tim Tessalone is starting his 39th football season working at the University of Southern California, most of those as the sports information director. It’s an antiquated title in a media world where most of his peers now say they work in strategic communications or media relations, but the SID title works just fine for the USC graduate. In his time there, Tessalone has promoted five Heisman Trophy winners, and the sixth might be playing quarterback for the Trojans right now — Sam Darnold, one of the most unusual athletes Tessalone has worked with.

Sam is more than just media. He’s a student, an athlete, he has a social life and a family life. We have to stay cognizant of that. But it’s not our first rodeo with this sort of thing, either.

Photo by: USC
On handling all of the requests for Darnold: We have built-in advantages with Sam. He’s a great kid, very humble. He’s really unaffected by all of this. He, I guess you’d say, enjoys this. We try to manage his time the best possible; we knocked out a lot of stuff in the summer. We have a time block in the morning once a week for national calls; we have local availability after practice on Tuesdays.

On some of the more unique requests that you just can’t accommodate: We hear from lots of out-of-town radio and newer podcasts and some foreign-language media that want interviews with Sam. We also had one request where the media outlet wanted to focus on the basketball angle (Sam was a very good basketball player in high school and credits hoops with his ability as a quarterback). They wanted to take him to a Drew League game to experience a basketball game with him, but for a number of reasons we couldn’t fulfill that request, so they just came to campus and did a normal sit-down interview, talking basketball.

On Darnold’s media savvy: One cool thing he’s doing now is a podcast called “Season of Sam” with Yogi Roth. It’s a cool concept. Sam is interviewing people he wants to find out more about. Not just sports guests, but film directors or authors, maybe Justin Turner of the Dodgers talking about life as a redhead. Yogi sets it up and Sam does the interview. We think it’s a first-of-its-kind thing.

On being in the L.A. market: You’ve got pro teams, college teams, the entertainment world, the desert, the mountains, the beach. You’re not always the focus like you might be in a smaller college town. But here, it’s Lakers, Dodgers, USC football and UCLA basketball. Those are the big ones.

On promoting a player for the Heisman: Today, things are so immediate. The favorites change week to week. Someone throws an interception and they’re out of the race.

On the biggest trend in PR: When you tell a story now, you’re not just writing a press release. You craft the story for video, graphics, for social media, for the blog, for the website. We are our own media outlet. I get it when people say, “You’re the house organ.” But I’d also argue that everyone is a media person now. That’s the biggest challenge we have — everybody with a phone is a journalist. Anybody can tweet something out and we don’t know that person’s background, what their ethics are, what the agenda is. How do you counter the message out there against all those other voices?

— Michael Smith

Ready for delivery

Fans, local officials and community members gathered Sept. 5 for the ribbon cutting at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Chris Ilitch (center in striped necktie), Ilitch Holdings CEO and president, spoke at the ceremony.
An opening in Indy

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new St. Vincent Center across from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis: Ralph Reiff and Jonathan Nalli of St. Vincent; Kevin Pritchard of the Pacers; Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb; Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett; Pacers owner Herb Simon and daughter Rachel; Blake Dye and Brad McNabb of St. Vincent; and Rick Fuson of Pacers Sports & Entertainment.
Open season

In the Rossetti suite at the U.S. Open: Green Bay Packers general counsel Ed Policy and sports consultant Marc Ganis.
Snider Hockey at the Shore

At the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation at the Shore event Aug. 17 in Avalon, N.J.: Snider Hockey’s Jan Koziara, students Josh Stephenson and Victoria Maloney, Snider Hockey board member Ron Rabena, student Grey Rumain, Snider Hockey board Chairman Bill Whitmore and Snider Hockey President Scott Tharp.
Soccer celebration

New England Revolution players Brian Wright and Cody Cropper; Kenneth O’Neill, Santander Bank’s region coach for northeastern New England; and Revolution players Chris Tierney, Brad Knighton and Scott Caldwell joined local students to celebrate the fourth annual Revolution and Santander Soccer Scholars program Aug. 29 on the Charles River Esplanade.
The King speaks

NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty gives the command to start engines as grand marshal for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race Aug. 27 at Virginia International Raceway.
A buckle for the guv

PBR CEO Sean Gleason (left) gave Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper a silver belt buckle Aug. 25 at the groundbreaking for the PBR Sport Performance Institute in Pueblo, Colo., where PBR is based.
49ers legends take the long view

San Francisco Bay Area sportscaster Ted Robison (left) conducts a panel during the inaugural William V. Campbell Trophy Summit, sponsored by Intuit, with College Football Hall of Fame inductees Steve Young (center) and Ronnie Lott. The event was Aug. 25 at Stanford University. Young and Lott shared their experiences on creating a successful path in business with recent nominees for the National Football Foundation’s Campbell Trophy.

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.

Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball

Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex, Camden, N.J.

While the Philadelphia 76ers are busy trusting the process and their young lineup on the basketball court, they have created a new process to help young consumer product companies to achieve their potential.

The Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball opened earlier this summer in the Business Operations Facility at the 76ers Training Complex in Camden, N.J. The first companies chosen to participate were esports training platform U GIT GUD, daily fantasy sports lineup recommender Monster Roster, cat feeding system Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Co., and digital cause media company Live Life Nice.

In addition to office space, benefits include access to experts and financiers and the opportunity to pitch venture capital firms and other investors.

Innovation Lab Managing Director Seth Berger joins the lab’s companies.
All photos courtesy of Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball
Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center, and Kimball Office President Mike Wagner attend the grand opening in July.
The building provides 8,000 square feet of office space.
Sponsor Kimball Office provides the office furniture for the building.
Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Co. was one of the four companies in the space when it opened.
The logo of the lab and participating firms behind the front desk.