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Volume 21 No. 6

People and Pop Culture

Diversity comes in all forms, particularly in terms of leadership. Typically associated with a minority group, diversity also can encompass different ways of thinking and reaching for your goals. This year’s class of The Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business is no better illustration.

It’s a diverse bunch in the ways they’ve reached the pinnacle of each one’s corner of the industry. From the man who made baseball great in Canada, to one you didn’t want to have to face in negotiations; from the guy everyone goes to if they want to buy a team, to a woman who figured out cable television long before anyone else; from an entrepreneur who became one of the architects of the boom in college multimedia rights, to a leader who has fought for justice, and excellence, in sports for more than 50 years — this year’s Champions are a diverse and interesting lot.

In its ninth year, Champions recognizes the architects and builders of sports. This year’s recipients are:

Paul Beeston was the first employee of the Toronto Blue Jays, hired in 1976. He went on to play as big a role in the history of the franchise as anyone, serving two stints as Blue Jays president, from 1989 to 1997 and again from 2008 to 2015. Sandwiched in between was a five-year run as president of Major League Baseball. Currently president emeritus of the Blue Jays, Beeston led the club to back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and ’93, and even doubled as president of the CFL Toronto Argonauts in 1994.

As co-head of the Sports Law Group at Proskauer, Howard Ganz has been at the center of nearly every sports labor negotiation for the last 25 years. Ganz has been principal outside counsel for the NBA for more than 25 years, advising the league on collective-bargaining matters with both players and referees. Ganz also has represented Major League Baseball in its CBA negotiations with both players and umpires. Equally important, Ganz’s group at Proskauer also represents the NFL, NHL, Major League Soccer and the ATP and WTA tours, putting his leadership at the heart of virtually every significant sports labor matter in the U.S.

If you were looking to buy or sell a pro sports team in the last 20 years, you probably talked to Sal Galatioto. He has overseen more than 80 sales across all major U.S. sports leagues, working with such organizations as the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Washington Redskins and Golden State Warriors. Before forming Galatioto Sports Partners in 2005, Galatioto was managing director of Lehman Brothers’ Sports Advisory & Finance Group, which he founded in 2001. Before that, he established Societe Generale’s Sports Advisory Group in 1997.

When Kay Koplovitz founded USA Network under the banner of Madison Square Garden Sports in 1977, she was the first female executive to head a television network. With it, she also was on the innovative edge of cable TV by introducing the concept of two revenue streams — licensing and advertising. Koplovitz launched major sports on cable by negotiating the first contracts for the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, the Masters and a collection of college sports, helping push the network to first place in prime-time cable ratings, where it stayed for 14 years.

Ben Sutton helped create the college sports multimedia business model that has boomed in recent years when he founded ISP Sports in 1992. Sutton served as chairman and CEO of ISP until selling the company to IMG for $100 million in 2010. He then was chairman and CEO of IMG College, the largest college sports sponsorship and media company in the U.S., until 2015. When IMG was sold to Silver Lake Partners in 2014, its college unit was the market leader in media, licensing, ticketing and stadium seating, working with more than 225 schools and other college properties.

John Wooten has pushed social change across sports for more than 50 years, all the way back to spearheading athlete support of Muhammad Ali in 1967, a movement documented by the famous photo of Ali flanked by Bill Russell, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and other top athletes of the day, including Wooten. Currently chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which works with the NFL on minority hiring, Wooten spent 10 years in the NFL as a player before becoming a highly respected scout from the 1970s through the 2000s. That included being director of pro scouting for the Dallas Cowboys from 1975 to 1991, a stretch in which he helped build rosters that won multiple Super Bowls.

SportsBusiness Journal/Daily will tell the stories of each honoree in separate issues throughout the months of February, March and April. In addition, the Champions will be honored April 17 at the CAA World Congress of Sports in Los Angeles.


• Jerry Colangelo
• Jim Host
• Ron Labinski
• Donna Lopiano
• Neal Pilson
• Tony Ponturo
• Val Ackerman
• Deane Beman
• Barry Frank
• Marvin Miller
• Bill Rasmussen
• Alan Rothenberg

• Bill Battle
• Don Ohlmeyer
• Steve Sabol
• Ed Snider
• Judy Sweet
• Humpy Wheeler

• Donald Dell
• Rosa Gatti
• Roy Kramer
• Harvey Schiller
• Ron Shapiro
• Pat Williams

• Joan Cronan
• Wayne Embry
• Rick Hendrick
• Mike Ilitch
• Verne Lundquist
• Bill Schmidt

• Donna de Varona
• Len Elmore
• David Falk
• Russ Granik
• Tom Jernstedt
• Mike Trager

• Joseph Cohen
• Jeremy Jacobs
• Bob Lanier
• Roger Penske
• Jerry Richardson
• Lesley Visser

• DeLoss Dodds
• Bill Giles
• Ed Goren
• Larry Levy
• George Raveling
• Janet Marie Smith

The Atlanta Braves hired Alex Tamin as director of Major League operations and Jason Parè as assistant general manager for research and development. Tamin was director of baseball operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Parè was senior director of analytics for the Miami Marlins.

The Milwaukee Brewers hired Andrew Daugherty as general manager for Maryvale Baseball Park, the club’s spring training complex. Daugherty was executive vice president for the Class AAA Pacific Coast League Reno Aces.

The Seattle Mariners promoted Kevin Mather to president and chief executive officer, Trevor Gooby to senior vice president for ballpark operations, Kevin Martinez to senior vice president of marketing and communications, Frances Traisman to senior vice president of sales and Randy Adamack to senior vice president and special advisor to the chairman and CEO.

The Seattle Storm promoted Nate Silverman to senior vice president of corporate partnerships and social responsibility, Kris Kolehmain to senior director of business intelligence, Kimberly Veale to director of communications and player relations, Kenny Dow to director of marketing, Talisa Rhea to director of basketball operations, Alycia Chabot to senior manager of marketing and merchandise, Jaron Iwakami to senior manager of ticket sales, Christine Cook to manager of partnerships services, Amanda Chinn to senior coordinator of finance and human resources, and Seth Dahle to senior coordinator of digital communications. The team hired Tim Guidry as an account executive for ticket sales and service, and Danielle Matthews and Erika Moulder as account executives for group sales.


The National Collegiate Athletic Association named Lynn Holzman vice president of women’s basketball. Holzman was commissioner for the West Coast Conference.

The Sun Belt Conference promoted Whitney Haworth to director of digital and social media, and hired Scottie Rodgers as associate commissioner for strategic communications. Rodgers was associate athletic director for strategic communications at Tulane University.

Austin Peay State University hired Jordan Harmon as director of development for athletics fundraising.

Bradley University promoted Brad Mitchell to deputy athletic director, Joe Whitson to senior associate athletic director for internal affairs, and Grant Escue to associate athletic director for compliance, alumni relations and strategic initiatives.

Butler University promoted Mike Freeman to senior associate director for external operations.

The University of California, Santa Cruz hired Susan Harriman as athletic director. Harriman was assistant athletic director and senior woman administrator at Bates College.

Duke University promoted Art Chase to associate athletic director for external affairs; Joe Manhertz to associate athletic director and executive director for Iron Dukes major gifts; Robert Weiseman to associate athletic director for athletics facilities, game operations and championships; Jack Winters to associate athletic director and executive director for the Iron Dukes annual fund; and Rachel Curtis to assistant athletic director for athletic facilities branding and director of the Legacy Fund.

East Stroudsburg University named Gary Gray athletic director. Gray was athletic director at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

George Washington University Athletic Director Patrick Nero stepped down from day-to-day responsibilities.

The University of Georgia hired Darrice Griffin as deputy director of administration. Griffin was deputy athletic director and senior athletic administrator at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Gonzaga University promoted Josh Cox to director of development and Kelsey Crawford to ticket manager.

The University of Houston named Chris Pezman vice president for intercollegiate athletics. Pezman was senior associate athletic director for facilities, operations and event management, and capital projects and chief operating officer at the University of California, Berkeley.

Lafayette College named Sherryta Freeman athletic director. Freeman was senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at the University of Pennsylvania.

Northern Arizona University hired Mike Marlow as vice president for intercollegiate athletics. Marlow was deputy athletic director at Washington State University.

Sacred Heart University hired Jamie Ross as director of athletic sponsorship and fan engagement. Ross was an account executive for lacrosse championships for IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions.

Wagner College hired Jennifer Sansevero as assistant athletic director for equity, inclusion and compliance.


AEG Facilities named Eric Granger general manager for the KFC Yum! Center. Granger was vice president of arena operations for the FedEx Forum.

Global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will named Lindsey Peckinpaugh principal and leader of its Chicago sports, recreation and entertainment practice.

Santa Anita Park named John Perrotta vice president of operations.

SMG promoted Ben Feekes to accounting manager, Jared Johnson to staff accountant and Katie Folds to concessions manager at Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. promoted Geoff Ulrich to senior vice president for consumer strategies.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers promoted Deno Anagnost to vice president for ticket sales, Chris Cook to vice president for guest and member relations, and Amy Taylor to vice president for group sales.


The Columbus Blue Jackets hired Brian Hedger as a reporter, T.J. Ansley as director of digital media, Carson Reider as digital and social media coordinator, Francesco Marini as a consumer analyst and Charlie Jacobs as a business analyst. 

The Los Angeles Kings hired Jose Hernandez as a ticket operations associate.


USA Hockey promoted Kevin Erlenbach to assistant executive director of membership and Kevin Couture to director of marketing.


The Aspire Group promoted Zoe Cohen to manager of new sales at Army West Point and Jacob Banks and Evan Siegel to senior sales and service consultants at Florida Atlantic University.

CAA Sports promoted Beth Enstrom within its golf division and Tee Stumb to an agent in the sports talent sales department.

Collegiate Sports Management Group promoted Dan Girard to manager of media services and broadcast partnerships.

Professional Sports Partners hired Megan Lesser as a brand leadership manager and Colleen O’Mara as a brand leadership coordinator.


Barstool Sports hired Deirdre Lester as chief revenue officer. Lester was an executive vice president and global head of partnerships for Whistle Sports.

Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket promoted Dave Anzivino to vice president, general sales manager.

Multiteam Companies

The Madison Square Garden Co. promoted Andrew Lustgarten to president.

Sharks Sports & Entertainment named Jonathan Becher and John Tortora co-presidents. Becher will be responsible for sales, marketing and revenue, while Tortora will oversee the company’s finance and venue operations.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment named Ron Raccuia executive vice president of licensing and brand merchandise, and hired Rob Minter as vice president of business operations for the American Hockey League Rochester Americans.

Sporting Goods and Apparel

Under Armour hired Massimo Baratto as vice president and managing director for its European business and Kelley McCormick as senior vice president of corporate communications.


The National Center for Drug Free Sport promoted Mark Bockelman to vice president of collegiate and amateur sport, Daryl Dingle to senior director of NFL substances of abuse drug testing, Michelle Dorsey to senior director of NCAA drug testing, Lara Gray to senior director of education, Erika Kuhr to senior director of sport drug testing, Ben Mosier to senior director of professional sports drug testing, Ryan Willis to senior director of NFL performance-enhancing drugs drug testing, Luis Perales to senior manager of professional sports drug testing, Andrayana Getchell to office manager and human resources generalist, and Tim Uryasz to manager of quality assurance. Blake Henderson was hired as a professional sport program manager and Matthew Ruder as a phlebotomy services program manager.


People news

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With the start of the league’s 25th anniversary season this past weekend, the PBR’s senior vice president of events, Ellen Newberg, has a host of new initiatives she’s tackling. From a rebranding effort that’s been implemented for the silver anniversary, and has seen the PBR’s premier series renamed in 2018, to launching a new premium experiences effort that takes fans further behind the scenes than ever, Newberg is keeping busy as she runs event marketing for the bull-riding series.

It was this huge breath of fresh air and opportunity that came with
Endeavor acquiring us. It was kind of like having a whiteboard to sit down, look at the business and say, ‘What are our opportunities?’

Courtesy of: PBR
On celebrating the 25th anniversary: Specific to the 25th anniversary, PBR is in a great, unique position as we will be rebranding our premier tour, formally known as the Built Ford Tough Series [now known as the PBR 25th Unleash The Beast Tour]. All our subsequent branding, in-arena signage and in-market collateral will highlight that new tour name.

On embracing and playing up its patriotic roots: Patriotism and Americana has been such a part of our DNA from day one that it’s almost become an oversight — it was part of who we are and how we took that message out there. But last year was the first time we really took a step back, looked at it and said, “This is who we are and we need to be proud of it, stand up for it, and share that,” where you might have taken a more passive or humbler approach to it in the past. The Celebrate America campaign started in late ’16 for a launch in ’17; our riders took a pledge to celebrate America and stand by those who protect us and afford us opportunities and freedoms. There were a few different pillars: The focus was active, current heroes within the local community, celebrating everyday difference makers, and there was an agricultural arm of this as well. Moving into 2018, we’re shifting focuses to fallen heroes — really diving into local communities and taking a step forward in all our initiatives to affect individual lives, primarily in youth organizations.

On the new technology PBR is developing to create greater data around the bulls: We have been working with our partners this year — and will hopefully be launching soon — on the development of bull sensors, as a way to literally measure and quantify how well a bull is or is not performing, from the height of their kicks, to the twist of their turns and G-forces. It’s important for the competition absolutely No. 1, but No. 2 is now we’re going to have this amazing story via technology to come back to our fan bases and be able to explain to them what it’s like to ride a bull outside of fancy [mechanical bulls].

On creating soft-sell content to cut through the clutter: Promoters like PBR all know that people are served millions and millions of hard-sell ads every single day, and it becomes this blasé wallpaper-type feel, so how do you cut through that clutter? You come up with really cool, engaging, soft-sell-type programs, like what we did with Schick razors. It’s called the “PBR Up Close with Schick Xtreme3” — so it’s their sponsorship of many features with various riders and brand integration into some really compelling content. Individuals and fans want to get that deeper engagement, more knowledge about their favorite athletes and stars, etc., and this is a great way for Schick to show their support of the program, and it’s not a 30-second ad that you have to sit through and can’t wait to skip through. It’s embedded into the existing content, so it just makes it that much softer but highly relevant.

                                                                                                                            — Adam Stern

A night at the Hall of Fame

From the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Dec. 12 at the New York Hilton Midtown: From top to bottom: CBS Sports President David Berson, inductee Chris Berman and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus; NFL SVP Howard Katz and Fox Sports President Eric Shanks; CBS Sports EVP Ken Aagaard with inductees Lesley Visser and Bill Raftery; IMG’s Barry Frank and former ESPN President John Skipper.
Courtesy of: SPORTS VIDEO GROUP (4)

WISE's Women of Inspiration

The NYC Metro Chapter of Women in Sports and Events last month recognized Susan Cohig (left), NHL senior vice president; Amy Scheer (second from right), chief commercial officer for the New York Red Bulls; and Bonnie Bernstein, broadcaster and founder of Walk Swiftly Productions, as 2017 Women of Inspiration. They participated in a discussion moderated by Sports Illustrated anchor and reporter Pryia Desai (second from left).
Courtesy of: WISE
Standout QBs enter College Football HOF

Three College Football Hall of Fame inductees for 2017, Steve Spurrier, Peyton Manning and Matt Leinart, pose with National Football Foundation Chairman Archie Manning at the NFF’s 60th annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown last month.
Graduation selfie

U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens proudly displays her diploma from Indiana University after her graduation on Dec. 14.
He's even faster on ice

Dale Earnhardt Jr. drops the ceremonial puck at Columbus Blue Jackets vs. New Jersey Devils game at Nationwide Arena last month. From left: Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno, USMC Sgt. Sean Landis, Earnhardt and New Jersey Devils captain Andy Greene.
Festival of Lights, and ice

The New Jersey Devils celebrated Jewish Heritage Night at the Dec. 18 game vs. the Anaheim Ducks at Prudential Center. Led by managing partner Josh Harris (pictured) and his wife, Marjorie, the team’s celebration featured the lighting of a menorah, performances by The Maccabeats and more. The Harris family treated hundreds of area children from the Yavneh Academy to a night of celebration and hockey.
A bowl game bell ringing

Representatives from the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Boston College and the University of Iowa visited the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 26 to ring the Opening Bell.
Courtesy of: NYSE
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.

It’s all mobile, and we have too many devices, we have too much content. We have all these things, and there’s one thing we’re not getting more of and that’s time.

Let’s say somebody sits down and watches a football game. Somebody watches a hockey game, baseball game, etc. There’s only so much time or so much content competing for their attention. So what’s happening is that we’re losing that linear continual connection between a broadcast of a game, a live experience. And then what is competing for that attention?

I’m a season-ticket holder for the Rangers. … When I look at children, 14 to 18, teens, even younger, they’re decked out head-to-toe in gear. They love this team. They know everything about it. Big fans. They’re not watching the game. … But you know what gets their attention? A goal. Because they’ve got to be the first one to share it. And to me, that’s something completely different. Because now it’s all about, are they going to the game to watch the game or are they going to the game to get currency?

The fact is that people know more about sports than they ever did before. And leagues are the ones being successful in terms of really trying to teach people or give content away to kind of satiate that appetite for learning a little bit more. More behind the scenes, I think MLB does a very good job with their draft. I don’t know if anybody watches it, but it’s a terrific example.

We’re moving toward these six-second spots … and we think that’s very interesting. We see it in sports and also see it in network television, like “Walking Dead” just introduced that as a format as well.

We’re getting our clients to understand it. As most clients will say, “You want me to pay the same amount of money that I was paying but I’m only getting one-fifth of the length?” But then we talk about, well, it’s premium positioning. … We explain to them that we need to be where the attention is.

There’s a lot of CMOs that have realized that if they don’t change the culture of the company, they’re going to be out.

I’m very bullish on over-the-top advertising. I think that there’s something very special about that. What I love about OTT is that it is delivered digitally, which means by nature it’s an interactive format. So ads can start becoming more interactive.

I always go back to the music industry when the music industry held on for so long until it fell apart. Right? It wasn’t Napster that killed the music business. It was selling full-length albums that killed the music business. It was the music business’ own problem. And iTunes came over and said basically, “Hey, guys! If you want to survive on the internet, you’ve got to break up your albums and you’re going to sell them this way and then you’re going to do this.” And that worked.

And what happens is, now the music business realizes, well, we used to make this much, we used to make all of our money from selling records. Now we make this much money from selling records, but now we’re selling experiences, we’re getting into concerts, we’re doing this, we’re doing that. Maybe they don’t make as much money as they used to. But their organizations have changed where they’re nimble, they’re more entrepreneurial and they can look for the next revenue streams.

What happens in sports is everyone still looks for, “Gotta sell my broadcast rights. I gotta sell my league sponsorship rights, and I gotta work with my teams and do this.” But the fact is that if the audience is completely changing, then you have to figure out how those silos, I don’t know, flip a little bit. And what are the new ones?

My job is to just look at what these companies are that are trying to do these disruptions.

I just love Geico. I think Geico just kills it. I think Geico kills it in every format that they do it in. Because Geico knows how to show up where the attention is and they know how to deliver a good, meaningful experience without trying too hard.