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Volume 21 No. 26

People and Pop Culture

Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri is the picture of cool as he sits inside the posh Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.

 

He’s wearing a brown quilted vest, and his designer sunglasses are tucked into the front of his shirt, but don’t be fooled. There is far more substance than style to Ujiri as he reflects on his storybook trip to the NBA’s upper echelon.

His remarkable road began in his native Nigeria, traveled through an obscure junior college, wound through a vagabond overseas playing career, followed by a stint as an unpaid scout. He then held a series of NBA jobs and ultimately landed the top job in Toronto.

It’s been a journey driven by big dreams, a blinding passion for the game, and a strong sense of duty to his homeland, but one that Ujiri won’t fulfill until he wins an NBA championship.

“He truly walks the walk. He has dedicated his life to helping young people and he’s great at it.” — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
Photo: getty images

Whether he ever hoists the Larry O’Brien trophy, the 47-year-old Ujiri is making his mark both in and outside the game. His résumé includes an NBA Executive of the Year award he won in 2013 as general manager with the Denver Nuggets. But perhaps more impressive is that Ujiri combines a zeal for the game with a unique, public push for social good, be it through his Giants of Africa foundation, the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program, or helping a hurting community in remote Canada.

Within NBA circles, Ujiri is known for his razor-sharp instincts in shaping a roster and a willingness to develop talent within the Raptors front office (see related story). But his reach goes well beyond Toronto with the well-connected Ujiri forging relationships all over the globe. He talks hoops and humanitarian efforts with former President Barack Obama and has befriended NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. He has the ear and respect of key league executives, and holds an annual star-studded fundraiser and tribute to his hero, the late Nelson Mandela.

It’s a unique approach that defines an executive who crosses business, personnel and social outreach in an age where many executives operate in a basketball-only bubble.

Masai Ujiri

Title: President, Toronto Raptors

Age: 47

Family: Married, two children

Career highlights: 2002-03, scout, Orlando Magic; 2003-06, scout, Denver Nuggets; 2006-07, director of international scouting, Denver Nuggets; 2007-08, director of global scouting, Toronto Raptors; 2008-10, assistant GM, Toronto Raptors; 2010-13, GM, Denver Nuggets; 2013-present, president, Toronto Raptors

“He is one of those special people and there is something about him that makes that apparent as soon as you meet him,” Silver said. “He truly walks the walk. He has dedicated his life to helping young people and he’s great at it.”

Though unassuming and content to avoid the spotlight, Ujiri knows he has a voice that echoes outside the game and he intends to use it, whether it’s to inspire others through his foundation, find college scholarships for African players, or to speak out on U.S. immigration policies.

“I am blessed to work in a great league like this, but to be honest, I haven’t done anything yet,” Ujiri said, putting his focus squarely on the Raptors. “I am thankful, but you’ve got to keep moving and figure out a way.”

A Road Well Traveled

If there’s one thing that Ujiri knows well, it’s how to keep moving.

Ujiri was born in London and raised in Nigeria. His father was a hospital administrator and his mother was a doctor. He came to the United States to attend prep school in Seattle and to pursue a basketball scholarship. He then played at Bismarck State as a heady 6-foot-4 guard before transferring to Montana State-Billings. He stayed only a semester before leaving to play professionally overseas for six years, a basketball nomad with stops in Greece, Belgium, Finland and Germany. Finally, as a 31-year-old playing for a paycheck-challenged European team, Ujiri realized the days of anxiously waiting for a last-minute call needed to end.

“That was my life every summer, always waiting for that late phone call,” he said. “It was heartbreaking at times, but you did it. I was single and traveling everywhere and anything that came, you went and did it.”

His playing days were over, but not his passion for the game, so he looked for a way to stay involved. He knew he could spot talent and loved the idea of developing players, whether it was working with the Nigerian junior national team or coaching kids as a side job.

In the summer of 2002, at age 32, he landed an unpaid, fill-in scouting job with the Orlando Magic that was offered almost by chance after he accompanied a player to a workout.

“He sort of walked into our life unexpectedly,” said John Gabriel, the former general manager of the Magic who took a chance on the then-unknown Ujiri. “My international scout was taking care of a family illness and had to take time off. Masai was well-versed for a young guy and he was willing to do whatever to get started. There wasn’t any money in it for him, but that did not seem to sway him. He also had a good way about him. He was confident but he cared about the players and he is a compassionate guy. It is easy to give someone like that an opportunity.”

Ujiri had no paycheck, but he had his break.

“They gave me a credential and I could get into any gym in the world and that was my foot in the door,” he said. “I went everywhere in the world.”

He traveled on the cheap, relying on low airfares and standby flights to travel all over the globe. “I’d hang out with people staying in places like this,” Ujiri said, referring to the tony Montage Hotel. “Then I’d go back to my $20 a night hotel. I loved it, though. It was one of the best times of my life. My energy was the game.”

A year on the road led to his first full-time scouting job with the Denver Nuggets in 2003. In 2006, he was promoted to director of international scouting. He then joined the Raptors in 2007 as director of global scouting and was promoted to assistant general manager in 2008. With a strong connection to the Kroenkes, he returned to Denver in 2010, becoming the first African-born GM in the league. But the Raptors, already familiar with him from his previous stint with the team, hired him back as president and general manager in 2013 when Tim Leiweke, then CEO of Raptors parent Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, aimed to shake up the franchise.

Those who know Ujiri credit his unassuming style and ability to make instant connections.
Photo: getty images

Leiweke got permission from the Nuggets to talk to Ujiri, then invited him to his Aspen home, the mountain location a deliberate part of a full-court press recruiting strategy.

“I had him hostage and wouldn’t let him leave,” said Leiweke, now co-owner and CEO of Oak View Group. “I knew people in Denver and they raved about him.”

Over a deli spread lunch, the hard-driving Leiweke wooed Ujiri back to Toronto with a fat contract and a team president title.

“You do deli when you want to make a deal,” Leiweke said of his hiring strategy. “Masai and I spent the day talking about life, his foundation, and how we could use his platform to help change the world. We hit it off right off the bat and I was prepared to let him do his thing. The No. 1 priority was to win and I knew immediately that Masai was a winner.”

The guy who once worked for free and flew on scouting trips to foreign countries had realized a million-dollar payoff.

A Voice Outside The Game

Those who know Ujiri cite his ability to bridge the gap with people of all cultures and instantly connect with whoever he talks to. Silver recalls Ujiri walking up to him as an unpaid and unknown scout and coming across like the two were long lost friends.

“He came up to me and talked to me for a half hour and I walked away and said, ‘Who was that?’” Silver said. “I was confused. I honestly wasn’t sure whether if he was someone I had known for a decade. There was something so familiar about him. It speaks to his special ability to develop relationships with people from all walks of life.”

Subsequent trips to Africa with Ujiri gave Silver a deeper perspective on the Raptors executive’s ability to connect with young Africans.

“He sings to them, he preaches to them and he speaks directly to them and people light up,” Silver said. “You can see how inspiring and uplifting he is. There is a sense that he has a higher calling than just winning basketball games, and he is great at that, too.”

But Ujiri also knows that along with his global citizen approach, he has to win in the NBA. The Raptors last year were a playoff disappointment. The team was swept out of the Eastern Conference second round by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the pressure is mounting this year given the team’s impressive regular-season performance as the top seed in the East.

“This is an unbelievable city and we don’t have a championship,” Ujiri said.

Like his boss, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey feels the pressure to win, but points to Ujiri’s wide perspective in trying to bring an NBA title to Toronto.

“Masai is very driven and wants to win,” Casey said. “He has that global background and is well-connected around the world and that helps in sports. He is patient and he sees the big picture and he helps drive the philosophy of winning and developing players at the same time, which is difficult. He is engaging but at the same time, he is demanding. He is not a micro-manager and he empowers people. What helps our organization is that he welcomes all ideas and that has been great for us.”

Ujiri’s priorities are on the team’s current playoff performance, but come summer, he will return to Africa for the month of August, where he will continue with his relentless pursuit of giving back to the continent.

He created his Giants of Africa foundation in 2003 to develop talent and grow the game in his homeland with a series of camps held in various African countries. Giants of Africa now serves as a pipeline for African players to play at higher levels throughout the U.S. and Europe.

The message he delivers to the legions of kids in his camps: “Show more passion than ambition,” he said. “I tell young people: Dream big and go get what you want. Find it some way.”

Ujiri started his Giants of Africa foundation in 2003 to develop talent and grow the game in his homeland with a series of camps.
Photo: giants of africa

After 300 girls were kidnapped in northern Nigeria in 2014, he penned an op-ed in Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper to bring light to the crisis and ask for international help. “I am everywhere a son of Africa,” he wrote.

His activism isn’t limited to Africa.

After a 2016 school shooting that killed six students in a remote Saskatchewan town, Ujiri flew north. He visited with students and administrators and then arranged to host a group of the students in Toronto for a weekend of life skills workshops and two Raptors games.

In January, he spoke out against President Donald Trump’s reported criticism of Haiti and Nigeria, using himself as someone from Africa who has overcome hardship.

While Ujiri isn’t comfortable being seen as a role model, he believes his story can serve as motivation for young people. He cites a litany of mentors, including Silver, Stan and Josh Kroenke, Raptors adviser Wayne Embry, Leiweke and Michael Jordan among those who have helped him along the way.

When Ujiri goes to NBA board meetings and sits among the league’s owners and top executives, he realizes how far he has come. When people like Magic Johnson go to his fundraising events and recognize his contributions, he knows he is making a difference. And when he talks with leaders like Obama about his platform of giving back, Ujiri feels his good fortune.

“Can you believe a kid from northern Nigeria could come and do this?” he said. “What right do I have to complain about anything? I have to be a voice and I have to tell the story. I’m proud to represent the continent of Africa. I hope my journey can be an example.”

Ujiri was closely involved in the launch of the team’s “We The North” marketing campaign.
Photo: giants of africa

Guiding the Toronto Raptors’ basketball operations is paramount for team President Masai Ujiri, but he’s equally committed to building the right team off the court, keeping a close eye on the team’s business strategies, ticket prices and revenue growth.

 

“You have to shape our team in a way that brings business for the team and the city,” he said. “I treat this like it’s my dad’s business and I’m not going to spend stupid. Sometimes we will make mistakes but you can’t be reckless.”

Developing executive talent is a key focus.

“What has impressed me is his willingness to broaden his scope not only on the NBA game but also managing people in all we have to do,” said Wayne Embry, an NBA front-office veteran who is a senior adviser with the Raptors. “He’s unassuming but he has a deep passion to win and is not afraid to express it. He works hard at motivating his staff and the people he works with.”

Ujiri is known for making bold player moves. In 2010 while at Denver, he traded superstar Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks as part of a blockbuster 12-player deal. It was a tension-filled trade for the then-unproven general manager, but those who know him weren’t surprised he pulled it off.

“Masai is very disarming and in order to make a deal, you’ve got to trust the person on the other side,” said John Gabriel, former general manager of the Orlando Magic. “There is no ego with Masai.”

Ujiri also is willing to make provocative front-office moves. Last summer, he promoted then-assistant general manager Bobby Webster to general manager, making the 32-year-old the youngest GM in the NBA.

“He won’t say he’s successful until we’ve won,” Webster said. “He’s inclusive but he is tough. He wants everyone to feel a part of it because he believes it’s how you get the best answer.”

Ujiri hired and then promoted Teresa Resch to vice president of basketball operations and player development, putting her among the league’s highest-ranking female team executives working in basketball operations. Resch is one of nearly a dozen women now working within the Raptors’ front office.

“He saw something in me before I even did,” Resch said. “He is willing to take someone who others wouldn’t necessarily see in a role and he puts them in an environment to succeed. He isn’t afraid to surround himself with people who don’t agree with him and that’s not always the case. If you don’t have an opinion, that’s a bad thing.”

It’s a management philosophy based on empowering others to make decisions.

“You can’t be afraid to hire smart people,” Ujiri said. “I also look for character and fit. I think I can read people.”

Baseball

Major League Baseball promoted Tony Reagins to executive vice president of baseball and softball development.

 

Basketball

The Women’s National Basketball Association promoted Ann Rodriguez to chief operating officer, replacing Jay Parry, who will step down on April 30.

 

THINK450, the NBPA’s internal marketing rights group, hired Joi Garner associate counsel. Garner was associate general counsel for the New York Racing Association.

 

The Dallas Mavericks hired Tarsha LaCour as senior vice president of human resources and Cynthia Wales as chief ethics and compliance officer.

 

Colleges

The University of Arkansas hired Kyle Parkinson as associate athletic director for communications. Parkinson was assistant athletic director for communications at Vanderbilt University.

 

Charleston Southern Athletic Director Hank Small retired after 17 years.

 

Florida International University hired Ken Dorsey as an assistant athletic director. Dorsey was formerly a coach for the Carolina Panthers.

 

Georgetown University hired Maya Ozery as executive director of the Cooper Athletics Leadership Program. Ozery was director of student athlete leadership and development at the University of Richmond.

 

Georgia Southern University hired Dan O’Dowd as senior associate athletic director and executive director of the Athletic Foundation. O’Dowd was associate athletic director for development for the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation at the University of Mississippi.

 

Lamar University named Marco Born athletic director. Born was executive associate athletic director at Louisiana Tech University. 

 

The University of Louisville named Vince Tyra vice president for intercollegiate athletics and athletic director. Tyra had been serving as interim director.

 

The University of Missouri hired Andy Humes as executive associate athletic director for compliance and administration. Humes was associate athletic director of compliance at San Diego State University. 

 

Northeastern University hired Tim Duncan as deputy athletic director for external affairs. Duncan was athletic director at Clayton State University.

 

University of Utah Athletic Director Chris Hill will retire this spring after 31 years in that role.

 

Esports

Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment named Michael Lai general manager and Ian Hillman assistant general manager for its NBA 2K League team, 76ers Gaming Club.

 

Facilities

AEG Facilities named Hugh Lombardi general manager for the Target Center and regional vice president for the company. Lombardi was general manager for the Chesapeake Energy Arena and Cox Convention Center.

 

Populous hired Doug Barraza and Partho Dutta as senior architects and principals and Julie Rinaldi as a senior architect and senior associate. 

 

SMG and the Berks County Convention Center Authority named Mark Wallace general manager of the Santander Arena. Wallace was vice president for corporate sales and sponsorships for the arena and the ECHL Reading Royals.

 

Watkins Glen International hired Michael Gardner as public relations manager. Gardner was with Zimmerman Advertising.

 

Hockey

The ECHL Reading Royals hired Joe Bahling as director of corporate sales and sponsorships.

 

Football

The Arena Football League named Randall Boe commissioner and Ron Jaworski chairman of the executive committee.

 

The Fiesta Bowl hired Steve Mullins as chief sales and marketing officer. Mullins was senior vice president of sales for the Arizona Region of iHeartMedia.

 

Marketing

The Aspire Group promoted Chad Hulse to senior sales and service consultant at Colorado State University and Cole Long to senior sales consultant at Army West Point; and hired Chris Chennault as a sales and service consultant at Colorado State; Erik Kerns as a sales consultant at the University of Toledo; Meghan O’Donnell as a sales consultant at the University of Delaware; Kyle Murrin and Jack Willenbrock as sales and service consultants and Hannah Keeling as sales and service consultant for women’s athletics at Florida Atlantic University; Isaac Luginbill as a development consultant and Branden Lucas as a new sales consultant at Purdue University; and Coy Draytona as a service and retention consultant at the University of Maryland.

 

Innovative Partnerships Group (IPG360) hired Sean Moran as a senior consultant. Moran was in a research and insights capacity for Wasserman.

 

rEvolution hired Mike Hormuth as senior director of marketing communications.

 

SuiteHop hired Mike Guiffre as senior vice president of business development. Guiffre was vice president of sales for TicketCity.

 

Team Services promoted Kim Niro to consulting coordinator and Gordie Koerber to sales coordinator.

 

Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment hired Elizabeth Browne as a sales account executive in its media and properties division. Browne was associate account executive for Univision Communications.

 

Media

ESPN hired Chara-Lynn Aguiar as vice president of strategy. Aguiar was vice president of strategy and content for Fox Sports.

 

Discovery hired Emir Osmanbegovic as senior vice president of sports content and production and Dave Schafer as senior vice president of sports operations and planning for Eurosport.

 

Fox Sports promoted Josh Oakley to vice president of acquisitions and programming.

 

NBC Sports Chicago hired Michael Allardyce as multi-platform director. Allardyce was senior director of editorial operations for Fansided.com.

 

Overtime hired Marc Kohn as chief content officer, Alex Grant as head of sales and brand partnerships, Anis Rashid as chief strategy officer and Dave Zigerelli as head of production.

 

Pluto TV hired Rich Calacci as chief revenue officer, Harold Morgenstern as head of national ad sales and Matt Katrosar as head of West Coast advertising sales. Calacci was senior vice president of sales for Turner Sports and chief revenue officer for Bleacher Report.

 

TuneIn hired Juliette Morris as chief marketing officer. Morris was executive vice president of partner marketing and communications for NBCUniversal.

 

Olympics

The USA Triathlon Foundation hired David Deschenes as executive director. Deschenes was executive director for the Ironman Foundation.

 

Soccer

David Chung, FIFA vice president and Oceania Football Confederation president, resigned.

 

The Chicago Fire hired Sean Dennison as senior vice president of communications and media. Dennison was vice president of communications for Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing.

 

DC United promoted Sam Porter to senior vice president of business and legal affairs.

 

Minnesota United FC promoted Bryant Pfeiffer to executive vice president and chief revenue officer and Maureen Smith to executive vice president and chief operating officer. Katie Mattis Sarver was hired as senior vice president of corporate partnership sales and activation.

 

Sporting KC promoted Jake Reid to chief executive officer.

 

Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards

Las Vegas Events hired Rebecca Nau as part of its corporate marketing team.

 

Awards and Boards

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences named Barry Frank the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports at the 39th Sports Emmy Awards.

 

Other

CompLexity Gaming hired Daniel Herz as chief revenue offer. Herz was senior partnership manager for Turtle Entertainment.

 

Navigate Research promoted Jeff Nelson to president. 

 

Sterling.VC hired Ben Nichol as head of events and business development. Nichol was senior program manager for events for Red Bull Media House.

 

The UFC hired Chris Bellitti as vice president of corporate communications.

 

The Walt Disney Co. named Kevin Mayer chairman of its new direct-to-consumer and international business segment and Bob Chapek chairman of the new parks, experiences and consumer products business segment.

 

Sports Business Solutions hired Adam Vogel as senior director of training and development. Vogel was director of inside sales for the New York Mets.

 

Ironman hired Vince Cicero head of sales and global partnerships. Cicero was vice president of global partnerships for Feld Entertainment.

 

Stats hired Mike Perez as chief operating officer. Perez is the founder of the management consulting firm Tidewater Group.

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 careers@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Electronic photos must be a jpg or tiff file for Macintosh, 2.25 inches wide at 300 dpi. Color only, please.

The UCHealth system is a network of 12 hospitals and 5,000 doctors in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming, and it has sponsorships with nearly every pro sports team in its home territory. Even with all those assets, by his own admission, UCHealth Chief Marketing and Experience Officer Manny Rodriguez likes to be “goofy” every now and then. Sometimes, that’ll include stunts like establishing a Guinness World Record for most false mustaches worn at the same time in the same location (Denver’s Mile High Stadium) or sending faux ambulances around Denver to diagnose and treat “Broncos Fever.” As health care changes dramatically, he’s keeping pace on the marketing side. 

The business of health care is shifting. You’ve got remote care, which will be a bigger and bigger part of things as the years go by, and you have companies like Amazon talking about getting into health care that could be revolutionary. We all know that we have to evolve.
Manny Rodriguez
 

On marketing health care: From a marketing perspective, we’re evolving our campaigns to having patients being at the center. Most hospital marketing you see has a physician with crossed arms staring out at you. The implied message is, “You’re lucky to be taken care of by me.” That’s not where we want to be. We’re moving from this “I will fix you when you are broken” message to “We don’t want you to be broken in the first place.”

Photo: courtesy of manny rodriguez

On being like Nike: I really admire Nike and some of the other sports apparel brands for the way they have grabbed their own piece of the health care mindset. They’ve done a masterful job convincing consumers that both their athletic performance and their health is tied to activewear. We’re trying to deliver the message that you are the most important part of you being healthy. We want to be more like Nike and less like a medical brand.

On UCHealth’s message: Not everyone can aspire to be LeBron James. Our message is that we want you to be the best you can be. That means we have to get you inspired enough that you’ll want to do something about your health as opposed to making you feel guilty enough to do something.

On competition: Certainly, there’s a lot of noise in sports marketing, so we’re competing with so many brands for share of voice. We have to challenge them to get heard above that noise and to convince consumers that we are as much of a healthy, active lifestyle brand as someone like Under Armour or REI. Health care has been transactional; we want to be more enduring, the way those lifestyle brands are.

On the future: It’s very early and still a small part of the entire business, but virtual care is the big direction for the health care industry. Millennials don’t want to make an appointment, get in their car and drive to see a doctor — they’d rather get on their phones. Wearables are another big area of interest and growth. Using the information they can provide for early detection will be a game-changer.

— Terry Lefton

The Greenville Drive was awarded the 2017 John H. Johnson President’s Award, the most prestigious honor Minor League Baseball can bestow on an organization. Team owner Craig Brown, after years in the advertising business, uses the team as a community business and education driver.

We often look at the ballpark as a piece of hardware and with today’s technology, you need to keep the hardware fresh, you need to keep it clean, you need to keep it functional and modern. But the magic of baseball is really the software, the programming that goes inside the ballpark and that’s where we really put our focus. 

Photo: greenville drive

[Minor League Baseball is] the ultimate community platform. The world is moving so fast these days, minor league baseball has a bit of a throwback to it in terms of the way things used to be. You focus on affordable family entertainment.

We spend a significant amount of time developing events that celebrate and reinforce … economic development elements and use the Greenville Drive/Fluor Field platform to make community messaging more memorable and effective.

South Carolina ranks No. 43 in the country in terms of the number of family physicians per 100,000 residents. So we need to create a robust health care career pipeline, and we begin this by exposing young people to the variety of careers that exist in the industry. This is accomplished by incorporating a career fair and making it an integral part of the fan experience at a Drive baseball game. 

We have another night devoted to advanced manufacturing and engineering, which fills the concourse with exhibits and 3-D printers and robotics and LED lighting, and [we] bring in education partners and young people through those exhibits. We really want to expose them to it, so they may say, ‘Wow, manufacturing is not what I was thinking, but it’s sexy, it’s got some appeal.’

That’s what gets me going, gets me excited. You realize you have this platform — and I love baseball, that’s what got me into it — but then you realize it really has a much broader application as a community engagement platform.

[The biggest change in Minor League Baseball] is the evolution to a more marketing-orientated model. We’ve always been known for promotions, and some of them were very transactional, very slapstick, if you will. 

Brown greets visiting Columbia Fireflies player Tim Tebow at Fluor Field last season.
Photo: greenville drive

But the ownership models and the sophistication of the ownership groups has evolved tremendously and the league has become much more marketing-orientated, where it’s about the experience, keeping it fresh and unique, and becoming extremely relevant in the community.

When you look at … any of the big consumer product companies, they’re always searching for affordable family entertainment properties. Quite honestly, once you get beyond Disney, there’s not that many organizations that index the way that Minor League Baseball does.

We can scale the enterprise so that we become very appealing to many national advertisers who are very much interested in engaging with families, children and the youth — building a platform around Minor League Baseball and the 50 million people that come to our games every year.

I’m at the stage in my career where not necessarily bigger is better. It is trying to make an impact, and what I love about Minor League Baseball is there’s still enough business that gets my business juices flowing, you’re working with young people, which I think is a great thing, and you’re giving back. 

You can give back in time or you can give back in resources and that’s what a lot of our schedule, games, and efforts are devoted toward. Giving back to the community and building up the community.

Hospitality unlike any other

From the IMG Masters hospitality house during the tournament in Augusta, Ga.: Endeavor Global Marketing EVP Ed Horne, Visa Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Lynne Biggar, Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor, and IMG College EVP Andrew Judelson.
Photo: img

Final Four festivities

From the Learfield Final Four party on March 30 at the Pearl Stable in San Antonio: Learfield’s Temple Weiss, chief administrative officer; Learfield; John Raleigh, chief legal officer; and Tom Wistrcill, VP, multimedia rights.
Photo: Courtesy of learfield
Pizza Hut U.S. President Artie Starrs poses with a Pie Tops contest winner in San Antonio during the men’s Final Four.
Photo: pizza hut

On the Miami scene

From the University of Miami School of Law’s 2018 Global Entertainment Sport Conference: Legends’ John Ruzich and the Charlotte Hornets’ Joe Pierce discuss the latest trends and innovations in stadium development.
Photo: jenny abreu
From the University of Miami School of Law’s 2018 Global Entertainment Sport Conference: Participating in the panel “Legal and Business Issues Impacting the LPGA Tour” were: Ali Kicklighter, manager of player services; Chief Legal Officer Liz Moore; LPGA player Morgan Pressel; and Heather Daly-Donofrio, chief tournament operations and communications officer.
Photo: jenny abreu

A night at Nationals Park

From Kickoff Reception at Nationals Park on April 6 for the Sports Events Marketing Experience: Matt Winkler, American University and executive director of SEME; Valerie Camillo, Washington Nationals chief revenue and marketing officer and TeamWork Online President Buffy Filippell.

Getting in the swim of business

From the fourth annual #SwimBiz: Social Media, Sponsorship and Swimming marketing conference in Colorado Springs, Colo.: TYR’s Steve Furniss, USA Swimming’s Tim Hinchey, MilkPep’s Miranda Abney and USA Swimming’s Matt Farrell.
Photo: courtesy of usa swimming

UFC packs a punch at NYSE

In celebration of UFC’s 25th anniversary and to highlight UFC 223 at Barclays Center, UFC executives and athletes ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on April 6.
Photo: zuffa llc

Retirement gift

Stacey Allaster, USTA chief executive, pro tennis, surprises Elaine Bruening with a toast and gift celebrating her retirement as CEO from the Western & Southern Open. The photo Bruening holds is of her with Paul Flory, the former chairman of the Western & Southern Open and tournament director for 25 years. Flory died in 2013.
Photo: usta / western & southern open

Stanley Cup’s Broadway moment

The Stanley Cup makes a surprise appearance at the Broadway show “Come From Away” as part of the Broadway Cares benefit at the Schoenfeld Theatre on April 10 in New York City. Audience members had the chance to bid for an opportunity to take a photo with the Cup and the cast of the show.
Photo: getty images
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