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Volume 21 No. 30

People and Pop Culture

Baseball

The West Coast League named Rob Neyer commissioner.

 

Basketball

Ben Morel, NBA senior vice president and managing director of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will step down from his position at the end of July. Morel has been with the NBA since 1998.

 

The Milwaukee Bucks hired Robert Cordova as senior vice president and chief technology officer; Mathieu Gilman as vice president of global business development; Charles Ransom as director of guest experience; Hilary Dickinson as communications manager; Nina Grimsic as talent acquisition manager; and T.J. Sagen as manager of live event programming for the new Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center.

 

Colleges

Chicago State University named Chris Zorich athletic director. Zorich was athletic director at Prairie State College.

 

Eastern Washington University named Devon Thomas senior associate athletic director for external affairs. Thomas was associate athletic director and director of philanthropy specifically assigned to athletics for the EWU Foundation. 

 

The University of Houston hired Monty Porter as senior associate athletic director for finance and administration. Porter was senior associate athletic director at Western Michigan University.

 

The University of Pennsylvania promoted Scott Ward to senior associate athletic director and chief operations officer.

 

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Athletic Director Scott Lazenby stepped down from his position but will continue to serve the university in a special initiatives role.

 

Wabash College named Matt Tanney athletic director. Tanney was athletic director at Western Illinois University.

 

Golf

The Tennessee Golf Foundation named Whit Turnbow president. Turnbow was senior associate athletic director at Middle Tennessee State University.

 

Hockey

The Carolina Hurricanes hired Rick Dudley as senior vice president of hockey operations. Dudley was senior vice president of hockey operations for the Montreal Canadiens.

 

The Columbus Blue Jackets hired Luke Napolitano as CRM coordinator.

 

The Vegas Golden Knights hired Adrienne Cass as vice president of human resources.

 

Lacrosse

Major League Lacrosse hired Carrie Gamper as director of marketing and events. Gamper was a consultant for Nielsen.

 

Marketing

Edelman hired Joe Lockhart as vice chairman of public affairs. Lockhart was formerly vice president of communications and government affairs for the National Football League.

 

Endeavor Global Marketing hired Robin Clarke as senior vice president for international. Clarke was global head of sport and entertainment for Publicis Media.

 

DKC hired Brendan Prunty and Tamarah Strauss as account supervisors for its sports group. Prunty was a senior account executive on the sports team for Coyne PR and Strauss was a senior account executive for M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment.

 

Sporting Goods and Apparel

Nike promoted Kellie Leonard to chief diversity and inclusion officer and Amy Montagne to vice president and general manager of global categories.

 

Teamwork Athletic Apparel hired Jeff James national sales director.

 

Other

The American Cancer Society hired Daryl Evans as vice president of sports alliances. Also, Margaret McCaffery was elected to the American Cancer Society board of directors.

 

BCD Sports hired Billy Catlin as director of business development for team travel.

 

Innovative Partnerships Group (IPG360) hired Dan Etna as a business development associate. Etna was an account executive for the Leverage Agency.

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.

In support of miracles 

UFC President Dana White, SVP/COO Lawrence Epstein and Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin present Miracle Flights, UFC’s national charitable partner, and families who are part of the Miracle Flights Network with a check for $20,000 during an event at UFC Gym on the company’s corporate campus in Las Vegas early this month.
Photo: zuffa

 

Day of play with SNY 

SNY President Steve Raab (left) and SNY employees give high-fives to students after getting their medals at SNY Play Ball Presented by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center May 14 in Bayonne, N.J. More than 200 students with special needs from six local schools participated in the day of sports and fun.
Photo: marc s. levine / sny

 

‘Women empowered by sports’ 

From the “Women Empowered by Sports” panel discussion, organized by New York City nonprofit Asphalt Green, on April 27 in New York: moderator WABC-TV’s Amy Freeze; New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera; Dana Vollmer, five-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming; Ernst & Young partner Erin Shea; Becky Burleigh, head coach of University of Florida women’s soccer; Skadden partner Karen Hoffman Lent; and Brooklyn Nets in-arena host Ally Love.
Photo: jeffrey valenzuela / asphalt green

 

Honoring innovation 

Richard Hanbury of Sana Health accepts the Under Armour Innovation award from Lorin Hamlin, director of innovation partnerships at Under Armour, at the fourth annual Sports Tank event May 1 in New York City. Sports Tank is a startup competition for sport and entertainment-focused companies.
Photo: courtesy of sports tank

 

Jump masters 

From the Longines Masters of New York, the Grand Slam of international equestrian show jumping, April 26-29 at NYCB Live: Juan-Carlos Capelli, Longines VP and head of marketing, and Fernanda and Christophe Ameeuw, founder of Ecuries d’Ecaussinnes and creator of the Longines Masters.
Photo: worldredeye for eem

 

On campus at USC 

From the inaugural U.S.-Asia Sports Business Forum on April 23 at the University of Southern California: Jim Tucker, VP, corporate sponsorships, Los Angeles Dodgers; Genesis Open GM Dave Klewan; USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann; and James Cefaly, senior manager, Genesis Open.
Photo: u.s.-asia sports business forum

 

Esports leaders

Prior to the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., leaders and influencers in esports gathered for a reception: Peter Levin, president of interactive ventures, games and digital strategy for Lionsgate; LionTree founder and CEO Aryeh Bourkoff; Steve Cohen, EVP of The Anschutz Corp. and CSO at AEG; and Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.
Photo: la party photo
Super League Gaming Chairman and CEO Ann Hand; Kenneth Hersh, co-owner, Overwatch League team Dallas Fuel (of Team Envy); and Gregory Milken, managing director of March Capital Partners.
Photo: la party photo

 

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: photo@sportsbusinessjournal.com or send color prints to: Faces & Places, c/o Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202.
Photo: getty images

Sporting special attire for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5

Denver Broncos LB Von Miller
Photo: getty images
Former figure skaters and Derby fashion commentators for NBC Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir
Photo: getty images
Recently retired Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten and wife Michelle
Photo: getty images
Members of the Florida Panthers and guests
Photo: getty images

As president of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission, Kathryn Schloessman’s job has been to help secure major sports and entertainment events for the greater Los Angeles area. Since the NFL Rams and Chargers have moved back to L.A., the LASEC has been able to do just that. Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s decision to privately finance a state-of-the-art stadium at the site of the former Hollywood Park has given L.A. the chance to go after and host more major events.

When it was decided on Jan. 12, 2016, that Stan Kroenke was going to build a privately funded development, the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park — that was a game-changer. We bid on the Super Bowl and we won it. We bid on the College Football Playoff for 2023 and we won it.

Photo: courtesy of Kathryn Schloessman

The past: We’ve had a lot of great events in Los Angeles. I am on my 20th year. For the first 17 years I feel like we did a great job. We hosted NBA All-Star twice. We hosted NHL All-Star twice. We hosted the Grammys in that time frame, maybe, 17 times. We had the Breeders’ Cup. We had the U.S. Senior Open.

Win streak: Since 2016, when the [Kroenke stadium] announcement was made, our team — made up of the venues, city officials and LASEC board members — have bid on, and been awarded, the 2020 MLB All-Star Game, the 2020 NCAA Men’s West Regionals, the 2022 Super Bowl, the 2023 College Football Playoff. That is a pretty incredible winning streak for our Los Angeles team.

The future: We are currently bidding on a Final Four for 2024 or 2025 and we hope to win it. We are also in the running for a World Cup for 2026. The NCAA Final Four has not been played in Los Angeles since 1972, so I think it’s about time we had it back in Los Angeles. The World Cup was a different process because unlike other bids, we weren’t competing against the other U.S. cities but instead, we all worked together to make sure the United Bid Committee had the best options for the overall bid.

Traffic: What is very important to Los Angeles, from a tourism perspective, is to conquer the image of traffic. So many people who haven’t been to Los Angeles the last couple of years, they haven’t seen all the changes in our transportation system. No. 1, our public transportation is a lot better than it has been in the past. And more importantly, No. 2, we have a lot of money focused on upgrading our public transportation before the Olympics get here [in 2028]. So public transportation is getting better. You have to plan around traffic and you can.

On King James: The story I’ve been actively following is where LeBron James will be playing next year. Our city is on a roll, with all of the mega-events we have coming, and if LeBron comes to L.A. — where he already has a home — that will be icing on the cake and a huge win for this city.

— Liz Mullen


Elaine Bruening started as a volunteer in 1976 at the Cincinnati ATP Tour stop, just a handful of years into the professionalization of tennis. At the time she was a secretary at Procter & Gamble, and her boss, Paul Flory, ran the event in his spare time. She earned a marketing degree at night, and in 1988 when Flory took over the event full time, his first hire was Bruening. Flory passed in 2013, two years after he handed over the reins to Bruening. By then, what is now the Western & Southern Open had become a leading combined ATP/WTA stop that this year will award over $9 million in prize money. Bruening won’t be there to see it, as she retired last month, deciding it was time to take a step back. She spoke with staff writer Daniel Kaplan about her career and future of the tournament.

Waving to the crowd from center court in 2017.
Photo: bob solomon

The biggest change since I got involved is probably the money involved. I think my first tournament that I was involved with only had $100,000 in prize money and now we are over $9 million with a combined event, so I think that the biggest change to me is seeing it evolve into such a big business. When I first became involved, a lot of tournaments had been run in tennis clubs and that kind of thing, and over my career you have seen such major and beautiful tennis facilities and venues built, which really brought tennis up to the level of other major league sports. With all these beautiful facilities and stadiums versus playing it in a club, you can never stop, you keep always having to improve your venue and keep up because competition is so tough.

So many young college kids now are going into sports degrees, which weren’t even offered back when I was in college, and they are majoring in sports management and sports administration. A lot of them probably go into it because they find it appealing, they like the glamour of the sport. But I tell everybody it is a business — make sure you take all of your business courses also because we are doing everything that any other business does. We are doing sales, we are doing marketing, we are doing finance, we are doing human resources. Our product is a tennis tournament, but we are producing a product.

Taking notes in the stands in 1996.
Photo: western & southern open

My favorite player in my time is Roger Federer — how could you not say Roger Federer. On the women’s side, Serena and Venus have done incredible things for the sport. They have elevated women’s tennis beyond anything people could imagine. I have to say I really like Caroline Wozniacki also. Her nickname is “Sunshine,” always smiling, never without a smile.

My least favorite player, umm … he was just ending his career when I was beginning, but Ilie Nastase. He just had all kind of antics going on, and I was just starting my career at that time and wasn’t privy to everything, but I heard a lot of stories.

Bruening with the tournament trophy in 1990.
Photo: western & southern open

One of the players I have really admired over the years is Andre Agassi, and the reason I say that is when he started out as a young player he was a little bit of a rebel, which Canon Camera obviously recognized because he did a Rebel commercial for them, but he is someone who has grown and matured into such a class act. I have been really impressed by him.

In the future we will continue to improve the facility. This year we are doing major construction again, it’s a $25 million expansion and we are building a new south building, which is actually wedged in between the center court and grandstand court, and it would feature all kinds of amenities we haven’t had before. We are venturing into the all-inclusive package now, which when a patron buys a ticket it also includes food and beverage options … in one price and I think that is something that has been growing among other sports and other venues and we are venturing into it for the first time.

Touring the grounds with longtime tournament director Paul Flory in 1992.
Photo: western & southern open

The tournament (which occurs in the Midwest in mid-to-late August) is not too hot. We have lots of shaded areas, we have a lovely food court that has shaded tents in it. This year as part of the new building … are indoor, air-conditioned box seats. It is the first in the world of tennis to have indoor box seats that will be air conditioned.

For me, I am going to take some time to just really enjoy life. I would like to do some traveling, I probably will do some volunteer work. I don’t know which organizations yet, but that is on my list of goals, to do some volunteer work, do some more reading, just start to enjoy life and smell the roses.