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Volume 21 No. 26

People and Pop Culture

Baseball

The Los Angeles Dodgers promoted Antonio Morici to senior vice president of ticket and premium sales and service and Royce Cohen to vice president of business development and analytics, while David Siegel moved to vice president of corporate partnerships

 

The Oakland Athletics promoted Juan Chavez to account executive of business development, Zach Hernandez to account executive of membership services and Jordan Kurtz to account executive of group sales

 

Basketball

The Detroit Pistons hired Ed Stefanski as a senior executive. Stefanski was executive vice president for the Memphis Grizzlies.

 

The Sacramento Kings promoted Peja Stojakovic to assistant general manager.

 

Colleges

The Big Ten Conference promoted Julie Suderman to chief financial officer and Brenda Hilton to senior director of building services.

 

Appalachian State University hired Mark Libs as director of annual giving for athletics. Libs was director of the Falcon Club at Bowling Green State University.

 

Ball State University named Beth Goetz athletic director. Goetz was chief operating officer for athletics at the University of Connecticut.

 

Charleston Southern University named Jeff Barber athletic director. Barber was formerly athletic director at Liberty University.

 

Davidson College named Chris Clunie athletic director. Clunie was director for international basketball operations for the National Basketball Association.

 

The University of Hartford promoted Sarah Boissonneault to assistant athletic director for athletics communications, and hired Taylor Wink as assistant director of new media.

 

The College of the Holy Cross promoted Armani Dawkins to associate director of athletics for student-athlete development.

 

Iowa State University hired Nathan Johnson as associate director of development for major gifts. Johnson was development annual giving assistant and development officer at Wichita State University.

 

Ithaca College hired Erienne Roberts as associate athletic director and senior woman administrator. Roberts was assistant director for compliance and senior woman administrator at Slippery Rock University.

 

Mississippi State University hired Chris Opheim as director of spirit and fan engagement. Opheim was spirit squad coordinator at Washington State University.

 

Purdue University hired Lee De Leon as executive senior associate athletic director and assistant vice president for development. De Leon was athletic director at Abilene Christian University.

 

The University of South Carolina Upstate named Daniel Feig athletic director. Feig was executive associate athletic director at the University of Southern Mississippi.

 

Southern Utah University promoted Jeff Tukuafu to assistant athletic director of operations and facilities.

 

Washington State University hired Mitch Straub as senior associate athletic director of the Cougar Athletic Fund. Straub was associate director of development at Ohio State University.

 

Esports

Magic Gaming hired Gabriel Causse as partnership development manager. Causse was director of partnerships for the USL Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.

 

Team Dignitas hired Michael Prindiville as chief executive officer. Prindiville was esports manager for NBC Sports.

 

Facilities

LAFC Sports formed Banc of California Stadium Entertainment and named Adam Friedman BOCS Entertainment president and LAFC Sports executive vice president. Friedman is the principal of Friedman Entertainment Advisors.

 

Football

The Kansas City Chiefs promoted Mike Borgonzi to director of football operations, Chris Shea to football operations counsel and personnel executive and Ryan Poles to assistant director of player personnel; and hired Mike Bradway as assistant director of player personnel. 

 

The Philadelphia Eagles promoted Jake Rosenberg to vice president of football administration, Jon Ferrari to director of football operations and Dan Ryan to director of team travel and football logistics. Brian Dawkins stepped down from his full-time role to become a consultant with the team.

 

The Seattle Seahawks promoted Nolan Teasley to director of pro personnel.

 

The Washington Redskins hired Brian Lafemina as president of business operations and chief operating officer. Lafemina was senior vice president of club business development for the National Football League.

 

Golf

The European Tour hired Guy Kinnings as deputy chief executive officer and Ryder Cup director. Kinnings was senior vice president and chairman of golf for IMG.

 

Hockey

The Carolina Hurricanes named Don Waddell president and general manager.

 

The Los Angeles Kings hired Patrick Clark as a sales representative and Jason De La Vega as a junior accountant.

 

Groupe CH Club, parent company of the Montreal Canadiens, hired Paul Wilson as senior vice president, public affairs and communications. 

 

The Minnesota Wild hired Paul Fenton as general manager and alternate governor. Fenton was assistant general manager for the Nashville Predators and general manager for the AHL Milwaukee Admirals.

 

The Toronto Maple Leafs promoted Kyle Dubas to general manager and Brandon Pridham to assistant general manager, and hired Laurence Gilman as assistant general manager.

 

The American Hockey League Milwaukee Admirals promoted Scott Nichol to general manager and director of player development, Jeff Kealty to assistant general manager and director of scouting and Brian Poile to assistant general manager and director of hockey operations. 

 

Horse Racing

The New York Racing Association hired Pat Pope as racing secretary for the Belmont Park spring/summer and fall meets. Pope will continue in his role as racing secretary at Oaklawn Park. 

 

Marketing

Bespoke Sports & Entertainment hired Dion Beary as account executive for digital and social media and Evan Kent as social media account coordinator.

 

IRG Sports + Entertainment hired Ryan Perezluha as public relations manager, Lee Lyons as senior manager of corporate partnerships and Justin Kamm as director of corporate partnerships for Palm Beach International Raceway.

 

Lagardère Plus named Carla Rosenberg senior vice president. Rosenberg was the founder and chief visionary officer for The Matchpoint Agency, which recently joined Lagardère Plus.

 

Lagardère Sports hired Bob Brennfleck as senior vice president of commercial. 

 

MWWPR hired Andrew Garson and Joe Flores as executive vice presidents for its new sports and entertainment practice.

 

Media

The Action Network hired Noah Szubski as chief executive officer and Matt Restivo as chief product officer. Szubski was chief product officer for MailOnline and Restivo was general manager of ESPN+ for BamTech Media.

 

CBS Sports hired Randall Liu as vice president of communications. Liu was senior director of football communications for the National Football League.

 

Deltatre Americas hired Sheri Green as vice president of technology. Green was senior director of technology and digital video for Beachbody and senior technology manager for Fox Networks Group.

 

Fox Sports hired Avis Roper as senior director of communications. Roper was senior director of communications for the Indianapolis Colts.

 

Learfield promoted Josh White to general manager of Mustang Sports Properties at Southern Methodist University, and named Mike Mazzaferro general manager of Hartford Sports Properties at the University of Hartford and Mike Sage director-business development for Wolfpack Sports Properties at North Carolina State University.

 

NBC Sports Washington hired Darryl Heggans as vice president of sales. Heggans was an account executive of multimedia sales for ESPN.

 

Multiteam Companies

AMB Sports & Entertainment promoted Greg Beadles to chief operating officer and executive vice president, and hired Harry Hynekamp as vice president of fan experience.

 

Olympics

The United States Olympic Committee hired Wendy Guthrie as senior director of athlete safety. Guthrie was senior executive of human resources for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

USA Hockey hired John Vanbiesbrouck as assistant executive director of hockey operations. Vanbiesbrouck was general manager and director of hockey operations for the United States Hockey League Muskegon Lumberjacks.

 

Soccer

The United Soccer League Loudoun United hired Adam Behnke as chief operating officer. Behnke was premium sales and service specialist for the New York Yankees.

 

Sporting Goods and Apparel

Columbia Sportswear hired Michael Richardson as vice president of global merchandising for the Columbia brand. Richardson was vice president of franchise product for Gap.

 

Fanatics hired Joe Bozich as chief operating officer for Fanatics Brands and Joachim Hilke as managing director of the new Fanatics Germany.

 

Nike promoted Rosemary St. Clair to vice president and general manager of global women’s and Cesar Garcia to vice president and general manager of global running.

 

Sports Studio hired Robin Jaffe as vice president of client services and business development. Jaffe was director and senior manager of presence marketing for Major League Baseball.

 

Awards and Boards

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment formed a new London chapter of its advisory board with new members: Ben Lovett, communion music, Mumford & Sons; Louis Bloom, Universal Music Group head of A&R; Tom Corbett, Barclays head of sponsorships and media; James Sandom, Red Light Management; James Worrall, Leaders founder and chief executive officer; and Sarah Stennett, First Access Entertainment chief executive officer. The company named Jennifer Justice, Superfly president of corporate development, and Marcie Allen, MAC Presents president and founder, to its New York Chapter.

 

Callaway Golf named Russell Fleischer, Battery Ventures general partner, to its board of directors.

 

John Domenico was named president of the board of directors of Children’s Healthcare Charity, the charitable arm of The Honda Classic.

 

Other

Rebel Ventures hired Joe Puglisi as head of creative strategy. Puglisi was director of branded content for The Players’ Tribune.

 

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame named Cheryl Bernard president and chief executive officer.

 

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.

 

Ironman hired Kyle Draper as senior director of global partnerships for North America. Draper was vice president of corporate partnerships for Palace Sports and Entertainment. 

 

The Professional Fighters League hired Mark Nolan as executive vice president of global partnerships and media sales and Jason Brown as vice president of digital.

 

SMG Insight hired Ned Morris as managing director of its new international office for the Australia and New Zealand markets. 

 

Stats hired Jayme Fuller as senior vice president of global partner development.

 

TeamSnap hired Todd Stockard as chief financial officer.

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.

Your Call from Dodgertown

Peter O’Malley, chairman of Historic Dodgertown and former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, met with Your Call Football executives recently during a series of games at the fields in Vero Beach, Fla. From left: Lloyd Richards, Katie Driscoll, Sue Develin, David Paro, O’Malley, Your Call Football President Julie Meringer, Eric Galko, Rick Wilson and Collin Vataha.
Photo: ruth ruiz

 

Everybody say, “Yeah!”

Patriots WR Julian Edelman and Selam Olson of Yale women’s basketball and Zack Cummings from Tufts football ham it up at Team IMPACT’s Game Day Gala May 9 at Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. The event raised $2.3 million for year-round programs that support children facing serious and chronic illnesses by connecting them with local college sports teams.
Photo: David Silverman / Team IMPACT

 

Ready to play ball in Boston

The Red Sox Foundation, MLB and Scotts unveiled a refurbished softball field at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston’s Yawkey Club of Roxbury on May 9. At the ribbon cutting were Red Sox Foundation’s Bekah Salwasser, Yawkey Club’s Andrea Swain, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston’s Josh Kraft, ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza, Boys & Girls Club members Autumn Mendoca and Kayden Mills, Scotts’ Kelly Coughlin, Boys & Girls Clubs’ Rich Ward and MLB’s Melanie LeGrande.
Photo: Matthew Thomas / Boston Red Sox

 

Words of wisdom

Steve LaCroix, Minnesota Vikings EVP and CMO, delivers the commencement speech at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business on May 12, where his daughter Katie was graduating.
Photo: university of iowa

 

Warrior Open victors

Winners of the 2018 Bush Institute Warrior Open presented by AT&T pose with President George W. Bush on May 21 at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas. From left, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Paul (retired), USMC Cpl. Andrew Gitto and PGA Tour pro Rickie Fowler.
Photo: Grant Miller / Bush Center

 

‘Morning’ at Times Square

The “Good Morning Football” crew meets with new NFL Experience Times Square President Michael Williams (second from right) on set at the show’s first taping from the NFL Experience Times Square on May 14.
Photo: nfl experience

 

Bay Area leaders 

From the Presidents Panel at the 49ers Innovation & Business Strategy Conference on May 10 at Levi’s Stadium: Rick Welts, Golden State Warriors; Larry Baer, San Francisco Giants; Al Guido, San Francisco 49ers; Tom Fox, San Jose Earthquakes; Jonathan Becher, San Jose Sharks; George Foster, Stanford sports business professor and panel moderator.
Photo: 49ers.com
 

Fueling up for Indy

Motorsports broadcasters Paul Page, Allen Bestwick, Eddie Cheever, Vince Welch, Dr. Jerry Punch, Marty Reid and Scott Goodyear share a meal at Convivio in Carmel, Ind., on May 21 ahead of the Indianapolis 500.
Photo: COURTESY OF VINCE WELCH

 

Brand ambassador discussion

Executives participated in discussion on “The Integration of Brand Ambassadors into a Company’s Marketing Strategy” at the Business Summit last month at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. JP Sports + Entertainment’s Pete Falcone, CDW’s Matthew Troka, American Family Insurance’s Telisa Yancy, Turn 2 Foundation founder and Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, “SportsCenter” anchor Jay Harris and Excel Sports Management’s Casey Close.
Photo: Guillermo Martinez / The Players’ Tribune

 

Gala raises research funds

The 13th annual Dick Vitale Gala raised more than $3.7 million for pediatric cancer research through the V Foundation. With Vitale (second from right) at the gala were the V Foundation’s Susan Braun; Leonard Hamilton, Florida State men’s basketball head coach; ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, and Jim Harbaugh, Michigan football head coach.
Photo: kit carlson photography

 

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.

ESPN broadcaster Beth Mowins is working her 25th straight softball College World Series this week. While the former college basketball player at Lafayette College gained national attention for becoming the first woman to call a nationally televised NFL game in 2017, the vast majority of her time at ESPN has been spent covering NCAA women’s championships like softball, basketball and volleyball. Her identity as the voice of women’s championships at the network started in 1994 with her first softball CWS assignment and she hasn’t missed the event since.

It’s pretty incredible when you think about the first year of doing softball in 1994. We just did the championship game and it was tape-delayed. Now, we go back with probably 100 people with a full TV compound and we’re showing every pitch of every game.
Beth Mowins

On the growth of the event: It’s become this event that a lot of people really want to be a part of. In 1994, we had maybe half of a production truck and the booth was outside, pretty much on a press table. Now we have all the bells and whistles. 

On Oklahoma City becoming its annual home: It’s become part of the community there. They know it’s coming; they know to get ready for it. Certainly, it doesn’t hurt that Oklahoma is really good, so you’ve got a local team. There was a stadium expansion a few years ago and there were some concerns about being able to fill the place and that has not been a problem at all.

Photo: espn images / joe faraoni

On a consistent home year-to-year for championships: It’s become, in a lot of ways, the model for how to do women’s championships. … I think we’re starting to head towards that in women’s basketball with Las Vegas starting to open up now. I think there’s a good chance the women will push to make that the site every year for maybe even the regionals, too. I think Oklahoma City has led the way there, putting the event in one place and letting the local fan base develop that attachment.

On her favorite part of the week: There’s something unique about every day. You’ve got opening day where everybody has a chance. You’ve got the drama of the elimination games. And then Monday night is great because you’ve got the buildup of the two teams in the championship series, that’s probably the best part when you’re down to the final two.

On softball’s growth: Well, you have unique skills in softball, and one of them is the rise ball [pitch]. With the smaller dimensions than baseball, the plays tend to be very bang-bang. That lends to the flow and speed of the game that people like.

On her aspirations: I always wanted to do this, ever since I was a young kid. If you remember the old Mr. Microphone … they had the worst commercials: “Hey, good looking, we’ll be back to pick you up later.” But that’s how it started. I grew up loving sports. My dad was a high school basketball coach and I had three brothers. Even the girls in the neighborhood, we all played sports, and I was the one that had a running commentary going. I knew what I wanted to do.

On her favorite event: This [CWS] is probably the best event. Just the condensed drama and energy of the World Series makes this special. Football is unique because you’ve got this buildup to the game all week long. And, ultimately, basketball is the game I played in college, so that’s where I’m most comfortable.

— Michael Smith

We’re not trying to eradicate the consumption of TV. But we want to make it available across all surfaces. So, whether that’s on the go with mobile, on your tablet, desktop or television, your traditional screen, especially for TV, it’s really about the ease of use.

[Our partnership with MLB] demonstrates the depth and breadth that a partnership can and should be. YouTube TV is a digital MVPD partner. There’s no box, there’s no contract. Fifty-plus channels and 100 DMAs. We’re really trying to revolutionize the way in which consumers consume TV.

We are starting to see the industry and the category of digital MVPD really lift in terms of overall awareness. Many of you who have launched any type of product or service, the No. 1 issue is really about awareness.

Photo: tony florez photography

The power is with the consumer. The beautiful part about what’s happening is there is an explosion of distribution opportunities. There are varying price points.

CAA was a big partner in driving [YouTube TV’s deal with MLB to be the presenting sponsor of the World Series]. We were looking at our consumer. We were looking at an insight, which is how do we make sure consumers understand that a digital MVPD is exactly like their cable company in terms of live TV, just cable free.

Live sports drives viewership. It is an unalienable truth right now. When we think about how do we communicate and overcome the obstacle of what a digital MVPD is, we immediately leaned into sports.

Leveraging the platform of YouTube [so] that we could bring a whole new consumer into the baseball landscape was a win-win for both of us.

This was a complicated deal because it wasn’t just about slapping our logo on something. It was actually about having a really meaningful conversation about what driving consumption and consumer and fan love and engagement around baseball should be.

It’s not just about doing a deal with MLB — we had to bring Fox to the table. For every promo that Fox ran promoting the World Series, we attached a six-second ad to that that was directly attributed to YouTube TV.

I challenge my team to be remarkable and unmissable. And I think we can all agree that the World Series was both remarkable and our brand was unmissable. A lot of that was magic and opportunity and luck coming together.

We want to change the way that MLS fans locally experience content. We became the exclusive distributor of LAFC local games that aren’t nationally broadcast. We partnered with LAFC to create basically a network, a channel on YouTube TV.

When you go on game day, we have a booth in the new stadium. We have our co-branded LAFC-YouTube TV booth where we are calling the game and that is live content. We are then shooting around in terms of fans, practice and athletes and really getting the flavor of the culture of the team and the fans and L.A. as part of that channel.

[Gambling content on YouTube TV] is an interesting conversation. But again, when you are not beholden to a hardware that needs to be pulled out of a wall and replaced to be updated or upgraded, I do think that we can move fast if that’s something that the industry and the consumers really want.