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Volume 22 No. 12

People and Pop Culture

Tiger Woods looks on as Jon Rahm of Europe celebrates winning their match at the Ryder Cup.
Photo: Getty Images

We’ll get them next time. Literally.


A raucous crowd of roughly 50,000 per day watched the European team rout the U.S. in the Ryder Cup, held at the Le Golf National course near Paris.


For the top brass in attendance from the PGA of America, the event was an opportunity to observe and take notes. Now they can focus their sights squarely on 2020 when the Ryder Cup returns stateside to Whistling Straits golf course near Kohler, Wis.


The PGA of America contingent was led by Seth Waugh, the organization’s new CEO; Jeff Price, chief commercial officer; Kevin Ring, chief revenue officer; and Jason Mengel, Ryder Cup tournament director. The organization wasted no time in trying to cash in on the swell of fan interest from the Ryder Cup as it looks ahead to 2020.


The day after the U.S. team lost to Europe, the PGA of America put on sale to the general public the remaining hospitality packages for the 2020 Ryder Cup, which for the first time in 29 years will be held at a public course. The offerings range from 30-person suite packages near the first green, available for the first time at a Ryder Cup in the U.S., to chalets near the practice range. Tickets to the general public, though, are not yet available.


Whistling Straits is familiar territory to the PGA of America, with the course hosting the PGA Championship in 2004, 2010 and 2015.


The familiarity will come in handy as the PGA of America creates a festive environment for fans, which organizers did so successfully at the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club near Minneapolis. Expect red bunting to be draped around holes and high-energy first-hole seating at Whistling Straits that was a hallmark of the fan experience in 2016.


This year’s event in Paris drew notice for its massive, stadium-style grandstand seating that put some 7,000 cheering fans at the first tee to greet the golfers.


While it’s not known specifically what the setup will look like when the Ryder Cup returns to the U.S., look for the PGA of America to make the first tee experience unlike any other for fans at Whistling Straits.


See you in 2020.

Photo: Getty Images


Home Run

Major League Baseball released a postseason preview ad that touted its dynamic young stars and lent support to the excitable style of play that has traditionally grated on old-school followers of the game, a signal that MLB is aware of its perception
problem and is willing to combat it.


Photo: Getty Images


'Crazy' Decision

Minnesota Wild season-ticket holders voted overwhelmingly to replace “Let’s Go Crazy,” by late native son Prince, with another song after the Wild scores at Xcel Energy Center. The eventual choice was “Crowd Chant,” by Joe Satriani, which had been the goal-scoring anthem before Prince died in 2016.


Photo: Getty Images


Who's Got Next?

The WNBA will be searching for a new president for the third time this decade after Lisa Borders decided to move on. The league is in a good spot on the court, but the well-liked Borders leaves along with two other senior WNBA execs less than a month before the union can opt out of the current CBA.

A night of unity

More than $1 million was raised for two youth development organizations — Mentor: The National Mentoring Partnership and PeacePlayers International — at a fundraiser hosted by The Players’ Tribune on Sept. 20 at New York’s Canoe Studios. David Shapiro, CEO of Mentor; R.C. Buford, San Antonio Spurs GM and PeacePlayers International board member; Ron Shapiro, founder of Shapiro Negotiations Institute and recipient of the inaugural Unity Award; and Brendan Tuohey, PeacePlayers International co-founder and executive director.
Photo: carlos miguel saavedra / the players’ tribune
Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright, pictured with his wife, Patty, presented the Inspiring Leaders award to members of the PeacePlayers Middle East girls basketball team.
Photo: carlos miguel saavedra / the players’ tribune
The NBPA’s Niveen Rasheed and Elle Hagedorn; KAGR CEO Jessica Gelman; and Benevera Health President/CEO Corbin Petro.
Photo: carlos miguel saavedra / the players’ tribune

Countdown to CFP Championship

Bay Area Host Committee Chairman and 49ers President Al Guido, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Bay Area Host Committee Executive Board Member Ronnie Lott participated in the ceremonial flag raising outside San Jose City Hall Plaza on Sept. 28 to mark the final 100 days leading to the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium on Jan. 7.
Photo: san francisco 49ers

Disney stop on radio tour

ESPN Radio personalities Trey Wingo, Mike Golic and Mike Golic Jr. met with Mickey Mouse on the set of their national radio broadcast for the “Golic and Wingo” show on Sept. 27 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. On the live show the hosts discussed the biggest stories in college football and the NFL, among other topics, as part of their seven-stop radio remote tour.
Photo: taylor regulski

Football season in Paris

Michael Jordan was the guest of Paris Saint-German President Nasser Al-Khelaifi in the Le Carré lounge during PSG-Stade de Reims match on Sept. 26 at Parc des Princes in Paris. Nike’s Jordan Brand and Paris Saint-German launched their first collection, including two kits, footwear and apparel, on Sept. 13.
Photo: getty images

Into the future

Dallas Influencers in Sports and Entertainment hosted a panel discussion on “The Future of College Football,” presented by the ServPro First Responders Bowl on Sept. 21 at Big Game USA in Dallas. From left: Moderator Rachel Lindsay, Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby; Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod; Keurig Dr Pepper CMO Andrew Springate; Gina Lehe, senior director of external relations and brand for College Football Playoff; and Cotton Bowl CMO Michael Konradi.
Photo: creagh cross

All charged up

Scott and Emma Dixon stop for red carpet photos in front of his Chip Ganassi Racing No. 9 PNC Indy car at the premiere of “Born Racer,” the documentary that followed the champion IndyCar driver before and after his spectacular crash at the Indy 500. The Sept. 25 premiere was held at the IMAX theater in the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis.
Photo: indycar

Party at the Rose

Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations; Spectrum Reach President David Kline, NFL hall of famer Eric Dickerson and NBA hall of famer and Spectrum SportsNet Lakers analyst James Worthy attend the Spectrum Reach Party on Sept. 25 at The Rose in Los Angeles.
Photo: aaron nardi photography

Off the field, in the booth

New York Mets third baseman David Wright joined SNY’s Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez in the booth after coming out of his final game on Sept. 29 to talk about his emotional night and to reflect on his career with the only MLB team he played for.
Photo: marc levin / new york mets

Bringing home the gold 

Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of USA Basketball, and Dawn Staley, USA women’s national team head coach, hold the championship trophy alongside the team’s coaching staff after the U.S. won the gold-medal game against Australia at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup on Sept. 30 in San Cristobal de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.
Photo: getty images

Salute to Woodson

Former Michigan star Charles Woodson, a 2018 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, was honored during a National Football Foundation Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, at the Wolverines’ Sept. 22 game in Ann Arbor. From left: Michigan AD Warde Manuel; Woodson; College Football Hall of Fame coach Lloyd Carr; and Kathy Murphy, NFF vice chairwoman and Fidelity Investments president of personal investing.
Photo: michigan athletics

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.


The Cincinnati Reds promoted SHAWN PENDER to vice president of player development and ERIC LEE to senior director of player development. JEFF GRAUPE was moved to senior director of player personnel.



The Milwaukee Bucks hired JILL BARRY as director of guest experience; KEN BARSKI as senior broadcast engineer; MATT ROLF as senior network engineer; MALLORY BRIGMAN as manager of private event sales; KATIE GEORGE as sideline and digital reporter; MELANIE RICKS as entertainment teams specialist; and NICK FAYMOVILLE as director of ticket sales for the NBA G League Wisconsin Herd.



Seton Hall University promoted JAY JUDGE to senior associate athletic director for development and external operations, KATHY MATTA to senior associate athletic director for recreational services, BOBBY MULLEN to assistant athletic director for digital media and communications, JIM SEMERAD to senior associate athletic director for internal operations, and BRIAN CONNOR to associate athletic director for equipment operations; and hired MATT FORTIN as facilities and operations assistant, VALERIE GOMEZ as associate athletic director for marketing, and KAREN KELLY as associate athletic director for compliance.


Duke University hired TROY AUSTIN as senior associate athletic director for internal affairs. Austin was athletic director at Longwood University.


Florida Atlantic University hired JESSICA POOLE as senior associate athletic director for external affairs. Poole was assistant director of communications at Vanderbilt University.


Furman University promoted TODD DUKE to associate athletic director for facilities and game operations and JODI WELP to assistant athletic director for administration and development.


The University of Illinois at Chicago hired FARRAH MANTHEI as deputy athletic director. Manthei was senior associate athletic director for student services, senior woman administrator and deputy Title IX coordinator for athletics at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.


The University of Kansas hired CHRIS FREET as deputy athletic director for external engagement. Freet was senior associate athletic director for external operations and strategic communications at the University of Arkansas.


Southeast Missouri State University promoted NATE SAVERINO to associate athletic director for external affairs, JEFF HONZA to assistant athletic director for strategic communications and ROBERT GREIM to assistant athletic director for compliance and eligibility; and hired SHANNON YATES as associate athletic director and senior woman administrator. Yates was associate athletic director for event management at Valparaiso University.


St. John’s University named MIKE CRAGG athletic director. Cragg was deputy athletic director and chief operating officer at Duke University.



Speedway Motorsports promoted BRAUN SMITH to senior vice president of corporate sales and partnerships.


Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park named TERRY EAMES general manager.


Legends promoted COREY BRETON to chief revenue officer for Legends Attractions.



RedBird Capital Partners hired LYLE AYES as an operating partner. Ayes was head of sports advisory for LionTree.



The National Football League hired TRACI OTEY BLUNT as senior vice president of corporate communications. Blunt was president of the Urban Movie Channel.



The Century Club of San Diego and the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open hired NICK SCHLING as director of operations. Schling was director of operations for IMG Golf and the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic.



The Los Angeles Kings named DARREN ABBOTT president of minor league affiliates and senior vice president of revenue for AEG Sports; MICHAEL ALTIERI senior vice president of marketing, communications and content; EVA BASSETT director of hockey administration; MICHAEL BRADY senior account executive; JOHN D’ONOFRIO business analyst; ROBYN DUTTON manager of digital and content; ANNMARIE FRANCIS director of human resources; KYLE LAMPIS email coordinator for digital strategies and analytics; AARON LEVALLEY senior vice president of business operations and strategy; ANDREW MASSEY manager of graphic design; NAM MCGRAIL senior vice president of partnership activation; RYAN MILLER vice president of ticket sales and business development; JENNIFER POPE vice president of community relations and team services; JESSE ROGERS account executive; TIM SMITH senior manager of game presentation and events for the Kings and the AHL Ontario Reign; GABY SMOTRYS coordinator of ticket sales and service; EMMA TANI coordinator of marketing and promotions; and JOSH VEILLEUX senior vice president of corporate partnerships.


The Minnesota Wild hired RYAN CARTER to its business staff.


The Ottawa Senators hired PETER MACTAVISH as assistant general manager.


The Pittsburgh Penguins promoted DEVIN BEAHM to senior manager of partnership marketing.


The Tampa Bay Lightning promoted JULIEN BRISEBOIS to vice president, general manager and alternate governor, replacing stEVE YZERMAN, who will become a senior adviser to the general manager.


The ECHL hired DAN LYNCH as vice president of business operations. Lynch was vice president of business operations for the American Hockey League Manchester Monarchs. 


Marketing Berk Communications promoted CLARK WILLIAMS to director of sports and entertainment.


ThePostGame promoted ERIC HERD to president and chief executive officer, replacing DAVID KATZ, who will transition to chairman of the board.


The Aspire Group promoted AARON KURZ to manager of sales and service at the University of Connecticut and MICHAEL NEUBERT to senior new sales consultant at the University of Denver; and hired JUJUAN ODOM as John Purdue club consultant and BRYCE MAHONEY as new sales consultant at Purdue University; NICK CIUPAK as new business sales consultant and JAMES BRADBURY as business intelligence coordinator at Georgia Tech; ANTHONY MIELE as group sales and events consultant at the University of Kansas; ANN-PATRICE SCLAFANI as a sales consultant at the University of Connecticut; and CARLOS MUNOZ as sales and service consultant at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.


Bespoke Sports & Entertainment hired RYAN MILROY as an account coordinator.


Innovative Group hired JAIMA SCHIFFER as director of business development.


Learfield hired BILL PALEN as chief communications and marketing officer. Palen was a senior vice president and partner for FleishmanHillard. Also, LAYNE WERNER was named general manager for Dragons Sports Properties at Drexel University. Werner was general manager for Learfield’s Jasper Sports Properties at Manhattan College.


Octagon Sports and Entertainment Network promoted CINDY PAUL to executive vice president and global chief financial officer.



ABC Entertainment named WILLIAM BURTON senior vice president and head of daytime, sports and syndicated development and production.


Bleacher Report promoted STEFANIE RAPP to senior vice president of revenue strategy.


Fox Deportes hired BENJAMIN SPENCER as director of communications and media relations. Spencer was director of communications for Relevent Sports.


CHRIS WAGNER launched his own media consultancy, OTT Advisors. Wagner is a co-founder of NeuLion.


Fox Sports hired DAVID KATZ as executive vice president of digital. Katz was founder and chief executive officer of ThePostGame.


Multiteam Companies

Vulcan Sports & Entertainment promoted CHRIS MCGOWAN to chief executive officer for the company and CHUCK ARNOLD to president for the Seattle Seahawks. Vulcan President and CEO PETER MCLOUGHLIN is leaving the organization.



US Sailing hired PETER GLASS as chief marketing officer.


USA Swimming hired JOEL SHINOFIELD as managing director of sport development. Shinofield was executive director for the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America. 



FC Dallas promoted ROBERT RARDIN to vice president of marketing, LUIZ MUZZI to vice president of soccer operations and JESSICA TOBIAS to creative manager.


The United Soccer League hired RYAN MADDEN as vice president of communications and public relations. Madden was senior director of communications for the Colorado Rapids.


El Paso USL hired TAYLOR HINES as marketing and media relations coordinator; GEORGE PINON as account executive of sales and service; JOHN WERMELING as sales and service manager; and JACQUELINE MARTINEZ, JESUS MONTALVO JR. and DJ SHUKITT as ticket sales trainees.


Sporting Goods and Apparel

Under Armour hired ALESSANDRO DE PESTEL as chief marketing officer and ANN FUNAI as senior vice president of engineering.


Awards and Boards

The Charlotte Sports Foundation named CHRIS CLUNIE, Davidson College athletic director, and BRAD JONES, BBVA Compass regional president and executive vice president, to its board of directors.



The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality named DIAHANN BILLINGS-BURFORD chief executive officer


Stats hired JILL HANSEN as chief financial officer. Hansen was managing director of finance and accounting for Vista Consulting Group.


Wish hired GLENN LEHRMAN as vice president and head of communications. Lehrman was global head of communications for StubHub.


WWE hired BRIAN NURSE as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. Nurse was vice president, associate general counsel and secretary for Nestlé Waters North America.


Arnold Palmer Enterprises hired JON PODANY as chief executive officer for the company and president of Palmer’s charitable foundation, Arnie’s Army. Podany was chief commercial officer for the LPGA.


Combat league Glory hired joN MARTONE as vice president of global partnerships and LOTHAR RENTSCHLER as senior sales director for the EMEA region.


Innovative Partnerships Group (IPG360) promoted ELENA HAIMSON to chief of staff.

To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information and photos to Brandon McClung at 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202, or email them to Electronic photos must be a jpg or tiff file for Macintosh, 2.25 inches wide at 300 dpi. Color only, please.