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Volume 22 No. 15

People and Pop Culture

Color Commentator, ESPN
Photo: ESPN Images
The first 60 minutes of your morning: Getting my kids up, dressed, fed and to school on time!

Your typical sleep routine: As soon as I get my kids to bed, I try to read a book but typically only make it 15 minutes or so and I’m out! Wake up at 5:30 a.m. every day.

The first job you ever had and what it taught you: Pumped gas at Chevron. Taught me what I didn’t want to do with my life.

Advice you would give your younger self: Talk less and say more.

Most-used app:

Recently downloaded app: The New York Times and United.

The best account to follow on social media: I like @TedTalks on Twitter.

One skill you have that others would be surprised to learn: I love to cook!

TV show you are watching: If I have the time I’ll watch “Madam Secretary” with my wife.

The best piece of advice you’ve ever received: What will sustain long after your days are done won’t be your accolades but the friendships you nurtured. So spread kindness, as it is the glue which binds all of us.


Cloud One

Google Cloud signed its first pro team sports deal, partnering with the Golden State Warriors on a founding sponsorship deal of Chase Center, which will open this September. The deal allows the Warriors’ business and basketball staffs access to advanced analytics that will only help the two-time defending NBA champions as they embark on a new era off — and potentially on — the court next season.



Strike Out

The Chicago Cubs‘ owners were on the defensive and sought to distance themselves from racially insensitive emails from Joe Ricketts, whose fortune from running TD Ameritrade helped his family buy the team in 2009. The organization stressed that Ricketts is not officially involved with the franchise, but nevertheless found itself reeling from a public relations hit just days before spring training starts.



Pay and Play

California state Sen. Nancy Skinner introduced the Fair Pay to Play Act, which would allow college athletes in the state to profit from their name and likeness. It echoes a proposal long discussed but unlikely to be approved by the NCAA that would help address the issues of student-athlete compensation and amateurism.

Super Bowl LIII — Atlanta


Crucial Catch

During Super Bowl week, the NFL and the American Cancer Society celebrated their 10-year partnership in the Crucial Catch Program to raise awareness and funds to fight cancer. ACS CMO Sharon Byers (left) accepted a check for $500,000 from NFL COO Maryann Turcke on Jan. 30 at ACS headquarters in Atlanta. The donation brings the NFL’s total 10-year contribution to $19 million.
Photo: kim bates on behalf of acs


Let’s hear it for the running backs

From Thuzio’s Super Bowl party on Feb. 1 at SweetWater Brewery in Atlanta: Thuzio co-founder and CEO Jared Augustine, Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson, Bleacher Report’s Adam Lefkoe and Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson.
Photo: getty images


Big Game Big Give

The Giving Back Fund’s Marc Pollick and event host and rapper Ludacris at the Big Game Big Give fundraiser on Feb. 2 at the home of Jeff and Carrla Goldstein in Atlanta.
Photo: getty images


CAA raises the roof

CAA Sports’ Jim Denton (left) and Jimmy Sexton (right) with New York Giants tight end Evan Engram at the CAA Sports Super Bowl event Jan. 31 at The Roof at Ponce City Market in Atlanta.
Photo: caa


Super Bowl Social

More than 60 leaders representing brands, agencies, properties and athletes/entertainers attended the Shamrock Super Bowl Social on Feb. 1 at Fado in Buckhead. From left: Brian Corcoran, Shamrock Sports & Entertainment CEO; Bob Chasse, VP, Viaduct International; Brian Gallagher, Kumho Tire head of marketing; and Randall Metting, Woody Creek Distillers VP of marketing.
Photo: lisa chaney / shamrock


Legends for Charity

CBS Sports analyst and former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher received the Pat Summerall Award at the Legends for Charity Dinner on Jan. 31 at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta. The event raised a record $965,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. From left: emcee Hannah Storm; Cowher; and award presenters Cheri Summerall and James Brown, also of CBS Sports.
Photo: aletha buck / a.j.b. photography & design


Man of the Year

Nationwide’s Jennifer MacKenzie and Jim McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long and Nationwide CMO Terrance Williams celebrate Long winning the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, presented by Nationwide. Long was named the winner at NFL Honors on Feb. 2 for his community service efforts through The Chris Long Foundation.
Photo: Tyler Kaufman / AP Images for Nationwide


Super Bowl lounge

From the Endeavour Lounge at White Oak Kitchen + Cocktails in Atlanta (from left): Chargers CRO Jim Rushton; Celtics SVP Ted Dalton; and Chargers President A.G. Spanos.
Photo: mike villa


Laugh tracks

Fanatics founder and Executive Chairman Michael Rubin (center) shares a laugh with New England Patriots owners Robert Kraft (left) and Jonathan Kraft at the Fanatics Super Bowl Party on Feb. 2 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Photo: getty images


16W’s Atlanta soiree

From 16W Marketing’s annual Super Bowl party on Jan. 31 at Tavernpointe in Atlanta (from left): 16W’s Steve Rosner and Frank Vuono; Fred Fried of Team Services; Turner President David Levy; David Baker, president, Pro Football Hall of Fame; Bob Papa, New York Giants radio analyst; Ford VP Mark LaNeve; and Jon Miller, NBC Sports president of programming.
Photo: sammy steinlight


Star-studded party

From The Montag Group’s annual Super Bowl party Jan. 31 at the Barcelona Wine Bar — Inman Park: The Montag Group CEO Sandy Montag, CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz, NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci and Alliance of American Football co-founder and CEO Charlie Ebersol.
Photo: The Montag Group / Marlon Stewart Photography
From The Montag Group’s annual Super Bowl party Jan. 31 at the Barcelona Wine Bar — Inman Park: Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame member Lesley Visser and Sirius XM’s Scott Greenstein.
Photo: The Montag Group / Marlon Stewart 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: or send color prints to: Faces & Places, c/o Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202.


The Major League Baseball Players Association promoted CHRIS DAHL to director of communications, and hired JERRY CRASNICK as senior adviser for player, agent and media relations.

The New York Mets moved JOHN RICCO to senior vice president and senior strategy officer.

The United Shore Professional Baseball League promoted TAYLOR BISNACK to senior sales account representative, DILLON DUBOIS to director of ballpark operations, SEAN FLOWERDAY to vice president of finance and accounting, GABRIELA KIRKLAND to assistant director of food and beverage, NATHAN LISKA to director of food and beverage, DEREK NICHOLS to business development representative for group events, KATIE PAGE to director of marketing and MIKE ZIELINSKI to director of baseball administration; and hired NICOLE PAZZI as director of premium sales
and services


The College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association hired MATT ZIMMER as director of operations and business development and SAMANTHA BARANY as director of member and legislative services. Zimmer was vice president of sales and marketing for Dolfin Swimwear, and Barany was associate commissioner for the Colonial Athletic Association.

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference hired MAURICE WILLIAMS as assistant commissioner for media relations. Williams was assistant director of media relations at the University of Tennessee.

Women Leaders in College Sports hired CHANEL BARNES as manager of marketing and digital strategy. Barnes was assistant athletic director for student-athlete engagement and senior woman administrator at Southern Utah University.

Abilene Christian University hired STEVE HARRELL as deputy athletic director for external operations. Harrell was senior associate athletic director at Murray State University.

Fairleigh Dickinson University named BRADFORD HURLBUT athletic director. Hurlbut was deputy athletic director at Sacred Heart University.

George Mason University hired LAUREN BIRD as director of advancement. Bird was associate director of development for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

The University of Hartford hired DANIELLE UPHAM as associate athletic director for athletic facilities, events and operations. Upham was director of event management at the University
of Connecticut.

The University of Kansas promoted NICOLE CORCORAN to executive associate athletic director, and hired RYAN WHITE as senior associate athletic director for development. White was senior associate athletic director for development at Ohio University.

The University of Louisville hired PAT IVEY as associate athletic director for student athlete health and performance. Ivey was associate athletic director for athletic performance at Arkansas State University.

The University of South Dakota hired KELSEY BATHKE as director of video production. Bathke was assistant director of video production at the University of Maryland.

The University of South Florida hired MEREDITH SCERBA as senior associate athletic director for external relations. Scerba was director of community relations for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hired LIZZIE GOMEZ as deputy athletic director for internal operations and senior woman administrator. Gomez was associate athletic director for internal operations and senior woman administrator at California State University, Northridge.


The PGA Tour promoted DAN GLOD to senior vice president of global sponsorship strategy and development and ALEX BALDWIN to president of the Tour. Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer JOE ARCURI stepped down from his position. 


GMR Marketing promoted ELKE JONES to chief strategy officer and CAMERON WAGNER and ALEX BEER to chief client officers.

Learfield IMG College promoted STEVE SILVA to general manager for Brown Bears Sports Properties at Brown University, and hired PATTI THURMON as general manager for Warhawk Sports Properties at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. 

Scout Sports and Entertainment promoted CARRIE SKILLMAN to vice president, CATHRYN CARDILLO to supervisor of events and DINO KOUTSOURIS to account director; and hired CASEY MADURA as event coordinator and BEN FINKELSTEIN and JUSTIN MARKO to account coordinators.


Sports Illustrated hired JASON SCHWARTZ as senior editor for investigations and enterprise.

Turner promoted MARYBETH STROBEL to senior vice president of ad innovation for Turner Ignite and SETH COLE to senior vice president of brand partnerships for Turner Ignite Sports.


The San Jose Earthquakes promoted SARAH FRASER to director of marketingJAKE PISANI to director of communicationsLUKE DE VOGELAERE to director of event operationsRAUL BUENO to director of stadium operationsALYSSA VILLARUZ to director of account servicePAUL DEWHURST to digital marketing managerCHARLOTTE MUSCROFT to marketing communications manager and RYAN MORFIN to manager of event operations; and hired MARCO GUTIERREZ as digital marketing coordinator and JADE SANFORD as account executive of season pass sales.

Orlando City SC hired PEDRO FRANKLIN DE ARAUJO as senior vice president of marketing and brand


Magic Johnson Enterprises promoted CHRISTINA FRANCIS to president.

To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information to

Hello, Friends!

By Jerry Howarth
Publish Date: Feb. 12; ECW Press

In 1982, Howarth joined Tom Cheek in the booth as a full-time play-by-play radio announcer for the Toronto Blue Jays. Nicknamed “Tom and Jerry,” the duo became the voices of the franchise until Cheek’s death in 2005. Howarth retired before the 2018 MLB season.


Let's Play Two

By Doug Wilson
Publish Date: Feb. 15; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Wilson details the life of the late Banks, interviewing those who were close to the hall of famer throughout his career, during which he became the first African-American to play for the Chicago Cubs.


26 Marathons

By Meb Keflezighi
Publish Date: March 19; Rodale Books

The winner of both the New York City and Boston marathons and an Olympic silver medalist talks about the 26 marathons he raced during his highly decorated career, and the lessons he gained from each 26.2.


The National Team

By Caitlin Murray
Publish Date: April 2; Abrams Press

Soccer journalist Murray interviews top players, coaches and executives to tell the history of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, from its beginnings in the 1980s to the 2019 World Cup, chronicling both the team’s triumphs and its challenges on and off the field.

David Robinson (left) and Patrick Ewing battle for the opening tip as the NBA All-Star Game gets underway at Charlotte Coliseum. The East went on to win, 116-114.
Photo: nbae / getty images

It was Feb. 10, 1991, and the city of Charlotte was buzzing.

The hometown Hornets were the darling of the NBA, leading the league in attendance, and playing host to the All-Star Game that day only added to the feeling that Charlotte had finally arrived as a professional sports city.

A Charlotte Coliseum crowd of 23,530 saw the East squad beat the West team 116-114 with then-Sixers star Charles Barkley winning MVP honors.

Felix Sabates, a local entrepreneur and car dealer who owned a minority stake in the original team and who also owns a share in the current franchise, remembers the excitement around Charlotte during an All-Star week that came in only the third season of the Hornets’ existence.

“The city was in a frenzy,” Sabates said. “I remember [former NBA Commissioner] David Stern telling [former] owner George Shinn that it would be nice to get the game in Charlotte, and I thought George was going to have a heart attack. It was different in those days. We had to get local communities involved and we worked hard on securing sponsorships. But we didn’t have any skyboxes and we had a hard time getting the big money because we had no place to put them.”

With little premium seating in the arena, the Hornets improvised to create VIP areas and put hospitality tents in the arena parking lot.

“We took out seats from around the floor, we roped them off, sold them as premium seats and people were excited to get them,” Sabates said. “We had parties in the parking lot all week. I never knew I had so many friends.”

No one knew it at the time, but Chicago Bulls star and local hero Michael Jordan, who scored 26 points for the East that night, would bring the All-Star Game back to town as the Hornets’ owner nearly 30 years later.

Nor could anyone have predicted the amount of drama that would occur in the intervening decades. Charlotte lost its NBA franchise to New Orleans in 2002, won an expansion team that started play in 2004 as the Bobcats, and then reclaimed its former moniker in 2014. The next year, the franchise was awarded the 2017 All-Star Game, only to have it revoked in 2016 due to the uproar surrounding the state’s controversial “bathroom bill.” Less than two months after the law was overturned in March 2017, Charlotte got the 2019 All-Star Game.

So as the city and the team put the final touches on this year’s hosting duties, you can’t blame Sabates for looking back to 1991 and a game that meant more to him than only a week of revelry.

“It put us on the map,” Sabates said. “The city was on fire, just like it is going to be this time.”