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Volume 22 No. 35

People and Pop Culture

Photo: getty images


Chief endorser

His alma mater, Texas Tech, lost in the national championship game, but it’s still been a good few weeks for Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. In March, he became Oakley’s first football endorser, and last week he announced deals with Essentia water and Hy-Vee grocery stores.

Photo: getty images


Million dollar wound

A Texas woman is suing the Houston Astros for more than $1 million, alleging that her finger was broken — requiring two surgeries — by a T-shirt fired from a cannon by the team’s mascot, Orbit, last July. The team vowed to continue using the launchers.


Photo: getty images


Delay game

The English Premier League is still searching for a new CEO, after it reportedly approached Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert only to be turned down. The league has been searching for a new leader since Susanna Dinnage backed out of a plan to replace Richard Scudamore last fall.

Stronger with her

The Los Angeles Clippers and Bumble celebrated the last day of Women’s History Month, March 31, with a variety of events and celebrations, including a special moment at the end of the third quarter, when singer songwriter Candice Boyd performed “Girl on Fire” and Clippers President Gillian Zucker and other team employees joined fans as they stood and displayed placards with the hashtag #StrongerWithHer on behalf of the women who inspire, uplift and motivate them.
Photo: tony garcia / l.a. clippers


Open court

Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium owner Stephen Ross, Novak Djokovic and Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium Vice Chair/President/CEO Tom Garfinkel cut the ribbon to open Stadium Court on March 20 during the Miami Open.
Photo: miami dolphins


‘Stephen vs. The Game’

From the premiere of Steph Curry’s Facebook Watch docuseries, “Stephen vs. The Game,” which will debut on May 2. Facebook’s VP Dan Reed; Mina Lefevre, Facebook Watch head of development and programming; docuseries director Gotham Chopra; Curry; Unanimous Media CEO Jeron Smith; Unanimous Media co-founder and COO Erick Peyton; Religion of Sports CEO Ameeth Sankaran and SC30 President Bryant Barr.
Photo: kelly sullivan / getty images for facebook


Athletic directors lead the way

From the “Current Topics for LEAD1 Athletics Directors” session at the Harvard Sports Law Symposium on April 1: (from left to right) Boston College AD Martin Jarmond, UMass AD Ryan Bamford, LEAD1 Association CEO Tom McMillen, N.C. State AD Debbie Yow and UNLV AD Desiree Reed-Francois.
Photo: Desiree Reed-Francois


McCormack Leaders

Participants in the UMass Amherst McCormack Sport Leaders Forum’s inaugural NYC conference, presented by Scout Sports and Entertainment, on March 30: (from left) Steve McKelvey, McCormack Department associate chair; keynote speaker and New York Islanders owner Jon Ledecky; Forum co-director Brianna Donan; keynote speaker and ESPN EVP Burke Magnus; moderator Bonnie Bernstein; Forum co-director Carly O’Keefe; McCormack Department Chair Janet Fink; and moderator and SSE EVP Michael Neuman.
Photo: mccormack department

When MGM Resorts met the Green Monster

Boston Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy (middle) poses with MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren (left) and President and COO of MGM Springfield Michael Mathis after revealing the MGM Resorts International logo on the Green Monster at Fenway Park on April 5 as part of the multiyear partnership between the club and casino resort.
Photo: boston red sox


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.


Major League Baseball promoted MATT BOURNE to senior vice president of communications.


The Cleveland Cavaliers promoted COREY JAMES to senior manager of community engagement and foundation development, and hired KEVIN CLAYTON as vice president of diversity, inclusion and engagement for all organizational properties.


The Big Sky Conference promoted JAYNEE NADOLSKI to senior associate commissioner for compliance and governance and senior woman administrator and JON KASPER to senior associate commissioner for championships.

The University of Arkansas named QUINN GROVEY senior director of development for the Razorback Foundation. Grovey was senior account executive for Learfield IMG College Razorback Sports Properties.

University of Connecticut Deputy Athletic Director VIC CEGLES will retire, effective at the end of the 2019 baseball season.

The University of Illinois at Chicago hired LISA HEHMAN associate athletic director of academic services. Hehman was basketball advisor and coordinator of student athlete affairs at Cleveland State University.

The University of North Carolina-Asheville hired BRIAN YOHE as director of live productions.

Northern Arizona University hired KATE ELLIOTT as assistant athletic director for development. Elliott was associate director for development at UCLA.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Athletic Director BRAD HEWITT will retire, effective June 30, after nearly 17 years.

The University of Southern Mississippi named JEREMY MCCLAIN athletic director. McClain was athletic director at Troy

Southern Utah University hired SONIA HAHN as associate athletic director for sports administration and senior woman administrator. Hahn was head women’s tennis coach at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee promoted CLARE FAUROTE to associate athletic director for academic services.


Fair Park First and Spectra hired SCOTT NORTON as assistant general manager, JULIAN BOWMAN as senior director of marketing and JOE SKENDERIAN as director of partnerships.

The Golden State Warriors named KIM STONE general manager for the Chase Center. Stone was executive vice president of business development for the Miami Heat and AmericanAirlines Arena.

Spectra promoted GUNNAR FOX to vice president and general manager of the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.


The Atlanta Falcons hired DAVID BASSITY as vice president for football communications. Bassity was senior associate athletic director for communications and digital media at the University of Houston.

The Houston Texans hired JACK EASTERBY as executive vice president of team development. Easterby was team development director and character coach for the New England Patriots.

The XFL hired JORDAN SCHLACHTER as chief marketing and commercial officer and DEREK THRONEBURG as senior vice president of team business operations. ERIK MOSES was named team president for the XFL football team in Washington, D.C.


The National Lacrosse League Georgia Swarm hired MITCH RIED as chief revenue officer. Ried was vice president of ticket sales and service for the Alliance of American Football Atlanta Legends.

Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards

Gator Bowl Sports named RICH THOMPSON chairman for the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, JaxSports Council and JaxSports Charities.

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A fist bump on the course between eventual tournament winner Jennifer Kupcho (left) and Maria Fassi summed up the significance of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Photo: chris trotman / augusta national women’s amateur

History was made on April 6 at Augusta National Golf Club when the final round of the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur tournament took place at the hallowed site of the Masters.

The first two days of the three-day tournament were played at the Champions Retreat Golf Club in nearby Evans, Ga., before the final round moved to the famed course, which served as a high-profile way to roll into Masters week. The event featured compelling golf — Wake Forest University senior Jennifer Kupcho won the tournament before a national audience on NBC and sizable galleries lining the course — and it also gave women’s golf a massive jolt in a rare showcase on one of the most celebrated courses in the world.

The tournament spoke volumes about the changing nature of women’s golf, as the amateurs competed at the famous club that had denied women membership until 2012. 

“It was a great sporting event and great championship but also a real social moment and that is what resonated with so many people to see the unbelievably talented women playing golf on one of the most, if not the most, beautiful courses in the world,” said Pete Bevacqua, president of NBC Sports Group and the former CEO of the PGA of America. “The actions on Saturday afternoon and the sportsmanship was a powerful moment not just for golf but for sports in general.”

NBC, which has never had rights to the Masters, took full advantage of covering the women’s amateur by cross-promoting the event on “The Today Show” and various NBC outlets.

“We are honored to be a part of it,” Bevacqua said. “We put all our efforts and resources behind it from an NBC Universal point of view. Our goal is to have the opportunity to do it again. It couldn’t have gone any better.”

NBC will take a year-by-year approach on the rights to the event, which is expected to return to Augusta next year.

The women’s amateur took place the same weekend as the ANA Inspiration, the first major LPGA tournament of the year, which also aired on NBC. The network completed its Saturday coverage of the women’s amateur event and then moved to coverage of the ANA Inspiration from Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. 

One sure sign of the historic nature of the women’s amateur was the reaction Bevacqua received from all corners of the sports industry.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of texts and emails I received from leaders in other sports outside of the golf community that in essence said ‘Wow, that was an amazing event for sports.’”