We caught up with Zaileen Janmohamed, a member of SBJ’s '16 Forty Under 40 class, to talk about what is keeping her occupied as U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Properties head of partnership development and innovation. Among the things on her mind — getting back to kindergarten rules.
Dodger Stadium will undergo $100 million in renovations before next season, when it will host the MLB All-Star Game for the first time since 1980. Senior VP Janet Marie Smith, who led the building or renovation of Turner Field and Fenway Park, will oversee the project, which will result in the 57-year-old stadium getting a new fan plaza in center field, among other upgrades.
PAC-12 BEFORE LUNCH
The Pac-12 is exploring having some of its games kick off at 9 a.m. Pacific time next season so they can be available for the noon Eastern time TV slots. Stanford coach David Shaw was among those objecting to the idea, pointing out that players will not be at their competitive best at that hour. Fans may also find it less than ideal.
Instead of a traditional structure to run his D.C. basketball teams, Ted Leonsis announced the creation of Monumental Basketball. Five people will have leadership roles, including former Cleveland Browns executive Sashi Brown as chief planning and operations director. Tommy Shepard will be the Wizards GM.
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The Cactus League named BRIDGET BINSBACHERexecutive director. She was director of operations.
The Class AAA Round Rock Express promoted STU SCALLY to assistant general manager of sales. Scally was director of ticket sales.
The NBA named JASON PHILLIPSreplay center operations principal. Phillips will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J.
Central Michigan University named MATT OBERLINassociate athletic director of capital projects, facilities and events. Oberlin was assistant athletic director for event management at the University of Central Florida.
Charleston Southern University named LISA GILMOREassociate athletic director for compliance and senior women’s administrator. She was senior associate athletic director for student-athlete welfare at Abilene Christian University.
Cleveland State University named TYLER JONESdeputy athletic director for external operations. Jones was assistant athletic director for fan engagement at Ohio State.
Clemson University hired ERIC SABIN as associate athletic director for facilities management and capital projects. Sabin was senior associate athletic director for finance at the University of Memphis.
Colorado State University named KYLE NEAVESassociate athletic director for communications. Neaves was associate athletic director for communications at Western Kentucky University.
JMI Sports named LAILA BROCKvice president of sponsorship sales and operation of Pitt Sports Marketing. Brock was senior director of operations and logistics for the College Football Playoff.
Learfield IMG College appointed LANCE WESSONgeneral manager for Maverick Sports Properties at the University of Texas at Arlington. He was a senior account manager at Octagon.
North Carolina Central University appointed KENDRA GREENE to senior associate athletic director for internal operations and senior woman administrator. Greene was associate athletic director
for compliance and senior women’s administrator at Florida A&M University.
Northwestern University promoted MAUREEN PALCHAK to associate athletic director for recreation and athletic management. Palchak was associate athletic director for community relations.
The University of Portland appointed MICHAEL LEWELLEN to vice president of marketing and communications. Lewellen was vice president of corporate communications and public engagement for the Portland Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter.
The Los Angeles Kings hired TJ FREEDMAN as partnership activation coordinator.
The Philadelphia Flyers announced the resignation of President PAUL HOLMGREN, who will become a senior adviser for the franchise, and named General Manager CHUCK FLETCHERpresident of hockey operations.
The NHL’s Seattle expansion franchise named RON FRANCISgeneral manager. Francis was general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes from 2014-18.
The United States Hockey League named LUKE CURADIdirector of player personnel. Curadi was Eastern USA Scout for the Green Bay Gamblers.
The National Lacrosse League announced a contract extension for Commissioner NICK SAKIEWICZ through the 2022 season.
Eiger Marketing Group hiredPETER RIPA as senior vice president and tournament director. Ripa was CEO for Century Club of San Diego.
Wasserman promoted ELIZABETH LINDSEY to president of brands and properties. Lindsey was a managing partner based in the agency’s Raleigh and New York City offices.
Digital combat sports platform FITE named KIM HURWITZchief marketing officer. She was chief marketing officer at Karate Combat.
NBC Sports Northwest hired JOE FANN as an NFL and Seattle Seahawks insider. Fann was senior reporter for the San Francisco 49ers.
NBCUniversal named BROOK GARDINERvice president of labor relations.
Poker Central named AARON CASILLASsenior director of product and TYLER CHAMPLEYvice president of marketing and audience development.
The San Jose Earthquakes promoted COURTNEY KSIAZEK to director of partnership marketing. Ksiazek was manager of partnership marketing.
The Drone Racing League hired BRYCE TOWNSEND as chief partnerships officer.
Foley & Lardner appointed partner JONATHAN ISRAEL as co-chair of the firm’s sports and entertainment group.
Artificial intelligence company piLYTIXSports named JON DELORDpresident and KYLE DOUGLASsenior data scientist. DeLord formerly led Legends Hospitality’s insights and analytics division, while Douglas was the lead data scientist of the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division.
The World Surf League named CHERIE COHENchief revenue officer, PRI SHUMATEchief marketing officer and SARAH SWANSONsenior vice president of strategic insights and consumer growth. Cohen was NBCUniversal’s senior vice president of portfolio sales and client partnerships, Shumate was vice president of brand marketing for global running for Nike, and Swanson was head of marketing for NFL UK.
When the 2019 class of eight luminaries that includes former tight end Tony Gonzalez, late Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and longtime Cowboys executive Gil Brandt is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 3, the festivities will look very familiar at first glance: gold jackets, emotional speeches, adoring fans.
In truth, little else is the same in Canton compared to just a few years ago. In fact, the organization is in the midst of a complete overhaul to both its business model and its physical space. In 2013, the year current CEO David Baker took over, the hall reported annual revenue of $14.9 million and net assets of $32.8 million. In 2017, the most recent tax filing available, those figures were $27 million and $59.4 million, respectively.
That’s due in part to the for-profit development of the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, an $899 million mixed-use space, which will proceed this year after some delays in funding. The development, scheduled for completion in 2020, has already led to a renovated stadium and its next steps include a hotel, water park, retail and dining, and convention space.
Baker reflected on the changes as he looked out of his office window toward the front of the hall. “I see where guys used to bring lawn chairs and come for free to the enshrinement,” he said. “Now, last year, enshrinement was the first thing to sell out, even before the game.”
This year’s Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 1 features the Atlanta Falcons and the Denver Broncos, and it will be held on a Thursday night for the third consecutive time. That has shifted the exhibition from an anti-climactic coda after the Saturday enshrinement to a table-setter for Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls. The stadium, which had been a high school field that barely met NFL standards, was renovated three years ago and dubbed Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. On Sept. 1 it will host the first Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic, and starting next year, the Stagg Bowl — the Division III national title game — will be held there.
Another project calls for creating Centennial Plaza in downtown Canton, where the hall will mark 100 years since the founding of the NFL in 1920.
While the first week of August will always remain the most important time of the year for the hall, much of Baker’s work has been focused on diversification and decreasing the hall’s financial reliance on those few days.
“The goal is to do everything better than the year before, but respect the traditions of the past,” he said. “So there have been events here that have gone away, and every time something changes there’s always people who object to it, but the goal here is to try to make it better.”