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Volume 23 No. 23

People and Pop Culture

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.

 

Photos: Getty Images; Nike; NBAE/Getty Images; Unrah/Jones

Photo: getty images
Photo: getty images
Photo: getty images

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STAR TURN

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.


Photo: getty images
Photo: getty images
Photo: getty images

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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.

 
Photo: getty images
Photo: getty images
Photo: getty images

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MONUMENTAL CHANGES

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.


Boarding at Gate 42

Ahead of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Yankees superstar Mariano Rivera holds a plaque that dedicates Gate B42 at JFK Terminal 4 in his honor on July 16. The plaque was made from an airplane window.
Photo: Getty Images for Delta Air Lines
Ahead of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Yankees superstar Mariano Rivera holds a plaque that dedicates Gate B42 at JFK Terminal 4 in his honor on July 16. The plaque was made from an airplane window.
Photo: Getty Images for Delta Air Lines
Ahead of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Yankees superstar Mariano Rivera holds a plaque that dedicates Gate B42 at JFK Terminal 4 in his honor on July 16. The plaque was made from an airplane window.
Photo: Getty Images for Delta Air Lines

 

Youth sports briefing

Olympic track medalist Ato Boldon speaks as (left to right) Potomac Valley Thunder basketball player Nora Fairbanks-Lee, Clay Walker of the National Fitness Foundation, Trish Sylvia of the National Center for Safety Initiatives and Pop Warner Coach Charles Elliott listen during the National Council of Youth Sports’ congressional briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 16.
Photo: Mike Theiler
Olympic track medalist Ato Boldon speaks as (left to right) Potomac Valley Thunder basketball player Nora Fairbanks-Lee, Clay Walker of the National Fitness Foundation, Trish Sylvia of the National Center for Safety Initiatives and Pop Warner Coach Charles Elliott listen during the National Council of Youth Sports’ congressional briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 16.
Photo: Mike Theiler
Olympic track medalist Ato Boldon speaks as (left to right) Potomac Valley Thunder basketball player Nora Fairbanks-Lee, Clay Walker of the National Fitness Foundation, Trish Sylvia of the National Center for Safety Initiatives and Pop Warner Coach Charles Elliott listen during the National Council of Youth Sports’ congressional briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 16.
Photo: Mike Theiler

 

Baseball field revival

Former Royals players Dennis Leonard and Mark Teahen and executives from the Detroit Tigers Foundation, Royals Charities and Omaha Stormchasers present a check to city leaders at Haworth Park in Bellevue, Neb., to refurbish youth baseball fields destroyed in recent flooding. The presentation came before the first MLB game in Nebraska on June 13 between the Tigers and Royals at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
Photo: Major League Baseball
Former Royals players Dennis Leonard and Mark Teahen and executives from the Detroit Tigers Foundation, Royals Charities and Omaha Stormchasers present a check to city leaders at Haworth Park in Bellevue, Neb., to refurbish youth baseball fields destroyed in recent flooding. The presentation came before the first MLB game in Nebraska on June 13 between the Tigers and Royals at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
Photo: Major League Baseball
Former Royals players Dennis Leonard and Mark Teahen and executives from the Detroit Tigers Foundation, Royals Charities and Omaha Stormchasers present a check to city leaders at Haworth Park in Bellevue, Neb., to refurbish youth baseball fields destroyed in recent flooding. The presentation came before the first MLB game in Nebraska on June 13 between the Tigers and Royals at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
Photo: Major League Baseball

 

Supporting youth softball

MLB SVP/Baseball Operations Kim Ng; Jaellyn Barrios, winner of the Jennie Finch Empowerment Award presented by Arm & Hammer; and Olympic softball gold medalist Jennie Finch at the awards presentation during the Softball Elite Developmental Invitational at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex on July 16 in Vero Beach, Fla.
Photo: Steven Martine / MLB Photos via Getty Images
MLB SVP/Baseball Operations Kim Ng; Jaellyn Barrios, winner of the Jennie Finch Empowerment Award presented by Arm & Hammer; and Olympic softball gold medalist Jennie Finch at the awards presentation during the Softball Elite Developmental Invitational at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex on July 16 in Vero Beach, Fla.
Photo: Steven Martine / MLB Photos via Getty Images
MLB SVP/Baseball Operations Kim Ng; Jaellyn Barrios, winner of the Jennie Finch Empowerment Award presented by Arm & Hammer; and Olympic softball gold medalist Jennie Finch at the awards presentation during the Softball Elite Developmental Invitational at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex on July 16 in Vero Beach, Fla.
Photo: Steven Martine / MLB Photos via Getty Images

 

Shootout for Soldiers

The NLL New York Riptide supported the Shootout for Soldiers lacrosse event that raised $150,000 for Veterans at the Town of Oyster Bay Field of Dreams in Massapequa, N.Y., on July 18. From left: Matthew Perlungher, Nassau County police officer and Nassau County Police Activity League Police Officer Director; Riptide EVP and GF Sports CRO Jim Burda; Riptide coach/GM Regy Thorpe; NCPAL President Mike Nelson; Nick Alvarado, Nassau County police officer and NCPAL Police Officer Director.
Photo: Angela Cranford
The NLL New York Riptide supported the Shootout for Soldiers lacrosse event that raised $150,000 for Veterans at the Town of Oyster Bay Field of Dreams in Massapequa, N.Y., on July 18. From left: Matthew Perlungher, Nassau County police officer and Nassau County Police Activity League Police Officer Director; Riptide EVP and GF Sports CRO Jim Burda; Riptide coach/GM Regy Thorpe; NCPAL President Mike Nelson; Nick Alvarado, Nassau County police officer and NCPAL Police Officer Director.
Photo: Angela Cranford
The NLL New York Riptide supported the Shootout for Soldiers lacrosse event that raised $150,000 for Veterans at the Town of Oyster Bay Field of Dreams in Massapequa, N.Y., on July 18. From left: Matthew Perlungher, Nassau County police officer and Nassau County Police Activity League Police Officer Director; Riptide EVP and GF Sports CRO Jim Burda; Riptide coach/GM Regy Thorpe; NCPAL President Mike Nelson; Nick Alvarado, Nassau County police officer and NCPAL Police Officer Director.
Photo: Angela Cranford

 

Women Trailblazers

From the Adweek Women Trailblazers event on July 16 in New York City: Adweek staff writer Diana Pearl; Philadelphia 76ers CMO Katie O’Reilly; Johanna Faries, commissioner of the Call of Duty League, Activision Blizzard Esports; and NASCAR EVP and CMO Jill Gregory.
Photo: Sean T. Smith and David Nicholas / Adweek
From the Adweek Women Trailblazers event on July 16 in New York City: Adweek staff writer Diana Pearl; Philadelphia 76ers CMO Katie O’Reilly; Johanna Faries, commissioner of the Call of Duty League, Activision Blizzard Esports; and NASCAR EVP and CMO Jill Gregory.
Photo: Sean T. Smith and David Nicholas / Adweek
From the Adweek Women Trailblazers event on July 16 in New York City: Adweek staff writer Diana Pearl; Philadelphia 76ers CMO Katie O’Reilly; Johanna Faries, commissioner of the Call of Duty League, Activision Blizzard Esports; and NASCAR EVP and CMO Jill Gregory.
Photo: Sean T. Smith and David Nicholas / Adweek

 

A new star on the West End

FC Cincinnati managing owner and CEO Carl H. Lindner III, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, FCC President Jeff Berding and Populous Senior Principal Jonathan Mallie reveal the final rendering of FC Cincinnati’s West End Stadium on July 16 at the project’s local architecture partner, Elevar Design Group. The stadium is on schedule to open in March 2021 in downtown Cincinnati.
Photo: Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
FC Cincinnati managing owner and CEO Carl H. Lindner III, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, FCC President Jeff Berding and Populous Senior Principal Jonathan Mallie reveal the final rendering of FC Cincinnati’s West End Stadium on July 16 at the project’s local architecture partner, Elevar Design Group. The stadium is on schedule to open in March 2021 in downtown Cincinnati.
Photo: Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
FC Cincinnati managing owner and CEO Carl H. Lindner III, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, FCC President Jeff Berding and Populous Senior Principal Jonathan Mallie reveal the final rendering of FC Cincinnati’s West End Stadium on July 16 at the project’s local architecture partner, Elevar Design Group. The stadium is on schedule to open in March 2021 in downtown Cincinnati.
Photo: Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
 

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.

Baseball

The Cactus League named BRIDGET BINSBACHER executive 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.

Basketball

The NBA named JASON PHILLIPS replay center operations principal. Phillips will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J.

Colleges

Central Michigan University named MATT OBERLIN associate 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 GILMORE associate 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 JONES deputy 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 NEAVES associate athletic director for communications. Neaves was associate athletic director for communications at Western Kentucky University.

JMI Sports named LAILA BROCK vice 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 WESSON general 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.

Hockey

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 FLETCHER president of hockey operations.

The NHL’s Seattle expansion franchise named RON FRANCIS general manager. Francis was general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes from 2014-18.

The United States Hockey League named LUKE CURADI director of player personnel. Curadi was Eastern USA Scout for the Green Bay Gamblers.

Lacrosse

The National Lacrosse League announced a contract extension for Commissioner NICK SAKIEWICZ through the 2022 season.

Marketing

Eiger Marketing Group hired PETER 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.

Media

Digital combat sports platform FITE named KIM HURWITZ chief 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 GARDINER vice president of labor relations.

Poker Central named AARON CASILLAS senior director of product and TYLER CHAMPLEY vice president of marketing and audience development.

Soccer

The San Jose Earthquakes promoted COURTNEY KSIAZEK to director of partnership marketing. Ksiazek was manager of partnership marketing.

Other

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 DELORD president and KYLE DOUGLAS senior 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 COHEN chief revenue officer, PRI SHUMATE chief marketing officer and SARAH SWANSON senior 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.

To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information to careers@sportsbusinessjournal.com.
The renovation of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium was an example of how the Pro Football Hall of Fame is building on what it has to offer and how it can generate more revenue. The much-anticipated Hall of Fame Village mixed-use development will include a hotel, water park, retail and dining.
Photo: getty images
The renovation of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium was an example of how the Pro Football Hall of Fame is building on what it has to offer and how it can generate more revenue. The much-anticipated Hall of Fame Village mixed-use development will include a hotel, water park, retail and dining.
Photo: getty images
The renovation of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium was an example of how the Pro Football Hall of Fame is building on what it has to offer and how it can generate more revenue. The much-anticipated Hall of Fame Village mixed-use development will include a hotel, water park, retail and dining.
Photo: getty images

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.”