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Wasserman speaks at Variety Sports summit

Credits grandfather Lew for roots in sports and showbiz

2011 VARIETY’S SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT SUMMIT

Peter Guber opens Variety Sports summit | Sports summit tackles social media | Partnerships trump sponsorships in new branding world | Reality TV makes inroads in sports realm

Casey Wasserman said Thursday at Variety’s Sport Entertainment Summit that his grandfather Lew served as a father to him, even at a time when the MCA/Universal head was at his busiest.

Casey got his love of sports from Lew, and he said that when he was young he could go to Universal Studios anytime he wanted. All of that helped direct him to where he is today, as head of the Wasserman Media Group, which reps 1,100 athletes, and includes some of the stars of the U.S. Women’s soccer team, which lately has been great advertising for his company.

Wasserman recounted his experiences as a 24-year-old owner of the Avengers, the arena football league team. He said he was cynical at first about his athletes signing autographs for fans, that fans in Iowa might care but not in jaded L.A. He said he quickly found out he was way wrong, and that fans look up to performers as heroes, even in arena football.

Wasserman said California is essentially out of the big-event business, noting that L.A. ranks 17th in convention center biz, behind Des Moines.

Across the realms of politics, the NFL, development and business, there is a “crazy circle of people who don’t trust each other” and who have to be appeased before a stadium and an NFL team can happen in L.A., Wasserman noted. But, he said, right now the city has its best chance in a long time to land a team.

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