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The Warriors named A's Exec VP Andy Dolich as their President and COO yesterday. Dolich, 47 had been with the A's for 14 years, and oversaw the "Billyball" advertising campaign in the early '80's during Billy Martin's tenure as A's manager. Dolich has been in the sports business for over 23 years -- working for the 76ers and Capitals before joining the A's. Dolich, who managed the A's entire marketing program, will begin with the Warriors on January 4, and report directly to team owner Christopher Cohan. A's President/GM Sandy Alderson said of Dolich: "Andy has sports marketing in his blood. Over the years he has been a key architect of the team's off-the-field personality and its strong relationship with our fans and the community." The A's promoted Alan Leford, 32, to become VP of Business Operations and take over Dolich's responsibilities (Athletics).
Indications are that Orange County's financial hardship will make it more difficult for the Rams to stay in Anaheim. The team was counting on heavy financial help from the county in building a new facility, but all plans are on hold. Ernie Schneider, Chief Administrative Officer of Orange County, CA: "We probably will not be going forward with some of the projects that had relied on bond financing that we had anticipated implementing in the future" ("Moneyline," CNN, 12/8). Save the Rams spokesperson Leigh Steinberg: "Is the timing unfortunate? Of course. ... We intend to keep on battling to save the Rams." But in St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz reports indications that Save the Rams "is about to turn up the pressure" on Rams Owner Georgia Frontiere. "Be on the lookout for a flurry of nuisance lawsuits designed to make Frontiere cower from a legal challenge" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/9).
The Raptors took a major step in solidifying their franchise when they announced a multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership with Ford Motor of Canada. The deal includes TV and radio advertising, stadium displays and signage and a series of promotional events. Ford is the first major marketing partner signed on by the expansion franchise. As part of the deal, Ford will have a leading presence on Raptors broadcasts carried by City-TV and the New VR that will cover the 41-home games. Ford will also play a major part on radio, courtside and stadium ads. Raptors President John Bitove: "Bringing on board a quality company such as Ford was literally our 'job 1' when it comes to the launch of our Raptor partnerships" (Raptors). DETAILS: The deal will reportedly pay the Raptors $3.5M per season over the next ten years. Ford Canada National Advertising Manager Ron Dodds said Ford "saw the NBA as a wholesome target to attract to Ford products. It's a little more youthful and relatively affluent." The deal does not include naming rights to the Raptors' proposed arena, but it "instantly" puts the team in the black on its recent TV deal. Last month, the Raptors bought air time on two stations for $2M, and still has 85%-90% of its TV ad-slots open. Plus, the Raptors can still sell naming rights when the team's arena is finally announced (Craig Daniels, TORONTO SUN, 12/9). Ford also has the right to use the Raptors logo in its ads and becomes the official automobile of the team. Bitove: "The deal is kind of unprecedented in terms of the size and the length of the deal. ... As more of our buisness becomes public, people will understand the rumors (of financial trouble in Raptorland) were never accurate" (Jim Beyers, TORONTO STAR, 12/9). WHAT ABOUT GM? General Motors had been negotiating with the Raptors in hopes of "wrapping up the pro basketball scene in Canada. However, GM finally backed out believing that the sponsorship deal wasn't worth the money if the naming of the team's arena wasn't included" (Craig Daniels, TORONTO SUN, 12/9). Vancouver's arena is called GM Place. SPECIAL PROFILE: Today's Toronto GLOBE & MAIL includes an extensive piece on the Raptors. On the NBA mandated-minimum of 12,500 season-tickets by December 31, Dir of Ticketing Mark Lavaway said, "Momentum seems to be on our side. We're on a pace of between 175 and 250 tickets per day" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/9).