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  • BASEBALL CONSIDERS LOWER TICKET PRICES FOR REPLACEMENTS

         Both the Angels and Rangers announced formulas for lowering
    their ticket prices if replacement players are used.  The Rangers
    have decided to base the price of their tickets on the size of
    their player payroll until the strike is settled, which would cut
    ticket prices in half.  The Rangers also introduced a complicated
    formula that would discount ticket prices should any union
    players join the team during the strike and player payroll
    exceeds $4M for the season.  Rangers President Tom Schieffer:
    "The idea is to pass on any salary savings to the fans in the
    form of ticket prices" (Sullivan, FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/5).
    Angels President Rich Brown said his club is working on a formula
    that would give rebates to season-ticket holders for the games
    that are played with non-major leaguers.  The reduced ticket
    price will be calculated using several factors:  the number of
    replacements on the roster, the club's payroll costs and the
    price fans are willing to pay (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/5).
         MORE TICKET NEWS:  The Orioles announced that they have had
    a 90% season-ticket renewal rate and club officials predict that
    the rate could hit 96% by the end of the month, equaling the
    renewal rate of the past three years (Mark Hyman, Baltimore SUN,
    1/5).
         OTHER ANGELS NEWS:  Brown plans to meet with Anaheim
    officials next week to renew discussions on a new stadium.
    Negotiations were halted when the Orange County bond crisis
    occurred.  But Anaheim City Manager Jim Ruth said he is now
    confident Anaheim will have the financial stability to proceed
    with a new stadium (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/5).
    

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Sports, Baltimore Orioles, Franchises, Walt Disney
  • BUCS I: TWO NEW ENQUIRING MINDS INVESTIGATE AN OFFER

         "It has come to this.  The people who bring you the
    supermarket tabloids like the NATIONAL ENQUIRER and THE STAR want
    to buy" the Buccaneers.  Yesterday, team trustee Steve Story met
    with Peter Callahan and Michael Boylan, the Chair and Vice-Chair
    of the Enquirer/Star Group, Inc. one of the country's largest
    publishing groups.  The two are interested in buying the team and
    keeping them in Tampa.  The new group surfaced just two business
    days before the trust is to decide whether to accept a reported
    $160M offer from local investors Tommy Shannon and Outback
    Steakhouse execs Chris Sullivan and Bob Basham.  Story stressed
    that Callahan and Boylan did not appear on behalf of
    Enquirer/Star Group, "but are interested in making an individual
    investment."  Story: "Our session was a preliminary one.  If they
    have an interest in pursuing this matter, they will contact us
    again" (Stroud & Testerman, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/5).
         PENCIL MAGNATE NOT READY TO INK A DEAL:  Orlando pencil
    "baron" Gino Pala said yesterday he believes the three-man trust
    overseeing the sale will reject every offer and hold on to the
    team.  Pala:  "They've got a number in mind that they intend to
    get, and if it comes in one cent less, they can sit on it.  I
    don't think the trustees can get hurt by keeping control of the
    team."  MA-based developer Socrates Babacas is believed to have
    the financing in place to make a $185M offer for the team as
    early as today.  Florida citrus "heavyweights" Earl Crittenden
    and Gene Langley reportedly are partners in Babacas' effort to
    buy the team.  Babacas said he is willing to put a $5M deposit in
    escrow to guarantee he will not move the team (Pugliese &
    Kaufman, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/5).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • BUCS II: NFL OWNERS SPEAK OUT ON ANGELOS' INVOLVEMENT

         This morning's Baltimore SUN reports that Orioles Owner
    Peter Angelos is "close to tendering an official bid" for the
    Buccaneers, "something that could happen in the next few days"
    (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 1/5).  But an "informal" survey of
    several NFL owners by the Baltimore SUN's Vito Stellino found
    mixed sentiment about a possible Bucs move to Baltimore.  The
    Cowboys' Jerry Jones: "I'm very interested in getting people such
    as Mr. Angelos involved in the NFL. ... If you are willing to put
    $200M on the line, some of the things [cross-ownership] have to
    be altered ... If we are going to have these kinds of people
    involved in our future, we have to accommodate the ownership
    situation."  Jones did note one problem with a move: "If it
    basically has a negative impact by the partners we presently
    have, that's the issue, i.e. Washington."  One unidentified NFC
    owner: "If the commissioner walks into the room and says to us
    that we can sell to Angelos or go to court, that's the definition
    of a no-brainer, isn't it?"  Bengals Owner Mike Brown: "I've
    believed for a long time that Baltimore should have an NFL
    franchise. ... I would not stand in the way."  But Brown added he
    did have a problem with cross-ownership.  The Giants' Wellington
    Mara admitted he didn't know much about Angelos:  "But one thing
    we don't need in our league is a new member who wants to come in
    and change all our rules and not abide by them" (Vito Stellino,
    Baltimore SUN, 1/5).
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Franchises, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • CFL RIDERS' OWNER FIRESTONE SPEAKS ON SALE OF TEAM

         Ottawa Rough Riders owner Bruce Firestone granted his first
    interview since December 29 when "he announced that the team he
    has owned for less than a year is once again for sale."
    Firestone sounded "bitter" about his business loss: "The sports
    identity has become a business identity.  It's not about the
    games anymore.  All you read about is the money.  I just hate it.
    That's why I'm getting out."  CFL Commissioner Larry Smith said
    the team will be moved if it did not meet league-imposed targets
    of 15,000 season ticket sales and $1M in corporate sponsorship by
    January 31.  Firestone, who lost between $1.2M and $1.4M in 10
    months of operation said "without hitting those targets, there is
    no opportunity for success.  Even then it is not a guarantee, but
    at least there is an opportunity" (TORONTO STAR, 1/5).
    

    Print | Tags: CFL, Franchises
  • CLIPPERS' STERLING LOOKS TO DIP HIS TOOTSIES IN THE POND

         The Clippers' strong attendance for the three regular season
    games they have played at The Pond in Anaheim has increased
    speculation that a move to Anaheim may be in the team's future.
    The team is the NBA's worst draw, averaging just over 8,000 fans
    a game at the Sports Arena in L.A., but they are averaging 17,624
    for games at The Pond.  The team recently signed a lease
    extension at The Sports Arena, the second oldest facility in the
    NBA, but it "includes a clause enabling them to leave at the end
    of each season."  A spokesperson for Clippers Owner Donald
    Sterling said the team will remain in L.A.  Andy Roeser, Clipper
    Exec VP:  "The owner is very, very firm on it.  He's an L.A. guy
    and he's absolutely committed to improving in Los Angeles."
    Roeser said the team will either stay at a renovated Sports
    Arena, or move to a new state-of-the-art venue in L.A..
    "Although attendance might increase initially, moving to Anaheim
    might not be a sound financial move," since Disney's Mighty
    Ducks, the Pond's primary attraction, control the sale of luxury
    and club seats and arena advertising revenue at the facility.  It
    is unlikely that Disney would be "willing to give up advertising
    and ticket revenue to lure the Clippers to The Pond" (Chris
    Baker, L.A. TIMES, 1/5).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, Walt Disney
  • RAPTORS IN-HOUSE MEDIA TV DEAL MAY BE WAY OF THE FUTURE

         The Raptors' in-house TV broadcasting deal in which they
    will "sell their own ads, design the look of the broadcast, and
    hire the best host, announcers, producers, and director" is
    examined by Neil Campbell in this morning's Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.
    The deal will require much work, and there is no guarantee the
    return in ad sales will match expectations, "but the benefits of
    controlling every aspect of a broadcast are considerable," and
    that is why it bringing TV in-house is becoming a trend for teams
    and leagues.  Raptors President John Bitove:  "Let's say we're
    doing a game and we're going to a commercial break.  We will be
    able to say to a director before we go 'There's a cue picture of
    a kid with a Coke cup. And Coke is our sponsor.  Pick up that
    shot.'"  Bitove added:  "Let's say a game goes into overtime and
    Ford and AST got their commercial but Sega's really upset because
    they didn't get a commercial.  So we can decide on our own,
    'Okay, let's give Sega an extra commercial in this game to keep
    them happy.'"  Bitove said as advertisers get more
    "sophisticated" in their buying, they want additional benefits.
    With so many sponsors doing different advertising, Bitove said it
    becomes so "cluttered" that there is doubt whether the sponsors
    are leaving an impression on the fan.  He added:  "The reality is
    that if you took the sum of all those parts sold them to one car
    company they'll pay a lot more of a premium for the exclusivity."
    The Raptors are "clearly setting the pace in the broadcast arena"
    over the Grizzlies, and Bitove believes revenue will only
    increase.  Bitove, stressing the young male viewer of the NBA:
    "Corporate-wise, this thing is huge and it's because basketball
    delivers the demographic that is hardest to reach ... It's the
    age group where they're young and you can influence them on a
    brand and you've got them for life" (Neil Campbell, Toronto GLOBE
    & MAIL, 1/5).
         GRIZZLIES GET EXTENSION:  The NBA granted the Grizzlies a
    two-month extension to sign a local TV and radio deal.  The
    league had originally set a deadline of December 31, but the team
    requested and was granted an extension (Gary Kingston, VANCOUVER
    SUN, 1/5).
    

    Print | Tags: Coca-Cola, Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, Toronto Raptors
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