SBD/25/Franchises

DEVILISH PLOT TO TAKE CONTROL OF BRENDAN BYRNE ARENA?

     The Devils, who have been conducting an audit of the NJSEA's
books, may be "seeking to replace the NJSEA and become the
[Brendan Byrne] Arena's managing agent," according to this
morning's N.Y. POST.  Larry Brooks reports that a December 22
letter sent by the NJSEA during the NHL lockout -- called "an
attempt to suspend the team's lease" in a recent news report --
"has prompted the audit and intensive negotiations with Nashville
as a site for franchise relocation."  Brooks writes that "there
is reason to believe that shared revenue -- specifically from
suite sales -- is at the center of the notice.  The Devils' lease
with the NJSEA includes a mutual 'hold-harmless' clause regarding
labor disputes."  Brooks, on the leverage the team may have:  "If
the Sports Authority did indeed breach the lease, if the Dec. 22
notice becomes the 'smoking gun,' the Devils may not only be in
control of the agenda but on their way to control of the Arena,
as well" (N.Y. POST, 5/25).
     THE RED-JERSIED STEPCHILD:  In a report on the Devils'
finances, Richard Sandomir calls the team "hockey's local
stepchild to the Rangers ... in terms of attendance, attention
and corporate cache."  The team has also made marketing mistakes
by selling themselves as a New York rather than a New Jersey
team, according to Mike McCall, Devils Head of Marketing and
Sales.  McCall: "[Team Owner John] McMullen said he felt he was
buying a team in the Big Apple.  That's proved not to be the
case.  North Central Jersey is our primary area" (N.Y. TIMES.
5/25).
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