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DEVILS LEASE MADE PUBLIC; ANTI-NASHVILLE DOMINATES PARADE
Published June 29, 1995
The NJSEA made public its lease with the Devils yesterday "as part of its legal fight" to keep the team from moving to Nashville, according to Richard Sandomir in this morning's N.Y. TIMES. The lease, which the authority had refused to disclose previously, was the subject of a lawsuit by three area newspapers who claimed they had a right to have access to the document. KEY CLAUSES: The NJSEA raised the Devils' portion of luxury suite, parking and concession revenues from the 25% agreed upon in the original '82 lease to 34.2% in '91; the team must pay the NJSEA $25,000 per game and 12% of gross receipts over $250,000 -- a number that has increased every year since '91; the team keeps 100% of dasherboard ads and must restrict ads that compete with permanent signage in the arena; the Devils pay the NJSEA 5% of their radio and TV rights fees (the team paid 10% from '82-'86); if the team is sold for more than $50M, ownership must pay the authority "a sliding percentage of the take" -- which started at 20% from '91-'93 and ends at 5% from '99 on (N.Y. TIMES, 6/29). COURT CLAIMS: Besides the lease, the NJSEA filed documents in NJ Superior Court in Hackensack that outline "11 acts by the authority designed to help the Devils and boost the value of the franchise," write Hirsch & Fitzgerald in this morning's Bergen RECORD. The NJSEA is seeking an injunction to block a move by the team. NJSEA President Robert Mulcahy outlined several acts - - including amending the team's lease three times since '82, allowing the team to defer repayment of "an undisclosed outstanding debt" to the NJSEA, cutting the authority's share of media revenues and giving the team a luxury box -- in an attempted to demonstrate the relationship. The NJSEA also indicates in "the hundreds of pages of documents filed Wednesday" that the team has been in debt to the authority "almost from the day the team moved to the meadowlands." Mulcahy also notes that the authority "purchased up to 1,000 season tickets to boost the gross receipts for the Devils' benefit," spent $4.5M on a restaurant for season ticket holders, and spent a total of $10.3M on screens and scoreboards and other expenses for the team (Bergen RECORD, 6/29). RUMOR MONGERS: Reports by Mike Francesa on NYC's WFAN-radio that Devils Owner John McMullen had already accepted a check for $20M from Nashville officials and that Devils players had been told they were moving were denied by all sides yesterday. Gaylord Entertainment Chief Dick Evans, Nashville's "official agent" in attempting to secure a team, told this morning's TENNESSEAN that "no money has changed hands." Devils players also denied they knew of a move (Coleman & Ippolito, Nashville TENNESSEAN, 6/29). WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: In this morning's NEWSDAY, Joe Gergen writes that the team and NJSEA have turned the Cup into "a political football": "For all the involved parties to agree on terms that would stabilize the franchise in New Jersey may require an accord on the order of the U.S.-Japan trade treaty" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 6/29). In today's N.Y. POST, both Jay Greenberg and Larry Brooks report that control of Byrne Arena is what the team desires. Greenberg: "But we still don't know if [McMullen will] accept less to keep the Devils in North Jersey" (N.Y. POST, 6/29). WHAT'S ON TAP: The two sides meet today, both in court and at the bargaining table (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 6/29). MERCHANDISING HIT: At last night's Cup celebration, attended by an estimated 30,000, "Nashville Sucks" hats and shirts were big hits (Jeff Legwold, TENNESSEAN, 6/29).