With the formation of Washington Sports to oversee all aspects of sales, communications and community relations for the Bullets and Capitals, Bullets and Capitals Owner Abe Pollin as expected appointed Susan O'Malley President of Washington Sports and Wes Unseld Exec VP. Others assigned dual roles with both teams through Washington Sports include VP Community Relations and Game Operations Judy Holland, VP of Sales Rick Moreland, VP of Communications Matt Williams, and Exec Dir of Customer Service Rhonda Ballute (CAPITALS). CAPS CRY FOUL: Richard Justice writes in the WASHINGTON POST that with the changes, several Capitals employees either lost their jobs or had their responsibilities "dramatically reduced." According to one former employee, the Bullets ran up attendance figures by padding their numbers and selling hundreds of heavily discounted tickets. The employee said, "The Capitals had higher gross ticket revenues than the Bullets, and we're the ones who've done a poor job?" Capitals GM David Poile admitted "When you make so many changes, there'll be some growing pains" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/5).
Raiders Owner Al Davis is scheduled to sign an agreement with the city of Oakland and Alameda County at the Coliseum this afternoon that will make the team's return from L.A. official. Those expected to participate in the signing ceremony include Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris, Coliseum President George Vukasin and Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Gail Steele (Bruce Adams, San Francisco EXAMINER, 8/5). At a press conference after the ceremony, Davis may "shed some light" on his reaction to the NFL's decision requiring him to share a "larger-than-expected" portion of premium seat revenue with other teams, according to Sandy Kleffman in the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/5). TICKET NEWS: Kleffman reports "sluggish" ticket sales for Raiders exhibition games have caused Coliseum officials to "launch a last-minute advertising blitz." In addition, they will allow fans to buy tickets for just the August 12 game in Oakland against the Rams, rather than having to buy a package that included an August 25 game against the Patriots at Stanford Stadium (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/5).
Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy said Friday the Pirates may not be sold until the offseason. Murphy believes both Kevin McClatchy, the California newspaper heir who met with Pirates officials for the third time this week, and Adelphia Cable Chair John Rigas are thought to be delaying action on the purchase of the team because of "baseball's unsettled economic climate." McClatchy did not make a formal offer during his last round of talks, but hinted one could be forthcoming. NL President Len Coleman sate with McClatchy during the Pirates game on Thursday, "touching off speculation that Coleman was trying to convince McClatchy to make a bid" (AP/Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/5).
Documents filed Thursday show that Bucs Owner Malcolm Glazer "borrowed heavily against his ownership stake in two companies to raise money" for his purchase of the team, according to Rex Henderson of the TAMPA TRIBUNE. Glazer pledged his stock in Specialty Equipment Cos. Inc. and Houlihan Restaurants Inc. as collateral to borrow $66M from three banks. The documents also show he got access to another $20M in unsecured loans through the same transaction. NFL rules allow owners to borrow $50M with the team as collateral. But the league "imposes no rules about how the owners raise the rest of the purchase price" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 8/5).