Bills season-ticket holders will lose their existing seats and be asked to choose new ones in the renovated Rich Stadium, officials said. Those holding tickets the longest will be given first pick (AP/Rochester DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 10/8)....In Milwaukee, individual tickets to the Bucks' two Bulls games will not be made available this year. Instead, fans must buy them as part of a 10-pack or full season- ticket deals (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/9)....ESPN's Sal Paolantonio: "If the Twins get a new ballpark and the Vikings don't, Vikings team President Roger Headrick told me on Wednesday his team is prepared to relocate, some say to Cleveland, others to Los Angeles. Headrick told me the Vikings have already calculated how to buy out the remaining fifteen years on their Metrodome lease" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/8)....The Hurricanes have signed 23 corporate partners: 360 Communications, A-B, Atcom, Austin Quality Foods, BTI, Blockbuster Video, Capital Ford Rentals, Carolina Ford Dealers, Carolina Turkeys, East Wind Airlines, Glaxo Wellcome, Greensboro Hilton, HealthSource NC/Cigna, Howard, Perry & Walston Realtors, Kimberly-Clark, Long Transportation, Office Depot, Raleigh Iceplex, Rex Healthcare, Sprint, Taco Bell, US Post Office and Vinnie's Steakhouse (TRIANGLE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/6 issue).
MLS's Chicago expansion franchise announced yesterday that it will be called the Fire, but an "entirely different name, the Rhythm, was all but set in stone earlier this year," according to Bonnie DeSimone of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The Rhythm had been conceived by Nike, which held the first option to be the team apparel supplier. The name was approved by the league office and the Rhythm logo and colors had already appeared on merchandise in soccer catalogues. But team Owner Philip Anschutz and President Bob Sanderman "balked at the name." Fire GM Peter Wilt: "We were getting tremendous pressure from the league to pick a name in short order. They wanted to make sure that they could get merchandise out in time for the first year. But I said I'd rather lose one year in merchandise sales than spend a lifetime with a bad name." Although "some feathers were ruffled at Nike," the company "decided to stick with Chicago" but told team owners that they had to come up with their own name and design. Nike Soccer Sports Marketing Manager Steve Scott: "[W]e thought Rhythm was going to cruise in. Our apparel graphic and design process is so involved, we didn't have the time or resources to do it again at that point." The Fire's logo is a facsimile of a fire department badge (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/9). The team's colors will be red, blue and silver. Nike and All Sport are the club's first two sponsors. The team also announced that Henry Cardenas, of Chicago promotion firm Cardenas- Fernandez, will serve as its liaison to the Hispanic community (Len Ziehm, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/9).
Attending an NBA owners meeting in N.Y. today, T-Wolves Owner Glen Taylor "might find himself on the outs with a group in which he had been a central figure -- investors in small-market teams," according to Steve Aschburner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Taylor, who signed F Kevin Garnett to $125M contract extension, said, "I've already had owners call me. It wasn't anything negative. More along the lines of, 'We understand.' They know you're darned if you do and darned if you don't" (STAR TRIBUNE, 10/9). BREAK DOWN: In an analysis of Garnett's new contract and the Timberwolves' finances, the AP determined that the deal "is built on the rosiest of scenarios -- including a possible doubling of the NBA's $1.1 billion, four-year, TV contract with NBC and Turner Broadcasting starting next season." The renewal of the team's local media deals, increased profits this season and higher ticket prices in the future also will help, and "if all goes well, the Timberwolves could blossom into a glamour franchise and grow in value to more than $300 million by the end of the contract." But the analysis also shows that team losses could reach $56M over the life of the deal, with $103M in losses occurring over the last four years. One way the team "might avert" those losses is with pay-per-view broadcast rights for future games (AP/STAR TRIBUNE, 10/9).