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  • AL PRESIDENT RESIGNS FROM WESTERN BOARD DUE TO ROYALS BID

              AL President Gene Budig "resigned from the board of
         Western Resources Inc. on Wednesday to avoid any possible
         conflict of interest" concerning the company's joint bid
         with Lamar Hunt for the Royals, according to Martin
         Rosenberg of the K.C. STAR.  Budig had been on Western's
         board for 11 years (Martin Rosenberg, K.C. STAR, 4/30).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Kansas City Royals
  • EDMONTON INVESTORS HIT OIL WITH FUNDS AND MOLSON PARTNERSHIP

              Edmonton investors looking to purchase the Oilers have
         "reached and may exceed their goal" of C$60M in equity,
         according to Jac MacDonald of the EDMONTON JOURNAL.  The
         group had to reach C$60M by yesterday in order to obtain
         C$50M in bank financing necessary to close the deal by May
         5.  Three more partnership units were acquired, bringing the
         total number of unit holders to 27 and the number of people
         to 34 (Jac MacDonald, EDMONTON JOURNAL, 4/30).
              MOLSON ICE: Molson Breweries announced a seven-figure
         marketing partnership with the team yesterday.  The deal
         will incorporate broadcast, advertising and sponsorship
         components.  Molson said the deal "doubles the brewery's
         cash commitment to the team."  Molson VP/Marketing Brent
         Scrimshaw: "It's fair to say it's seven figures and above. 
         It really gives us a proprietary position that no one else
         in the industry can match."  The two-year deal makes Molson
         the team's "prime" sponsor and the Oilers' official beer. 
         It also keeps sponsorship rights to all locally televised
         Oilers games.  Molson also gave a check worth C$276,187 as
         the proceeds from its campaign to save the Oilers.  Molson
         had donated C$1 from the sale of every 12 Molson Canadian
         and Molson Canadian Ice beers sold in Alberta from mid-
         February to March 13 (David Bray, EDMONTON SUN, 4/30). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              BASEBALL: The Dodgers have opened an office in Tokyo,
         "the first such office ever opened" by an MLB team.  The
         Dodgers' Eizaburo Kohrogi will oversee the new office under
         his new title of Dir of Asian Relations (L.A. TIMES, 4/29).
         ...In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman reports that Mike Veeck and
         his partners will continue to operate the St. Paul Saints of
         the Northern League this season, "because nobody has stepped
         up to pay the big price being asked for the franchise"
         (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/30)....In Toronto, Garth
         Woolsey writes that the Blue Jays are "surely" worth less
         now than when a group led by Murray Frum offered what was
         thought to be more than C$150M to buy the team from
         Interbrew.  With attendance, TV viewership and "prospects"
         down and the competition "getting tougher," Woolsey writes
         there "has to be unease at the top and it's only a matter of
         time until it should be raining down on everyone in the
         organization" (TORONTO STAR, 4/30).....Red Sox 3B Tim
         Naehring was to meet with Red Sox CEO John Harrington about
         creating a miniature Fenway Park in Boston.  Naehring's
         company, Athletes Reach Out, already has built a Little
         Fenway in Cincinnati (Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 4/29).
              NOTES: Viacom Chair Sumner Redstone, on his interest in
         buying a sports franchise: "I think what I won't do that
         others have done -- I won't risk Viacom.  I'll take a lot of
         risks, but I never could take it to the point where Viacom
         is at risk" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29)....In Minneapolis, Sid
         Hartman reports that Vikings co-Owner Wheelock Whitney
         denied a recent report that he and other members of the
         Vikings board sold the team to Tom Clancy "to make sure that
         Roger Headrick didn't get it."  Whitney also disputed
         Hartman's sources, who claim that Clancy won't be approved
         by the NFL because of his lack of financial backing
         (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/30)....RDV Sports VP/Marketing
         Cari Coats said that the Dazzle and Illusion are two of the
         top six names being considered for Orlando's WNBA expansion
         team.  Other names "thought to be discussed are Spirit, Oz
         and Miracle."  Meanwhile, more than 2,000 season tickets
         have been pledged for next season (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/30).
         
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, Connecticut Sun, Franchises, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Vikings, MLB, New Orleans Saints, News Corp./Fox, NFL, RDV Sports, Toronto Blue Jays, Viacom, WNBA
  • MARLINS TO HARNESS STAR POWER OF FORMER PLAYERS IN MARKETING

              Despite the "sticky situation," Marlins VP/Sales &
         Marketing Jim Ross said that the team will not dodge using
         former Marlins returning to FL with rival teams in their
         promotions, according to Alan Snel of the Fort Lauderdale
         SUN-SENTINEL.  Ross says jokingly: "See the '97 champion
         Marlins when San Diego and Houston come to town."  Former
         Marlins/current Padres P Kevin Brown gets billing in a
         newspaper ad promoting Friday's game, but the ad does not
         mention Brown's past or include a picture of him.  Ross:
         "Even though we're not going to mention 'ex-Marlin ace Kevin
         Brown,' people will know Kevin Brown was a former Marlin. 
         We'll mention him when we say, 'Come see Brown vs.
         Hernandez.'"  Former Marlins reliever Robb Nen is mentioned
         in ads touting next week's Giants series, which call him
         "last year's Marlins flame-thrower" (SUN-SENTINEL, 4/30).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Miami Marlins, Franchises, San Diego Padres
  • MLB DENIES IT IS LOOKING FOR SOME SCHOTT THERAPY

              Despite a published report, MLB sources indicated
         yesterday that the league has not given Reds Managing
         General Partner Marge Schott "an ultimatum or deadline" to
         sell the team, according to Hobson & May of the CINCINNATI
         ENQUIRER.  Although her fellow owners "would be delighted"
         if Schott sold the Reds, MLB officials "have not asked her
         to sell."  In fact, MLB has "backed away" from its 
         investigation into Schott's alleged misuse of team employees
         in a GM fraud case since she broke her hip in a March 31
         fall.  Schott could not be reached for comment, but a source
         close to her said that she won't sell until the Reds get a
         stadium deal with Hamilton County.  The NL yesterday called
         a report in the Cincinnati Post that MLB is trying to
         persuade Schott to sell the team "Poppycock."  NL President
         Len Coleman, through a spokesperson: "Totally not true. 
         Nothing to it" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/30).  On Wednesday,
         the POST's Bill Peterson cited sources with the Reds and MLB
         who said MLB "is trying to persuade" Schott to sell the team
         before her voluntary suspension ends November 1.  The
         sources said that if Schott does not put the team up for
         sale before then, MLB "will pursue extending her suspension"
         by citing her GM fraud case (CINCINNATI POST, 4/29).
              OUTFIELD WALL ADS: The Reds have put ads on the
         outfield wall at Cinergy Field for the first time this
         season.  They've added a Hewlett Packard logo and Budweiser
         ad, and Reds Marketing Consultant Cal Levy said that the
         team might add "as many as two more ads" on the green
         outfield fence (CINCINNATI POST, 4/29).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Cincinnati Reds, Franchises, MLB
  • OKUBO SPEAKS, SORT OF: LIGHTNING OWNER ANSWERS MEDIA VIA FAX

              For the first time, Lightning Owner Takashi Okubo
         responded to questions from the Tampa Bay media about the
         team, its financial state and the sale process.  The ST.
         PETE TIMES and the TAMPA TRIBUNE submitted questions for
         Okubo to the Lightning in late March and early April,
         respectively, which were forwarded to him in Japan.  Okubo's
         responses were released by the Lighting yesterday.
              YOU WANT ANSWERS? Okubo, asked about the financial
         state of the Lightning: "The Lightning is losing money, but
         I'll continue to support the team until it is sold" (Tom
         Jones, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/30).  Okubo, who has never
         been to Tampa Bay or seen an NHL game in person, on his
         absentee ownership philosophy: "In Japan, owners commit
         their money, then appoint managers to supervise their
         financial holdings.  I have been told that American owners
         do not operate in such a manner.  I suppose it is simply a
         difference in our two cultures."  On recent articles that
         included allegations that Okubo is a "gangster": "From what
         I am told, no one has ever come forward to personally make
         such an accusation.  It's easy to say 'people' or 'they'
         have made accusations.  The people that my company and I
         conduct business with know there is no truth to those
         nameless and faceless accusations" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/30). 
              CT SUITOR: Team attorney Stephen Wayne said that a
         potential suitor from CT recently inquired about purchasing
         the Lightning "but was told in strong terms that the team
         could not be relocated from the Ice Palace."  The suitor's
         interest "quickly ended" (Ira Kaufman, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/30).
         
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NHL, Palace Sports & Entertainment, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • THE INTERNET IS HOME, HOME FOR THE RANGERS' TICKET SALES

              The MLB Rangers introduced their new online ticket
         service three weeks ago, and since April 6, more than 6,300
         tickets have been purchased on the Internet, according to
         John Harris of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM.  The service, at
         www.texasrangers.com, allows fans to buy up to 24 individual
         tickets to any available home game via credit card.  There
         is a handling fee of $2 per ticket for using the service --
         $1 less than the fee for buying seats at area department
         stores (John Harris, FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/29).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Southwest Sports Group, Texas Rangers
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