SBD/Issue 165/Franchises

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  • Mets Groundskeeper Charged With Promoting Gambling At Shea

    Stadium Groundskeeper Faces
    Gambling Ring Accusations
    Thirty-six people — “including a man identified by authorities as the Mets’ head groundskeeper — are facing up to 25 years in prison on a host of counts, including enterprise corruption, promoting gambling and gun charges,” according to Alex Ginsberg of the N.Y. POST. Prosecutors said that a group of 25 runners for the Bonanno crime family, including Shea Stadium groundskeeper Dominic Valila, “took 2,000 bets, totaling $500,000, each day.” Mets VP/Media Relations Jay Horowitz said that Valila was “merely a member of the groundskeeping team, not its leader.” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said, “I have no reason to believe that any Mets player, or member of the Mets’ managerial or coaching staff or front office, is in any ways involved” (N.Y. POST, 5/19). In N.Y., Shifrel, Rubin & Goldiner report Valila denied the charges, but said that he “had been suspended without pay by the Mets.” MLB VP/PR Patrick Courtney said that MLB and the Mets will “launch their own probe to root out the gambling at Shea.” Meanwhile, the Mets issued a statement “backing the probe and ordered players not to talk about it.” One Mets player said, “We were told to zip it” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/19).

    BAD COMPANY: In a sidebar, Goldiner notes former Mets P John Franco’s name “came up last year in an FBI report that claimed he palled around with several high-ranking members of the Bonanno crime family and even invited some into the Mets clubhouse before games” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/19).

    Print | Tags: Baseball, Franchises, MLB, New York Mets
  • NBA Ticket Sales Notes

    The T’Wolves said that VP/Basketball Operations Kevin McHale’s decision to return to his post next year “prompted some season-ticket holders to renew for next season.” The team, which sold about 10,000 full-season equivalents last season, added that “some season-ticket holders are waiting for two other developments”: the hiring of a new coach and the June 28 NBA Draft (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/19).

    HEAT: In Miami, Barry Jackson reported that “fewer than 500 tickets for each [home Heat] playoff game have gone on sale to non-season-ticket holders.” Heat Exec VP & CMO Michael McCullough, who joined the team in ’97, said, “The tickets are selling faster than anytime since I have been here” (MIAMI HERALD, 5/18).

    BLAZERS: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s John Lombardo reports Trail Blazers officials “cite a plan launched this spring to offer discounts to longtime season-ticket holders as the main reason for a substantial jump in their offseason ticket renewal rate.” The officials said the plan has led to a renewal rate of about 85%, up from just 47% two years ago. NBA officials said that the Trail Blazers are the “only NBA franchise that offers this type of discount.” Trail Blazers VP/Ticket Sales & Services Todd Taylor: “In the past few years, the number of our season-ticket accounts fell from 4,500 to 3,000 by the start of the [’04-05] season” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/16 issue).

    Print | Tags: Basketball, Franchises, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, Portland Trail Blazers, Vulcan Ventures
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