SBD/Issue 52/Franchises

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  • Marlins Receive MLB’s Permission To Investigate Relocating

    Marlins, Pierre On The Move?
    The Marlins have received permission from MLB to “talk to other cities about relocating — as soon as the 2008 season,” according to Jackson & Clark of the MIAMI HERALD. The announcement brought a “definitive close to faltering negotiations between the Marlins and the city of Miami” about building a new ballpark next to the Orange Bowl. But the team has not “ruled out continuing negotiations with Miami-Dade County officials,” and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez “held out hope that the team and the county could still work out a deal.” Marlins President David Samson said that MLB owners are “likely to approve a Marlins relocation if it comes to that.” Samson: “Baseball owners don’t take kindly to spending $30[M] in revenue sharing for a team that wins the World Series.” MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has “decided we are going to get a stadium or look at alternatives.” But DuPuy indicated that “the goal remains to have baseball succeed in South Florida.” Meanwhile, Samson said that Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria has “received offers but will never sell the team.” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/23). Samson, on ballpark negotiations: “There are no more deadlines. ... The earliest (the team can be) opening a stadium is 2010. So we really don’t have any wiggle room left. Discussions will begin in earnest.” He added the team will not discuss any extensions when its Dolphins Stadium deal runs out after the 2010 season. Samson: “We will not sign an extension, even if it is offered” (MLB.com, 11/22).

    RELOCATION: Two sources said that the Marlins “plan to talk with officials” in Las Vegas, Portland and Charlotte about relocating (MIAMI HERALD, 11/23). In Ft. Lauderdale, Sarah Talalay reports Oregon Sports Authority CEO Drew Mahalic’s organization made the first call to the Marlins on Tuesday. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said through a spokesperson that he is “aware of the Marlins’ situation and that he’s ‘going to play it by ear’” (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 11/23). ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark: “People who know Loria continue to predict that if Vegas builds it, the Marlins will come.” Samson said the team expects to make a trip to Las Vegas within the next two weeks. Stark put the odds of the Marlins moving to Las Vegas at 2:1; Portland 25:1; New Jersey 2.9 Trillion:1; and staying in South Florida 5:1 (ESPN.com, 11/22). In Newark, Matthew Futterman reports New Jersey officials contacted Loria about the Marlins moving to the Meadowlands. NJSEA President & CEO George Zoffinger said, “We think New Jersey is a viable market for baseball. If we can keep the Giants, Jets and horse racing, build Xanadu and add baseball, we’ll really have something here” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/23).

    MOVE ON? Also in Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes under the header, “Loria Not To Blame If Marlins Forced To Leave South Florida.” Loria has “spent money. He built a winner. He kept the World Series champions mostly intact these past two seasons, offered to dig deep to help fund a stadium and now becomes the third Marlins owner in eight years to reach the same distressing conclusion: Leaking money is no way to survive” (SUN-SENTINEL, 11/23). In N.Y., Murray Chass writes while he advocated folding Florida’s MLB teams when contraction “was the hot topic in baseball” a few years ago, the CBA now “bans contraction until at least the 2007 season, and there probably aren’t two baseball-vacant cities left in the country that could successfully support major league teams” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/23). In Miami, Greg Cote writes Tuesday’s announcement “could prove to be the best thing that could happen for the sport’s long-term future here. ... The Marlins should be thankful to be rid of both the [Orange Bowl] site and the waffling, dubious, buffoon support of can’t-do Miami city officials.” The Marlins are “forced to finally consider a far more logical, preferable, centrally located site” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/23).

    Loria (l) Looking To Reduce Marlins' Payroll
    PAYROLL: While he did not give a specific number, Samson said that there will be a “significant [payroll] reduction to reflect the revenues generated by the market.” The team’s payroll last season was around $65M. Samson: “It’s a market correction” (MLB.com, 11/22). The Marlins have already worked out a trade to send P Josh Beckett and 3B Mike Lowell to the Red Sox for three minor-leaguers and have reached a preliminary agreement to trade 1B Carlos Delgado to the Mets (THE DAILY). But in Miami, Clark Spencer writes Samson was “adamant that the roster purge not be termed a fire-sale.” Samson: “That’s not what this is. This is a deliberate effort by the Marlins to correct what ails them, and what ails them is the amount of money lost and the irresponsibility of continuing to lose that money” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/23). More Samson: “The fiscal insanity that Jeffrey was willing to be a part of for all these years is over” (PALM BEACH POST, 11/23).

    FAULT LINES: Free agent Jeff Conine, who played with the Marlins for more than seven years, said, “I don’t blame them for seeking an alternative to make their franchise more profitable.” Beckett added, “It’s a shame they’ve got to break that team up, but it’s the worst lease in baseball” (SUN-SENTINEL, 11/23). In Toronto, Jeff Blair wrote the Marlins “can’t be blamed” for reducing payroll. Despite winning a World Series, the team has “not been able to convert that goodwill into a concrete plan for a new ballpark. And while the Marlins were an exciting and competitive team this past season with one of the game’s most marketable faces in [P Dontrelle] Willis, they failed to capture the imagination of south Floridians” (GLOBEANDMAIL.com 11/21). In West Palm Beach, Greg Stoda writes, “Anybody who’s surprised by the situation hasn’t been paying attention. The issue involving a stadium has been around almost since the time the Florida Marlins became the Florida Marlins, and nothing has changed” (PALM BEACH POST, 11/23).

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, CBA, ESPN, Miami Marlins, Franchises, Miami Dolphins, MLB, New York Giants, New York Jets, NJSEA, San Francisco Giants, Walt Disney, Washington Nationals
  • MLB Cardinals Group To Buy Departing Owners’ Stakes In Team

    Cards’ Group To Acquire
    Stake Of Departing Owners
    MLB Cardinals Chair & General Partner Bill DeWitt said that the remaining members of his ownership group “plan to buy out the shares held by” Robert Castellini and brothers Thomas Williams and W. Joseph Williams Jr. when the three men “purchase a controlling ownership stake” in the Reds, according to Christopher Tritto of the ST. LOUIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Castellini and the Williams brothers expect MLB to approve the deal by the end of the year, but the league “will require them to sell their interest in the Cardinals before they can buy the Reds.” While the Cardinals “never have disclosed their ownership distribution,” Castellini is believed to have bought about 10% of the team after DeWitt’s group purchased the Cardinals from Anheuser-Busch for $150M in ’96. The Williams brothers are thought to own about 3% of the team. DeWitt’s group reportedly paid $60M of their own cash for the purchase, which would make Castellini’s initial investment about $6M and the Williams brothers’ about $2M. Forbes this year valued the franchise at $370M. The Cardinals will be left with 15 owners after Castellini and the Williams brothers leave the team (ST. LOUIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/21 issue).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Franchises, MLB, St. Louis Cardinals
  • False Advertising: Designer’s Ad Touts Ramirez To Mets

    A graphic designer employed by the Mets has created an ad selling tickets “based on the ... acquisition” of Red Sox LF Manny Ramirez, according to Adam Rubin of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Speculation has the Mets looking to acquire Ramirez from the Red Sox this offseason, and the ad reads, “Manny’s on board: Mets on the rise.” Mets officials “acknowledged the authenticity” of the ad, but said that the designer “created it on his own and without authorization based on a potential 2006 ad concept featuring current Mets players.” Mets Exec VP/Business Operations Dave Howard: “This is an internally generated concept. There should be no significance placed on the player that’s shown. It was generated by a graphic designer that has no contact with the baseball department” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/23).

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, Franchises, New York Mets
  • MLB Franchise Notes: Powell Calls On Support For Nats Bid

    Washington Baseball Club Looking
    To Cash In On Powell’s DC Influence
    In DC, Heath & Nakamura reported former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is part of the Washington Baseball Club group headed by Fred Malek and Jeffrey Zients that is bidding on the Nationals, called on the support of “key District officials,” including DC Mayor Anthony Williams and DC Council Finance Committee Chair Jack Evans. A source said that Malek, Zients and Powell met with Evans for 30 minutes Monday. The source: “It was just general to talk about baseball and Colin Powell was there to express interest. ... They wanted to express that they are committed to [DC].” Williams has previously endorsed the group’s bid (WASHINGTON POST, 11/22).

    CUBS: In Chicago, Toni Ginnetti reported the highest-priced club box seats for Cubs games next season will be $54 for “regular” games and $65 for 44 “prime” games, which include Opening Day, night games and select series. Bleacher seats will cost $30 for regular games, and will increase to $40 for prime games. The 44 prime games mark an increase of four from ’05. There will also be six lower-cost “value” games, with the highest-priced box seats costing $34 and bleacher seats $15 (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/19).

    TWINS: In St. Paul, Charley Walters reports the Twins next week will unveil a new alternate home jersey. The sleeveless, white jersey will feature a large “TC” on the front and is the first in team history without sleeves. The team also plans to unveil a new batting practice jersey (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/23).

    Print | Tags: Chicago Cubs, Franchises, Minnesota Twins, Washington Nationals
  • NBA Team Notes: Four Clubs Set To Unveil Alternate Jerseys

    Nuggets' Retro
    Road Jersey
    The Nuggets have unveiled a retro logo and road jersey as a salute to the region’s history. The team’s new logo features a basketball underneath crossed pick axes. The Nuggets were one of six teams in the NBA without a basketball in its logo. The new jersey is dark blue and has a retro-style gold script, gold piping and sky blue highlights. The team will wear the jerseys primarily on the road, but will don the jerseys for two games at Pepsi Center this season, including Friday’s game against the Clippers (Nuggets). In Denver, Andy Vuong notes the Nuggets “rank No. 2 in the NBA in merchandise sales” (DENVER POST, 11/23).

    PISTONS: The Pistons will reveal their new red road jerseys against the Nuggets on Wednesday. Care Choices will pass out the new jersey of G Chauncey Billups to the first 5,000 kids ages 14 and under at Wednesday’s game. The team will wear the jerseys for at least six games during the ’05-06 season, three times at home and three times on the road. In addition to the Nuggets game, the Pistons will also wear the jerseys during home games December 25 against the Spurs and February 14 against the Nets (Pistons).

    CAVALIERS: The Cavaliers will unveil their first-ever secondary road uniforms when they host the T’Wolves on Saturday night at The Q. The uniform follows a typical “color flip,” but the trim and braid of the jerseys recalls the team’s ’70s uniforms. In addition to Saturday’s game, the Cavs will wear the jerseys December 23 when they host the Pacers and for five road games (Cavaliers).

    CELTICS: The Celtics on Friday will unveil the team’s first-ever alternate road jersey during their game against the Bobcats at TD Banknorth Garden. The green jersey, inspired by the team’s ’46-48 uniforms, will have “Boston” emblazoned on the front rather than “Celtics,” which currently appears on home and road jerseys, and include black letters and numbers (Celtics).

    Print | Tags: Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Franchises, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, Brooklyn Nets, New Orleans Pelicans, Palace Sports & Entertainment, San Antonio Spurs
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