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Montgomery County (MD) Circuit Court Judge Eric Johnson on Tuesday put “less stringent conditions” on the Hawks and Thrashers, freeing them to “more fully participate in the signing and trading of players while their ownership dispute plays out in court,” according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. The teams can now “make whatever player transactions they wish as long as their payrolls do not exceed their respective leagues’ salary caps and as long as they do not take on any contracts of longer than four years.” Transactions that “exceed the new conditions would require unanimous approval of the Atlanta Spirit ownership group’s board of managers.” Johnson last week prohibited the teams from acquiring players with contracts of longer than one year, which “drew the concern of both leagues and their player unions because it would have created an unlevel playing field on which the Hawks and Thrashers would not have been able to fully participate in their leagues’ economic systems.” The new order also extended until July 20 the deadline for Atlanta Sprit owners to post the $11.4M bond that is “designed to protect [co-Owner Steve] Belkin against loss during the appeal process” over the team’s ownership dispute. A court document filed yesterday “noted the engagement of a Baltimore lawyer as ‘counsel for the [NBA] and [NHL]’” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/12).
Bloomberg (at podium) At NLL
Expansion Team Announcement
Phillies President & CEO David Montgomery said that Phillies Chair Bill Giles “had the story wrong” when he told reporters that P Brett Myers’ alleged assault of his wife in front of witnesses in Boston last month “really didn't happen.” Montgomery said that Giles’ “misinformation about the Myers arrest came out of a 15-minute conversation [they] had on Sunday.” Montgomery: “I think Bill clearly misunderstood me.” Giles on Monday said that Phillies Client Services & Alumni Relations Manager Debbie Nocito “‘saw the whole thing’ in Boston and that she said Myers didn't hit his wife at all.” Montgomery clarified: "What Debbie said very clearly ... was that she did not see that (violence). She did not indicate that it did not happen” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/12).
CHANGING OF THE GUARD: In Minneapolis, Kevin Seifert reports the first four days of Vikings training camp will be closed to the public in “one of several changes to team policy.” The team will make 27 of its 35 practices free to fans, with a scrimmage against the Chiefs on August 4 requiring a $10 ticket. The team is also putting a new system in place where players “no longer will sign autographs as they leave the field after the morning practice.” They will instead designate a position group each day “to sign autographs at a designated area” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/12).
SALES CYCLE: The MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL’s John Vomhof Jr. reports the T’Wolves have doubled their ticket staff from 12 to 24, the most in team history, and brought in a 20-person seasonal sales staff amid “higher-than-usual attrition by season-ticket holders.” T’Wolves CEO Rob Moor said, “When you add sales staff, they pay for themselves.” The team recently cut season-ticket prices on 12,000 seats and hopes to sell 8,000-9,000 ticket packages after selling less than 7,000 last year. Vomhof notes the team has four group sales reps, “the first time staff has been assigned to focus exclusively on that segment” (MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/7 issue).