SBD/Issue 236/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Ford Could Take Larger
Role With Lions
In Detroit, Drew Sharp reports Lions Vice Chair Bill Ford Jr. is stepping down as CEO of Ford Motor Co., which “could give him time to assume a larger role in the daily operations of the Lions.” However, Lions Owner William Clay Ford “has provided no indication that he’s ready to cede final say to his son. If anything, the old boy has grown even more stubborn in the aftermath of last season’s fan revolt calling for [Lions President & CEO] Matt Millen’s immediate ouster” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/6).

WON HUNDRED? In Toronto, Jeff Blair reports the Blue Jays “have had what one executive described as ‘blue-sky discussions’ about the possibility of a payroll closer” to $100M next season. Owner Ted Rogers said, “We need to increase the payroll. We are getting results from our fans. We have 38[%] higher TV ratings, [22 or 24%] higher ticket sales.” Blair notes Rogers pledged $210M for payroll over a three-year period that ends after the ’07 season. The plan called for a payroll around $78M next year. But Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi last Friday said, “It’s going to be really tough to catch [the Red Sox and Yankees] if we stay at a $70[M] payroll” (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 9/6).

TREASURE ISLAND: In N.Y., McGeehan & Bagli cited sources as saying that the Yankees, who own a minority share of the Single-A N.Y.-Penn League Staten Island Yankees, “are buying out the majority owners, with plans to turn management of the financially underperforming franchise over to” Mandalay Entertainment Group. Mandalay owns five minor league teams, but “does not operate any teams that it does not own.” Terms of the sale “have not been made available, so it could not be determined whether Mandalay would have an ownership interest in the club” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/5).

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