SBD/Issue 57/Franchises

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  • Prospective Grizzlies Owners Met With Skepticism In Memphis

    Davis Continues To Remain
    Silent On Investment Group
    Prospective Grizzlies Majority Owner Brian Davis has “submitted — but not finalized — his ownership application to the NBA,” and he “anticipates a league vote by late December or early January” on his group’s bid to buy Michael Heisley’s 70% share of the team, according to David Williams of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Davis, in a meeting with Commercial Appeal editors and writers, said, “During this process, I can’t make my investors public.” He did say that he and partner Christian Laettner “would have two to five partners,” a “slightly smaller group than Davis outlined when his bid was announced” October 2 and “significantly smaller than was suggested” by a confidential document, dated October 25, that said Davis’ group would sell ownership units starting at $2M. Davis and Laettner have “drawn public and media criticism for some of their comments and actions since being introduced as owners-to-be,” most recently for Davis telling the Wall Street Journal Memphis “just needs a downtown.” Clarifying those remarks, Davis said “I said what we were looking to do was create a 24-hour downtown.” Williams noted the Commercial Appeal’s session with Davis and Laettner “was at times contentious.” Davis said of his group’s pursuit of the club: “The negativity has been too much for me to even explain. I don’t understand it.” Laettner asked, “Why all the skepticism? ... Have we been cons and frauds before?” (COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/2).

    REAX: A COMMERCIAL APPEAL editorial states, “It’s unfair to pass judgment on Davis and Laettner until they’ve had an opportunity to present their case to the NBA. League commissioner David Stern and his staff will no doubt scrutinize their financial plans very carefully” (COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/4). In Memphis, Geoff Calkins writes, “Putting aside the public relations missteps Davis has made since he first surfaced in Memphis, the deal he has assembled is hard to understand. ... The city is going to scrutinize him. The press is going to scrutinize him. The NBA had better scrutinize him like they’ve scrutinized few before. And then, if Davis passes muster, we’ll all celebrate together” (COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/2).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA
  • Stern Says Committee Already Working On Owners’ Concerns

    Johnson Reportedly One Of Eight
    Team Owners To Send Letter

    NBA Commissioner David Stern discussed the letter written to him by a group of eight small-market owners “pleading with Stern to address concerns about their staggering financial losses.” Stern: “We’d like not to lose money, but it’s complicated with respect to teams, their markets, their buildings, their management. I think it’s a concern that I have had and expressed, so I support their view.” He added that the letter was “‘really for dramatic impact’ and wasn’t necessary because a committee already has been working on the problem” (Ken Berger, NEWSDAY, 12/3). In Charlotte, Rick Bonnell wrote that he has “repeatedly tried to interview” Bobcats Owner Bob Johnson about the report that he is among the eight aforementioned owners. Johnson, through a team spokesperson, has declined comment. Bonnell: “This issue relates to the public-private partnership Johnson has with the city of Charlotte. ... I don’t think the city built [Bobcats Arena] to house the NBA-equivalent of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I don’t believe Johnson wants that to happen, but cost-containment certainly is in his nature. [But] it’s none of my business and apparently none of the public’s, either” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/3).

    WHERE’S MICHAEL? In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence wrote Bobcats Managing Member of Basketball Operations Michael Jordan “attends some home games, doesn’t travel with the team and has been content to stay in the background. His presence has gone largely unnoticed.” One Western Conference exec, when asked if he would call Jordan for a trade with the Bobcats, said, “I totally forgot he’s there. I don’t know what his role is.” But Bobcats GM & coach Bernie Bickerstaff said, “Michael and I talk every day. He’s been terrific. We’re all on the same page” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/3).

    Print | Tags: Charlotte Hornets, Franchises, NBA, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Patriots Revoke Tickets Of Former Player Fred Smerlas

    Patriots Revoke Tickets Of Former Player
    Over Online Ticket Packages

    The Patriots are “revoking nearly 40 season tickets” belonging to former Patriots DT and WEEI-AM commentator Fred Smerlas, “who was selling them as part of tailgate packages costing $625 to $750,” according to Bruce Mohl of the BOSTON GLOBE. The Patriots, who recently sued StubHub for allegedly violating Massachusetts’ antiscalping law, “prohibit season ticket holders from reselling their tickets to third parties except through the team’s own ticket exchange, where sellers are required to charge face value.” According to Smerlas’ Web site, Patriotstailgate.com, he sells a food and beverage tailgate package at Patriots home games for $250, “while a nearly identical plan with parking and a game ticket costs $625.” In effect, Smerlas “charges an extra $375 for a parking space and a game ticket with a face value of $125.” Smerlas was told his tickets “would be revoked next season,” but he said that his tailgate business “will go on.” Smerlas: “I know the Krafts. They’ve always been fair. They’re trying to make sure they control their tickets” (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/3).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New England Patriots, StubHub
  • Price Point: Yankees Increase Cost Of Most Expensive Seats

    The most expensive seats at Yankee Stadium will increase next year for Yankees games. The most expensive seats, located in the first four rows of boxes 1-68, will be $150 per game for season-ticket holders, up from $115 in ‘06. Those same seats will cost $400 on an individual basis, though 98% of them are sold via season tickets. The team will not increase prices on over 24,000 seats and will continue at least nine different individual-game discount programs. Yankees COO Lonn Trost in a statement said, “We believe that by increasing the prices for the most expensive seats, it enables us to hold the prices on almost half of the Stadium and continue to offer attractive discounted ticket opportunities” (Yankees). In N.Y., Tyler Kepner reported bleacher seats ($12 on game day), tier reserve level seats ($20 on game day) and tier box level seats ($42 on game day) will remain the same price (N.Y. TIMES, 12/2).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New York Yankees, YankeeNets
  • Bruins Attendance Down; Empty Seats Popping Up In Vancouver

    Bruins Rank 24th In NHL In
    Average Attendance This Season

    The Bruins’ only sellout through their first 13 home games was the home opener, where there were “still a large number of vacant chairs in the building,” according to Douglas Flynn of the BOSTON HERALD. Thursday’s home game against the Maple Leafs drew a season-low 11,150, “leaving more than a third” of TD Banknorth Garden’s 17,565 seats empty. It was the second crowd under 12,000, and “nine of the 13 home dates have drawn less than 15,000.” The Bruins’ 76.6% average capacity ranks 25th in the NHL and their average attendance of 14,262 ranks 24th. Flynn noted attendance is “down around the league” and some of the “biggest struggles are in traditional hockey hotbeds.” Only ten teams are “playing to full houses, with eight drawing less than 80[%] of capacity.” The Blackhawks are selling just 64.2% of tickets (BOSTON HERALD, 12/3).

    STREAKING TO A HALT? In Vancouver, Ben Kuzma noted the Canucks posted their 140th consecutive sellout on Saturday, but with the team “playing around the .500 level -– and struggling to score goals –- empty seats have been popping up.” Four hours before Thursday’s home game against the Ducks, fans “could still purchase prime tickets”; Ticketmaster had a pair of lower-bowl center-ice seats or two blueline seats for C$179.25 each. Also, tickets on the secondary market are “often sold below face value.” A local ticket broker said, “It’s not a hot ticket, given the way they are playing. But it could also be the (snowy) weather and trouble getting to games” (Vancouver PROVINCE, 12/3).

    Print | Tags: Boston Bruins, Franchises, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Ticketmaster, Vancouver Canucks
  • Franchise Notes

    Advisors for Real Madrid MF David Beckham “denied there is any chance of the player buying shares” in the MLS Galaxy. A report last week linked Beckham to Malcolm Glazer’s potential purchase of the club. But with his Real Madrid contract expiring next summer, Beckham is “expected to talk to MLS teams and Premiership sides in January” (THISISLONDON.co.uk, 12/3).

    TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF: A Maple Leafs exec said that the leaf logo on the team’s new uniforms, which will be unveiled next month at the NHL All-Star Game, “has apparently been altered, having a ‘different silhouette.’” The change represents a “‘modernization’ of the logo rather than a dramatic redesign” (TORONTO STAR, 12/2).

    MODERN ART: In Baltimore, Ken Murray noted former Ravens Majority Owner Art Modell, who maintains 1% of the club, has taken the “unofficial position as owner emeritus” of the team. His office overlooks the Ravens’ practice fields, and on “any given Wednesday or Thursday, he can be seen motoring around the team’s Owings Mills practice facility in a golf cart.” Modell attends all home games and afterwards “reviews the day’s events with coach Brian Billick.” Modell will also call Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome and NFL colleagues (Baltimore SUN, 12/3).

    HOOP SCOOP: 76ers G Allen Iverson said he missed a meet-and-greet event with sponsors, premium seat-holders and season-ticket holders last week because he took a dose of Percocet, which “just put me out.” Iverson recently had dental surgery to remove an abscessed wisdom tooth. Iverson: “I’m not worried too much about the fine, but the fact that I missed the event. I apologize for missing the event” (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 12/2)....The NBA D-League awarded an expansion team to Orem, Utah, for the ’07-08 season. The team, which will play at the McKay Event Center, is owned and operated by G Code Ventures Founder & CEO Brandt Andersen (NBA D-League).

    Print | Tags: AEG, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Comcast-Spectacor, Franchises, Los Angeles Galaxy, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Maple Leafs
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