SBD/Issue 141/Franchises

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  • Michael Heisley Sets May 1 Deadline To Sell Grizzlies

    Heisley Sets May 1 Deadline To
    Reach Deal To Sell Grizzlies

    Grizzlies Majority Owner Michael Heisley last night indicated that the Grizzlies “would no longer be for sale as of May 1,” according to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Heisley said, “If the team isn’t sold by May 1, I’m taking the team off the market. I’m a little worn out. I’m going to get re-involved and run the team. ... I’ve gone through this effort now for a year and there’s been no successful conclusion.” Tillery notes Heisley owns 70% of the team and has sought to sell his shares for $252M to a group led by real estate developer and former NBAer Brian Davis. After “acknowledging that he’s negotiated with at least three groups, Heisley also said he has yet to receive an offer from the local, limited partners.” Heisley: “I still truly believe that Memphis deserves to have an owner who lives here and is really involved — someone like [Mavericks Owner] Mark Cuban that would energize the situation.”

    OTHER ISSUES: Heisley also said that Grizzlies President of Basketball Operations Jerry West will “work through the draft and that no decision has been made about whether West would continue in his current role past June 30.” Additionally, Heisley “intends to curb spending and operate with a payroll that’s significantly less” than the $60M-plus the team has spent annually. He said, “We’re going to be much more conscious of how much we spend on salary” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 4/17).

    Print | Tags: Dallas Mavericks, Franchises, Memphis Grizzlies
  • Change In Tax Code Adds Twist To Pending Sale Of Braves

    Many Feel White Sox’ Reinsdorf
    Will Have Influence In Cubs Sale

    MLB could vote on Time Warner’s sale of the Braves to Liberty Media on May 16, the “last day before a change in the portion of the federal tax code that governs transactions such as the proposed tax-free” deal, according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. For the deal “to be governed by current law it would have to close by 11:59pm on May 16.” After that time, the amount of cash and stock in the deal “likely would have to be reduced to meet the new requirements for a tax-free swap” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/15).

    CUBS: In Chicago, Neil Hayes writes MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his “close advisors ultimately will decide who buys the Cubs, and nobody in Selig’s inner circle is said to be more influential” than White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Sources said that “even though he is not on the ownership committee, and even if he recused himself from the executive council to eliminate the appearance of a conflict,” Reinsdorf could “wield his influence behind the scenes.” A former baseball exec said, “He doesn’t have to be on a committee to talk to Bud” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/17).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Franchises, MLB, Time Warner
  • Capitals Adjust Season-Ticket Prices But Keep Average Close

    Average Price Of Capitals Tickets Remaining
    Relatively Flat During Adjustment

    The Capitals have increased season-ticket prices by nearly 60% on “some distant seats at Verizon Center but are reducing prices in other sections to keep the average price roughly the same as last season,” according to Tim Lemke of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Some seats in sideline and loge sections will increase, while upper level seats in the corners will decrease. Capitals Senior VP & Chief Sales Officer Mike Humes: “We looked at our entire pricing strategy, and what we wanted to accomplish is consistency and uniformity in our seating sections.” Humes said that new season-ticket sales “are tracking nearly 100[%] ahead of last year.” Lemke notes the team averaged 13,929 in attendance this past season, “virtually flat from the previous year.” But revenue from ticket sales increased by about 10%, “in part because the team handed out fewer free and discounted tickets” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/17). Humes said that while the average ticket price will remain “virtually unchanged, about 300 [season-ticket] accounts are affected.” The team’s average price in ’06-07 was about $38.15, which was in the bottom third of the league (WASH. POST, 4/17).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Verizon, Washington Capitals
  • Turnstile Tracker: Bruins, Rangers Top NHL In Road Gate

    Despite missing the playoffs and posting attendance near the bottom of the Eastern Conference rankings at home, the Bruins led the NHL in road attendance this season, averaging over 18,000 fans while playing in opposing teams’ arenas. Fans also turned out to see Sidney Crosby on the road, as the Penguins, who ranked 18th in home attendance, were third overall on the road. Road attendance was also up for Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, who ranked 27th in home attendance but finished fifth on the road. The Sabres, Maple Leafs and Canucks were the only teams to rank in the top ten in both home and road attendance. The following presents a comparison of road and home attendance for all NHL teams (THE DAILY).

    TEAM
    AVG. ROAD ATT.
    ROAD RANK
    AVG. HOME ATT.
    HOME RANK
    ROAD VS. HOME
    Bruins
    18,094
    1
    14,765
    25
    3,329
    Rangers
    17,839
    2
    18,200
    11
    -361
    Penguins
    17,791
    3
    16,424
    18
    1,367
    Sabres
    17,631
    4
    18,690
    8
    -1,059
    Capitals
    17,380
    5
    13,916
    27
    3,464
    Devils
    17,332
    6
    14,176
    26
    3,156
    Avalanche
    17,249
    7
    17,613
    13
    -364
    Islanders
    17,182
    8
    13,018
    28
    4,164
    Maple Leafs
    17,161
    9
    19,487
    4
    -2,326
    Canucks
    17,141
    10
    18,630
    9
    -1,489
    Oilers
    17,079
    11
    16,839
    17
    240
    Flames
    17,054
    12
    19,289
    6
    -2,235
    Hurricanes
    16,983
    13
    17,387
    15
    -404
    Canadiens
    16,973
    14
    21,273
    1
    -4,300
    Senators
    16,952
    15
    19,372
    5
    -2,421
    Red Wings
    16,908
    16
    20,066
    2
    -3,158
    Wild
    16,874
    17
    18,543
    10
    -1,669
    Lightning
    16,791
    18
    19,877
    3
    -3,086
    Ducks
    16,781
    19
    16,364
    20
    417
    Blues
    16,743
    20
    12,521
    30
    4,222
    Thrashers
    16,733
    21
    16,230
    21
    503
    Stars
    16,731
    22
    17,915
    12
    -1,184
    Flyers
    16,720
    23
    19,283
    7
    -2,563
    Blackhawks
    16,687
    24
    12,727
    29
    3,960
    Coyotes
    16,575
    25
    14,988
    24
    1,587
    Panthers
    16,570
    26
    15,370
    22
    1,199
    Kings
    16,541
    27
    16,859
    16
    -319
    Sharks
    16,281
    28
    17,422
    14
    -1,141
    Blue Jackets
    16,229
    29
    16,401
    19
    -172
    Predators
    15,902
    30
    15,260
    23
    642

    Print | Tags: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals
  • NBA Franchise Notes

    The Knicks announced a sellout for last night’s home finale against the Nets, marking the 22nd of the season, which is the lowest total in four years. The club’s average attendance of 18,805 fans is the lowest since ’91-92. However, the Knicks did sell out 19 of their final 25 home games (N.Y. TIMES, 4/17). CBS’ David Letterman last night presented the “Top Ten Answers To The Question, ‘How Rainy Is It?’” No. 10 was “It’s so rainy, people are going to the Knicks game just to stay dry” (“Late Show,” CBS, 4/16). ....Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and coach Phil Jackson spoke to 900 season-ticket holders last night at the team’s annual town-hall meeting. Questions were “e-mailed ahead of time, ... pre-screened by Lakers officials and answered by Jackson and Kupchak for about 75 minutes” (L.A. TIMES, 4/17).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks
  • Pirates, Marlins Earn Top Marks For Promotions

    Marlins Receive High Marks In Professor’s
    Analysis Of Baseball Promotions
    The Pirates and Marlins each earned grades of “A+” in Univ. of Detroit-Mercy sports marketing professor Mike Bernacchi’s 13th annual analysis of baseball promotions, according to Eric Morath of the DETROIT NEWS. The teams will each hold “more than 125 promotions” this season, and the Pirates’ “pierogy night, ladies club and gospel fest caught [Bernacchi’s] eye.” The Tigers, who stick to “more standard magnet schedules, floppy hats and post-game fireworks,” earned a “D.” The team has 56 scheduled promotions this season, but “more than half of those are one of two events: after-game fireworks and Kids Run the Bases.” Front Row Marketing Services VP/Marketing Eric Smallwood said that while the Tigers’ staple promotions “may not be original, they are among the most popular in baseball.” Smallwood: “It looks to me like the Tigers are right inline with the better promotions in baseball. Putting them at the cellar seems wacky.” Tigers officials were also “surprised at the results of the rankings, saying ESPN and Sports Illustrated recently ranked the club among the league’s best fan experiences.” According to Bernacchi’s analysis, winning teams “rely less on promotions and more on performance on the field to fill seats.” The Yankees and Cardinals each have 38 promotions scheduled and received a “C-” and “D,” respectively (DETROIT NEWS, 4/14).

    Print | Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, ESPN, Miami Marlins, Franchises, MLB, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Sports Illustrated, St. Louis Cardinals, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
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