SBD/Issue 36/Franchises

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  • Yankees Ink Joe Girardi To Deal; Will Torre Sign With Dodgers?

    Girardi Agrees To Three-Year,
    $7.8M Deal To Manage Yankees
    The Yankees yesterday signed former Marlins manager Joe Girardi to a three-year, $7.8M managerial contract that will pay him $2.5M per season, with a $300,000 signing bonus spread over the three years, according to Tyler Kepner of the N.Y. TIMES. The deal also includes bonuses reaching $500,000 a year if the Yankees make the World Series. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he discussed with the three managerial candidates, including Don Mattingly and Tony Pena, “everything from game strategy and player evaluation to advance scouting and dealing with the news media.” Girardi was the Yankees’ bench coach in ’05 and served as a YES Network broadcaster last season. Yankees Senior VP Hank Steinbrenner said he was “in complete agreement with Brian” on Girardi. Steinbrenner has “asked that fans be patient with the new manager, but he has also said that he agrees with his father in that only a championship can be considered a success for the Yankees." Mattingly said that it was “not true that George Steinbrenner … promised him he would someday be manager when he hired him as the hitting coach for the 2004 season.” Meanwhile, hitting coach Kevin Long is “close to signing” a three-year deal with the team (N.Y. TIMES, 10/31). The Dodgers “evidently were willing to go to $6[M] over three years for Girardi, but his first love and dream job was managing the Yankees” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/31).

    FRONT OFFICE: In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes Cashman is “still around as the Yankees say goodbye to the days of spending anything on anybody, and to the way they did business for a long time, one where the voice in the room that mattered belonged to George Steinbrenner.” Cashman, a former Yankees intern, “has the most to say about finding a way to beat the Red Sox again and put the Yankees back on top” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/31). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir wonders whether the Steinbrenners still need spokesperson Howard Rubenstein to be George’s “filtered voice now that Hank Steinbrenner’s remarks over the past weeks have stamped him as his father’s son?” Rubenstein said, “George is hanging back, but whenever he has something to say, I’ll be the voice of George.” But Rubenstein said of Hank, “I don’t have to write a line for him.” Sandomir notes Hank is “candid, sounds tough and is available to members of the news media in ways his father, George, no longer is” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/31).

    Torre's Next Stop Going To Be As Dodgers Manager?
    DODGERS: Dodgers manager Grady Little resigned yesterday, and in N.Y., George King reports the Dodgers made contact with Joe Torre’s agent Maury Gostfrand before Torre flew to Tampa two weeks ago and rejected the Yankees’ one-year, $5M incentive-laden contract. It is the “first time Gostfrand, who usually does endorsement deals for Torre, got involved in baseball negotiations” (N.Y. POST, 10/31). Dodgers GM Ned Colletti denied the team had begun negotiations with Torre, but a source said that Owner Frank McCourt was “trying to work out a deal with Torre last night” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/31). On Long Island, Ken Davidoff notes although MLB Commissioner Bud Selig “ordinarily requires clubs to interview minority candidates, he might cut the Dodgers some slack, given their history of diversity and Torre’s unquestionable qualifications” (NEWSDAY, 10/31). In N.Y., Bill Madden writes as “tenuous as the Yankees’ managing situation may seem, the Dodgers appear to be in absolute chaos. And as much as Torre appears to still want to manage, it’s a wonder what he must think about being the Dodgers’ second choice to Girardi” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/31).

    TORRE IMPACT: Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, “Some of those outstanding free agents are going to say, ‘I want to play for Joe Torre.’” Free agent Alex Rodriguez “would consider the Dodgers now.” Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti said, “I applaud Frank McCourt for (pursuing Torre) … and remember, they’re in a regional competition with the Angels, who have a big-time manager in [Mike] Scioscia” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 10/30). Hollywood publicist Hanna Pantle said Torre would “give the Dodgers the brand Tommy Lasorda had. Nobody’s had that brand there since Tommy’s been gone. … His brand is bigger than the McCourts. There are certain people within sports that are that sport. Joe Torre is baseball.” Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Dir Paul Swangard said, “His sustained value will come with victories. But there’s absolutely a short-term upside that any team could take advantage of financially.” Giants Exec VP & COO Larry Baer said the Dodgers hiring Torre “can allay fear and build confidence that the organization is in good hands. In the end, that does translate into revenue. It won’t have the spike that signing a glamorous free agent might have, but it will have a subtle and real effect” (L.A. TIMES, 10/31).

    BACK ON CALL: On Long Island, Neil Best notes the Yankees “lifted their ban on ESPN dialing into team conference calls," after it violated guidelines by airing a live October 18 call announcing Torre’s departure. ESPN carried the Girardi call on a delay on radio and ESPNews, but “failed to edit out a reference to the phone number for the call, prompting some fans to try to call in.” WFAN-AM and YES carried the call on a shorter delay and edited out the number (NEWSDAY, 10/31).

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  • Surprise World Series Teams Usually See Big Jump In Value

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    Rockies Should See Financial Boost
    From Appearance In World Series
    When the World Series features an unexpected participant, as the Rockies were this year, that team's finances increase by an average of more than 30% in terms of revenue and value over a two-year period, according to Milstead & Paton of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS. A similar increase for the Rockies could see the team's value top $430M by the end of '08, up from $317M this spring. The Rockies ranked 22nd in Forbes' team valuations this spring.  Tigers' financial data is not available for this season, but the previous five "surprise" World Series teams -- '05 White Sox, '04 Cardinals, '03 Marlins, '98 Padres and '97 Marlins -- "each gained at least 22[%] in value," with the average coming in at 36%. Revenues "followed a similar path," as the average two-year boost was 31% with a minimum at 24%. Sports business consultant Maury Brown said he expects the Rockies "will see season ticket sales go up dramatically and that sponsorships will follow suit." Brown: "An increase in the 30s or as high as 40[%] (for the Rockies valuation) isn't out of the realm of possibilities" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 10/31).

    TICKET SUIT: In Denver, Arthur Kane reports the Rockies settled a lawsuit with fan Jeff Sobieck, who "wanted to buy World Series tickets and resell them for more than three times the face value." Sobieck sued the team for $13,306 plus the costs of 12 tickets, claiming that he had confirmations for the tickets and his credit card was charged $4,694.  He received an e-mail October 24 "saying his order had been canceled." Terms of the settlement were not disclosed (DENVER POST, 10/31).

    PRICEY RIDE: The Red Sox yesterday held a parade to celebrate their World Series victory, and in Boston, Dave Wedge reports the police patrol for the event will cost taxpayers near $2M, with "none of it" being paid by the team. While the cost for the parade is unknown, the '04 celebration "cost the city $535,000 in public safety expenses" and the total "World Series Run cost the city $1.9[M]" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/31).

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  • NFL Franchise Notes: Colts Hosting Contest For Super Bowl Rings

    In Indianapolis, Steve Ballard notes the Colts are hosting the “Quest for the Ring” contest in which five Colts fans will win Super Bowl rings. The three-stage contest will begin with the sale of $5 raffle tickets through November 20. Twenty-five numbers will be picked, and the winners will take part in a hunt for Colts-related items throughout Indianapolis. Ten finalists will appear during halftime of Jaguars-Colts on December 2 and will each be given a box, five of which contain rings. Colts Owner Jim Irsay said that the team is the first in NFL history "to make Super Bowl rings available to the public" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 10/31).

    PATRIOTS: ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said of the criticism the Patriots have received for running up the score on teams, “When you talk to a few owners around the league, they’ve sensed that Patriots Owner Robert Kraft has been uncomfortable, or … hurt a little bit by the damage to his franchise’s reputation over ‘Spygate.’ If you watched Kraft and his son Jonathan (on Sunday) near the end of the game (against the Redskins), they didn’t appear comfortable with what was going on down on the field. ... Bob Kraft’s reputation does mean something to him” (“Monday Night Countdown,” ESPN, 10/29).

    BILLS: The Bills have sold 48,236 season tickets, up more than 5,000 from last year and the highest total since ’94. However, three of the 164 private suites remain unsold and seats “could be had in the stadium’s three indoor clubs and four outdoor clubs.” Suites at Ralph Wilson Stadium cost $40,000-95,000 annually (BUSINESS FIRST OF BUFFALO, 10/26 issue).

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  • AFL Rattlers Will Refund Season-Ticket Costs If No Playoffs In '08

    If the AFL Arizona Rattlers fail to make the playoffs next season, the team will fully refund all season-ticket holders the entirety of their ticket costs (Rattlers). Rattlers Managing Partner Brett Bouchy said that the team "won't go out of business if this fails," and he is promoting the promise on ESPN and in SI. Bouchy, who this summer bought 60% of majority ownership from Bobby Hernreich, said, "We're fully prepared to fund the losses. If, in fact, it does happen, I don't think it's a terrible thing. How bad would it be? It's essentially a year. We hope to bring people back to buy season tickets for next year." The Rattlers had a 4-12 record in '07, the second-worst record in the AFL. The Rattlers' season-ticket base for the '07 season was about 5,500, but Bouchy said that he "expects that number to grow this season" to between 8,000-10,000. The average ticket for a Rattlers home game is about $29. Bouchy, who has not taken out an insurance policy on the promise, said that "the team could lose [$2-5M] in season-ticket sales" if the team fails to make the playoffs. Meanwhile, Bouchy plans to install a VIP section in the front row at the 25-yard line at US Airways Center, relocating the bench to the corner of the field (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 10/31). Bouchy said, "One of the things that we battle here in Arizona is relevance. I think you have to do something to earn back the confidence of the fans and show them you are committed to winning. ... This may hurt us in the short term but I think it will really help in the long term" (EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE, 10/31).

    OTHER PROMISES: The NHL Rangers promised to lower ticket prices 10% if the team missed the '04 playoffs.  The NHL Panthers guaranteed full season-ticket holders a credit on their '03-04 renewals if the club missed the '03 playoffs. The Predators raised ticket prices an average of $6 prior to the '02-03 season, but Owner Craig Leipold said that the team would refund the difference if the team missed the '03 playoffs. The Hawks in '02 promised to give each full season-ticket holder $125 if the team missed the postseason.  In each case, the team did in fact fail to qualify for the postseason (THE DAILY).

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