SBD/Issue 128/FranchisesPrint All
Bennett Willing To Leave Sonics'
Colors, Logo With City Of Seattle
BUYOUT BLUES: Seattle city officials said that Stern is "orchestrating a campaign to push the city toward a buyout, but insisted nothing has changed." Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis: "I think [Stern] is trying to turn up the pressure by making everything appear inevitable. It's a great publicity campaign, but they'll still need to come into court and settle this." Bennett reiterated that he is "willing to spend two more years owning the team in Seattle if the Sonics lose their upcoming lawsuit with the city, which has sued the team in an effort to require the Sonics to play through the 2009-10 season at KeyArena instead of being allowed to buy out the remainder of the lease." Ceis, when asked if Seattle is "burning its bridges with the NBA by fighting with the league instead of" reaching a settlement, said, "It seems to me [Stern] is the one who has been planting dynamite with every step he takes" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 3/26).
Save Our Sonics Struggles To Draw
Supporters To Protest On Monday
MAKING A CASE: In an interview with the DAILY OKLAHOMAN's Mayberry, Cornett said he thinks the Oklahoma City market is the "envy of most." When asked if there is "enough disposable income in Oklahoma City to successfully support" a permanent NBA franchise, Cornett said, "I think discretionary income is one of our strengths, because the cost of living is low and our wages are higher than the national average." Cornett added of Oklahoma City, "If you look at the other cities that we would be competing against for a relocated franchise, who has a better story than us? Can [K.C.] show support for an NBA franchise? Can San Diego? Can Las Vegas? None of these cities have our story to tell. Can you question ours? Sure, but there are bigger questions around all other cities who don't have NBA franchises" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 3/25).
Garber Threatens To Pull United
Out Of DC If Stadium Not Built
QUESTIONS REMAIN: Cohon: "Ottawa needs an adequate stadium. We hope it will bring a renaissance to Frank Clair Stadium." The ownership group said that Frank Clair Stadium was the "only place to have a professional football team play ball and wants to restore the stadium to its glory days" (OTTAWA SUN, 3/26). Shenkman said of the franchise, "We recognize the team will lose money for some time. We think it will be up to about [$1M] per year in the early stage. We don't expect to make money, but if we run it very well and it enhances life in Ottawa, then we will be happy" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 3/26). CFL B.C. Lions Owner David Braley: "I don't believe this team will be on the field until probably 2012. Maybe 2010 is an outside possibility, but it's very unlikely" (OTTAWA SUN, 3/26).
BRIGHT FUTURE? In Toronto, Stephen Brunt writes for Cohon, the announcement is a "chance to put a more progressive spin on his administration, which so far has been dominated by talk of the [Bills] incursion into Toronto, and the CFL's defensive posture." There is an "argument to be made [that] the league doesn't really need to go back into Ottawa at all," but the "uplifting aspect of the announcement itself, and especially the fact interested buyers came forward in the face of all the NFL rumblings, suggests some faith in Canadian football's future no matter what else transpires" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 3/26).
Bill Close To Completing Joint Marketing
Effort With CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Giants, Jets Considering PSLs As
Possibility At New Meadowlands Stadium
GIANT PRICING: Meanwhile, the Giants raised the price of their tickets by an average of $7.01. The average seat at Giants Stadium last season cost $83.29, which ranked No. 12 out of the 32 NFL teams (Giants).
New Pirates GM Neal Huntington said he was "assured" by team ownership that they would spend money on player development and scouting. Huntington: "I got the assurance before I took the job. I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe we had the opportunity to be successful." Huntington, on the fans: "We're asking not for patience, but we're asking for them to evaluate our actions" ("In My Own Words," FSN, 3/21).
NOTES: The Blues have selected Ticketmaster's TicketExchange as their authorized ticket resale service, and the service is available for all remaining home games this season" (Ticketmaster)....SI's Peter King wrote "it does not hurt [NFL Commissioner Roger] Goodell at all" that he found the 49ers guilty of tampering with Bears LB Lance Briggs. King: "In the past year the league has sent out two strongly worded memos reminding teams of the anti-tampering policy, yet stories of teams and agents talking about looming free agents" at last month's NFL Scouting Combine -- "a week before free agency began -- were everywhere" (SI.com, 3/25).