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SBD/Issue 163/FranchisesPrint All
Tribune Co. Could Delay Sale Of
Cubs Because Of Wrigley Field Talks
STILL NEGOTIATING: ISFA Chair James Thompson yesterday confirmed that he is "still negotiating with the Cubs and still hopeful the state can find a way to buy and renovate Wrigley Field with 'no taxes of any kind' that is acceptable" to Tribune Co. Chair Sam Zell (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/14). Chicago Tribune reporter Fred Mitchell said of ISFA-Tribune Co. talks, "It sounds to me it needs to be tweaked a great deal to satisfy Sam Zell.” Chicago Tribune reporter David Haugh: “It would seem to be cleaner to sell the Cubs and Wrigley Field as one. ... The bigger issue that people are wondering about is the naming rights and then renovation” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” CSN, 5/13).
Magowan Could Announce His Resignation As
Giants Managing General Partner On Friday
The Redskins' sales office has given a one-page handout to a potential customer headlined "Government Ethics Rules re: Suite Tickets" that states that congressional officials "could accept a free 'Suite Guest Pass' to a skybox as long as they have a ticket for anywhere else in the stadium, including a $25 standing-room-only ticket," according to Jeffrey Birnbaum of the WASHINGTON POST. The team's "new twist" skirts a law that "forbids congressional officials from accepting anything of value from lobbyists without repayment." The document states that such guest passes "allow only a 'short visit,'" but does not "define 'short visit' or say who would monitor the requirement." Jan Baran, who specializes in ethics for law firm Wiley Rein, said, "This doesn't sound kosher to me." Redskins General Counsel David Donovan said that the document was "not legal advice and that it was intended simply to provide information to customers who had asked about the impact of the new lobbying rules." Donovan: "All we're trying to tell people is what is required to comply with the rules, not how to get around them." Redskins VP/PR Karl Swanson said that the document was "used by the team's sales force as 'a talk sheet' to provide answers when a customer asked about government ethics rules and their impact on the suites" and that the sales staff used the document with customers "fewer than 10 times in the past year and a half." Some of DC's "top ethics experts ... are not convinced that a free pass to a skybox, even if only for a short visit, is acceptable under the new law for congressional officials," and top lobbying managers also said that they "would steer clear of the free passes." But Donovan said that the team had "cleared its approach with government ethics officials" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/14).
Rays Still Struggling To Draw Crowds
Despite Being Atop AL East Standings
Chivas USA Reaching Out To
Community To Grow Fan Base
Arsenal Considering Offering
Kroenke Seat On BOD
BULLS: In Chicago, Jay Mariotti writes with Mike D'Antoni choosing to coach the Knicks instead of the Bulls, Bulls Owner Jerry Reinsdorf "once again was a slow, sluggish, dilly-dallying leader lacking the ability to cut a deal." Reinsdorf "should sell the Bulls to someone who cares about basketball. If there was any justice, he'd sell the franchise" to Bobcats Managing Member of Basketball Operations Michael Jordan. Reinsdorf "refuses to talk to the agents of coaches," and the Bulls by winning just one playoff series in 10 seasons have "become the [Celtics] after their '80s glory years" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/14). D’Antoni jokingly said of choosing the Knicks over the Bulls, “I was listening to all you guys (in the media) and everybody said I should go to Chicago, so I knew New York was the place to go” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 5/13).
BLACKHAWKS: Blackhawks Senior Exec Dir of Ticketing & Business Development Chris Werner said the team is "seeing a tremendous upswing in demand in interest for Blackhawks tickets." Werner said the club is trying to "create more price points for people to choose from, and tickets are as affordable as $15 per ticket.” Werner added the team will put the “press on group sales for corporate partners that want to get involved and bring out a large number of their employees ... and that will be relatively new for the Blackhawks. Although they did sell group tickets in the past, we never focused on that” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” CSN, 5/13).
PACERS: Pacers Sports & Entertainment Chair & CEO Herb Simon and President Jim Morris last week met with the Indianapolis Star's editorial board and "acknowledged how far out of favor the team has fallen with the community." Morris "promises to increase the team's involvement in the community and to improve the franchise's support services for young players who must learn to cope with wealth, fame and a multitude of readily available temptations." Simon also "wants fans to understand" that the WNBA Fever is "entering a period critical to its future." Attendance "must grow if the franchise is to finally break even," and Simon's "ability to continue writing off the Fever's financial losses is no doubt constrained by the Pacers' problems" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/10).