SBD/Issue 198/Franchises

Franchise Notes's Scott Miller reported Mariners Owner Hiroshi Yamauchi reportedly is "looking to get out of the baseball business and is intent on selling his controlling share of the Mariners." Microsoft exec and Mariners Minority Owner Chris Larson, "it is said, wants to become the controlling owner." Miller wrote one "fascinating rumor making the industry rounds" indicates that an investment group led by Larson and former Mariners GM Pat Gillick would assume "control of the Mariners sometime in the near future, with Gillick running the baseball operations and naming the new GM" (, 7/2).

Final Price Tag For Recent Wild
Sale In Neighborhood Of $265M
WILD: Sources said that the final sale price of the Wild from Bob Naegele to new owner Craig Leipold was "nearly $256[M]," and Naegele "provided bonuses of about $4,000 for each employee who had been with the franchise from inception." Leipold and hedge fund manager Phil Falcone "own nearly 90[%] of the Wild, with assorted investors making up the rest." One of the "noted Marvin hockey family members" is joining the ownership group, while Wild Vice Chair Jac Sperling has "pulled out as an investor" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/3).

CARDS: In Arizona, Kent Somers reported NFL Cardinals season-ticket sales are "lagging behind the pace of the team's first two years" at Univ. of Phoenix Stadium, but team officials "don't expect a streak of 20 straight sellouts to end" next season. Cardinals VP/Marketing & Sales Ron Minegar said that the team has sold "more than 55,000 season tickets, 2,000 to 3,000 short of the previous two years." Also, the waiting list for season tickets has "decreased from about 7,500 to 2,000," but Minegar said that the "downturn isn't unusual." Minegar added that the Cardinals' "challenge over the next month will be getting the word out that season tickets are available." The team's "advertising efforts will increase after the July 4th holiday" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/3).

ASTROS: In Houston, Richard Justice writes Astros GM Ed Wade "hasn't done a terrible job. It just seems that way at a time when the Astros appear to be going nowhere for a third straight season." Wade has "no chance of filling all the holes because the Astros neglected their minor league system for too long." The problem is "not going to be fixed overnight, and until it is, the Astros will have to spend millions more in free agency just to stay afloat" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/3).

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