SBD/Issue 219/Franchises

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  • Goodell Reinstates Favre After Marketing Deal Falls Apart

    Favre Today To Arrive At Packers
    Camp After Officially Being Reinstated
    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday announced that he will reinstate retired Packers QB Brett Favre at 12:00pm CT today, and "ordered the Packers to make room for him on their 80-man roster," according to Tom Silverstein of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Goodell's decision to reinstate Favre "followed intense negotiations between the Packers and [Favre's] representatives on a marketing and promotions deal that would have paid Favre more than $20[M] over a 10-year period upon his retirement." But negotiations of that deal "broke down, and the Packers were forced to take Favre back." But Silverstein reports it "appears not only will the Packers take Favre back, they will allow him to compete" with Aaron Rodgers for the starting QB role (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/4).

    MARKETING DEAL: In Green Bay, Pete Dougherty cited an ESPN report which claimed the marketing deal was worth $25M over the 10-year period. A personal-services contract is "relatively common in professional sports for retired star performers" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 8/2). A source said that the idea of the marketing partnership was "to keep Favre connected with the organization through fan appearances and public events while also setting him up for post-retirement life so he wouldn't be as likely to keep changing his mind about retiring." The plan was first proposed as a 10-year, $10M deal (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/1). ESPN.com's John Clayton wrote Goodell with the reinstatement decision "sided with Favre in the sense that [Goodell] wants Favre in the league as a quarterback instead of a franchise marketer. For now, Favre has won, and Packers management looks embarrassed" (ESPN.com, 8/3). In DC, Mark Maske reports the Packers' "negotiations with Favre on the proposed marketing deal had ended." Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy said of Favre: "We welcome him back and turn this situation to our advantage" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/4).

    Writers Laud Goodell For
    Handling Of Favre Situation
    GOODELL GETS INVOLVED: ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski wrote, "Give Goodell credit for trying to broker a peace deal between Favre and a franchise that refused to budge. And give Goodell extra credit for reinstating Favre to the league." Goodell "understands how this looks. And make no mistake, image matters to the NFL" (ESPN.com, 8/3). SI.com's Peter King noted Goodell has "been an intermediary between the two sides for the past two weeks and it's likely he played Henry Kissinger over the past few days in mediating Favre's return to the team" (SI.com, 8/3). ESPN’s Chris Mortensen: “There’s no question [Goodell] made this thing come together” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN2, 8/4). SI.com's King in a separate piece writes Goodell's role in Favre's reinstatement "was huge. Absolutely huge." After Favre "lost every ounce of trust for the Packers, the only NFL person in a suit he trusted was Goodell. ... The one thing we'll know for sure is Goodell saved Favre's future with the Packers." King: "For those who say Goodell shouldn't have gotten involved because it sets a bad precedent, I say that's ridiculous. Goodell should help ... if it's in the best interests of the game" (SI.com, 8/4). However, ESPN2’s Mike Greenberg said Goodell "really dragged his feet" on the Favre situation (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN2, 8/4). N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica added Goodell "probably wishes he could do to that letter of reinstatement what he did with the Spygate tapes, which is just destroy them” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 8/3).

    FOUR-PACK: In Green Bay, Mike Vandermause writes the Packers have "seemingly returned to Square One, which gives the impression the organization is struggling to find the correct course of action, or worse yet, making things up as it goes along and reacting to outside circumstances." The Packers "appear to be making decisions more out of fear than the courage of their convictions" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 8/4). In S.F., Nancy Gay writes this has resulted in a "disruptive, embarrassing mess, for a proud franchise and city that takes its football very seriously and doesn't usually fumble on public relations." Packers management "made the fatal mistake of letting a 17-year veteran and his agent arm wrestle them into submission." The Packers "couldn't win this one. They erred by letting the impasse linger far too long" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/4). FOXSPORTS.com's Jay Glazer reported the Packers will employ Ari Fleischer Sports Communications President Ari Fleischer "for one month as a consultant" (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/3).

    QB SACK? In Milwaukee, Don Walker wrote under the header, "Favre Image Takes Hit." There is "some evidence that, for some fans, Favre fatigue has set in." A Green Bay-based group that held a charity auction, which "included a number of Favre-related items," had to "return three of them because no one bid on them." Sports Business Group President David Carter: "There's no doubt that his legacy is being impacted by what's happening in the last week or so." Marketing Evaluations President Steve Levitt said of Favre, "His positives will probably slide." Favre last week extended a marketing deal with Briggs & Stratton (B&S), and B&S Dir of Dealer Channel Marketing Troy Blewett said that the company is "happy with Favre." Blewett: "Our general view is that this is going to blow over nationally. This will run its course. We had no second thoughts. Our dealers love him" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/3). In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote, "It wouldn't exactly be one of those rugged Wrangler ads if Brett Favre takes the money for not playing, right?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/3). 

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  • Stern Denies Threatening Schultz Over Lawsuit Against Bennett

    NBA Commissioner Denies Threatening Schultz
    To Drop His Lawsuit Against Sonics Owners
    NBA Commissioner David Stern "denied he threatened" Starbucks Chair & CEO Howard Schultz over Schultz continuing his lawsuit seeking to rescind his '06 sale of the Sonics to Oklahoma City NBA franchise Owner Clay Bennett, according to court documents cited by Greg Johns of the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. NBA attorneys Friday submitted Stern's statement to U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman, along with a "brief in support of the league's motion to intervene in the suit." Stern in the sworn declaration said that he "told Schultz he didn't understand why [Schultz] 'would go to the hassle and expense of continuing to pursue this case' and that the NBA couldn't fulfill Schultz's hope of a commitment from the league to locate a team in Seattle in the future." Stern said in the statement, "At no time during the conversation did I threaten Mr. Schultz in any way -- either expressly or implicitly -- regarding his continuation of this lawsuit or any other matter." Seattle-based Summit Law Group attorney Ralph Palumbo said that there is "nothing vague whatsoever about the NBA's position, since it is trying to arm itself against a lawsuit seeking to unwind the sale of one of its franchises." Palumbo added that "that action would 'cause significant disruption' to the operation of the league in terms of scheduling, ticket sales, arena leases and player contracts" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 8/2). Stern in the filing "described a 'pleasant and amiable conversation' with Schultz that covered social and business issues" (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/2). In Seattle, Jerry Brewer wrote of Schultz' effort, "You can't help rooting for him to win, even though you are probably incapable of forgiving him for the initial blunder." Brewer: "Dare we ask: Can Schultz get it all back -- his reputation, his respectability, his team? ... Even if he wins his lawsuit and clears the way for the Sonics to be sold to a local owner, he's still the one who created so much angst. There is no scenario in which Schultz can be a hero. And that's potentially the best part of this story" (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/3).

    HIRING PROCESS: In Oklahoma City, Baldwin & Mayberry reported "more than 1,300 applications for jobs with Oklahoma City's NBA team have been collected by the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce." Chamber President Roy Williams estimated that 75-100 jobs "will need to be filled, but it could be more. It could be less" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 8/3).

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  • Mark Cuban Reportedly The Favorite To Acquire Cubs, Wrigley

    Many See Cuban As One Of Favorites
    To Land Cubs, Wrigley Field
    Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban in his bid to buy the Cubs and Wrigley Field from Tribune Co. has "gone from being a long shot to one of the favorites," picking up "support from NBA Commissioner David Stern and others as the field of prospective owners narrows," according to Paul Sullivan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Another bidder recently told Crain's Chicago Business Cuban is "the lead guy" in the battle to buy the team. While a Cubs official "denied any of the remaining bidders is leading the pack, saying 'we're still at the starting gate' in the process, it's apparent Cuban is gaining support in his bid to purchase the club after most figured he never would pass muster with MLB owners." Cubs 1B Derrek Lee: "I think if you have David Stern on your side, you must be doing something right" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/3).

    WEIGHING IN: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir wrote under the header, "Cuban Wants Cubs, But Will Baseball Want Him?" MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy said of Cuban, "He's been outspoken on issues, but we've had owners who are outspoken as well."  However, Red Sox Owner John Henry in an e-mail said, "The commissioner's office abhors owners who speak their minds and fight for the rights of their respective franchises." Henry added he could think of "no one better suited to reverse the fortunes of the Cubs for the long term" than Cuban. Stern said of Cuban, "He lives in the here and the now. In every issue we have to deal with, he freely expresses his views to me, some of which I'm happier to hear than others, but all are welcome. He would be an effective owner in most businesses." Cuban in an e-mail said the "biggest surprise to people will be how wrong the press always is in their characterization of [his relationship with Stern]." DuPuy said Cuban would get a "fair hearing; the fact that he's operated a successful franchise in another league will be taken into account." MLS Real Salt Lake Owner Dave Checketts, who served as MSG President when Cuban in '00 bought the Mavericks, said that if "Cuban's lack of decorum had not been more than balanced by the Mavericks' rapid turnaround, 'He would have been dead, and we would have found a way to take the franchise from him.'" Suns Chair Jerry Colangelo: "Basketball is a little more cutting edge, and baseball has been stodgier" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/3).

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  • Demand For Dodgers Tickets Surges Following Manny Ramirez Trade

    Dodgers See Increase In Ticket
    Sales Following Trade For Ramirez
    The Dodgers following the acquisition of LF Manny Ramirez Thursday sold the highest volume of tickets in the club's history in a 24-hour period, with more than 30,000 tickets sold (Dodgers). Dodgers Exec VP & COO Dennis Mannion said that in the 30 hours that followed the announcement that the Dodgers had traded for Ramirez, the team sold "almost 300 season-ticket packages for the remaining home games." In L.A., Dylan Hernandez reported Friday night's D'Backs-Dodgers game, in which Ramirez made his Dodgers debut, sold out, with "more than 12,000 of the tickets purchased" after the trade. Meanwhile, Ramirez' agent, Scott Boras, "strongly denied the suggestion that he orchestrated the trade." As part of the deal, Ramirez had the club options left in his contract for the '09 and 2010 seasons voided. Boras did not negotiate the original contract and would only get a share of Ramirez' earnings if Ramirez signs a new deal. But Boras said, "Manny did not hire me to get him traded" (L.A. TIMES, 8/2).

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  • Franchise Notes

    NFL Commissioner To Arrange Meeting Of
    Rooneys To Help Mediate Ownership Issues
    In Pittsburgh, Ed Bouchette reported NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "will arrange a meeting among the five Rooney brothers within the next few weeks to help mediate the possible ownership change in the Steelers." Goodell said that he called the meeting after former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue -- "who has been working as a consultant on the matter -- briefed him on the state of ownership talks" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/3). Also in Pittsburgh, Ron Cook wrote, "It's still nice to think the best solution to the Steelers' ownership dilemma is for [Steelers Chair] Dan Rooney to put together enough investors to buy out his four brothers." However, owners of pro sports teams are "becoming a billionaires' club, not a millionaires' club," meaning single-family owners such as the Rooneys "are becoming largely extinct." The Rooneys "figure to have a more difficult time competing in a small, declining market in the years ahead." Thus, Pittsburgh-based Duquesne Capital Management Chair Stanley Druckenmiller's "enormous wealth" is "at least one good reason to think a Druckenmiller ownership could be a positive" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/3).

    MOVING ON UP: In Toronto, Morgan Campbell reported MLS Toronto FC for the July 24 MLS All-Star Game at BMO Field "installed two rows of field-level chairs," and some season ticket holders are upset that the team "never gave season ticket holders the chance to upgrade" their seats. Season-ticket holder Frank Garzelli said that the team "told him last week the seats were temporary," but added that a Toronto FC official "told him on Thursday that seats are there to stay and that the team would consider allowing Garzelli to purchase them as season tickets next year at a higher price." While Garzelli "thinks the move is a blatant cash grab," club officials said that the team is "just scrambling to supply a demand that keeps surging" (TORONTO STAR, 8/2).

    INVESTIGATION CONTINUES: An MLB source said that Red Sox Dominican Scouting Supervisor Pablo Lantigua "was fired last month for receiving a kickback of an unspecified amount on a player he recommended." Lantigua's "name came up as a result" of MLB's investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses from Dominican players (BOSTON HERALD, 8/3).

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