SBD/Issue 41/FranchisesPrint All
Rooney Has Assembled Team
Of Investors For Steelers Stake
MLSE Could Be Entitled To
$250M Territorial Payment
OFFSIDES CALL: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "admitted yesterday that the Ontario market could probably support a second NHL team," but he "dismissed the probability." Bettman: "Can the Ontario market support another team? Probably. But you can't base a decision on probability. You have got to study the market closely." Bettman said that "relocating an existing franchise to the Toronto area to compete" with the Maple Leafs "would not happen because all 30 of the NHL's clubs are in good financial shape." He added that "expansion was not on the horizon, either, because of 'uncertain economic conditions.'" Bettman said that the "only way the league would consider relocation of a franchise ... is if an owner decided ... that his team could not survive in its market." Bettman: "Anyone who thinks there are any (official) discussions going on right now about another team in Ontario is wrong" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/11).
MEDIA MATTERS: The GLOBE & MAIL's William Houston notes a poll asked NHL broadcasters what one change they would make to the NHL and the "second most cited change was franchise relocation." TSN's Pierre McGuire: "You can easily have eight teams in Canada. But move existing teams and save expansion for Europe. European expansion is legit. It's the only place where they can get new-found revenues." CFMJ-AM host Bill Watters said that a second team in Toronto "should be the league's first priority" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/11).
EPL Club Portsmouth In Talks
For Potential US$109M Takeover
UNITED FRONT: MLS FC Dallas Media Relations Dir German Sferra yesterday "shot down the reports linking" Hunt Sports Group Chair Clark Hunt to EPL club Newcastle United. Sferra said of the Hunt family, "There's nothing to it. They're happy with the sports investments that they currently have. They're not pursuing Newcastle or any other sports franchise at this time." Meanwhile, in L.A., Grahame Jones notes AEG Chair Philip Anschutz also has been reported to be interested in the club, but while his name has been "freely mentioned in the English press, there has been no confirmation of his interest" (L.A. TIMES, 11/11).
O'Neil To Add Execs In
Ticket, Sponsorship Sales
Cherepanov (2nd from r) Listed As
"Defected Player" Prior To Death
DUCK HUNTING: In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont wrote depending on what happens to the Bruins this season, the team "could be a player" for Ducks Exec VP & GM Brian Burke this offseason. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli's contract expires at the end of next season, and the role of Bruins President has been "vacant since Harry Sinden was booted off the job" in '06. Dupont wrote there would be "plenty of room for Burke" with the Bruins, as long as Owner Jeremy Jacobs was "willing to pay the freight." Another "likely bidder for Burke" will be the Blackhawks. The Maple Leafs and Senators also "might be enticed" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/9).
Watch This Clip
BAILOUT FALLOUT: In St. Louis, David Nicklaus noted the rules for the Blues' "Fan Bailout Plan," which includes naming its remaining Saturday games as "Fannie and Freddie Mortgage Saturdays," do not say whether the team "got permission" from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use the companies' names. If they did not, "Fannie's and Freddie's lawyers might not be happy about this particular bailout" (STLTODAY.com, 11/10).
NOTES: The Flyers have four players from Finland, the most in the NHL, and the Finnish Ambassador to the U.S. Pekka Lintu said that the Finnish Embassy for the Stars-Flyers game on November 24 will recognize the team. Flyers President & COO Peter Luukko, who has Finnish ancestors, will host Lintu and five of his guests in his suite at the Wachovia Center and introduce them to the Flyers' Finnish players before the game (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/9)....The AP's Nancy Armour wrote under the header, "Blackhawks Become A Vibrant Brand Again," and noted a year after the team's season-ticket base "dwindled to 3,400, it is a franchise-record 14,000." Each of the team's home games at the United Center this season has been a sellout (AP, 11/8).
Writer Feels Lions' Struggles, Fan Apathy
Have Team Ownership At "High Boil"
PEACE, NOT WAR: In the wake of reports of disharmony within the Warriors front office, Warriors President Robert Rowell said, "The reality is we're on the same page with respect to pretty much everything that we're doing now. I hire basketball guys to make basketball decisions and I'm letting those guys do their job with respect to the roster and who those players are. I'll get involved like I've gotten involved with terms and conditions and where things fit within our budget." Meanwhile, in S.F., Janny Hu notes the team this season has yet to sell out a home game and is averaging 18,688 fans through three games. Rowell: "Business right now is tough. It's no different right now than it is in any other industry" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/11). In San Jose, Marcus Thompson II writes Rowell's "matter-of-fact demeanor and rapid responses to questions contradicted the cloud of chaos and drama that appears to be hovering over the franchise." Rowell "shot down talk of a feud" with Warriors Exec VP/Basketball Operations Chris Mullin, and "as always declined to comment on personnel decisions" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/11).
ORIOLE WAY: In Baltimore, Jeff Zrebiec noted the price of Orioles season tickets "will remain the same for 2009." Orioles Dir of Communications Greg Bader Friday confirmed that season-ticket invoices "have been mailed and there are no price increases." Individual tickets will "go on sale in January." Camden Yards' attendance last season was 1,950,075, the first time attendance has been below the two million the mark since the ballpark opened in '92 (Baltimore SUN, 11/8).
BOB'S CATS: The CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL's Erik Spanberg reports Bobcats Owner Bob Johnson, when asked "about whispers that the NBA league office frowned" on the team's reported cutting of 35-40 employees, answered "with questions of his own." Spanberg: "What could the NBA say to him after laying off 80 workers, or 9% of its staff, last month?" Johnson: "We're not going to skimp on the player personnel or on the fan experience." Johnson also said of "speculation about a possible sale" of the team, "As far as I know, I'm the owner of the Bobcats as long as the Bobcats are going to be in Charlotte." Johnson: "The Bobcats are a business that you have to nurture. You don't come in and turn any kind of sports team into a cash register at all. You focus on building a team that's going to create the kind of credibility and fan support that you need over the long term" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/7 issue).