SBD/Issue 41/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Writer Feels Lions' Struggles, Fan Apathy 
Have Team Ownership At "High Boil"
In Detroit, Mike O'Hara wrote anyone involved in the Lions' management team "should be worried more than ever," as the wrath of Owner William Clay Ford Sr. and Lions Vice Chair Bill Ford Jr. "surely must be at a high boil" with the team 0-9. O'Hara noted the future of the annual Thanksgiving game in Detroit and "creeping apathy by fans toward the Lions" are "among the issues this week." ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their "Mike & Mike" show last week "campaigned to have the game taken away from Detroit," and ESPN's voice as an NFL partner "cannot be discounted as purely media ranting." O'Hara: "Suppose the broadcast networks -- Fox, CBS and NBC -- chime in?" (DETROIT NEWS, 11/10).

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).

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