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Dodgers Among Many MLB Teams
Not Raising Ticket Prices Next Season
RIDE THE GIANT ROLLER COASTER: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Don Muret reports the MLB Giants have signed a deal with Texas-based QCue, a software company, that "enables them to change single-game ticket prices at any time." Giants Managing VP/Ticket Services & Client Relations Russ Stanley said that the club hired QCue to "help find the right price for selling 2,000 seats in AT&T Park's outfield bleachers and upper deck, the last ones to sell for Giants games." Muret notes QCue's formula "plugs in factors such as team performance, opponent, starting pitchers, weather conditions, day of the week and gate giveaways." Stanley said that the Giants will "use those results to raise or lower ticket prices as late as the morning of a game for tickets purchased online, at ticket kiosks, by phone and at the box office" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/1 issue). CNBC’s Darren Rovell said of the Giants' "airplane" ticketing strategy, "They can change their prices eight times a day on the original ticket. … I think because of the bad economy, and the need to get people in the seats, if they only have 20,000 seats sold, they’re going to change it on you." Rovell added he expects "10 teams to do this in the next year” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN2, 12/4).
Turnstile Tracker: In L.A., T.J. Simers notes the Dodgers, whose average ticket costs $29.66, "will not raise season ticket prices" next season. Team Marketing Report indicated that last season it cost a family of four $229.14 to attend a Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium, and in the five years the McCourt family has owned the team, the cost for a family of four "has increased almost 57%." But Simers notes Dodgers fans "haven't objected," with "more than 3 million every year buying tickets, the quality of the team or the cost of the experience seemingly given little consideration." Meanwhile, Simers reports the Angels are "raising ticket prices," as the average ticket cost will increase from $20.78 last season to a "little less than" $22 in '09 (L.A. TIMES, 12/4).
MLS Philadelphia Franchise Likely To
Announce Ticket Costs By End Of Month
SOUNDING OFF: In Seattle, Jose Romero reported the MLS Seattle Sounders FC tonight at the Qwest Field Event Center will unveil their official uniforms. Sounders co-Owner Joe Roth, Minority Owner Drew Carey, GK Kasey Keller and F Freddie Ljungberg will attend (SEATTLETIMES.com, 12/2).
Gretzky Believes Coyotes' Future
Remains In Phoenix
CAPITAL GAIN: In DC, Thomas Boswell writes the Capitals, in "just one year," have transformed their team "so completely that ... it expects to win almost every time out." As Steelers fans "usurp seats at FedEx Field, as the Wizards worry, as the Nats pray for renewals, the Caps are selling." A year ago, one "could debate the dominant pro athlete in town," but now it is Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin "by a mile." Every other major pro sports team in DC, even the "usually exceptional DC United," is now "rebuilding or switching coaches and systems." The Capitals are "lucky in their timing," as the economy "can't find its ripcord." As "disposable entertainment dollars shrink, excitement is what still sells," and with a "high-scoring, creative team, these are the most entertaining Caps ever" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/4).
Nats Continue Struggles In DC
Turnkey Sports & Entertainment has released its '08 Team Brand Index, and like last year's edition which was "populated heavily by winners at the top and losers at the bottom," this year 15 of the 20 highest-rated franchises made the playoffs in their respective leagues, according to Bill King of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The index "shows how quickly a team can rise or fall based on its fate on the field, floor or ice." Only 15 of the 122 franchises "saw their overall brand index scores improve by double digits this year," and all but two of those "improved their winning percentages and/or went deeper into the playoffs than they had the previous season." The Celtics, who finished No. 9 in the index after finishing No. 104 last year, had the "largest gain of any team" in their index score. All but one of the 15 teams that showed a double-digit decline in the index were teams that "slid from the year before, either by winning fewer games or by not getting as far in the playoffs." The bottom five teams "all posted poor, and mostly disappointing, years, none more so than the Sonics, who were on their way out of town" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/1 issue).Top 20 Team Brands'08 Rank'07 RankTeam'08 Rank'07 RankTeam110Packers117Saints25Red Sox1274Canadiens31Steelers134Sabres42Patriots1479Hornets53Colts1536Jaguars68Red Wings1611Tigers76Spurs1715Pistons820Penguins1828Cowboys9104Celtics1914Cavaliers109Cardinals2071HurricanesBottom Five Team Brands'08 Rank'07 RankTeam118111Islanders119112Pacers120108
Nets121106 Knicks122120 Sonics
BEHIND THE NUMBERS: Turnkey President & CEO Len Perna said of the Packers holding the top spot in the index, "What this is saying is the following the Packers have is more intensely loyal to supporting the Packers than any other team. What this basically says is that all other things being equal, a sponsor gets more value in sponsoring the Packers than any other team. The Packers moved up because they had such an emotional year with [QB] Brett Favre. His popularity. His longevity. They just really cement the relationship between the brand and fans in Green Bay" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 12/2). The AP's Robert Imrie noted the study also measured a "team's following among fans outside the local market." The Yankees ranked No. 1 in this measure, followed by the Packers, Red Sox, Cowboys and Lakers (AP, 12/1). Perna noted the rankings are a "star-driven system," and the company's prediction for next year is that the Jets, due in part to QB Brett Favre, "are going to move way up because Brett is really one of the biggest stars, not only in football, but in all sports” ("America’s Nightly Scoreboard,” Fox Business, 12/3).
STEEL RESOLVE: The Steelers slipped from No. 1 in the index last year to No. 3 this year, and Perna said, "The Steelers didn't do anything wrong. When you're No. 1 you have nowhere to go but down" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 12/2). A PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE editorial states, "One thing for sure is that Pittsburgh is a sports town and fans have the luxury of choices." With the Steelers ranked No. 3 and the Penguins at No. 8, "no other city except Boston has more than one team" in the top 10 (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 12/4).
HOST WITH THE MOST: In Detroit, Krista Jahnke reported Red Wings and Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch has the "most brand power of any owner in professional sports," as he finished No. 1 out of 122 owners for his work with the Red Wings. Ilitch also finished No. 15 as owner of the Tigers. Perna: "It helps to win, but it really helps to win over decades. And it really helps to have an owner like Mr. Ilitch, who comes from Detroit and is very heavily involved in youth hockey in the area and in the turnaround of downtown Detroit with the Fox Theatre." Jahnke noted Pistons Owner Bill Davidson finished No. 10 among owners, and Lions Owner William Clay Ford Sr. finished No. 121, ahead of only Thunder Owner Clay Bennett (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/2). Also in Detroit, Jamie Samuelsen wrote Ford's "track record is horrid." His hires are "abysmal," and his "loyalty, while admirable in theory, has meant decades of misery" for the Lions and Detroit. But there is "one thing Ford has never done in Detroit ... other than win." He has "never used the franchise as a pawn," and he has "never held the city hostage to get more money or a new stadium or a sweetheart deal" (FREEP.com, 12/3).
Hurricanes Vault Up Team Brand Index
On Strength Of Efforts In Community
MIDDLE OF THE PACK: The BUSINESS COURIER OF CINCINNATI's Dan Monk notes the Reds finished No. 46 in this year's index, up from No. 61 last year, while the Bengals finished at No. 60, down from No. 30 in '07. Bengals Owner Mike Brown was "mystified by the public perception of his team as one that maximizes profits." Brown: "Profit is not a bad thing. It's a good thing. It's good for the fans to have a healthy business." The study was conducted in June this year, and Monk notes the Reds were 38-45 at the end of that month. But the team's management "drew higher marks than the Bengals on an overall grade of ownership and on questions related to each team's commitment to winning" (BUSINESS COURIER OF CINCINNATI, 11/28 issue).
PEACH FUZZ: ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE's John Manasso notes the Braves have a "higher-rated brand than Atlanta’s other major sports teams" despite not making the playoffs the past three seasons (ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE, 11/28 issue).
In Pittsburgh, Ed Bouchette reports Steelers investors Tim, Art Jr., Patrick and John Rooney and Steelers Chair Dan Rooney "have virtually come to terms on a restructured ownership of the Steelers and will present their proposal to the NFL's finance committee in time for its meeting next Wednesday." John Rooney: "I think the deal is as done as it can be. But until you see the money, I guess no deal is done." John Rooney said that there is an "outside chance the entire deal could be completed by the end of the year but he expects it to last until sometime in January." Tim, Art Jr., Patrick and John Rooney, who are selling all or part of their 16% shares in the franchise, "would prefer to have the sale finished by the end of the year to avoid possible capital gains tax increases that might be passed retroactive" to the start of '09. John Rooney: "I'm not really worried about it because I heard the incoming president won't do anything for six months" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 12/4).
POWER TO THE PEOPLE: In L.A., Kurt Streeter writes Dodgers Vice Chair & President Jamie McCourt and the team "deserve kudos for their good work in the community, which isn't exactly novel for a pro franchise, but should be heralded nonetheless." McCourt "should be thanked for opening up a box brimming with hard questions about the economy and sports, about players and owners and fans." It is "time to start wondering more about the ungodly salaries paid to adults who play kids game, about the money-hungry owners who gouge the faithful everywhere from the parking lots to the turnstiles. Time for fans to realize they've got the real power. They can vote with their feet" (L.A. TIMES, 12/4).
Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon (l) With Team
Owner Roman Abramovich
SEALING THE DEAL: In Alabama, David Jones reported Hawks C Al Horford has "put out a message on YouTube that the team is calling the Horford deal, inviting" Univ. of Florida (UF) fans to attend Friday's game against the Knicks at Philips Arena for a 50% discount. Horford, a former UF player, notes on the message that the Knicks also include former UF players F David Lee and G Anthony Roberson (MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER, 12/2).