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SBD/Issue 96/FranchisesPrint All
Beckham Enjoys Highest Level
Of Competition In Italy
NOT WANTING TO BURN BRIDGES: Beckham admitted that he is "not sure" how the Galaxy would respond to the news and that he is "wary of upsetting Leiweke, with whom he has had a good relationship." In London, Graham Spiers reports AC Milan attorney Leandro Cantamessa yesterday "joined forces with Beckham's advisers in discussion" with Leiweke about releasing Beckham from his MLS contract. A permanent move to Milan by Beckham "would not fall foul of UEFA's transfer window restrictions if Galaxy agreed to cancel his contract" (LONDON TIMES, 2/5). Also in London, Nick Harris writes with Galaxy's blessing, a permanent transfer "should be agreed quickly, in which case Milan would need to pay Galaxy a transfer fee." Beckham has a "get-out clause in his Galaxy contract but cannot trigger it without financial penalties until October" (London INDEPENDENT, 2/5).
POWER PLAY: SI.com's Jonah Freedman writes for the "first time in MLS history, the Galaxy have huge leveraging power over one of the preeminent soccer clubs in the entire world." The Galaxy "may have no choice but to let Beckham go, but they also have a unique opportunity to hold him hostage until they get something from Milan -- something beyond the eight-figure cash offer that inevitably will be [thrown] their way." Freedman lists "three bargaining chips the Galaxy can demand" from Milan: a suitable replacement player, a visit from Milan and a "beneficial partnership" (FANNATION.com, 2/5).
Beckham Boosted Attendance
Throughout MLS While With Galaxy
HE BROUGHT ATTENTION TO LEAGUE: ESPN's Tommy Smyth deemed Beckham’s time with the Galaxy as a success. Smyth: "What other player in MLS can bring the world’s attention to look at MLS? ... This man was everywhere, in every newspaper you got and every magazine. It was a success, maybe not football-wise, but certainly from a marketing point of view.” While admitting MLS will "take a hit" with the loss of Beckham, Smyth said, "The league’s only an infant league. It has a lot of time to go. They will miss David Beckham, but it’s not the end of the world” ("ESPN First Take," ESPN2, 2/5).
Bettman Feels Sun Belt Franchises
Can Succeed, Winning The Key
KEEPING IT CLOSE TO THE VEST: The GLOBE & MAIL's Patricia Best reports the "word circulating among business people in Calgary" is that English Coca-Cola Football League Championship club Derby County co-Owner Brett Wilson "is trying to snag ownership" of the Coyotes. When asked about his interest in the Coyotes, Wilson would only refer to the city of Phoenix and said twice, "I've been there, I've golfed there." Best notes Wilson has "come right out and said he's interested in owning a piece" of the Predators, and he "has made no secret over the years of his desire to own a couple of NHL teams." Wilson in October said, "Would I be interested in buying into the Predators? In a heartbeat, yeah. The NHL knows I'm interested. I've supplied all the paperwork" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/5).
Rooney Reportedly Looking To Add
Philadelphia Native As Fourth Investor
CELEBRATORY COSTS: Pittsburgh Public Safety Dir Michael Huss said that the city "spent $79,500 to deploy 258 police officers and legions of clean-up crews" for the Steelers Super Bowl XLIII victory parade, which drew an estimated 350,000 people on Tuesday. In Pittsburgh, Jeremy Boren notes the Steelers "did not contribute any money, and the team did not return a call seeking comment." After the team's win Sunday, fans "flooded city streets," and costs were "higher in part because of overtime shifts and use of police, firefighters and other personnel." Huss said that the money to "cover both celebrations will come from an annual allocation the state gives Pittsburgh to host 'regional events'" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2/5).
Spurs' Decision To Sit Healthy Tony Parker (l)
Does Not Go Over Well With Fans In Denver
OUT OF LINE? ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser: “If I went to that game in Denver and I paid probably $300 for two seats, at least, and they gave me (Spurs G) Roger Mason Jr. … and I missed out on all the great talent, I’d be very upset because how many times am I going to go to a game?” He added, “If you’re David Stern, you have to care about the ticket-buyer. So strategically, (Popovich) may have done the right thing, but I’m not sure anybody in the league is happy” (“PTI,” ESPN, 2/4). FANHOUSE.com's Brett Pollakoff wrote, "What about the fans? What about all of those people that voted to have the game televised on NBATV?" (FANHOUSE.com, 2/4). ESPN’s J.A. Adande: “It’s disappointing to the fans in Denver who paid their money. (But) guess what? Gregg Popovich does not have to answer to the fans of Denver. He has to answer to his owner and his Spurs fans, and he’s doing what’s best for them.” Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan: “There’s no sympathy for the fans in Denver because anyone who buys a ticket in pro sports it’s ‘Caveat emptor.’ You take your chances” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 2/4).
BAD PRECEDENT TO SET: In San Antonio, Buck Harvey writes the NBA should "hope others don't copy this, and so should Spurs fans." Maybe the Cavaliers for the February 27 road game against the Spurs should rest F LeBron James the "only night he's in San Antonio" this season. But Harvey writes, "How can the NBA lecture Popovich about hurting the product -- when the league hurts it more?" The NBA "can't fine a franchise for not playing certain players, especially after an inactive list replaced a system that once encouraged teams to invent phantom injuries" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 2/5).
Wilson In Discussions
With Predators Ownership
SKATING AWAY: Comcast-Spectacor President & COO Peter Luukko said of the sale, "Emotionally, it's disappointing, but we have to make good, viable business decisions. Every business venture has a viable lifespan and (the team) was becoming less and less viable, and over the next 10 years it was going to require millions of dollars to operate." In Philadelphia, Ed Moran notes the move was "prompted by the planned development of the Wachovia Center area into a shopping and entertainment complex." Luukko said that the team "needed a new home and the immediate Philadelphia, Trenton or Atlantic City area just wouldn't work" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/5).
Pistons Were 356 Fans Short Of
Continuing Home Sellout Streak
Fire Sued For Only Playing Two Matches
During Planned Three-Match Mexican Tour
DEEP FREEZE: The Wild yesterday announced that the team will not raise season-ticket prices for the '09-10 season or the '09 Stanley Cup playoffs. Current Wild season-ticket prices range from $18-86 per game. The team has 16,500 season-ticket holders and more than 7,500 deposit holders on a waiting list. The Wild have the longest current sellout streak in the NHL at 350, including preseason and playoff games (Wild). In Minneapolis, John Shipley notes if the team makes the playoffs, tickets will range from $32-100 "for a first-round series, rising to between $65 and $183 if the Wild make the Stanley Cup Finals" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/5).
COUNTRY TWANG: KUKLASKORNER.com's Dirk Hoag noted the Predators after the conclusion of the Super Bowl broadcast locally aired a new ad featuring musician Taylor Swift. The promo is "another example of how the new ownership group is bringing fresh energy to their advertising campaign, and doing a fine job getting their message out to the broader audience" (KUKLASKORNER.com, 2/2).
SUCH A MAVERICK: In Dallas, David Moore reported the NBA office told Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban that it "will not allow him to make a donation to charity in" Nuggets G J.R. Smith's name. Cuban last month was fined $25,000 "for what the league termed 'improper interaction' with" Smith, and "whenever Cuban is fined by the league, he consistently matches that amount and donates to charity." But making a donation in Smith's name "was a dig at the league, one the league chose not to play along with" (DALLASNEWS.com, 2/2).