SBD/Issue 138/MLB Season Preview

Padres Restructure Front Office, DePodesta To Report To Towers

Moorad Has Completed His
Purchase Of 1/3 Of Padres
Padres Vice Chair & CEO Jeff Moorad has "restructured the Padres' front office so that" Exec VP Paul DePodesta, who previously reported to former CEO Sandy Alderson, will report to Exec VP & GM Kevin Towers, according to Tom Krasovic of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Both Towers and DePodesta "called the result 'business as usual,' but each acknowledged that it might clear up perceptions of front-office dysfunction." Towers: "If anything, it should help Paul in the way of fitting in with everybody else. Even if there was zero truth, maybe what people speculated (about who was making decisions), I don't think there will be that now" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/4). Moorad said of his role in baseball decisions, "I don't believe in meddling unreasonably. I did it a little in Arizona, learned my lesson and pulled back. The reality is baseball people need to make baseball decisions. I'm there to support them. I'm there to help from a management standpoint. Obviously, I have a little background on the contract side, and I look forward to being a resource when appropriate in that regard. But the baseball decisions will be made by (Towers) and his team. I'm confident that we are going to make some good decisions going forward, and it's going to help us create that successful long-term approach" ("The Jim Rome Show," 4/3).

CLOSING THE DEAL: The SAN DIEGO BUSINESS JOURNAL's Mike Allen notes even for a "seasoned and powerful sports executive like Jeff Moorad, it was hectic as he completed his purchase of one-third" of the Padres last month. Though Moorad and former Padres Majority Owner John Moores have "developed a friendship in recent years," Cooley Godward Kronish attorney Wainwright Fishburn, who represented Moorad in the transaction, said that there were "other reasons he was able to close the deal." Fishburn: "It was a combination of a strong price, favorable terms, and the certainty that the transaction would be completed." Moorad said that the deal, which will ultimately see his ownership group acquire 100% of the team, "could close in as little as one year or as many as five." Moorad: "The timeline we control depends on the economy. We may choose to accelerate the timeline or take advantage of the full five years." Allen notes Moorad also is "noncommittal about boosting his budget or making moves right off the bat," and Moorad said that "keeping games affordable to families will be a focus, 'especially in the short term when this economy is playing such a significant factor'" (SAN DIEGO BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/6 issue).

NO WALK IN THE PARK: In San Diego, Nick Canepa writes even if the Padres "were to contend, home attendance probably would be down, given the economy." And if the team "doesn't at least show signs of progress, one capable of entertaining, we might see more heads than automobiles rolling down Tony Gwynn Drive" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/6). Also in San Diego, Jeanette Steele writes five years after its debut in '04, San Diego's investment in the $474M Petco Park has "delivered mixed results," as the neighborhood "still shows signs of the downbeat warehouse district it used to be." Fans "credit the ballpark with a downtown renaissance that has won national honors, including a 2007 Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence," and the East Village has "witnessed more than $1.075[B] in taxable development directly tied to the ballpark." The development "brings the city $8.7[M] in additional property taxes each year for downtown projects." But the "additional hotel taxes, the splashy new restaurants and the grand residential towers must be weighed against the $11.3[M] San Diego pays yearly on bonds and the $4.1[M] it spends for ballpark operating expenses." San Diego "shares certain maintenance and operating expenses with the team, and the public portion has increased every year since the ballpark opened, while the team's part has fallen" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/6). 

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