U.S. Fans Abound For WWC Final LeBron Praised For Role In Apatow's "Trainwreck" MLS Eyeing St. Paul For Expansion Club Angels Bad PR Continues With Dipoto Exit NBA Free Agency Begins With Money Flying Expectations High For NASCAR On NBC NBC Lands New Advertisers For Race Coverage Going Off The Grid Steelers Exploring '23 Super Bowl Bid GT To Benefit Financially From Ireland Game
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MLB Clubs Struggling With Ticket Sales
Because Of Weather, High Prices
TRENDING DOWNWARDS: In Seattle, Greg Johns noted the Mariners averaged 30,207 for their first six games at Safeco Field this season, down 3.3% from an average of 31,238 for the first six games last year. And though the ongoing series against the Rays is "expected to draw only 16,000-17,000 per game, those figures also run pretty close to last year's results at this point in the year" (SEATTLEPI.com, 4/21). In Toronto, Gary Loewen reported the Blue Jays' average attendance through seven home games was 22,056, down from 27,881 a year ago. But the '08 figures were "inflated by ticket giveaways to businesses," meaning this year's figures are "more accurate because the Jays have ceased with the freebies" (TORONTO SUN, 4/22).
Yankees' Legends Suite Section Has Been
Filled Only Once Since New Stadium's Opening
FOR ALL TO SEE: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes in a new ballpark the Yankees "can't seem to fill, they need to import hundreds, even thousands, of people to sit in unsold seats or in those their owners don't want to claim." If televised images of empty seats at the ballpark are "important --- barely half the 43,342 announced as paid attendance in the Wednesday afternoon rain showed up -- then here's a tip for the Yankees: Follow your old business partners, the Nets, and play 'The Price is Right.'" Sandomir notes at a Mavericks-Nets game at Izod Center on December 19 held during a snowstorm, the arena PA announcer "implored fans in the arena's upper reaches to 'Come on down!'" and sit in lower-level seats. Meanwhile, it was "refreshing to hear" Yankees play-by-play announcer Michael Kay during YES Network's broadcast "announce the paid attendance Wednesday, hear him give a few reasons for why 43,342 looked nothing like 43,342, and to see the YES cameras pan to some empty expanses" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/23). ESPN's Brian Kenny noted from the main camera shot from behind the pitcher during a broadcast, “you’d think there’s nobody at the game.” Kenny: “Basically they now have a little moat around the field of empty seats. Those seats, by the way, can run you up to $2,600, and the waiters and ushers outnumber the fans back there." ESPN's Michael Wilbon added, "They're embarrassing themselves. They're just showing greed in every way imaginable." ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "This is simple economics. If you have an overwhelming supply and no demand you have to change something" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/22).
Phillips Says Teams Must Raise Ticket Prices
To Be Able To Afford Higher Player Payrolls
MORE IMPORTANT THINGS THAN BASEBALL: On Long Island, Neil Best wrote "some of the problem" with the empty seats is "unsold seats, of course." Best: "But here's another thing: Many of the empty seats were sold to someone, and many of those someones are off somewhere on a concourse or in a club -- eating, drinking, talking and perhaps keeping an eye on the game on TV" (NEWSDAY.com, 4/22).
Jazz Reminding Fans Playoff Tickets Are Still
Available With Full-Page Newspaper Ads
SLOW BUILD TO TAKEOFF: Last night's Heat-Hawks Game Two at Philips Arena drew a sellout crowd of 19,146 (Mult., 4/23). However, in Atlanta, Larry Hartstein reported by mid-afternoon yesterday "about 1,000 tickets remained" for the game. Several fans were "pleasantly surprised to be able to walk up and buy tickets Wednesday afternoon." Hawks Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Tracy White before the game said, "We know the game is going to sell out -- we just don't know at what point" (AJC.com, 4/22). Meanwhile, also in Atlanta, Sekou Smith notes the Hawks' official live mascot "ignored his usual pre-game flight path," stopping in the stands, on the midcourt scoreboard and on the camera over one of the shot clocks. Officials stopped play with 8:48 to play in the first quarter to allow the bird's handler to retrieve it (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/23). TNT's Dick Stockton said the hawk, “not happy with (just) flying around in the pregame, wanted to get into the action during the game as well” (“Heat-Hawks,” TNT, 4/22).
Daly Reportedly Has Met With Group Trying
To Bring Another NHL Team To Toronto Area
Writer Notes New Jaguars Uniforms
Feature A More Streamlined Look
NICE DECISION: In Jacksonville, Matt Soergel writes the uniforms are "certainly cleaner than those busy old ones, accomplished largely by banishing the color gold to where it belongs: The iconic snarling Jaguar head." Some observers "will complain that it's boring, but what's undeniable is that the new look is crisper and more elegant." Soergel: "Another wise move: It's teal jerseys and white pants for home games, a classic Jaguar combination." Soergel notes the all-black uniforms that "showed up a few times the last few years are gone." Weaver "flatly ruled them out" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/23). Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said of the new uniforms, “A real clean look, something that we do think will have a timeless-ness about it. ... We’re going to have a freshness about us” (“NFL Total Access,” NFL Network, 4/23).
LIONS DEN: In Detroit, Jamie Samuelsen wrote of the new Lions logo and uniforms, "If the goal is [to] dramatically alter the model, I don't see much alteration. I hope the goal was just to tweak things because if they were looking to overhaul the look and feel of the team, they failed." Samuelsen added, "I just never had an issue with the Lions logo. I tend to be boring when it comes to sports teams, but I'm just not a big fan of change. ... My reaction to the Lions logo? A bit of a yawn" (FREEP.com, 4/22).
Cuban Says He Has Money, But
Not A Championship
AT ALL COSTS: Cuban said the team has "lost money most of the years. … I think we’ve made money two years.” But he added, “I’d just rather win than make more money. I’ve got money.” Cuban: “I want to win for myself, the city, the players, that’s just my goal. Now, how we do it is the hard part. It’s not always just about spending money, so we’ve got to try to figure it out.” Meanwhile, Cuban said of his relationship with other owners, “The ones that are active and involved, I get along great with. The ones that aren’t, I don’t.” Cuban also said he is “just as committed” to the team as when he bought the franchise. Cuban: “I just don’t get as upset after losses like I used to. … I’ve kind of mellowed out in terms of in-games” (DALLASNEWS.com, 4/23).