SBD/Issue 189/Franchises

Franchise Notes

The ST. LOUIS BUSINESS JOURNAL's Christopher Tritto reports Memphis-based FedEx Chair, CEO & President Fred Smith has "joined the short list of people whose names are circulating as potential bidders for a majority stake" in the Rams. Smith has the "financial resources to buy an NFL franchise," as his "nearly 20 million shares of FedEx stock alone are worth about $1[B] and his annual base salary tops" $1.M. Sources said that Smith's "long-running relationship with the NFL and its owners, his business background, and his family's passion for football would make him an ideal lead owner" in the league. Smith owns a 10% stake in the Redskins, "which he would have to sell" if he bought the Rams (ST. LOUIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/19 issue).

LAYING OUT HIS PLAN: In San Diego, Tim McClain noted Padres Vice Chair & CEO Jeff Moorad Wednesday met with the Downtown San Diego Partnership and discussed the team's future, "long term contracts primarily for young players and greater emphasis on ensuring fans enjoy their game-day experience." Moorad is also "tinkering with the look of the club's marketing." Moorad said that San Diego is "one of the few communities in the country to be known by its initials," so expect "SD" to be "more prominent in all things Padres." Moorad also said that the Padres "will focus on being 'a development organization,'" which means "nurturing young players both to restock the major league club and to use as trade materials" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/18).

Nelson (l) Has Purchased Majority
Interest In NBA D-League Franchise
LIFE ON THE D LIST: In Dallas, Eddie Seiko reports Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson has "purchased the majority interest" in an NBA D-League franchise that will relocate from Colorado to Frisco, Texas. Nelson and Green Mountain Energy Chair Evan Wryly have formed Texas D-League Management, which "will operate the franchise." Nelson said that they "will operate as a tandem, although Nelson is the principle owner." The team "will be called Texas, with the nickname to be chosen through a fan contest," and will play at Dr Pepper Arena, "recently renovated to include luxury boxes and about 5,000 seats." Frisco also "could become a practice facility for the Mavericks." The price of the sale "was not divulged," but recent sales of NBA-D League teams have averaged between $2-2.M (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/19).

LIGHTNING STRIKES: St. Petersburg Times writer Damian Cristodero said of the Lightning, "It's tough here. The economy is bad everywhere. You had a bad product on the ice last year. Attendance was down. It's tough to get sponsorships to re-up, so it's a very difficult situation. They're going to have to be very smart over the summer in how they budget their money. I don't think their budgetary problems are any different than some of the other small market teams around, it's just a very tough economy right now" ( NHL Live," NHL Network, 6/18).

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