SBD/Issue 197/Franchises

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  • Panthers, Rosenhaus Reveal Thinking Behind Innovative Campaign

    Drew Rosenhaus Featured In
    Panthers' New Campaign
    The NHL Panthers "pulled off an ingenious bit of viral marketing" yesterday by launching a campaign in which agent Drew Rosenhaus is hired by Panthers fans to negotiate lower ticket prices, according to Greg Wyshynski of YAHOO SPORTS. Panthers Dir of PR, Publishing & New Media Matt Sacco said the campaign is "launching next Tuesday, but we're starting it now virally." Wyshynski noted the Panthers reached out to Rosenhaus Sports President Robert Bailey and "pitched the idea for the campaign." Rosenhaus: "It sounded like it wouldn't take too much of my time, and we were able to work it around my schedule. I was happy to play along, and shed a little light on the fact that agents and teams can sometimes work together for a good cause." Rosenhaus added that the "proceeds he's receiving from the gig are going to the Diabetes Research Foundation, and the team is also providing Panthers tickets to the clients." Rosenhaus had to clear the appearance with the NFLPA. Future plans for the campaign "include footage of the intense negotiations on YouTube." The Panthers have not said what the "result of these negotiations" will be, but Wyshynski wrote, "Why would Drew Rosenhaus [be] involved in an ad campaign that has him losing to the Panthers and ticket prices going up, you know? ... Kudos to both parties for a very inventive bit of viral marketing to kick off the summer" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/30). In Miami, George Richards cited sources as indicating that the Panthers as a result of the campaign will "lower prices in sections 107-111 for seats in the upper part of the lower bowl," with those tickets costing $35 per game "for those committing to a season ticket plan." Fans who have already bought tickets in these sections "will be given a refund to match the current price" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 6/30).

    IN THE WORKS FOR A WHILE: NHL Panthers President & COO Michael Yormark said that the campaign with Rosenhaus "has been planned for 'months.'" Yormark added that the "official multimedia launch for the movement next week is timed to be right after July 4 and roughly 14 weeks from opening night." Yormark: "Normally, we would do our new business push right after the season. We decided to hold off on that because we didn't want to come out too early; especially since we're going to be investing significant dollars into our ad campaign" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/30).

    SMART PR MOVE: ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg said Rosenhaus' involvement in the campaign "is just a bunch of good PR." Greenberg: "He acknowledges sort of that he's doing the whole thing with a smile on his face. But at its core this is what I've been talking about for as long as we've been doing this show. Fans need to organize, they need a leader." Greenberg added, "Would any of us have taken note of whether or not the Panthers adjust their prices for this coming season? Of course not. Will we now? … Heck yes! You're going to know, I'm going to know, the whole country's going to know because people now are going to follow this." ESPN Radio's Mike Golic added, "It's a smart move" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN2, 7/1). 

    Writer Feels Panthers Should 
    Focus More On Improving Team
    WAVING THE WHITE FLAG? In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes under the header, "Panthers' Marketing Ploy Skates On Thin Ice." The campaign is "not just any ploy," as it is the "kind that tells you the Panthers have given up." Hyde: "They're not going to play pretend anymore. They're letting you in on the joke. They're really saying: 'We know we don't have a team to market, or any players you're interested in watching and no one wants to pay our ticket prices anymore, so let's push the humor to the outer edges so our fans get a chuckle even if they don't really understand it.'" Hyde adds, "Here's something even edgier for the Panthers to consider: Go actually do something to grow the product" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/1).

    INSIDE INFORMATION: In Miami, Barry Jackson cites sources as indicating that though the proposed sale of the Panthers to Sports Properties Acquisitions Corp. (SPAC) "could happen, the deal is on shaky ground." One problem is that most of SPAC's investors "must approve it, and some might prefer to get their money back (which happens if the sale is shot down)." Jackson also notes there is "talk of a potential bid from a local real estate developer" for the team (MIAMI HERALD, 7/1).

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  • Balsillie's Attorneys Criticize Reinsdorf's Bid For Coyotes

    Balsillie's Attorneys Pick
    Apart Reinsdorf's Coyotes Bid
    Attorneys for RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie “have criticized a proposed bid" for the Coyotes, saying in a court filing that the offer from White Sox and Bulls Chair Jerry Reinsdorf is “not good for all creditors and won’t likely succeed,” according to Paul Waldie of the GLOBE & MAIL. Reinsdorf has offered to pay up to $148M for the Coyotes, but his offer “carries several conditions, including negotiating a new lease with the City of Glendale.” Balsillie has offered $212.5M to buy the club, which he intends to relocate to Hamilton. Balsillie’s attorneys yesterday in a bankruptcy court filing “picked apart the Reinsdorf offer, saying it provides no payments to the Coyotes’ current majority owner Jerry Moyes and covers only secured creditors.” The attorneys in the filing argued “there is a significant likelihood that the Reinsdorf bid will not be finalized, and if finalized, will not be held the ‘best’ bid for the Coyotes bankruptcy estate.” Balsillie’s attorneys also asked Judge Redfield Baum to ensure bidders are not “misled into a NHL contention that they are bound to accept whatever ‘transfer fee’ to the NHL and ‘indemnification fee’ to neighbouring teams the NHL chooses to assess as a total relocation fee” (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/1).

    BACKING THE BID: The AP’s Andrew Bagnato noted the NHL “believes Jerry Reinsdorf can succeed where Jerry Moyes failed.” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said, “Obviously, some of the numbers aren’t pretty, but they obviously see potential. … At the end of the day, what we have and what’s been submitted to the court, we think is the best offer that’s out there, and we’re trying to maximize the value for all creditors.” When asked what might happen if the team continues to lose money, Daly said that Reinsdorf “appears committed to keeping the team in Glendale.” Daly: “There’s certainly been no indication that this bid is kind of a temporary, let’s-see-how-it-works-and-then-let’s-bolt kind of bid. I think they’re committed to the long-term future of this franchise. If it doesn’t work for whatever reason, I think they’ll try to find a local owner before they try to relocate the franchise” (AP, 6/30). Daly also said that the NHL “would do what is ‘reasonable and necessary’ to assist the team” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/1).

    SUMMER SKATE: In Phoenix, Rebekah Sanders noted the Coyotes are “seeing positive signs for the hockey team’s future in Glendale.” Coyotes President & COO Doug Moss said that an autograph signing with several players “drew 3,000 fans to a recent open house at Jobing.com Arena.” It was the “largest summer showing" since the team moved from Phoenix to Glendale six years ago. The Coyotes this summer will host “more open houses, which the team uses to drum up anticipation for the next season and promote season ticket packages.” Moss “would not say how many ticket packages have been sold so far” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/30).

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  • Laying Down The Chips: NLL Rock Sold To Pro Poker Player Dawick

     
    Ontario business exec and pro poker player Jamie Dawick has purchased the NLL Rock, according to David Grossman of the TORONTO STAR. Dawick had been in discussions to purchase the team for the “past few months,” and the NLL BOG “approved the sale of the franchise last week.” Outgoing Rock President Brad Watters, who will “stay with the club during the transition, would not reveal the price tag, saying only that it was ‘in the seven figures.’” Grossman notes the Rochester Knighthawks were purchased in ’08 for $5.6M, while "other teams have sold for about" $1M. Dawick, who is “in his early 30s,” has “taken part in several poker events, including last year’s World Series of Poker.” Watters said, “He’s a great guy, very passionate about the game and is the right person needed to take this team to the next step” (TORONTO STAR, 7/1).

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  • NFL Franchise Notes: Buccaneers League's Smallest Spenders

    Buccaneers Rank In Bottom Half Of NFL 
    Spenders Since Glazers Acquired ManU In '05
    In St. Petersburg, John Romano cites a report by NFL.com's Jason La Canfora as indicating that the Buccaneers "spent less in player salaries and bonuses than any team in the NFL in the past five seasons." Buccaneers Owners the Glazers "for one reason or another, ... are not spending money the way they once did," and, "perhaps not coincidentally, the team is not winning as much either." But there is "something larger than figures in a ledger at play here," as the numbers "could say something about a team's financial condition." However, the "problem is we have bits and pieces of evidence, yet we never get explanations from the notoriously secretive Glazer family." Romano notes the Buccaneers were in the "top half of the NFL in player salaries every season from 2000 to '04," and ever since the Glazers bought EPL club Manchester United in '05, the Buccaneers "have been in the bottom half." Romano: "I can understand being conservative. I can understand shopping for value instead of flash. ... What I cannot understand is owning a cash cow of a franchise and still spending about $11[M] less than the average NFL team" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/1).

    FILLING THE LION'S DEN: In Detroit, Nicholas Cotsonika reports the Lions have "unveiled new season-ticket packages -- plus an 'All You Can Eat' seat -- as they try to lure fans to Ford Field in an ailing economy after the NFL's first 0-16 season." Season-ticket plans include a half-season plan, a "Roar Zone" plan in which about 1,200 upper-deck seats are "available for the full season at $30 per game," and a plan where fans can "pick three games -- except for Pittsburgh and Green Bay -- and save $18 or more per package." The 5,500 seats in the "All You Can Eat" sections will be "offered with season tickets, group tickets and individual game tickets," and start at $73 for season tickets and $85 for individual game tickets (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/1).

    THE SON RISES: In San Jose, Ann Killion wrote 49ers President Jed York during his press tour following the Santa Clara City Council voting to approve the 49ers' stadium financing plan last month grew "into this new role as the public face of ownership." York was "not only articulate, he was honest." Killion: "He didn't exaggerate the team's victory. He didn't cheerlead or embellish. He wasn't overly defensive or slickly smooth. He was restrained, thoughtful and appeared prepared for a long road ahead." York has a "certain savvy in dealing with the media" that his parents, co-Owners John and Denise DeBartolo York, lack. Some of that "comes from another mentor," as 49ers COO Andy Dolich, a "longtime sports executive, appears to have left his fingerprints on his young protégé" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/28). 

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  • Franchise Notes

    AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that the NHL Kings' budget "won't be dented by losses sister company AEG Live faces after the death last week of singer Michael Jackson." Leiweke called Jackson "our friend and our partner. ... We probably lost the most iconic performer the world has seen." However, he said that the company's hockey business "won't be affected." Leiweke said Jackson's death "will have zero impact on AEG, AEG Live, AEG Corporate or the L.A. Kings" (L.A. TIMES, 7/1).

    Rubio's Reps Unhappy Wolves
    Drafted Another Point Guard
    RUBIO'S CUBE: SI.com's Chris Mannix reported representatives for T'Wolves first-round draft pick Ricky Rubio are not happy about the team drafting Jonny Flynn, another point guard, immediately after Rubio, and they have "come to the bargaining table with a pretty big stick: the possibility that Rubio could sign a lucrative contract in Europe." Sources said that European teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Tau Ceramica "have been coming hard after Rubio," and there is a chance one of those teams could make Rubio the "highest-paid player in Europe." However, the "catch is that the teams pursuing Rubio don't want him for one or two years; they want a three- or four-year commitment" (SI.com, 6/30). Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Jerry Zgoda notes Rubio's agent, Dan Fegan, "already has Rubio aimed toward a big second NBA contract five years from now, when he can recoup some of those millions he will pay his current team to be released." There is "almost no chance" Fegan will allow Rubio the "possibility he will be outplayed by another point guard on the same team and thus lower Rubio's long-term value" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/1).

    TEAM EFFORT: Grizzlies VP/Ticket Sales & Service Dennis O'Connor said that the team is up 15% in "season ticket renewals from this time a year ago." O'Connor said that the team has "already sold more renewals and new season tickets combined than they did all of last year, although he declined to say what that number was." O'Connor: "We are well on our way to having a great sales year. We have a more legitimate chance of growing our base, which has always been our goal." In Memphis, Marlon Morgan notes "one thing that has made the Grizzlies' marketing efforts easier has been the willingness of the players to help." Grizzlies G O.J. Mayo and F Rudy Gay "have been to several team functions," while Gay and F Hakim Warrick "have come into the office to help make phone calls" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 7/1).

    TWO FOR THE MONEY: On Long Island, Wallace Matthews wrote Mets Owners the Wilpon family and Mets GM Omar Minaya "have let down this team and this town, not by not spending enough money, but by wasting the money they did spend." The fact that they are "reaping the benefits of a new ballpark, with its significantly higher ticket prices and myriad 'revenue streams,' only makes it that much more infuriating." Matthews: "They got your money in advance and give you back nothing in return. ... They can't blame this one on Bernie Madoff. The fraud being perpetrated in Flushing is strictly an inside job" (NEWSDAY, 6/28).

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