SBD/Issue 197/Franchises

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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