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SBD/Issue 205/FranchisesPrint All
Cubs' Bankruptcy Filing Could Be
Accompanied By Motion To Sell
NO IMPACT ON PLAYERS: In Illinois, Ted Cox notes the Cubs yesterday "took immediate pains to insist bankruptcy would not nullify any player contracts or otherwise alter any of the team's financial dealings, while not denying the move was under consideration" by Tribune Co. and Chair Sam Zell. In theory, the Cubs "would simply go into bankruptcy court, register their creditors, then go about business as usual." Univ. of Illinois College of Law professor Robert Lawless: "This is more of a legal maneuver than something actually going on with the Cubs. ... If you're solvent, the creditors should be paid 100[%]." New York Univ. Tisch School of Sports Management professor and former MLB Rangers President Michael Cramer said of the process, "You take it in the front door, and it's just like you're getting radiation. It comes out the other door about a half-minute later. It's clean" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 7/14).
Nationals' Letter To Fans Says Baseball
Operations Will Reevaluate All Players
A LEARNING PROCESS: In DC, Thom Loverro notes Nationals Owner the Lerner family with the letter "chose to make this pledge from a distance." No members of the Lerner family appeared at yesterday's press conference announcing Acta's firing to "answer questions about the results of the Lerner tenure." That the Lerners "deemed their presence unnecessary shows how clueless they are when it comes to public perception." The Lerners believe that this "hollow statement" of a letter "should suffice." But the letter "isn't worth the paper it's printed on if the people behind it are not willing to accept questions and explain their actions." Nationals President Stan Kasten at yesterday's press conference, when asked about the Lerners' absence, said, "I am the team president, and this is my responsibility. I am ultimately responsible for everything that goes on here, and I accept all of the blame." But Loverro notes the Lerners, not Kasten, are "responsible for turning the Nationals into a baseball industry joke." Kasten is "paying the price for their mistakes," and it is his "credibility and his legacy as one of the most successful sports executives of his time that is on the line" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 7/14).
Writers Differ On Opinions Of
Nationals' Firing Of Acta
Daly (l), Bettman (r) Will Be Questioned By
Lawyers For Coyotes Owner Jerry Moyes
BUSINESS AS USUAL: In Toronto, Kevin McGran reports Baum yesterday allowed the Coyotes to release their exhibition schedule for the '09-10 season and to "pursue arbitration hearings" with C Daniel Winnik and LW Nigel Dawes, whose contract status "had become caught up in the fine print of U.S. bankruptcy law." Baum in a hearing said, "It's the Phoenix Coyotes until somebody says otherwise" (TORONTO STAR, 7/14).
Barrie Needs $10M To Prove
He Can Keep Funding Team
Beckham Intimates He Could Head Back On Loan
To AC Milan In January, Then Return To Galaxy
THE BECKHAM EFFECT: USA TODAY's Billy Witz notes one question surrounding Beckham's return is "just how many will bother watching?" The Galaxy's home attendance is down more than 25% this season, a drop of nearly 7,000 fans per game, and for the first time since '02, the team is not leading MLS in attendance. Sunday's AC Milan-Galaxy exhibition game at the 27,000-seat Home Depot Center is "not yet sold out," while just 40,000 tickets have been sold for the team's August 1 friendly against FC Barcelona at the Rose Bowl. Galaxy President Tom Payne said of Beckham's return, "What's the effect? Are people over it? Will the Beckham buzz help us sell? It's all going to be interesting" (USA TODAY, 7/14).
BENT OUT OF SHAPE: In N.Y., Jack Bell notes SI's Grant Wahl in his new book, "The Beckham Experiment," examines the "internal dynamics of the Galaxy, casting an unflattering light on Beckham's management company, 19 Entertainment, and how it co-opted and outflanked" AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke. Wahl said, "I don't think these guys, the players or the league recognized how big Beckham is." He added, "Leiweke never accepted that the rules of MLS, with its hard salary cap, meant you can't build a European-style powerhouse in MLS. It's really next to impossible. Instead, he created this dysfunctional management structure." Bell notes with the "lion's share of its salary budget dedicated to a few players, the Galaxy had little capital for building a competitive team" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/14). Look for a conversation with Wahl in THE DAILY later this week.
Dynamo President Hopes To
Learn From Sounders FC
UNION WORK: In Philadelphia, Pat Leonard reports MLS Philadelphia Union GM & coach Peter Nowak has “revealed plans to build a youth development academy in the mold of respected European clubs.” Meanwhile, the expansion franchise's owner, Keystone Sports & Entertainment, has formed a partnership with Comcast-Spectacor to “help the Union manage its planned 18,500-seat stadium, provide food and beverage concessions and catering, and support the club’s ticket sales” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/14).
DOWN BY THE BAY: A’s GM Billy Beane said he watches soccer games on TV, but besides that has "no involvement" with the MLS Earthquakes, who are owned by A's Owner Lew Wolff. Beane: "While every other general manager is playing 18 holes of golf, I watch soccer. It's just an interest" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/12).
STILL FOR SALE: In Manchester, Louise Taylor notes there is a "growing possibility that Newcastle United will not be sold this summer." Although two consortiums "remain interested in buying Newcastle for a figure close" to the US$163M asking prices and others "hover in the background, the due diligence process is understood to have exposed troubling facts about the club's financial liabilities" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 7/14). However, the IRISH TIMES' Carl O'Malley reported Irish business execs Charlie Chawke and Louis Fitzgerald are "seeking investors to join them in bidding" for Newcastle (IRISH TIMES, 7/13). Chawke, who was part of a consortium that bought Sunderland in '06 before selling its stake in the club earlier this year, said that talks on buying Newcastle were at an "early stage" (REUTERS, 7/12).
DELAY OF GAME: In Manchester, Jamie Jackson reported Falcon Equity Chair Sulaiman al-Fahim's proposed takeover of EPL club Portsmouth "could be delayed until next month," as Fahim has "still not agreed [to] a price to buy the club." Fahim's lawyers informed the EPL that "negotiations are ongoing" with current Owner Alexandre Gaydamak. But the news "raises fresh concerns over whether the buy-out will go through," and the EPL has "yet to receive the statements they require, beyond the 'fit-and-proper persons' documents, regarding the provenance of finance for the deal" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 7/12).