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SBD/Issue 235/FranchisesPrint All
Atlanta Spirit Owners Have Suffered
$20M In Annual Losses Since '05
Judge Has Agreed To Expedite
Procedures Regarding Cubs Sale
WITH THE WIND: SI.com's Jon Heyman wrote we "can't be sure how the Ricketts family will do with the Cubs," but it has "got to be better" than Tribune Chair Sam Zell. The Cubs' front office was "hamstrung this summer by their ownership situation." Zell "isn't responsible for the previous 100 years of failure, but this one is on him" (SI.com, 8/24). In Chicago, Carol Slezak writes if Tom Ricketts "really wants to build a winner, there's a readily available blueprint he can follow" with the White Sox. Slezak: "Tribune Co. never figured out how to build a franchise that could be competitive for the long term. They never put a system in place. They never learned how to win." But the White Sox "figured it out," and Ricketts "could do far worse than to follow their lead" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/25).
BASEBALL SENSE: ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski in an open letter to the Ricketts family wrote, "This isn't just any team you're purchasing. ... What it doesn't need is an owner who thinks of the Cubs as simply an investment, another expensive car to park in the portfolio garage. It needs someone who has business and baseball sense." The Cubs should not "pink slip" GM Jim Hendry, and if Kenny is "going to stay, he has to quit with the jock-sniffing." Wojciechowski: "He's the chairman, not the clubbie. Someone needs to tell him he's not a player and that this isn't fantasy camp" (ESPN.com, 8/24). In Illinois, Bruce Miles notes Hendry "probably is safe for next year" because the team "won't change hands until November, at the earliest, and the Cubs' organizational meetings and the GM meetings will have taken place by then." But the Ricketts family should "hire a baseball man to be team president." While former Padres CEO Sandy Alderson's name "has been out there," Braves President John Schuerholz and former Phillies GM Pat Gillick are "no-nonsense men who built champions" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 8/25).
IDeaS Concludes Hurricanes Can Boost
Ticket Revenue By 4.5% With Better Pricing
EXPLORING THEIR OPTIONS: In Columbus, Bill Bush reported the Columbus Chamber of Commerce (CCOC) is "commissioning a study of how to make the Blue Jackets economically viable after the team failed to get Franklin County to buy Nationwide Arena." The study, which will be conducted by Ohio State Univ. professor emeritus of finance Steven Buser and could be completed by early fall, will not "specifically focus on who should own and operate Nationwide Arena, or whether a 'sin tax' on alcohol and cigarettes should be involved, as the team had proposed." Instead, CCOC President & CEO Ty Marsh said that the study will "merely list 'credible and viable' options, both public and private, that could help the Blue Jackets turn a profit." Marsh "would not disclose the cost of the study" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 8/22).
Red Bull Still Trying To Find
Right Way To Operate Franchise
In Cincinnati, Steve Watkins reports the Bengals' "season ticket sales are falling, and a more than five-year streak of sellouts" at Paul Brown Stadium "is in jeopardy." The Bengals this year sold single-game tickets, the first time since '04 the team has "sold anything other than season tickets." The team "had a waiting list for season tickets, but those people have now had their chance and there's still a shortfall." Bengals Dir of Sales & Public Affairs Jeff Berding said there are a "couple thousand tickets (per game) still available." Berding also noted that the team has a "few suites available for the first time in about five years" (BUSINESS COURIER OF CINCINNATI, 8/21 issue).
THE POWER OF CHEESE: The Packers and Verizon Wireless have reached a five-year extension of their partnership through '13, under which the company will continue as the official wireless service provider for the team and Lambeau Field. Verizon will maintain its gate sponsorship at Lambeau, and also will gain prominent signage throughout the stadium. Verizon retains exclusive rights to the Packers' team marks for both permanent and non-permanent POS advertising materials (Packers).
Falcons-Themed Boeing 747 Part Of AirTran
Airways, Falcons' Multi-Year Partnership
THE DEVILS MADE ME DO IT: A Newark STAR-LEDGER editorial stated the Devils' newest billboard ad campaign is the "latest gotcha in an intramural feud with the Nets," who "deserved the dig." The Nets this season are removing "New Jersey" from their road uniforms, and the Devils' billboard reads in part, "We proudly wear our state on our jerseys." The editorial stated while New Jersey "pours millions of tax dollars into Izod Center to prop it up for the Nets, the NBA team repays the state with disrespect" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/24).
rockets in flight: In Houston, Richard Justice ranked the Rockets as the "smartest professional sports franchise" in the city. Rockets GM Daryl Morey is the "smartest guy in town by miles," and Owner Les Alexander's "passion and commitment to winning make him the best owner by miles." Justice ranked the Texans No. 2, as Owner Bob McNair is the "blueprint for what an owner should be," while the Astros are No. 3, as Owner Drayton McLane sometimes "seems more interested in talking about being good instead of being good" (CHRON.com, 8/24).