SBD/Issue 19/FranchisesPrint All
Predators' Season-Ticket Base Of 8,500
Has Slipped Since End Of Last Season
Twins' Late Season Charge Helping Team Sell
Tickets For Inaugural Season In New Ballpark
BRING ON THE YANKEES: In Minneapolis, Christensen & Neal report the Twins sold "over 46,000 tickets for both Games 3 and 4" of their ALDS series against the Yankees "within 2 1/2 hours of the end" of Tuesday's AL Central tiebreaker victory over the Tigers. St. Peter said that sales "have been cut off but that he expected to have more tickets available over the next couple of days as season ticket holders return unused ones" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/8).
The Pirates "will not raise ticket prices" next season, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. Pirates President Frank Coonelly yesterday said, "I do not anticipate any price increase, even in the individual-(game) pricing." It will mark the "eighth year in a row the team has held the line on season-ticket prices." The Pirates' home attendance this past season was 1,577,853 -- a "decline of about" 2% from '08. It was the "lowest-ever total at PNC Park," and the franchise's "worst total since 1998." Coonelly: "We knew it was going to be a difficult time for our fans. That's why we came out with value plans and took several measures in order to enhance the value of Pirates baseball." Coonelly has said that the Pirates "need to consistently draw 2 million-plus." Coonelly: "There's no question we need to significantly grow attendance in Pittsburgh in order to be competitive." Biertempfel notes the team "mulled raising prices for certain 'premium' games, such as interleague clashes or weekend games, a step some other MLB clubs already have taken." But Coonelly said, "There won't be variable pricing in 2010. Can I say that we will never come to the conclusion that it makes sense to have some differentiation? I'm not prepared to say that" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 10/8).
Writer Says NFL Should
Think Twice On Limbaugh
BAD FOR BUSINESS? FANHOUSE.com's Kevin Blackistone wrote, "It is true that freedom of speech in the country is a protected right. Limbaugh can say whatever he likes and so can you and I. ... But that doesn't mean a potential business partner or employer can't refuse him like a restaurant does of diners who refuse to don shirts and shoes. They can and the NFL should." If the league accepts "whatever bid the group including Limbaugh puts up, it would be a slap in the face to at least two-thirds of its players, and that is selling short the other third." Blackistone: "It would be public relations suicide for the NFL to vote Limbaugh into its ranks and, I would hope, commercial suicide for it as well. At the very least it could be suicide for the Rams. What black player would want to toil for someone like Limbaugh if he didn't have to?" (FANHOUSE.com, 10/7). ClickOnDetroit.com's Rob Parker said, "As a black person, I would have a hard time going to a Rams game, paying money to a person who I believe has very little regard to black people." ESPN's Skip Bayless: "You could make a case maybe he could be a silent partner -- a so-to-speak ‘minority owner’ -- and stay out of the limelight” ("ESPN First Take," ESPN2, 10/8).
THE ULTIMATE WILD CARD: In St. Petersburg, Gary Shelton wrote, "I don't agree with all of Rush's politics. ... Still, I find the notion of Limbaugh owning an NFL team an intriguing idea." Shelton added, "Wouldn't the owners' meetings be interesting?" (TAMPABAY.com, 10/7).
Gillett Reportedly Flying To
Saudi Arabia To Discuss Bid
TIME TO MOVE ON? In Manchester, Daniel Taylor reports former Manchester United Chair Martin Edwards, who is "now a life honorary president," has become the "first dissenting voice at boardroom level to question the way the club is being run by the Glazer family." Edwards "described the Glazers as having 'behaved fairly well' but he is also alarmed that ... United have accrued debts of around" US$1.1B. Edwards: "It concerns me that the club are in so much debt. The club are not in control; that family are in control of the debt. ... The crunch time will come when they (the Glazers) exit. Will they saddle the club with the debt or just sell the club on for a profit because that's all they are interested in?" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 10/8).
HIGH COURT CLAIM: In London, Richard Fletcher reports investment bank Seymour Pierce "has filed a High Court claim against" Hong Kong-based investment company Grandtop Int'l, which is controlled by Carson Yeung, who "took control of Birmingham City earlier this month." Seymour Pierce claims that Grandtop "agreed to pay a [US$3.5M] success fee to Seymour Pierce when it appointed the bank to advise the investment company on the acquisition of Birmingham City" in '07. While Seymour Pierce was "not involved in the recent takeover, the bank claims that its contract still entitles it to the multi-million pound success fee" (London TELEGRAPH, 10/8).
The Yankees last night set a new attendance record for the new Yankee Stadium, drawing 49,464 for its ALDS Game 1 win over the Twins. The total beat an August 6 game against the Red Sox that drew 49,005 and is in part the result of the club adding café and standing room seats for the playoffs. The Yankees only minimally experimented with standing room tickets during the regular season, resulting in crowds below the stadium’s listed capacity of 52,325 (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). WFAN-AM’s Mike Francesa: “This is what we’ve been waiting for -- a Yankee game in October in the new ballpark” (“Mike Francesa,” YES Network, 10/7).
PICKING UP THE PACE: Pacers Sports & Entertainment COO Rick Fuson yesterday said he is "very confident" about the WNBA Fever's future in Indianapolis. The team tomorrow will face off against the Phoenix Mercury in a decisive Game 5 for the WNBA Championship, and Fuson said, "Right now, we just want to make sure these ladies have everything they need today to win the championship." The Fever have "never been profitable" in their 10 seasons, but if "ticket and merchandising sales are any indication, a recent surge in fan support may be enough to indeed secure the team's future" (Scott Olson, IBJ.com, 10/7). The team drew a sell-out crowd of 18,165 to last night's WNBA Finals Game Four, and ESPN's Pam Ward said, "Talk about Fever fever, people have it in Indianapolis" ("WNBA Shootaround," ESPN2, 10/7).
NOT JUMPING IN HEAD FIRST: Chicago Tribune reporter Fred Mitchell said he would be surprised if new Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts “made what we would consider major moves” during the next 60 days. Mitchell: “I would suspect that he would be in the observation mode. He’s probably got some things at the top of his priority list to keep a closer eye on than others. But I think he’s going to transition a little bit into the whole system and observe and make changes as necessary” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” CSN Chicago, 10/7).
SAME OLD STORY: In Buffalo, Donn Esmonde wrote the Bills' "chronic mediocrity is compelling evidence that the Buffalo team’s core problem is its ownership and management," which "consistently misjudges talent, fails to spend wisely on personnel and does not hire capable coaches." Esmonde: "Welcome to the Bills, the General Motors of the NFL. With no government bailout in sight" (BUFFALO NEWS, 10/7).