SBD/Issue 51/FranchisesPrint All
Maloofs Terminate Monarchs Operations To
Focus More On Struggling NBA Kings
BAY WINDOW: In Seattle, Jayda Evans noted the WNBA said that "investors from the Bay Area are looking to purchase the team," though a source "could not confirm if it's the same investors the league has been in discussions with for about four years." The Warriors, who play at Oracle Arena, "have expressed passing interest, but have since nixed any idea of owning a WNBA team" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 11/20). FANHOUSE.com's Michelle Smith noted Oakland City Council member Rebecca Kaplan has been "pursuing an ownership group for a WNBA team for months," and said that she has "been in active talks with potential owners in Oakland and has met with Orender." Oakland Coliseum Authority Chair Scott Hagerty, whose organization oversees Oracle Arena, said that a WNBA franchise "would be welcome in the area, but it is important to 'approach things cautiously' because of the arena's existing relationship with the Warriors, its main tenant" (FANHOUSE.com, 11/21). Kaplan Friday said the WNBA is "very serious" about potentially moving the team to Oracle (MERCURYNEWS.com, 11/20).
SURPRISE, SURPRISE? ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel noted the WNBA's interest in the Bay Area has "been long brewing," and the "idea of the Monarchs being shifted southwest has been floated by WNBA observers in years past." But the Maloofs' "commitment previously seemed firm," and their decision to "abandon the Monarchs was kept hidden until the last second, so that even team members and employees were surprised." However, Voepel wrote "perhaps it's really not that big a shock." The Kings have "faced come financial worries, coupled with the Maloofs' disenchantment with 21-year-old Arco Arena." The Maloof's divestment in the WNBA "continues a trend of NBA owners leaving the women's league." Among the other 12 active WNBA franchises, there are "seven independent owners and five NBA owners" (ESPN.com, 11/20). Monarchs coach & GM John Whisenant said, "I am shocked. Joe and Gavin called me (Thursday) night and told me. I was kept in the dark like everyone else. ... This was really a surprise to me" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 11/20). At presstime, 31% of 715 respondents to an online poll said they will miss the Monarchs. Thirty-six percent said they "can take or leave" the Monarchs, while the remaining 32% said "good riddance" (SACBEE.com, 11/23).
Judge Gives Season-Ticket Holder 60 Days
To Prove Renewal Rights
Buss Says Team Will Maintain Big Payroll
If It Is Necessary To Win
WHATEVER IT TAKES: Jerry Buss said, "If we could find a way to save some money and stay the level of competition we're at, obviously, we'd try to do that. In this [particular] case, we feel the dollars were well spent. Nobody likes this. I'd rather take the $30[M] or $40[M] and put it in my pocket. Just look at my (frayed) jeans. You think I don't have a big payroll. If it's necessary, we're going to do it." Buss: "Like all gamblers, we feel like we're on a run." Jim Buss said that he "would not hesitate to add to the team's payroll before next season if that's what it takes to keep the Lakers ahead of the pack." He added, "If we win again, I'll look to raise the bar that much more. I'm not one who sits pat on a win. You kind of want to improve because that's what all the other teams are doing, which is basically improving to beat you" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 11/23). Lakers C Andrew Bynum said of Jerry Buss' spending, "As long as we keep winning, I think he'll keep doing it." The Mavericks "have the second-largest payroll, about $4[M] below the Lakers" (L.A. TIMES, 11/21).
LABOR THOUGHTS: Jerry Buss said that he is "hopeful that things will get resolved" in negotiations for a new CBA between the NBA and NBPA. Buss: "Obviously the intent is to avoid any kind of conflict, somehow to get everybody happy. But at the end of every (collective bargaining) contract, it's been kind of difficult to get the next one signed" (L.A. TIMES, 11/23).
Season-Ticket Prices For The MLB Cardinals
Will Increase An Average Of 3% In 2010
ON THE RISE: In Philadelphia, Paul Hagen reported the Phillies have "raised some ticket prices for 2010." Not counting premium seating, season prices "will vary from no increase to $2 per ticket." Most individual-game tickets "will cost $2 to $4 more" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/21).
In Portland, Mike Rogoway examined how Paul Allen's cancer diagnosis will affect his sports holdings. Trail Blazers officials predict that whenever Vulcan Sports & Entertainment "changes hands, the Blazers will, too." Blazers and Vulcan officials maintain that the team is the company's "jewel and a cornerstone" of Allen's empire, and "will remain that way indefinitely." Allen may "very well live for many, many years, but all wealthy people eventually leave their heirs a large estate tax." So with the "value of pro sports franchises soaring, Vulcan could have to pay huge taxes just to hold on to the Blazers" and the Seahawks (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/22).
GONE WITH THE WIND: In Chicago, Paul Sullivan reports the Cubs last week "fired the opening salvo in a dispute against a local casino, erecting two signboards in the back of the left-field bleachers, which would obscure a prominent casino ad in most television shots during game telecasts." The billboards currently feature no ads, but are "expected to be ready for the 2010 season." A "likely sponsor is Bud Light, which bought naming rights to the bleachers during the reconstruction project" before the '06 season. Sullivan notes there was nothing else the Cubs could do to prevent the Horseshoe Casino ad from "dominating the left-center-field vista of Wrigley Field" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/23).
NEW FISH IN THE LAKE? In Cleveland, Tony Grossi cited NFL sources as saying that Dolphins Exec VP/Football Operations Bill Parcells may be "agreeable to leaving the Dolphins midway through his four-year contract to take on his next rebuilding project" with the Browns. Parcells' contract allows him to "leave the Dolphins at any point and still receive the remaining money" he is owed, and his new team "would not be required to compensate the Dolphins with money or draft picks." The sources noted that Parcells is "always looking for a new challenge," and feels that the "organization he has set up in Miami will carry on fine without him" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/22).