SBD/Issue 64/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Heisley's Local Minority-Share Partners
Fail To Meet His Capital Call Again
In Memphis, Ronald Tillery reported Grizzlies Owner Michael Heisley "recently made a capital call on his local minority-share partners as a way to convert more debt into equity." But the local owners "refused to meet the call -- just as they did on a previous call in March 2008 -- and as a result their ownership share has again dropped." The share fell from 30% to 5.8% in '08, and "now is below" 3% (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/12).

MONEY MATTERS: Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban has confirmed a report that his "operating revenues have taken a hit." Cuban said that it is "because of lower ticket prices." Cuban: "We give out a lot of group rates. And we dropped prices on a lot of tickets. Long-term, it's better to have a full house. Of course, it's costing me money. But I'd like to have less money than no money. It's just part of the economy right now. Plus, we've lowered ticket prices the last four years" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/13). Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Paul Coro noted the report also showed that the Suns had the league's "fourth-biggest drop in gate receipts" (23.8%) from last season. But the Suns had "played only six home games when the documents were released." Suns President & CEO Rick Welts: "That (gate-receipt drop) really has to do more with where we've been than where we are. We're expecting it to improve over the balance of the season" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/12).

NEVER TOO LATE TO APOLOGIZE: In L.A., Helene Elliott reported Ducks Owner Henry Samueli "got a near-apology Friday from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who had suspended Samueli from June 2008 until last month." Samueli was cleared last week of criminal charges in a case involving the backdating of stock options at Broadcom Corp. Bettman in a statement said, "In retrospect, it is regrettable and unfortunate that the circumstances at that time caused the Samuelis and the Anaheim Ducks to endure any suspension." Samueli responded in a statement, "I very much appreciate Commissioner Bettman's comments and I fully understand and respect his difficult decision last summer" (L.A. TIMES, 12/12).

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