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SBD/Issue 86/FranchisesPrint All
Davidson Already Discussed
Selling Pistons With Stern
Purchase Of Wizards, Verizon Center Could
End Decade Of Losses For Leonsis' Capitals
The Browns on Friday fired CFO Mike Keenan, who had served as team President "until the arrival of Mike Holmgren" earlier this month, according to Tony Grossi of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Keenan, who was demoted to CFO when Holmgren was named president, oversaw the "development of broadcast contracts and the club's sales and marketing departments." He was Browns Owner Randy Lerner's "top representative at league meetings" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/16). Meanwhile, Grossi cited an NFL source as saying that the Browns and Dolphins are "contemplating swapping salary cap specialists." If the deal works out, Browns VP/Football Administration Dawn Aponte would leave the team for the Dolphins, and would be replaced in Cleveland by Matt Thomas, who holds the same title for the Dolphins. The changes "apparently are being brokered" by new Browns Exec VP Bryan Wiedmeier, who joined the club last week after 29 years with the Dolphins. Aponte previously worked for the Jets when the team was coached by Bill Parcells, who now serves as Exec VP/Football Operations of the Dolphins (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/17). ESPN.com's Adam Schefter cited league sources as saying that when Keenan in '09 "attempted to hire Aponte away from the NFL office, the Browns became the first organization to be charged with tampering with an NFL employee and were fined $50,000" (ESPN.com, 1/17).
McCourt Maintains That Dodgers Fans Remain
Supportive Of Team's Direction
Prosecutors Have Agreed Not To Ask For
More Than Six Months In Jail For Arenas
TRANSITION OFFENSE: In DC, Michael Wilbon wrote the Wizards "want to distance themselves from Arenas as quickly as possible, and this is surely going to get worse considering management will very quickly seek to void" the remainder of his contract. The difference between the felony and a misdemeanor "could be nearly $100[M], which is a reasonable guess at how much Arenas could lose from his contract with the Wizards and his deal with adidas, which was terminated after Arenas's plea bargain Friday." While it is not a certainty the Wizards will void the contract, "copping to a felony makes it more difficult" for the team to keep ties with Arenas (WASHINGTON POST, 1/16). ESPN's Jalen Rose said, "For the most part, the Washington Wizards have already taken their stance. They're not selling his jerseys anymore, you won't see Gilbert Arenas on any promotions. And a player that you owe $80(M) to, it's hard to have him in uniform out on the floor when you've already shown that you're not going to back him at this point" ("Kia NBA Shootaround," ESPN, 1/15). Arenas stands to lose $9.9M in salary if the NBA maintains his unpaid suspension for the duration of this season, and in L.A., Mark Heisler wrote, "For a dumb joke with four unloaded guns, I'd say justice has been served, or over-served" (L.A. TIMES, 1/17).
REDEMPTION SONG? FANHOUSE.com's Jay Mariotti wrote Arenas' guilty plea will "lead to his divorce from the Wizards and will make him a public-relations nightmare for any team that dares to give him another chance" (FANHOUSE.com, 1/15). But ESPN.com's Marc Stein cited sources as saying that Magic GM Otis Smith, who was "part of Golden State's brain trust when the Warriors drafted Arenas as a second-rounder in 2001, continues to be one of Arenas’ closest confidantes in the league." Sources indicated that it is a "virtual certainty, given the depth of their friendship, that Arenas will lobby Smith to be the GM who looks past the damage this incident has done to Gil's reputation and grants his comeback chance" (ESPN.com, 1/16).
With CBA Negotiations Ongoing,
How Hard Will Hunter Fight For Arenas?
Orioles Introducing A $1-5 Additional Charge
On Tickets Purchased The Day Of The Game
GO WITH THE FLOW: Steelers President Art Rooney II said the possibility of an uncapped '10 season "creates some uncertainty about planning for the future." Rooney: "There are changes we've got to deal with and be prepared to adjust to. It's just one of those factors that's out there that the next couple of years are going to be something you wouldn't describe as business as usual." Rooney said he expects the NFL to have a salary cap after next season, and added the uncapped season will "kind of be a one-year situation that we'll get through." He added, "We've got to find the right system and the right adjustments going forward to continue being successful" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/16).
SPREADING THE FIELD: Chargers Exec VP & COO Jim Steeg noted that 26% of the team's season-ticket holders come "from outside San Diego County," and outlined a "number of ways the Chargers have promoted themselves" in Southwest Riverside County. The team continues to air games on the area's KATY-FM, and Station Manager Kevin Watson "estimates his station's ratings for Chargers games 'quadruples' the average Sunday rating and delivers substantial revenue for the classic-rock station." In addition, of the "eight or so retail outlets that sell NFL apparel in Southwest County, only two offer jerseys other than those of the Chargers" (Landon Negri, NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 1/17).
REACHING THE GOAL LINE? Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf said that he "expects the club to break even financially this year" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/17).
Hurricanes Owner Peter Karmanos expects the NHL salary cap next season to be less than the $56.8M this year, but said that the "cap won't be an issue for the Canes." Karmanos: "We can run a team well under the cap and have it be a team we think can contend." He revealed that the Hurricanes will "take a 'huge financial hit' this season, a result of a drop in overall revenue and now the likelihood of missing the playoffs." He added that the "emphasis will be putting a competitive team on the ice" next season (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 1/16).
KARMA POLICE: In L.A., Bill Plaschke wrote Clippers Owner Donald Sterling's "negative presence runs as deep through his organization as red, white and blue." From the "sleazy tales of his apartment ownership to the discrimination suit filed against him by Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor, Sterling's swaying, pitching leadership seemingly will never steady this place." Lakers coach Phil Jackson Friday implied that the Clippers' bad "karma comes directly" from Sterling. Jackson: "I do think there is karma in effect. ... If you do a good mitzvah, maybe you can eliminate some of those things. You don't think Sterling's done enough mitzvahs to eliminate some of those?" (L.A. TIMES, 1/17).
SOL PATROL: WPS Dir of Communications Robert Penner said that AEG has been "in discussions 'for months' with an unidentified party" to sell its 50% stake in the L.A. Sol. Penner said that the sale of the WPS club, "which is currently operating under the custody of the league, will likely be finalized within the next week or two." The Sol reportedly lost $2M in their inaugural season (INSIDESOCAL.com, 1/15). In DC, Steve Goff reported AEG and Blue Star LLC, which owns the other 50%, are selling to a "group that plans to keep the club in the Los Angeles area." Sources indicated that while the new owners would "like to continue playing at Home Depot Center, Cal State Fullerton's Titan Stadium is under consideration" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/15).
PITCH PERFECT? In Atlanta, David O'Brien reported former MLBer Tom Glavine has been "in discussions with the Braves about a possible position with the organization that could include duties ranging from front-office work to instructing players in the minor leagues and perhaps even some broadcasting" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/16).