SBD/Issue 88/Franchises

Franchise Notes

A source said that "contrary to multiple reports and abundant speculation," the Wizards "have not considered voiding Gilbert Arenas' contract in the wake" of his felony gun plea. The source added that the Wizards have "not had any discussions or communications with Arenas in regards to voiding the deal, and haven't decided what their course of action is in the situation because the legal process must play out" (MIKEJONESSPORTS.com, 1/18).

DIGGING OUT OF DEBT: EPL club West Ham United co-Owner David Sullivan estimated that the team's debt "could be as much as" US$179M as a "result of excessive spending on transfers and wages and borrowing against future income." Sullivan: "We are like a government of national unity in crisis." He "predicts that the next set of accounts will show a loss" of US$65-81M and "has not ruled out selling the naming rights to Upton Park." In London, Gary Jacob noted the new owners have "targeted qualifying for the Champions League within seven years, want to rent the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 London Games and pledged money for transfers this month in an attempt to avoid relegation" (TIMESONLINE.co.uk, 1/19).

DRAWING POWER: The Texans are increasing ticket prices by an average of 6.67% next season, and in Houston, Richard Justice writes they are "raising ticket prices because they can." They have "sold out every game for eight years, and there's no reason to believe a 6.67[%] price increase is going to snap the streak." The Texans have "blown by the Astros in the hearts and minds of fans, and even though they've never been great on the field, people still care deeply" about them (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/20).

SPURRING THEM ON: In San Antonio, William Pack reported the Spurs are "creating a Silver & Black Pack," which will consist of 30 of the team's "zaniest fans as selected by audition Jan. 30 at the AT&T Center." The winners "must be able to attend the Spurs' final regular season games at the arena." Auditions "will include an interview, a Spurs trivia quiz and a showcase to demonstrate how far their support carries them." Participants "must be at least 18 and complete an application form" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 1/19).

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