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SBD/Issue 93/FranchisesPrint All
Ryan Expects MLB Oversight Of Rangers Will
Be Lifted Once New Ownership Takes Control
MAPPING OUT A GAME PLAN: Prospective Owner Chuck Greenberg said he is "not going to interject" his opinions in baseball decisions, adding he plans to focus on the "business side" of the organization. Greenberg: "How do we connect with the community? How do we create a higher tempo of energy in the front office? How can we do a better job of filling the stands and make an impact on people's lives?" When asked about the team's payroll, Greenberg said the "resources are here" in the Dallas market. Greenberg: "We have to do a better job of cultivating that support. Is there one payroll figure that makes sense? No. I just think it depends on the circumstances." He added, "If the organization is doing all of the things it ought to do in all facets of the operation, this franchise should be able to operate like a big-market team." Greenberg said Rangers Ballpark at Arlington "could use some freshening up in 2010," noting a "more centrally located HD video board can enable the game-day experience to be enhanced." But he added, "Whatever we do with this ballpark will be with care for the legacy of the ballpark." Meanwhile, Greenberg said of outgoing Owner Tom Hicks' future with the club, "I'm sure there was a tremendous temptation to be involved and to be on the board, but I think for the franchise's future and for Tom's legacy, the way we ended up putting this together is best for everyone" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 1/26).
GLORY DAYS? In Ft. Worth, Baker & Ahles report Columbus-based development firm Steiner & Associates is suing Hicks "over who owns a portion of land" near the ballpark that is included in the proposed sale of the Rangers. The firm, which began working with Hicks more than five years ago, has filed suit in Tarrant County (TX) to "determine who has the rights to 45 acres that was to be the site of Glorypark," the planned development around the ballpark. Steiner filed the suit last Thursday, "two days before Hicks announced a deal" to sell the club and land to the Greenberg-led group. A Hicks spokesperson noted that "all the Glorypark land is included in the land to be transferred." However, Steiner's suit asserts that Steiner's Arlingtonpar LLC owns 25% of Glorypark Town Center LLC. Hicks yesterday said that the suit "has no merit and will not prevent the sale of the team." Hicks: "For them to be pirates and try to hold me up at the time the baseball team is being sold is just very disappointing." Steiner in the suit also is seeking $14.5M, including $6M the company "put into the partnership," $6M spent on the project and a $2.5M fee Hicks vowed to pay "if he sold the Rangers" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/27).
Falcons' Suite And Club Seat Tickets
Will Cost 4% More Next Season
The Phillies have surpassed their '09 season-ticket sales base, selling nearly 27,000 full-season equivalents for the '10 season, about 10% ahead of the 24,600 FSEs sold for '09. The club is anticipating selling another 1,000 FSEs before the season starts. Thanks in part to a popular Sunday-only mini-plan, the Phillies' Sunday home games this season each have a pre-sold base of more than 38,000 people per game. The club is coming off its second straight National League pennant, but it also is buoyed by an improving economy. "It's really all come together for us. We have an incredibly loyal and passionate fan base," said Phillies VP/Sales & Ticket Operations John Weber. "Our baseball operations team has retained our core players, so they've established continuity there while still making acquisitions to improve our club. Players enjoy playing here, and while economically it's still tough, we're up and are seeing lift. It's all intertwined."
Oden Apologizes For Nude Photographs,
Says They Were Meant To Remain Private
Ford Jr. Says His Family Is
Not Interested In Buying Pistons
COMMUNITY SERVICE: In Detroit, Bill Laitner reports the Pistons are giving ticket discounts to their February 21 game against the Spurs as part of a "fund-raiser for the budget-strapped West Bloomfield School District after a parent came to the team with the idea." Pistons VP/PR Matt Dobek said that the team is "selling a $175 lower-level ticket for $100 and a $40 second-level ticket for $20 -- online and by phone -- and giving half of the proceeds to the West Bloomfield Education Foundation." Pistons G Richard Hamilton and F Austin Daye also are "featured in a video on the district's Web site, ... promoting education and asking viewers to buy tickets" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/27).
IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM ... In DC, Michael Wilbon notes "half of the 20,173 in attendance at Verizon Center" for last night's Lakers-Wizards game "seemed to be cheering for the Lakers." In addition, nearly "one-quarter seemed to be wearing Kobe jerseys." Wilbon: "We've reached that point of the season where the primary reason to attend Wizards home games is to go and see the opposition, the other guys' all-stars, the icons, the LeBrons and D-Wades and CP3s. They used to market the team this way, in the early 1990s when the Bullets were hopeless" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/27).
... JOIN 'EM? Nets GM & coach Kiki Vandeweghe yesterday said that he "did not believe" that free agents "might be turned off" by the team's poor season. The Nets currently sit at 3-40, and Vandeweghe said, "Having been through this before, having been down the recruiting process, having had a lot of cap space, having had a really bad rebuilding season, I was never asked once by an agent or a free agent about our record the year before. You're judged by not necessarily on your record, if you fast forward to July, you’re judged on the assets you have in place and what the free agents are going to come join" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/27).
Pats Not Signing Brady Before '10 Season
Could Send Fans A Bad Message
JET POWER: In N.Y., Mark Cannizzaro reports the Jets on Monday sent out a recorded message from coach Rex Ryan to season-ticket holders, "waxing about the fact that these are not 'the same old Jets' and firing them up for next season in the first year in the new stadium they'll share with the Giants." Ryan in the message said, "Let's play this game in front of our fans and our stadium, the new Jets stadium. I can't wait. We get our own stadium and we are not visitors in our stadium. This is our stadium. We are the biggest show in town, and that's what it's going to be" (N.Y. POST, 1/27).
FANTASTIC FOUR: In St. Paul, Charley Walters writes Vikings QB Brett Favre "might be able to squeeze several million dollars" more out of team Owner Zygi Wilf if Favre elects to return next season because "Wilf needs Favre as his stadium marketing tool." Meanwhile, a source indicated that a local Vikings apparel shop "would have enjoyed a profit of about $100,000 from merchandise sales had the Vikings beaten the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday and advanced to the Super Bowl" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/27).
TOO BIG OF A DISTRACTION? MLB.com’s Peter Gammons wrote Mark McGwire’s return to the MLB Cardinals as a hitting coach was “never a ploy to get him into the Hall of Fame.” It was instead about manager Tony La Russa’s “belief in the work ethic, team values and teaching skills of McGwire.” But the move has “turned into a PR disaster,” as the "opening shot of the 2010 season is going to be McGwire in his Cardinals uniform.” Gammons: “La Russa likes to control his team, his clubhouse and the environment, but can he control it enough so that McGwire isn’t a distraction?” (MLB.com, 1/25).