SBD/Issue 93/Franchises

NBA Franchise Notes: Fords, Ilitches Not Buying The Pistons

Ford Jr. Says His Family Is
Not Interested In Buying Pistons
Ilitch Holdings President & CEO Christopher Ilitch and Lions Vice Chair Bill Ford Jr. yesterday said that "their families were not interested in buying the Pistons" from Karen Davidson. Ford said, "Just answering for myself, no. I think between the Lions, Ford Field and Ford Motor Co., I feel like we've kind of got a full plate." Ilitch, whose family owns the Red Wings, Tigers and Little Caesars Pizza, said, "You never know what the future holds, but I would say we're focused on winning hockey games, winning baseball and trying to sell a little pizza once in a while" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/27).

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).

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