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Leonsis' Attempts To Assume Full Ownership Of
Wizards, Verizon Center Thrown Into Question
Sounders Owner Says 96% Of Team's Season-
Ticket Holders Renewed After Last Year
FRIENDLY COMPETITION: Wright said of the international friendlies, "We're looking at some big ones again. We feel good about it. ... But now we've got so many other games, I don't think we can fit all three of our friendlies (into the July and early August time period favored by European clubs). So I think we're going to have to take another of our windows and find a team from another part of the world than Europe to come play in October or May." In Tacoma, Don Ruiz notes the Sounders are "guaranteed at least one home game in the CONCACAF Champions League, and they are likely to host games in defense of their U.S. Open Cup title." But early round games in those competitions "will be played at Starfire Sports Stadium" in Tukwila, Washington, and are "not part of the season-ticket package" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 1/28).
PRESSURE'S ON: ESPNDALLAS.com's Matt Mosley wrote Hicks "got one thing right:" his decision in '08 to hire Ryan as president and "put him in charge of all baseball decisions." Mosley: "It was a much-needed credibility infusion, and Ryan's very presence seemed to point the organization in the right direction." But Mosley wrote "no matter how much some of us loved collecting Ryan's baseball cards when we were kids, most of us have learned not to revere owners," and once a "beloved player becomes part of management, it changes our relationship with him." Mosley: "Even when Ryan became the team president for the Rangers, we still had Hicks to kick around when things backfired. ... But Hicks' departure puts Ryan directly in the line of fire" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 1/27).
REMEMBER THE GOOD: In Dallas, Evan Grant writes if Hicks' Rangers tenure is "remembered purely for the failures, it would be revisionist history." Grant: "If you closely examine the 12-year Hicks reign, you might just conclude it to have been the most successful in the club's history on virtually every front." The Rangers "finished 10 games above .500 or better four times" under Hicks, and the club's farm system was "ranked as the best in baseball last year." The Rangers also are "more of a force in Latin America," and in Ryan and Greenberg, Hicks "seems to have found the best possible caretakers for the franchise" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/28).
HISTORY LESSON: In Dallas, Mike Heika wrote in the "wake of the sale of the Rangers, one thing seems clear" -- Hicks' vision for running the Stars is "similar to the vision he had for the Rangers in 2003." Heika: "He will run the team on a tight budget, and that budget will be set yearly based on the team's revenue." Heika wrote he "believed for a while that the difference between the finances of Major League Baseball and the NHL would entice Hicks to spend money on the Stars for the simple reason that it makes financial sense." But the NHL has "changed since the lockout." The league is "participating in a ton of revenue sharing, so a lot of the money that a team makes in the playoffs actually goes to the NHL and is redistributed." Heika: "The financial incentive to win isn't as great as it was five years ago" (DALLASNEWS.com, 1/27).
Sources Indicate Ellison Unwilling To Pay
Asking Price Of $400M For Warriors
Prokhorov May Not Take
Control Of Nets Until March
THAT'S THE TICKET! The Cavaliers will become the first pro franchise to use a new dynamic ticket pricing product from Indianapolis-based pricing software developer Digonex Technologies Inc. The team next month will begin employing Digonex's Sports & Entertainment Analytical Ticketing System (SEATS), which analyzes sales data and provides price suggestions using dozens of parameters and data points, for select individual games at Quicken Loans Arena. Digonex launched SEATS in November, and the dynamic pricing product is a direct competitor to Qcue Inc., which works with the MLB Giants and Stars. "Our technology helps sports franchises stay in sync with an ever-changing marketplace and provides a fair-to-all pricing solution that benefits both sports teams and fans," said Jan Eglen, Digonex CEO (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
CHECKING INTO THE GAME? In Toronto, Doug Smith reported the Raptors, NBA and Ontario government are "on the verge of allowing professional basketball to be part of the daily Pro-Line" gambling offerings. MLSE Exec VP & COO Tom Anselmi: "It's not done yet, but it will probably be done for next year, maybe this year's playoffs." Smith noted the NBA "originally ordered the province to drop NBA games from its daily offering on Pro-Line as a term of the franchise's expansion agreement with the Raptors." But Anselmi noted gambling on NBA games "happens in other provinces." When the Grizzlies left Vancouver, the NBA "went back on" B.C.'s Pro-Line game (TORONTO STAR, 1/27).
THE KINGS & I: The Kings on Tuesday announced an "exclusive new community-based leadership" organization called Kings 100. The group of 100 Sacramento-area community leaders is working to "continue garnering support in the region" for the NBA club (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/27).