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Hicks Has Retained Galatioto
To Study Sale Of The Stars
PARTING SHOTS: Hicks yesterday also said that a sale of the Stars "could be completed within six months." He indicated that the Stars will "reduce ticket prices next season for lower-bowl seats between the blue lines," and stressed that the team "can be successfully under its current budget, and fans shouldn't expect a new owner to increase the payroll." Meanwhile, Hicks said that the timeline for the completion of the Rangers sale "is around Opening Day, assuming HSG's 40 lenders and Major League Baseball approve the deal." Hicks: "We wanted to do the Rangers first and then understand how much needed to be done with the Stars." He also reiterated that his investment in EPL club Liverpool is "unrelated to the Stars or Rangers" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 2/8).
Indian Billionaire Seen As Possible Candidate
To Lead Takeover Of Liverpool
BRINGING DOWN THE HAMMER: The London TELEGRAPH reports EPL club West Ham United players will be "asked to take a 25[%] pay cut by" new club co-Owners David Sullivan and David Gold. Sullivan "fears West Ham are heading for 'Armageddon' unless their dramatic measures are taken to reduce debts" of $171.4M, and he is "planning to make drastic reductions from the club's backroom staff, but his biggest fight will be trimming the club's wage bill." Sullivan: "I can't believe the contracts I've inherited. Every position is overpaid, whether in administration or on the playing side" (London TELEGRAPH, 2/9).
New Revenue From Target Field Results In
Busy Offseason For Twins
STICKING TO THEIR PHILOSOPHY: In St. Paul, Kelsie Smith writes the Pohlad family has "long subscribed to the same payroll philosophy -- that 50[%] of the team's revenue equals the ballclub's payroll budget." Payroll for the upcoming season has "jumped so significantly because the team expects revenues in 2010 to grow correspondingly," and Jim Pohlad said that "that's really all it is." Pohlad: "We're going to try to put the best team on the field in the most prudent financial way." Meanwhile, the Twins "historically have shied away from deferred payments in contracts," and Pohlad "made a point to say that the organization doesn't want to change now" as the team continues contract negotiations with C Joe Mauer. Pohlad: "You're just kidding yourself (with deferred payments). Eventually, you have to worry about it, and at that point, it affects your current operation" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/9). When asked "how long can the team sustain payrolls above" $90M, Pohlad said, "It's all a function of our revenue. We try to keep (the payroll) within 50 percent of our revenue range. So model-wise, it would indicate that it's sustainable." Pohlad added, "We're not going to spend the money just to spend the money, though. It wouldn't hurt if it dropped below [$90M], in my opinion, occasionally." Meanwhile, St. Peter noted that the team's season-ticket base has "risen from 11,000 full-season equivalents last year to more than 19,500 this year" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/9).
In Detroit, Myers & Ellis noted Cavaliers Vice Chair David Katzman "has been trying to sell his share of the Cavs to a series of Chinese investors." While an agreement with Albert Hung was announced in December "with a price tag estimated as high as" $70M, NBA VP/Basketball Communications Tim Frank Saturday in an e-mail said that the deal "has not been finalized." Meanwhile, Myers & Ellis reported Katzman has been rumored as a possible candidate to buy the Pistons from Owner Karen Davidson, but he "could not purchase the Pistons if he still owned a part of the Cavs." If Katzman does purchase the Pistons, the sale "could be approved by the NBA quicker than normal because he already has been vetted as a previous owner" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/7).
Lakers' Revenues Will Be Flat This Season
Due In Part To Salaries Of Odom, Gasol
BEST MAN FOR THE JOB? In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen noted this season marks the fifth year that Michael Jordan has been with the Bobcats, and the team is "by far the best it has been." Jordan "has not been terrible," but he "remains a better celebrity than a managing partner of basketball operations." His lifestyle "probably doesn't lend itself to commitment," as you "can't do basketball between rounds of golf, hands of blackjack and out-of-town appearances" on NBC's "The Jay Leno Show." The Postolos Group Owner George Postolos is in talks to buy the Bobcats from Owner Bob Johnson. Johnson "undoubtedly would prefer to sell to Michael, who owns a piece of the team," but "how hard is Michael willing to work to acquire it?" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/6).
TAKE IT FROM THE TOP: The L.A. TIMES' Heisler wrote the Clippers "aren't cursed," rather "everything is explainable in two words: Bad management." The arrival of GM and former coach Mike Dunleavy "changed that," as he won Owner Donald Sterling's trust "as no one ever had." But Dunleavy last week resigned as coach, remaining as GM. Heisler: "Amazingly, it stayed changed as Dunleavy lost Sterling's trust, remaining in charge because of the money he was owed" (L.A. TIMES, 2/7).
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS: In Cleveland, Gabriel Baird reported the Cavaliers "have removed all water fountains" from Quicken Loans Arena, and "to get a drink of water at the arena, you must stand in line at a concession stand, where you can get a small courtesy cup of water for free or pay $4 for bottled water." Cavaliers Senior VP/Communications Tad Carper said that the team "took out the fountains in November to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses that cause H1N1 flu and other illnesses." But officials from the NBA and the Int'l Association of Assembly Managers said that they are "not recommending that fountains be removed." NBA Senior VP/Basketball Communications Brian McIntyre said that he is "not aware of any other team that has taken this step," and he "did not know that the Cavs had removed fountains until he was informed by The Plain Dealer" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 2/8).
Source Says Bettman Not Opposed To
Oren Koules Buying Into Another Team
COMING UP SHORT: ESPN.com's Scott Burnside wrote while Bob Gainey, who yesterday stepped down as Canadiens GM, "never failed to carry himself with impeccable grace and dignity," he "wasn't a particularly good GM." Not when it "came to transforming the Canadiens from a playoff team to a contender." In some markets, "getting to the postseason on a regular basis might have been OK," which the Canadiens did in four of the five seasons after Gainey was named GM, but "not in Montreal" (ESPN.com, 2/8). The GLOBE & MAIL's Roy MacGregor writes Montreal "always seemed to worship its long-time captain and now" GM, but the city "over the past year or so ... began to question its faith." The Canadiens' 100th-anniversary celebrations were "somewhat fouled by a coach's firing and a number of embarrassing situations involving young players" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/9).
SPECIAL GUESTS: In Philadelphia, Frank Seravalli reports the Flyers, "on behalf of Comcast-Spectacor, sent Rocky Balboa and Ben Franklin impersonators" to NHL HQs yesterday to "hand out soft pretzels and officially throw Philadelphia's hat in the ring to host the 2012 or 2013 All-Star Game and entry draft." The "rest of the NHL's event applications arrived in FedEx boxes." A source said that "up to 16 teams have applied for the All-Star Game and draft," and an announcement "could come as soon as the end of the Olympic break." Seravalli notes the NHL in December announced that this year's draft "will take place at the Staples Center" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/9).
NEW PRICING PLAN: The CP's Shi Davidi reported the Blue Jays will "charge more for the cheapest seats" at Rogers Centre while "holding the line on most of their other tickets under a simplified pricing structure for the 2010 season." The structure includes a "modest bump of $2 per ticket for seats in the nosebleed sections," and also "divides tickets into two cost categories (premium and regular) instead of the previous four and reduces the different seating sections at the Rogers Centre from 12 to 10." The new premium prices are the "equivalent of last year's super premium prices while the regular category remains unchanged, except for the 500 level seating in both cases, which goes from $9 or $12, to $11 or $14." Forty-one games on the '10 schedule, "including all weekend matchups and all visits by" the Yankees and Red Sox, "are at the premium pricing level" (CP, 2/8).