SBD/Issue 155/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Rams Hope Bradford Will Be
Identifiable Player For Franchise

SI.com's Peter King said the Rams selected QB Sam Bradford with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft because the club "had to draft a billboard." King: "This franchise is a rudderless ship. It doesn’t have any player that anybody identifies with, and they were convinced that no matter what the trade offers or trade feelers were that they weren’t going to trade this pick once they determined that Sam Bradford is going to be the guy” ("PTI," ESPN, 4/23). Meanwhile, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said of the offseason moves by the Lions, which included drafting DT Ndamukong Suh and RB Jahvid Best in the first round, "There’s more hope in Detroit right now than we’ve heard in a decade” ("NFL Draft," ESPN, 4/24).

PICKING SIDES: BRAND REPUBLIC's David Barros reports the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) has "ramped up its strategy to oust current owners, the Glazers, by seeking support" from the club's commercial partners. MUST "targeted Manchester United's sponsors during the game against Tottenham on Saturday by displaying a banner with the catchphrase 'Time To Choose Sides: The Fans or The Glazers.'" MUST CEO Duncan Drasdo: "The message we are sending to the sponsors including Nike, Audi, Budweiser, Betfair and new shirt sponsor AON is an appeal for them to speak to the Glazers on behalf of the 154,000 members who've already joined MUST, as well as the millions of United supporters around the world who long for an end to the damaging ownership of the Glazers" (BRANDREPUBLIC.com, 4/26).

STAYING ON COURSE: In Memphis, Ronald Tillery noted despite the Grizzlies missing the playoffs for the fourth straight time, GM Chris Wallace "contends the organization will not dramatically change course." The team is "committed to building a championship squad with its youth movement unless a no-brainer deal for a superstar is possible." Wallace: "We want to make certain we don't do anything that negates that future." The Grizzlies own three first-round picks in June's NBA Draft, and when asked if they "must draft better than the past," Grizzlies Owner Michael Heisley "responded with an emphatic no." Wallace said, "We have gotten dividends and payback from our draft over the years" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 4/25).

DEEP FREEZE: Redskins employees said that non-football personnel were informed Friday that the team "plans to soon discontinue its participation in the NFL pension program." In DC, Jason Reid noted employees were told their pension contributions "would end in July," and team officials said that beginning July 1, "pension benefits will be frozen." Sources noted that the Redskins are the 15th NFL team to "have opted out of the plan." Players and coaches "are not affected by the move" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/24).

SEATING CHART: In St. Paul, Charley Walters reported the Twins have "just one of 54 private suites at Target Field available for the season." The one remaining suite is priced at a "prorated $125,000." Only two of the 419 Champions Club seats priced at $275 and $175 per game "remain unsold," while "88 of the 3,000 Legends Club tickets, which cost $48 a game, are available" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 4/23).

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