SBD/Issue 181/Franchises

Franchise Notes

The Pistons yesterday announced that Citi Private Bank Sports Authority, a Citigroup subsidiary, "has been hired to broker the sale of the Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment." The Pistons said Citi Private Bank Sports Authority has been in contact with a "number of interested parties" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/3). PSE Owner Karen Davidson in January said that she "wants to sell" the Pistons, and PSE President & CEO Alan Ostfield last month said that the "intent is to sell everything together, not as pieces" (CRAINSDETROIT.com, 6/2).

END OF THE LINE: In London, Gordon Tynan reports the Red Knights investment group's "dreams of rescuing Manchester United from the grips of the Glazer family have come to a dead end." It had been "expected that the Red Knights group would launch a formal bid for the Old Trafford club at some point before the World Cup." But the Glazer family last week said that it has "no intention of selling the club," and previous claims that the Glazers already rejected a US$2.2B bid from a Middle Eastern consortium "seem to have led to a belief among the Red Knights that there is little point making a substantially lower offer" (London INDEPENDENT, 6/3).

Spurs Sports & Entertainment
Pleased With WNBA Ties

SHINING STARS: Spurs Sports & Entertainment President of Business Operations Rick Pych said that the company is "impressed by the WNBA's growth and has no plans to sever its ties with the league" through its ownership of the Silver Stars. The WNBA in '02 had 16 teams, "all of them controlled by NBA owners," but SS&E now is "one of only five NBA organizations that still owns a franchise." Pych: "We believe in the product. Women's basketball is getting better and better. We're glad we have the WNBA." The Silver Stars have drawn an average of 6,872 fans per game through four home games this season at AT&T Center, down from an average of 7,526 fans per home game last season. But Pych said, "The prospects for this season, on and off the court, really look good" (SAN ANTONIO BUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/28 issue).

FANS' CHOICE: In Cleveland, Bill Lubinger reports Cleveland Browns Stadium "becomes an open house Saturday, June 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for a 'select-a-seat' event." The number of Browns season-ticket holders at the 72,300-seat stadium "slipped to about 55,000 last season from 60,000 the year before." Browns Senior VP/Business Development Jim Ross said that "many fans are surprised to learn that season tickets are even available." Lubinger notes the "impression has been that the stadium is sold out, because when the Browns returned in 1999, it was" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 6/3).

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