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SBD/Issue 185/FranchisesPrint All
Andy Roeser Says Donald Sterling Has
Never Expressed Interest In Selling Clippers
The Clippers "maintain that they are not for sale," despite reports that DreamWorks SKG co-Founder David Geffen "would like to buy a controlling interest in the team," according to Dillman & Farmer of the L.A. TIMES. Clippers President Andy Roeser in a statement said Owner Donald Sterling "has never expressed a desire to sell any part of his team." Roeser: "Because it is an asset of remarkable value, it's true that there have been countless inquiries over the years. But the Clippers have never been for sale." Dillman & Farmer cited sources as indicating that Geffen is "interested in purchasing a part of the franchise," though not all sources "put the stake at 51%" (LATIMES.com, 6/8). ESPN.com's Mark Stein cited a source who "confirmed reports that Geffen is interested in purchasing a majority share of the Clippers -- and that the long-shot attempt to convince Sterling to cede operating control of the team is among the reasons" Cavaliers F LeBron James and LRMR CEO Maverick Carter "were in Los Angeles over the weekend." Carter, "who handles the bulk of James' business dealings," attended Sunday's Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals Game Two with Geffen, a "wildly successful businessman who, like investor Warren Buffett, appears to have quickly secured James' respect." Sources said that the Clippers "won't factor into James' thinking as long as they continue to be run by Sterling" (ESPN.com, 6/8). However, one of Geffen's close advisors said the reports are "pure nonsense." In L.A., Patrick Goldstein noted Geffen "did sit with Carter at the Lakers game, but Geffen often uses his courtside seats to schmooze with a variety of power players." Geffen "has told friends that there's no truth to his having made an offer to buy the team" (LATIMES.com, 6/8).
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING? ESPN’s Mike Golic said, "Understand in all of this, the Clippers aren't for sale. Donald Sterling has said he is never selling the team. … Money talks and certainly David Geffen wants to go in and shoot for the moon, you would think that you might be a sale. But let's understand the Clippers are not for sale.” ESPN’s Jalen Rose added, “I do not see Donald Sterling selling a controlling interest to his team. This is the same Donald Sterling that could have moved his team to Anaheim where he could have sold out on a nightly basis. He chose to move to the Staples Center.” But ESPN’s Mike Greenberg said Geffen “is exactly the type of person” that James may be interested in signing with. Greenberg, on Geffen: “He is a Hollywood mogul type. ... Factor in the fact that the Clippers have two max spots available, they could go out and sign LeBron James and Chris Bosh.” He added, “I think that everyone is overlooking the real possibility that LeBron James is going to wind up a Clipper" (“Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 6/9)
The NBA BOG yesterday "unanimously approved" the sale of the Wizards from the Pollin family to Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis' Lincoln Holdings, "completing the next-to-last step of his takeover of Washington Sports & Entertainment -- which includes the Wizards, Verizon Center and Ticketmaster," according to Michael Lee of the WASHINGTON POST. NBA sources said that the deal in which Leonsis will acquire the remaining 56% stake in WSE from the Pollins is "valued at approximately" $550M, and that the deal is "expected to officially close on Wednesday." Lincoln Holdings as part of the deal also will "absorb the Pollin family's portion of a nearly $250 million debt, rooted largely in the building of the Verizon Center." Lee notes the timing of the move "allows Leonsis to have influence over player selection in the June 24 NBA draft and the free agent signing period, which begins on July 1" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/9).
NO CLOSER TO SALE? S.F. Chronicle columnist Ray Ratto said it is "pretty clear" the Warriors' limited partners would like Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to "own the Warriors." Ratto: "But in doing so, they've let Ellison know that, 'I've got the Commissioner's backing. I don't have to move off my price.'" Ratto added it is "not who is part of the group that matters," but instead how much money Warriors Owner Chris Cohan is "going to get out of this that is going to determine how quickly this happens." Ellison "doesn't want to come off his number and his number is going to shrink if he has got partners." Ratto added of the sale of the team, "Groups are dropping out left and right, so clearly they're not getting this bidding war that they were hoping for" ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 6/7).
The Vancouver Whitecaps yesterday unveiled a new team logo that "will be the club's marketing signature as it prepares to join" MLS next season, according to Bruce Constantineau of the VANCOUVER SUN. The image features "three North Shore mountain peaks towering above the Vancouver Whitecaps FC name, with the peaks reflected in blue water below the name." Whitecaps CEO Paul Barber said that the organization "spent a year developing a logo that will stand out in the digital age." Barber: "It's very traditional looking, in terms of the soccer world, and at the same time, it combines what's best about this city." Constantineau notes the Whitecaps sought input on the logo from adidas, "ad agency Publicis Canada, staff, fans, season ticket holders and team owners." The mountains in it "appear to reflect into a giant V and W below the Whitecaps name and the light blue used to symbolize the reflection of the mountains on water is a 'Whitecaps blue' -- a tribute to the primary colour on the club's logo during its 1979 Soccer Bowl championship season." Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi compared the new logo "with those of some of the most famous soccer clubs in the world, like Chelsea and Barcelona." Lenarduzzi: "Ours has that classic look to it that will stand the test of time." Meanwhile, the Whitecaps yesterday also announced that they have sold 10,000 deposits for '11 season tickets, and the "next phase of sales will begin Saturday, with the total number of sales to be capped at about 16,500." Barber indicated that he "expects the remaining 6,500 tickets will sell quickly." He also said the team is "very close" to announcing a jersey sponsor (VANCOUVER SUN, 6/9).
A PLACE TO CALL HOME: Barber said that the BC Place Stadium configuration is "still being worked out, but he expects the lower bowl to hold around 20,000-21,000." In Vancouver, Marc Weber notes the Whitecaps "could open the upper bowl for bigger games, but there's a definite sense the club wants to create the most intimate and intimidating atmosphere possible." The team will open its inaugural MLS season at the temporary Empire Fields site and plans to move into a renovated BC Place by July '11 (Vancouver PROVINCE, 6/9).
Agreement Gives Ice Edge Rights To Negotiate
New Arena Lease With Glendale For 60 Days
The city of Glendale "wasted little time Tuesday night in unanimously approving a memorandum of understanding with Ice Edge Holdings in a bid to keep" the Coyotes in Arizona, according to James Mirtle of the GLOBE & MAIL. The agreement gives Ice Edge "exclusive rights to negotiate a new arena lease with the city for 60 days" and calls for the investment group to "provide a bank term sheet within the next 10 days showing it may be able to find appropriate financing to purchase the team." Getting that financing, "along with negotiating a new lease for Jobing.com Arena, is believed to be one of the group’s major remaining hurdles leading up to being vetted as potential owners by the NHL." Ice Edge's agreement with the city also includes a "commitment to keep the Coyotes in Glendale for the next 25 years and to change the team's name to the Arizona Coyotes." Ice Edge's "step forward on Tuesday came one day after the only other bidder," Bulls and White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf, dropped out of the bidding (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/9). The AP noted Ice Edge "plans to buy the team with their own money and bank financing." The MOU "outlines terms of the proposed lease, with the hockey team owners getting revenue from parking and from a special taxing district to be formed in the immediate vicinity of Jobing.com Arena." Ice Edge CEO Anthony LeBlanc said he expects a lease agreement to be reached "remarkably quick compared to the process thus far." Once a new lease is in place, the NHL will "determine if Ice Edge should be allowed to complete the purchase" (AP, 6/8).
Did Liverpool's High Player Wage Bill
Play Role In Ticket Price Increase?
EPL club Liverpool has announced a 7% increase in ticket prices for the '10-11 season, according to Marcus Christenson of the GUARDIAN. There had been "fears the new ticket prices would be higher as the announcement was late but even so an increase is not going to be well-received with the team finishing seventh in the league and missing out" on the UEFA Champions League. The season-ticket prices are "understood to be based on purchases being made before" June 25. Christenson notes the ticket prices were announced as a new report indicated that Liverpool is the "third highest paying club for player wages in the Premier League, up 18% in 2008-09" (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 6/8). Liverpool officials last night said that "inflation, currently at 3.7%, and the restored" value-added tax were responsible for the ticket price increase (LIVERPOOL DAILY POST, 6/9). The London TELEGRAPH writes under the header, "Liverpool Risk Another PR Blunder By Announcing Hike In Season Ticket Prices" (London TELEGRAPH, 6/9).
RUNNING FROM THE DEVILS? GOAL.com's Wayne Veysey reported "only a third of Manchester United fans have renewed their season tickets just five days ahead of the deadline set by the club." Sources said that only "around 18,000 of United's 54,000 registered season ticket-holders" have renewed. While a "sizable percentage of United supporters traditionally leave it until the last minute to renew their season tickets, many will view the slackened advance sales ahead of 2010-11 as evidence that the anti-Glazer protests are starting to have an effect." Around 30,000 season tickets reportedly had been renewed "at the same point 12 months ago" (GOAL.com, 6/8).
Four busloads of Saints players, coaches, management and staff yesterday "journeyed nearly as far south in Louisiana as possible to support those victimized" by the BP oil spill, according to Glenn Guilbeau of the SHREVEPORT TIMES. Saints Owner Tom Benson, coach Sean Payton and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal addressed the "several hundred Plaquemines Parish residents" during the trip. Saints co-Owner & Exec VP Rita Benson LeBlanc said, "This environmental, economic and global disaster is truly heartbreaking. ... We all stand together asking that our country not go deaf about the people of this region and the troubles they are experiencing today." Benson added, "Today we were supposed to be in Baton Rouge with the governor. But one of the players said, 'Hey, look, if we've got problems down there, we should go down there.'" Guilbeau notes Saints QB Drew Brees yesterday announced the team's plan to "raise money for victims of the oil disaster through a raffle that will reward a Super Bowl ring to a Saints fan before kickoff" of the Sept. 9 Vikings-Saints game at the Superdome. The team hopes to raise $1M (SHREVEPORT TIMES, 6/9). In New Orleans, Mike Triplett notes fans "can buy raffle tickets for $2 apiece." The team yesterday also brought along the Lombardi Trophy (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 6/9).
Magazine Ranks Mavs' Mark
Cuban As Best NBA Owner
DIME MAGAZINE's Daniel Marks ranks the Mavericks' Mark Cuban as the best owner in the NBA, writing, "Any discussion of the best owner in basketball begins and ends with Mark Cuban. This man has poured his heart and soul into the Mavericks (and his cash) making them a mainstay in the NBA playoffs." Cuban is followed on the list by the Lakers' Jerry Buss, the Spurs' Peter Holt, the Cavaliers' Dan Gilbert and the Rockets' Leslie Alexander. Marks lists the Clippers' Donald Sterling as the worst owner in the league, calling him "probably one of the worst owners in all of sports" and a "penny-pincher who has refused to invest" in his team. The Warriors' Chris Cohan, the Knicks' James Dolan, the Bobcats' Michael Jordan and the Suns' Robert Sarver round out the bottom five (DIMEMAG.com, 6/8).
GLASS HALF EMPTY? In Milwaukee, Michael Hunt notes during last night's Cubs-Brewers game at Miller Park there were an "eye-opening 12,000-plus unoccupied seats for a surprisingly good game ... that featured the multiple incentives of a rivalry, staying warm and dry and seeing one of the Brewers' few remaining attractions," P Yovani Gallardo. It used to be that Cubs-Brewers "was enough to pretty much fill the place any time, but no more." With the Brewers 24-34 through last night's game, team Owner Mark Attanasio said that his "thoughts were on fixing the team and not the turnstile count." Hunt: "We're about to see how sincere the Brewers, at least within their means, are about that" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/9).
TAKING IT TO THE COURTS: Sunburst Entertainment Group LLC, the business subsidiary of the Rays, has filed a lawsuit in Pinellas County (FL) court to receive the remaining $300,000 owed by the UFL Florida Tuskers. Sunburst owned a minority stake in the Tuskers but "exercised its out-clause in January, requiring the Tuskers to refund a $600,000 investment, plus the $64,000 spent to host one Tuskers game at Tropicana Field." The Tuskers "had paid back $364,000" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 6/9).