SBD/Issue 200/Franchises

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  • Rangers Filing Reveals Tom Hicks Drew Salary From Bankrupt Club

    Hicks (r) Drew Salary Of $183,504 From Rangers
    This Year While Team Declared Bankruptcy

    The MLB Rangers Monday in a court filing disclosed "tightly held confidential information," including that Owner Tom Hicks "drew an annual salary of $183,504 through May and received another $14,452 in expenses" from the team, according to Barry Shlachter of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. The team disclosed that its revenues totaled $167M in '09, up 12% from $149M in '08, and that Rangers President Nolan Ryan "received $1,540,527 for the 12 months ending May 24, and $85,750 in expenses." In addition, the Rangers from February through April paid $27,125 to Dallas attorney Jamison Newberg, "who operates a popular website, The Newberg Report," that has been "generally considered an independent website about the team." Newberg said that the payments "likely were for books he sold to the club," and while he "received no money for his website, the Rangers did finance his family's trip to spring training." The document also revealed that the Rangers paid Weil Gotshal & Manges, the law firm handling the team's bankruptcy, $2.9M from March 1-May 31, while PR companies the LeMaster Group and Kekst & Co. were paid $42,500 and $95,000, respectively (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/30).

    AIM HIGH: Regulatory documents filed this week indicate that Hicks "aims to raise" up to $230M for his "second special purpose acquisition company." Hicks Acquisition Company II Inc. "has yet to identify a buyout target," and if it "doesn't do a deal within 21 months after the proposed offering closes, it will give investors their money back." Citigroup and Deutsche Bank Securities are "underwriting the so-called SPAC offering" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/30).

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  • Group Led By David Bonderman Reportedly Bidding For Warriors

     

    TPG Capital co-Founder David Bonderman is the "leader of the fourth group that is bidding to purchase" the Warriors from Chris Cohan, according to sources cited by Marcus Thompson II of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. The Ft. Worth-based private equity investment firm "manages $48 billion in capital and has an office" in S.F. The examination part of the Warriors' sale process "concluded Monday with Bonderman's group touring the facilities." There have been four potential bids identified, including ones from Bonderman, a group led by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, a group led by 24-Hour Fitness Founder Mark Mastrov and a group that includes Mandalay Entertainment Chair Peter Guber. Each group "will submit binding bids," and the "soft deadline is the end of June." Now the Warriors, "who have been scrutinized for the better part of June by potential buyers, wait for the offers to roll in" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 6/30). Comcast SportsNet’s Matt Steinmetz said of Bonderman, "He's rich. ... The one thing that's become apparent is whoever the next Warriors' owner is going to be, (he's) going to be filthy rich. Not just a millionaire, this guy is going to be a billionaire, whoever it is." Steinmetz added, "Here's the thing with this sale: So many parties in and around the sale have signed nondisclosure agreements. ... There still may be another player or two out there we don't know about. There’s a lot we don’t know about. The one thing I also have heard is that if somebody shows up tomorrow to have interest in the Warriors, they'll listen” ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 6/29).

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  • Nets Erect Billboard Near MSG Featuring Prokhorov, Jay-Z

    Jay-Z, Prokhorov Billboard Is On One Of
    The Biggest Advertising Spaces In N.Y.

    Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has "purchased billboard space near Madison Square Garden that will display a massive image of the Russian billionaire and Nets minority owner Jay-Z, with completion scheduled just before the start of free agency" tonight at midnight, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The 222-by-95-foot billboard "sporting a Nets logo will picture Jay-Z and Prokhorov side-by-side" under the heading, "The Blueprint For Greatness." Sources indicated that the "signage is strategically placed" within the sight line of the Knicks' offices, "ramping up tensions between the teams with free agency looming." Nets CEO Brett Yormark said, "That billboard is the anchor to an aggressive marketing platform for key transit hubs from Manhattan to Newark. It's a pretty aggressive campaign around free agency. It's one of the biggest advertising spaces in the city. What better place to make a statement" (ESPN.com, 6/29). In New Jersey, Al Iannazzone notes the mural is "part of an ad campaign that will run through transit hubs from Penn Station to Newark." Yormark added, "When you think of the best of business and the best of entertainment you think of Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov. Together they truly are going to define the blueprint for greatness as it relates to this franchise" (Bergen RECORD, 6/30). The "Blueprint For Greatness" slogan is a takeoff of Jay-Z's "Blueprint" album series (N.Y. POST, 6/30).

    FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE: Prokhorov recently hired Irina Pavlova to join the Nets as President of Onexim Sports & Entertainment, and she said her "role is to bridge the gap between the management here in the states and the Moscow office." Pavlova: "The way I see it is: I’m here to facilitate everything that needs to get done to get us a championship team. I think, at times, it involves translating some cultural communication differences; other times it’s just gathering information and transferring it the right way. Basically, I’m a conduit for information flow -- that’s my main goal, to make sure everything runs smoothly." She added, "I’m not here to meddle. The team has great management, and I’m not here to tell them how to do things. I’m here to make their jobs easier, to facilitate any support they feel they need and to make sure everyone is in the loop regarding any concerns or issues that come up. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m replacing anyone -- I’m definitely not. I am just here as an addition" (NBA.com, 6/28).

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  • Franchise Notes

    Ripken Jr. Has Been Talking With
    Orioles About Front-Office Job

    Baseball HOFer Cal Ripken Jr. yesterday said that talks with the Orioles about "potentially taking an advisory and secondary role in the club's front office are 'progressing nicely,' but he isn't sure his situation will be settled in time for the 2011 season." Ripken "has been speaking and meeting regularly" with Orioles Owner Peter Angelos and President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail (Baltimore SUN, 6/30).

    NO HOME RUN BONANZA: In N.Y., Mark Feinsand noted Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez with six more home runs will "become the seventh player in baseball history" to hit 600, but it seems "like nobody cares." CNBC's Darren Rovell said any marketing around home runs "almost becomes a joke." Rovell: "The people that would have bought that shirt, hat or autographed ball may not buy it now. It's going to be really hard to market this. This can't be what the Yankees bargained for." As a result, the Yankees "may not make as much money off of Rodriguez's home run chase as they thought they would." Feinsand noted Warren Buffet, who advised Rodriguez during his contract negotiations with the Yankees, "came up with the idea to link Rodriguez' home run chase with the contract," adding five different $6M home run bonuses to the $275M the Yankees were willing to pay. So if Rodriguez breaks the home run record, the total value of the deal would surpass $300M. However, the contract also "states that in order for A-Rod to collect" each $6M bonus, the Yankees "must designate each home run as a 'milestone event'" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/29).

    SAINTS BEAT: The Saints' raffle of an official Super Bowl championship ring "to benefit those affected directly by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has raised nearly $500,000 to date" (NOLA.com, 6/29). Meanwhile, in New Orleans, Matthew Albright reported renovations are "on-schedule for properties near the Superdome" owned by Saints Owner the Benson family. Saints VP/Communications Greg Bensel said the organization is finalizing plans for an entertainment complex at the site of the former New Orleans Centre Mall, and the team should announce those plans "in the coming weeks." Bensel said that the venue "should be open in time for" the Saints' Sept. 9 regular season home opener. He added that a parking garage bought by the Bensons last year is "open for business, and is still undergoing renovations to 'lamping, pressure washing, sealing, striping and elevators'" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 6/29).

    BUZZ OFF: In Houston, Richard Justice reports vuvuzelas have been banned from Reliant Stadium for the MLS All-Star Game against Manchester United on July 28. Dynamo Senior VP Rocky Harris said the vuvuzelas "negatively impact the fan experience." Harris: "We are trying to grow our sport in America, and the last thing we need is an annoying sound that will distract potential new fans from the beautiful game." Dynamo COO Chris Canetti noted the Red Bulls "allowed them in the stadium" when he worked for the team, and the club "received hundreds of complaints." Canetti: "We decided it wasn't worth it" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/30).

    POISED FOR SUCCESS: A PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER editorial states if the Union's debut at PPL Park Sunday is "any indication, Major League Soccer will be successful in Chester for a long time." One of the "few kinks on this grand day for the franchise was a lack of completed parking lots near the stadium." The "hope is that Chester will get an economic boost from the stadium," because the city "desperately needs help turning around its fortunes" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/30).

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