SBD/Issue 9/Franchises

Franchise Notes

In DC, Michael Lee reports NBA Commissioner David Stern Tuesday spoke with Wizards G Gilbert Arenas "to express his excitement about having Arenas back in the league" after his 50-game suspension last season for bringing guns into the Wizards' locker room at Verizon Center. Stern told Arenas that he "can talk about anything going forward -- except the infamous dispute last December involving guns." Stern later called Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis to inform him that "public comments from the organization about the situation are also off limits." Stern "wants Arenas and the Wizards to put it all behind them." Leonsis is "set to begin his first full season as majority owner of the Wizards and said he had no problem with Stern's gag order" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/23).

Towers (c) Watches Last Night's D'Backs Game
With Derrick Hall (l) And Ken Kendrick (r)

HIRE GROUND: In Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes the D'Backs yesterday "unveiled a top-shelf baseball guy with credentials, testimonials and a giant ring gleaming from his finger" in new GM Kevin Towers. He "has an excellent reputation," and he is the "antithesis" of former GM Josh Byrnes. Towers is a "scout's guy, not a numbers guy." Hiring Towers may be a "raw deal" for D'Backs interim GM Jerry DiPoto, the "in-house candidate who did a fine job while acting" in the role. But the D'Backs "took a big chance on an unproven commodity once before, and the unceremonious firing of Byrnes made it impossible to go down that road again" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/23).

THE RAY-ZOR'S EDGE: With Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg saying the team's '11 payroll will be considerably less than the $72M it is this season, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg said, "It absolutely works against the entire sport to have a really good team like this and just have it broken up because financially, people aren't showing up. … While I absolutely abhor Stuart Sternberg coming out and making those comments when he made them, I can't blame him." ESPN's Tim Kurkjian: "The answer is they have to get a new ballpark, and they have to get one now. … Otherwise, people are not going to go to the games" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 9/23).

MAKING PROGRESS: Bucks VP/Business Operations John Steinmiller and Dir of Ticket Sales Jim Grayson said that the team's season-ticket renewal rate is "near 90%, which is the league's benchmark rate." Steinmiller added that the Bucks are "close to selling 2,000 new, full-season equivalent packages." In Milwaukee, Don Walker notes the team "has begun running TV and radio ads, touting the team that 'is on everybody's radar.'" The Bucks this season "brought in actor Dennis Haysbert ... to do the voiceovers for both radio and TV" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 9/23).

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