SBD/Issue 36/Franchises

Franchise Notes

In N.Y., Josh Kosman cited a source as saying that Tigers and Red Wings Owner Mike Ilitch is "expected to seal the deal" on his purchase of the Pistons with a bid of more than $450M. However, a second source said that the final price "will be less than that, once last-minute negotiations are completed." Kosman reported in the past year, "as many as nine teams -- or about 30 percent of the league -- have been put on the block," and sources said that "four other teams may not find buyers." Two sources said that the Bucks "could be had for the right price," but there is "limited interest" in the team. But Bucks Owner Herb Kohl through a spokesperson said that the team is "not for sale." The Hawks also reportedly "have been seeking a buyer for months" (N.Y. POST, 10/30).

Arison's (r) Heat Seen As Most Stable
Pro Sports Franchise In South Florida

MODEL OWNER: In West Palm Beach, Ethan Skolnick wrote since Owner Micky Arison took over the Heat in '95, the team "has been the model professional sports franchise in South Florida -- the most stable, most innovative, most consistently successful." CAA's Henry Thomas, who reps Heat G Dwyane Wade and Fs Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem, said of Arison, "Dealing with him as many years as I have, I don't think there's any better owner out there. In terms of how he approaches his job, how he allows his basketball guys to do what they do, and then he comes in when it's necessary to come in." Skolnick wrote the Heat now have a "chance to become a long-standing power, and Arison has plenty to do with that" (, 10/31).

SAVING GRACE: In Ft. Worth, Clarence Hill Jr. cited a source as saying that Cowboys coach Wade Phillips' firing is "just a matter of when, not if." But the "mitigating factor is the unsettled labor situation and the possibility of a lockout shortly after the Super Bowl," which Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "alluded to last week when he emphatically predicted that no team in the league would make an in-season change this year." A Cowboys source said, "Tell me how the lockout is going to go and I will tell you what we are going to do. Nobody wants to pay a new coach to do nothing" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/31).

FOLLOW THE LEADER: In London, Duncan White reported EPL clubs are "starting to look at American methods of using statistical analysis to help improve performance and recruitment," and Liverpool "will be a fascinating test case" under the new ownership of Red Sox Owner John Henry. New England Sports Ventures has "yet to decide how the club's executive team will be set up but it is understood that Henry wants to take an active role in defining the football strategy." NESV Chair Tom Werner "has spoken of the need to find value in the transfer market and they will try to apply the intellectually rigorous methods that were so successful in Boston" (London TELEGRAPH, 10/31).

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