SBD/Issue 38/Franchises

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  • Hal Steinbrenner Says Yanks Were Angry About Greenberg's Words

    Steinbrenner Demanded Greenberg Apologize
    To Yankees Fans For His Recent Comments

    Yankees co-Chair & Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner yesterday said the team was "very angry" about Rangers Owner Chuck Greenberg's derogatory comments about Yankees fans, according to Brian Costello of the N.Y. POST. Steinbrenner: "They were absolutely inappropriate, ridiculous comments. We reached out to Major League Baseball right away. We told them we were absolutely going to respond in an aggressive way. We agreed to wait until after the game because we didn't want to distract from the World Series." Costello notes Greenberg "reached out to Steinbrenner" Monday night "before things escalated and apologized." Steinbrenner insisted that Greenberg also "issue an apology to the Yankees fans." Steinbrenner: "The bottom line is Chuck realized that they were ridiculous comments and inappropriate and he reached out to us within an hour or two of the news breaking and apologized in what I believe was a very sincere way" (N.Y. POST, 11/3). Steinbrenner said Greenberg "absolutely would be the first one to admit that they were stupid comments and inappropriate" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/3).

    FREEDOM OF SPEECH: ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said of Greenberg's criticism, "In every city in the country there are terrible fans who get all liquored up and treat everybody badly. I don't think he has to apologize. If that's his opinion, that's fine." Kornheiser later asked, "Don't you think this Rangers guy is doing this to get Cliff Lee, to put that out there?" ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "There's an agenda there. But he shouldn't apologize, because that just seems disingenuous" ("PTI," ESPN, 11/2).

    MONEY MATTERS: Steinbrenner yesterday said that the Yankees' payroll "will remain at roughly the same levels going into next season." Steinbrenner: "I can safely say we're going to stay within the same level." The team's opening day payroll this season was an estimated $206.3M (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/3). Steinbrenner said of free agents SS Derek Jeter and P Mariano Rivera, "Obviously we want them back. They're hopefully lifelong Yankees. They're great leaders. They've been great Yankees. But we're running a business. If there's a deal to be done, it's going to have to be a deal both sides are happy with." On Long Island, Ken Davidoff notes there is an "understanding on the Yankees' part that Jeter needs to stay in the Bronx to maintain his brand as an athlete with integrity, and that Rivera simply has no desire to leave." Davidoff: "This will work out, unquestionably. What Steinbrenner accomplished so effectively Tuesday was he laid out the terrain of the battle" (NEWSDAY, 11/3).

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  • Armed With New Owners And A TV Deal, Rangers Are Free To Spend

    The Rangers Will Look To Make P Cliff Lee A
    Competitive Offer In Free Agency This Winter

    As the MLB Rangers head into the offseason, a "new TV contract and an ownership group willing to spend money should allow" GM Jon Daniels the "flexibility to fill most of all his needs instead of picking and choosing based on a stingy budget," according to Richard Durrett of ESPN DALLAS. New Owner Chuck Greenberg has "pledged to make the Rangers' payroll more in line with the size of the market." That is "not to say Greenberg will be throwing Daniels a pot of gold and telling him to become the Red Sox or the Yankees," but the GM's budget "will grow this offseason." Daniels already has reached out to Cliff Lee's agent, hoping to re-sign the pitcher, and "negotiations are likely to really heat up at the winter meetings" in Orlando next month. Despite losing to the Giants in the World Series, Rangers officials "couldn't wait to tackle next season." Greenberg said, "This is the beginning of an era. The page was turned, and we are moving confidently and aggressively into a very bright future as an organization and as a community. For all those who said folks would lose interest in the Rangers after the All-Star break or they wouldn't come out during (Cowboys) training camp or the team couldn't win in the postseason, all those old myths are gone. And what's left is a community that loves its ballclub, a ballclub that's young and talented, has a great future ahead of it, and an organization that's committed to winning. It's a very exciting time" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 11/2).

    TIMES ARE A-CHANGIN': In N.Y., Sandomir & Belson write the "question is whether a team that had the 26th-lowest opening day payroll, at $55.2 million, truly has the wherewithal to match up against bigger spenders." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said, "They should be able to approach a $100 million payroll in two or three years and still be fine. But if they mistakenly try to be the Yankees, they will go into a major economic slide. They could be a strong next-echelon team." Sandomir & Belson note increased revenues "from various sources might soon lead the Rangers to start paying into baseball’s revenue sharing pool, rather than receive payments, as they have the last two years" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/3).

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  • Henry Reveals That NESV Has Paid Off Majority Of Liverpool's Debt

    Henry Has Engaged Liverpool Supporter
    Groups Since Buying Club Last Month

    EPL club Liverpool Owner John Henry in a detailed e-mail said that he has "paid off" $323M (all figures U.S.) of the club's debt, leaving it with only $60M "owed to Royal Bank of Scotland for development work on a proposed new stadium in Stanley Park," which New England Sports Ventures is now reviewing, according to David Conn of the GUARDIAN. Henry: "The simplest thing to say is that we removed all debt but the stadium debt. LFC is not servicing debt other than stadium debt." RBS confirmed that the $323M "has been paid off" and that NESV "has not saddled Liverpool with any new debt to replace it." Henry in the e-mail revealed that Liverpool Chair Martin Broughton did not ask NESV "for a 'contractual commitment' not to load their own costs on to the club." But he added that NESV "does not intend to extract money from the club to pay its own costs." Henry said that the group plans to "put money in, as they have at the Boston Red Sox, where they have taken no dividend in nine seasons of ownership." Henry also said that NESV is "not looking to take money out of Liverpool in the short term ... but to increase the club's value by building it up." Henry: "This is the wrong business to get into for profit. Some day (hopefully a long time from now) these clubs and businesses will probably be worth more than we paid for them, but only if we do the right things day-to-day for the long term." Conn noted Henry met with the Spirit of Shankly and Share Liverpool fan groups "immediately after his takeover; and he has spoken positively about engaging with supporters, although he has yet to decide his preferred way to do so." Both groups "are asking NESV for a partnership, in which a supporters' trust would hold a meaningful stake in Liverpool and be represented" on the club's BOD (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 11/2).

    NEXT TO JOIN THE CLUB? The GUARDIAN's Matt Scott cites sources as indicating that EPL club Arsenal investor Stan Kroenke is expected "ultimately to push his 29.9% stake in the club past the 30% threshold that would trigger a mandatory bid." There are "understood to be serious talks under way with at least one interested party" for former Arsenal investor Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith's 15.9% stake in the club. The share was taken to market by financial services firm Blackstone in April. Blackstone yesterday "declined to comment" on the identity of the interested party, and one source said the process is "ongoing" (GUARDIAN, 11/3).

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  • Franchise Notes

    A's Desire To Land In San Jose May Benefit
    From Giants' World Series Win, Rising Popularity

    In San Jose, Tracy Seipel notes it is unclear whether the Giants' increased popularity in the Bay Area "hurts or helps" the A's effort to relocate to San Jose, which is part of the Giants' territorial rights. The Giants' World Series title "has only cemented" the team's status as the "Bay Area's dominant" MLB team. As a result, Smith College sports economist Andrew Zimbalist believes that the "claim that an A's move to San Jose would hurt the Giants' bottom line might be difficult to prove." Zimbalist said, "To the extent that the commissioner's office would be concerned about the Giants' financial well-being if the A's were allowed to move to San Jose, that concern would be allayed given the success the Giants have had" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/3).

    TRIPLE-THREAT POSITION: In Dallas, Mike Heika wrote the Stars' low attendance to start the season is "probably a combination" of the economy, the team's ownership situation and the Rangers' run to the World Series. Heika: "You would guess that if the team had a new, solid owner then that would help fuel a certain amount of confidence in the future, but I think it would only go so far." The economy "still is recovering and October has always been a tough month because of high school, college and pro football." Mix in the "Rangers mania, and there is only so much attention left for the Stars" (DALLASNEWS.com, 11/2).

    YOU CAN ALWAYS GO HOME AGAIN: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, when asked why the league would be open to returning a franchise to Winnipeg after allowing one to leave in '96, said, "The Canadian dollar being close to par as compared to what it was 15-20 years ago is ... very, very significant. And the fact that Winnipeg has a state-of-the-art arena facility that gives a potential owner an ability to generate premium revenue streams is also a major distinction between the market now and where it was in 1996." Daly said MTS Centre "can be an NHL building." He added, "It’s on the smaller side and I don’t think you could get much smaller and still qualify as an NHL building, but I clearly think it has the ability to generate revenue streams capable of supporting an NHL team in its current form" (WINNIPEG SUN, 11/3).

    WE BUILT THIS CITI: In N.Y., Dan Martin notes the Mets yesterday announced the hiring of former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi as a special assistant to Sandy Alderson, the new GM's "first acquisition" in the front office since joining the Mets last week. Ricciardi, who had been working as an MLB analyst for ESPN, "turned down a standing offer" to join the Red Sox (N.Y. POST, 11/3). Alderson yesterday "cited amateur and pro scouting, player development, trades and free agency as areas in which Ricciardi would contribute" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/3).

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