SBD/December 15, 2010/Franchises

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  • Glendale City Council Approves New Arena Lease

    Hulsizer Says He Will Work On Renaming Team Arizona Coyotes

    The Glendale City Council last night "approved a $197 million deal to keep the financially struggling Phoenix Coyotes at" the city's Arena, according to Rebekah Sanders of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The council approved by a 5-2 vote a new lease agreement with prospective Coyotes owner Matthew Hulsizer. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly were on hand for the four-hour meeting. The lease, "under most circumstances, would allow the professional hockey club to remain at Arena for three decades, until 2040." Council member Joyce Clark cast one of the dissenting votes, and her main concern "centered on part of the agreement that would allow Hulsizer to terminate the arena lease before then if the city failed to meet its financial obligations to the team or faced a lawsuit that invalidated part or all of the deal." Hulsizer in that case "would still be allowed to keep the money that the city provided through the deal." Hulsizer "told the council he was willing to allow 120 days for negotiation with the city if such a default or lawsuit judgment were to occur." Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs after the meeting added that the NHL "had told Glendale it would not allow the team to move, even if there was a lawsuit judgment, for seven years."

    TERMS OF THE DEAL: The agreement "requires Glendale to wire $100 million to Hulsizer quickly, perhaps in the next few weeks, which would help him purchase the team from the NHL for $170 million." In addition, the city "will pay Hulsizer $97 million in annual installments ranging from $10 million to $20 million over the next 5 ½ years to manage events at the arena." Glendale after that time "can renegotiate further payments to Hulsizer for arena management, sell the arena to Hulsizer or find another buyer to purchase the facility." Hulsizer "agreed to maintain the rent and fees other team owners paid to Glendale each year to play at the arena, as much as $6 million per year." He also will "work to rename the team the Arizona Coyotes." The NHL's "final approval of Hulsizer should come shortly after Glendale sells its bonds." Bettman said that Glendale "will be chosen to host an NHL All Star game sometime in 2012-2014" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/15). Bettman: "This is the resolution we sought. The action taken by the council is successful and conclusive" (AP, 12/15).

    TAKING A CLOSER LOOK: The Goldwater Institute, a public watchdog group, said that the proposed lease deal "may contravene an Arizona law which prevents politicians from paying more than fair market value to a private business." Goldwater said that there are "too many financial uncertainties in the deal," and added that the agreement "could amount to an 'unconstitutional subsidy' for the Coyotes." The group also "questioned the city's purchase of parking rights for $100 million" (QMI AGENCY, 12/15).

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  • Business Council To Purchase $50,000 Worth Of Hornets Tickets

    Business Council Will Devote $30,000 Of Its $50,000 Pledge To Tonight's Kings-Hornets Game

    The Business Council of New Orleans & the River Region yesterday announced that it "will purchase $50,000 worth of Hornets tickets for the remaining games through January," according to John Reid of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. The Hornets "can opt of their lease agreement with the state if an attendance benchmark of 14,735 at the New Orleans Arena is not met by Jan. 31." Their "current home average is 13,735," which means the team "will have to average 14,883 for the next 12 home games to meet the criteria." The team "plans to continue to do its part to make sure the benchmark is reached through various ticket-pricing plans." Hornets officials yesterday said that they have "no plans to devote more of their staff to ticket sales, but they plan to continue pushing their full-season and mini-ticket plans and specially priced tickets for selected games." New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu: "The economy's been tough. There really hasn't been an active push. And every now and then, you just have to refresh the call to people. I think the attendance has been pretty good. I think if you look at the average attendance around the league, ours is really not that bad." Hornets VP/Marketing Matt Biggers hopes that Landrieu and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's "push to increase ticket sales will attract more businesses and groups like the Business Council to buy season tickets and alleviate the pressure of relying on walkup sales on game days." Reid notes the "toughest draw" for the Hornets is "when the team plays on Wednesday nights." The Hornets tonight host the "lowly Kings," who boast a 5-17 record. The Business Council "will devote $30,000" of the $50,000 pledged "to tonight's game" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 12/15).

    Print | Tags: New Orleans Pelicans, NBA, Basketball, Franchises
  • Indians Lower Ticket Prices, Offer Incentives To Lure Back Fans

    The Indians are offering "discounted tickets and other enticements to lure" fans back to Progressive Field in '11, according to Bill Lubinger of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Except for Opening Day, bleacher seats "will cost $10 for every game, down from as much as $20 for some prime games last season" and the "lowest price for the bleachers since 1997." Full-season ticket holders, "regardless of seat location, bleachers included, get a free membership to the Terrace Club, the ballpark's restaurant." They "also get to use a suite for one game and club seats for another." Membership fees for the Terrace Club previously "were $900 or $500, depending on the type." Full-season ticket plans in the lower bowl will cost 20-60% "less than the same seat bought as single games," and upper-level box seats "have been cut $8, to $12 to $16 per seat from $20 to $24 last season." Lubinger notes the Indians "last raised ticket prices before the 2008 season." The team "drew just 1.39 million fans in 2010 after back-to-back fourth-place finishes." The Indians' $61M payroll this past year "ranked 24th among the 30 teams," and player salaries are "expected to be even lower next season, between" $40-50M (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/15).

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  • Hurricanes' Revenue Dropped 25% In Most Recent Fiscal Year

    Hurricanes' Admissions Revenue Declined 38% To $22.9M Last Season

    Revenue for Hurricanes parent company Hurricanes Hockey LP "plummeted by 25 percent, to $68.9 million, for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010," according to Chris Baysden of the TRIANGLE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Financial data the team provides to RBC Center governing body The Centennial Authority indicated that that figure "was down from $91.8 million in the previous fiscal year." The Hurricanes "not making the playoffs -- and being a long shot to do so for much of the year -- caused admissions revenue to decline" by 38% to $22.9M last season, and declining attendance "caused drops in parking and concessions." Hockey revenue figures indicated that the Hurricanes' luxury suites line item "sunk from $5 million two season ago to $3.9 million in the most recently completed season," while advertising, "another corporate revenue source, dropped by about" 8% to $6.6M. Hurricanes President & GM Jim Rutherford has said that the team "lost money last year, but he declines to reveal how much." When asked about the overall revenue drop, Rutherford pointed to a "decline in revenue sharing." Baysden notes because the Hurricanes "didn't achieve certain benchmarks, the 'NHL' line item on the team's financials" showed a 16% drop to $23.5M. Rutherford said that ticket and corporate sales are "up a little so far this year, while suite sales are down." The team's attendance "has totaled 169,897 through the first 11 home games this season, or 15,445 per game." That is "up by about" 6% from the same period last year (TRIANGLE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/10 issue).

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  • Oilers' Cheer Team Debuts To Varied Reactions At Rexall Place

    Oilers Become First Canadian NHL Team To Employ Cheerleaders

    The Oilers yesterday during their game against the Maple Leafs “unveiled their new cheer team,” the Octane, according to Mariam Ibrahim of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. The Octane is the first NHL cheer squad in Canada, and some fans "question whether the team is necessary or appropriate." Rexall Place employees at the first intermission “rolled out the orange and blue carpet in preparation for the team’s introduction.” As each of the 19 women "were introduced on the ice for the first time, she gave a wave of her pompom to the crowd, to scattered whoops and applause.” The cheer team made its “debut during a break in the second period,” with the women “positioned at a handful of the entrances to the arena’s lower bowl.” Fan reactions to the performance “were varied, with some hoping the team’s presence at the game would be more pronounced, and others excited to see the team’s newest additions.” Oilers VP/Communications & Broadcast Allan Watt said that the Octane will “act as Oilers representatives” because the team “gets inundated with requests for an Oilers presence at hundreds of events throughout the year.” The cheerleaders “will also be featured in a calendar, which will be released later this month” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 12/15). The Octane members were “dressed in outfits that resembled Oilers retro jerseys with short skirts and white knee-high boots.” The squad appeared twice after its initial intro, “dancing separately at entrances to the seating area during the second period and then on the video screen during the second intermission doing a routine on the concourse.” The debut “went almost completely unnoticed by the players” (CP, 12/15). Watt “assured fans that Octane won’t perform while the game is on.” Watt: "They’ll be mostly in the entrances and exits. They’ll be interacting with fans and doing some of their routines in the concourses.” He added, “They can also help us do any number of commercial and sponsorship functions that our partners unveil, and also any charity events that make sense for us” (EDMONTON SUN, 12/15).

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  • NBA Franchise Notes: MSG Shares Climb About 12% With Knicks' Wins

    Knicks' Winning Streak Boosts MSG's Bottom Line, Share Price

    In N.Y., Mark DeCambre reports MSG shares "have popped nearly" 12% since the Knicks started a 13-1 streak on Nov. 17. Knicks Owners the Dolans, who own 20% of MSG shares, "have rung up paper profits of more than $60 million since the beginning of the Knicks' run." MSG Sports President Scott O'Neil said the Knicks are creating a "real buzz in the city again." O'Neil: "We've had a (network) ratings lift of 10 percent and Web traffic is up 40 percent" (N.Y. POST, 12/15).

    MOTORING ON: In Detroit, Drew Sharp writes the "general public now has something in common with Pistons ownership: Neither cares about the team." The Pistons drew an announced crowd of 12,526 at the Palace of Auburn Hills for last night's game against the Hawks, but there "might have been 5,000 in the seats at halftime." Sharp: "Please don't insult my intelligence with the bad-weather cop-out. That explanation doesn't work a day after thousands of souls braved worse weather to stand in line at Ford Field for 30,000 free tickets to an NFL game that didn't involve their downtrodden Lions. If the Pistons offered free tickets for a game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls at the Palace on Tuesday night, they might have attracted three times as many people as the Pistons vs. the Hawks did" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/15).

    YOU'RE A REAL NEW YORKER: A report is circulating that the Nets are looking to rename the team the Brooklyn New Yorkers when they move to Barclays Center, but ESPN's Tony Kornheiser called the idea "misguided." Kornheiser: "Brooklyn has no cache among the other boroughs. If you want to name yourself the New Yorkers, name yourself the New York New Yorkers. It's so nice they named it twice." ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "It's a lot of things, including stupid. Mostly it's subversive. They're trying to out-New York the Knicks. ... It's a silly marketing thing" ("PTI," ESPN, 12/14).

    TAUNTING NOT COOL: In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes of Clippers Owner Donald Sterling, who reportedly has been taunting his players during games: "An owner who rips his players while they are working is not cool. An owner who embarrasses his employees in front of the customers is not cool." Clippers C Chris Kaman, who has been one of the subjects of Sterling's taunts, said, "It happens, sure, but it's cool. ... Usually you only hear it when you're shooting a free throw or running down the court during a lull. I'm telling you, it's really a non-issue" (L.A. TIMES, 12/15).

    TIMES ARE CHANGING: In Denver, Dave Krieger reports the Nuggets' attendance at Pepsi Center "has dropped from an average of 17,995 a year ago to 16,301 through a quarter of this season's home dates." Since Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony "arrived eight seasons ago, the Nuggets have never averaged fewer than 17,000 fans a game for a season" (DENVER POST, 12/15).

    Print | Tags: NBA, Basketball, Franchises
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