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SBD/December 16, 2010/Franchises
Published December 16, 2010
In Phoenix, Rebekah Sanders reports conservative watchdog group The Goldwater Institute "plans to scrutinize" Glendale's Jobing.com Arena lease deal "for potential violations of Arizona law that restricts government subsidies for private business." Goldwater "could meet with Glendale about the deal Friday," and the city "intends to show Goldwater documentation that backs up the terms of the deal." City Council members said that they "feared that if Goldwater won a lawsuit, the city's deal could be derailed and Glendale could potentially lose tens of millions of dollars." But prospective Coyotes owner Matthew Hulsizer said, "I don't expect Goldwater will sue and win" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/16).
ALL QUIET ON THE EASTERN FRONT: In Buffalo, Bucky Gleason reports "every indication Wednesday continued to point toward" East Resources President & CEO Terry Pegula "purchasing his favorite team" from Owner Tom Golisano for $175M. No news "could only be construed as good news, and all has remained quiet for more than a week while the sale takes its natural course." There "don't appear to be any major hurdles." Pegula "has been silent since his name surfaced as a prospective buyer," which is a "sign he has control over his hand and understands saying the wrong thing could jeopardize the sale." Golisano "should be praised for pulling the franchise from bankruptcy and stabilizing its future in Buffalo," but he also has "reached a point after seven years, with his interest waning and $100 million in profits before him, in which he would be condemned for keeping the Sabres with Pegula waiting for an easy feed and a gimme" (BUFFALO NEWS, 12/16).
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday at a Memphis Chamber of Commerce luncheon declined to call Memphis an NBA "trouble spot," but he conceded "it's a place we'd like to see do better." Stern "didn't say Memphians have to do a better job of supporting the Grizzlies," rather that the franchise "has to do a better job of connecting with the town." Stern: "They've got to do on the sales side what the team does so wonderfully on the social-responsibility and community-relations side." In Memphis, Geoff Calkins writes of "all the reasons to think the Grizzlies might actually make it to a 20th anniversary in Memphis, the presence of Stern in the commissioner's office has to rank near the top," as he "believes in the city" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/16).
FUZZY MATH? In St. Petersburg, Damian Cristodero reports the Lightning announced an average attendance of 16,168 through 11 games at St. Pete Times Forum, but Hillsborough County records "show the average crowd based on turnstile count through the first 10 games was 12,291." How many of those tickets were actually sold is "unavailable." The "good news for Tampa Bay is the numbers are up 4.3 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively, from last season" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/16).