SBD/Issue 56/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • NFL Tries To Appease Season-Ticket Holders With New Lockout Policy

    NFL Hopes News Of Full Refunds In Case Of
    Work Stoppage Helps Season-Ticket Renewals

    NFL Exec VP/Business Operations Eric Grubman yesterday said that the league "hopes season ticket holders will be 'more comfortable' about renewing" for the '11 season after the NFL announced plans to offer refunds in the event of a work stoppage, according to Michael McCarthy of USA TODAY. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday formally announced that the league "plans to offer full ticket refunds for all preseason and regular-season games canceled" as the result of a possible work stoppage next season. Grubman said, "If we're not going to have a full season of games, they deserve the opportunity to get their money back." McCarthy notes the refund policy "could affect 1.3 million fans." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that clubs "might have to refund" $7-8M for each canceled game (USA TODAY, 12/1). USA TODAY's McCarthy notes every ticket "with the exception of pricier club seats and luxury suites" is covered under the NFL's policy. That means "all who buy season tickets, partial season tickets and individual game tickets are eligible for a refund if their game is canceled." Grubman: "It does not apply to club seats and suites." Teams can decide whether to extend the policy to club-seat and luxury-suite ticketholders, so those customers "should check what protection they have in their contracts." Refunds for PSLs also will be determined on a team-by-team basis (USA TODAY, 12/1).

    WRITING ON THE WALL? PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio wrote the NFL's lockout ticket policy is the "clearest sign yet from the league that a work stoppage could happen." While it "may simply be part of the bluff that the league is trying to pull on the union, prior steps had entailed a less obvious connection to the possible loss of games." The notion that "refunds will be paid is a no-brainer." But "far more surprising is the fact that the league won’t compel teams to refund payments" for club suites, suites and PSLs. Florio: "Surely, a class-action lawsuit will be filed against any team that doesn’t compensate folks who have forked over big money for these high-end menu options" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 11/30).

    NOT MEETING THAT OFTEN: ESPN’s Chris Mortensen noted the NFL and the NFLPA are not meeting very often right now. Mortensen: “There is a difference between discussions and meetings. The meeting more than a week ago was a real meeting. They had a lot of people in there. They had members of the competition committee in there: Bill Polian of the Colts and Rich McKay of the Atlanta Falcons. They had active players in that meeting just to discuss the dynamics of, 'How are you going to play an 18-game regular season and then have a reduced offseason?' They addressed the health, the safety and the post-career medical stuff. That was a meeting that focused solely on 18 games” ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 12/1).

    YOU KNOW SOMETHING WE DON'T? NFL Network's Deion Sanders appeared on Versus' "The T.Ocho Show" last night, where he said "ain't nobody gonna lockout" in regards to a potential work stoppage next season in the NFL. Sanders: "You think 32 billionaires are going to miss a little money in this economic turbulent times? There's not going to be a lockout. They're going to get together. They're going to make up and they're going to kiss and they're going to be happy and they're going to become friends once again. No one's missing no money in these turbulent times" ("The T.Ocho Show," Versus, 11/30).

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  • IndyCar's Randy Bernard Discusses Possible Vegas Doubleheader

    Bernard Sees Las Vegas Hosting Street Race,
    Followed Two Days Later By Race At LVMS

    By the end of the month, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard believes Las Vegas Motor Speedway will become a part of his circuit as a championship finale. But he has even bigger plans for the entertainment capital of the world, where he would like to stage a championship weekend that also includes a street race. After conducting an interview yesterday at SportsBusiness Journal/Daily's 11th annual Izod IndyCar Series Motorsports Marketing Forum, Bernard privately discussed his ideas about the city he knows so well. The street race, incorporating the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, would be held on a Friday. Two days later, the Izod IndyCar Series season finale would take place at the 1.5-mile LVMS oval. "I think it'll be a fantastic fit," said Bernard. "This is a great market for it. ... The entertainment, the resort destination, the lifestyle here -- it is sexy. Izod IndyCar is about all of that. It's about pop culture. We want to make sure our last event is in a great market, where we can really build upon the brand. I think Las Vegas will be an awesome place for us."

    WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS....: It is no secret that Bernard enjoys Las Vegas, which he knows very well from running the PBR for 15 years. That sport was a Las Vegas hit, and Bernard forged connections that have helped him nearly secure the Izod IndyCar Series at LVMS. "I saw how much we were growing and how much Vegas was growing, and I had a great relationship with the City of Las Vegas and people at the (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority)," Bernard said. "I really felt that Vegas put the PBR on the map, and I know the power of Vegas. I know what their marketing people will do for us. I think it's very important." According to Bernard, all that is left to complete are the dotting of i's and the crossing of t's on contracts. He envisions Las Vegas becoming a two-race Indy town by '12. With several drivers, he visited the city and the track for testing two weeks ago and predicted an exciting future. Some of the drivers liked it, and some were not so hot about zipping around the speedway at more than 200 mph. "What they don't like about it is it's like Chicago, where they think it'll be wheel-to-wheel, three cars wide and just all out which, for the fans, that's exciting," Bernard said. "For the drivers, they think it's really dangerous at high speeds."

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