SBD/January 12, 2011/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Micky Arison, Pat Riley have collaborated to make Heat one of the NBA's best teams

In Miami, Greg Cote compared the Heat's front office to that of other local sports franchises and wrote team Owner Micky Arison and President Pat Riley are "state of the art at what they do." What Arison and Riley have done with the Heat "is a marvel." In South Florida, the two are "out front by miles and lapping the field." Nationally, there are "few equal combinations of owner and architect anywhere, in any sport." Cote: "Top to bottom, the Heat is the most efficiently managed and smoothly run operation we have seen" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/11).

DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH: D'Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall said that the "team's season-ticket renewal rate is at" about 80% for '11. Hall: "It’s a little lower than we would have hoped, but that’s obviously the economy and the way we played. Ticket revenues are up from last year, which tells you people are more willing to spend more money in the premium areas." He noted that the D'Backs had "about 12,000 season-ticket holders last season and that they sold 1,000 new season tickets" this offseason. In Phoenix, Nick Piecoro noted Chase Field hosting next season's MLB All-Star Game is "certainly a factor in people’s willingness to buy" tickets (AZCENTRAL.com, 1/6).

DEEP BLUE SOMETHING: ESPN.com's Buster Olney noted MLB owners "really can't force" Frank McCourt to sell the Dodgers, but if the league "doesn't lend a hand, the circumstances might squeeze him out -- and you wonder if this could help solve another problem for the commissioner, down the road." If McCourt does sell the Dodgers, providing A's Owner Lew Wolff -- who lives in L.A. and was a fraternity brother of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig -- an "opportunity to buy the Dodgers would be a heck of a compromise move for Selig, who is, above all else, a deal-maker." Olney: "It's all speculation. But it all could make a lot of sense" (ESPN.com, 1/11).

A LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: In Columbus, Tom Reed noted the Blue Jackets are averaging 13,122 fans through their first 20 home games at Nationwide Arena, a "decline of nearly 1,900 from a season ago at this time." The drop, however, "isn't as bad as some forecasted when it was learned the club lost nearly 25 percent of its season-ticket base from a season ago." Blue Jackets Senior VP/Sales & Marketing John Browne said that "attendance totals have been buoyed by a 21 percent increase in single-game sales" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 1/11).

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