SBD/January 19, 2011/Franchises

Stars Formally Introduce Tony Tavares As Interim President

Tavares says Stars have "several" potential buyers and team will remain in Dallas
The Stars yesterday formally introduced former Ducks and Nationals President Tony Tavares as interim President, according to Mark Stepneski of ESPN DALLAS. Tavares will "begin his role as interim president of the Stars immediately." The team has "been without a president since August, when Jeff Cogen left the organization to join" the Predators as CEO (ESPNDALLAS.com, 1/18). In Dallas, Candace Carlisle reported Tavares "will assist with the sale of the Stars to a new owner and will help boost the net worth of the franchise." The team has several "interested and well-qualified potential buyers," but Tavares indicated that the new owner will not "relocate the team." Tavares: "It's not going to happen. I can say with the utmost confidence this team is here for the long haul" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/18). Also in Dallas, Mike Heika notes Tavares previously ran Disney Sports Enterprises, so he "understands trying to win on a budget." He also was appointed by MLB to help run the Expos, "so he understands distressed franchises." Tavares "might be the perfect fit" for the Stars. He already has "given the team new direction with its ticket plans." He believes that "giving away or heavily discounting tickets to fill the building is a bad long-term strategy," so he has "limited comps and discounts and is willing to suffer with smaller crowds for the short-term." Tavares also is "doing what he can" to help Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. While the Stars are "stretching their $45 million payroll budget to the seams and had to make some tough cuts after adding" $1.4M to trade for RW Jamie Langenbrunner, Tavares said that he "doesn't rule out another addition before the Feb. 28 trade deadline" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/19).

YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN NEED: In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel writes the NHL "needs to get involved with this franchise and promote what should be its most successful team in non-traditional markets." The league "owes it to the Stars to do something other than offer tired clichés about record attendance and increased profits." Stars ownership is "not trying to market this team, they're just trying to sell it." Anything beyond "finding a suitable buyer -- which appears no closer today than it was at the start of the season -- is not a priority." The Stars have "built a solid core of players that is actually winning, but this team has become a ghost in this town." The Stars average "just over 15,000" fans per game at American Airlines Center, 23rd in the NHL, and "that number is a fabricated load." The NHL should help until Tom Hicks "dumps the team." Engel: "The Stars were the guinea pigs for the league when it gave Norm Green the green light to take hockey to Texas and see if a sport on ice could work in warm climates. ... Now the Stars don't look that much different than the Coyotes, Thrashers or a handful of other mostly irrelevant hockey franchises scattered about. Their ownership situation stinks, and no one seems to care what they do in their towns" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/19).
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