SBD/January 21, 2011/Franchises

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  • Jets' Savvy Social Media Campaign Catapults Team To Top Of Fan Interest Polls

    Fireman Ed app is the second-best selling paid sports app
    A "savvy social-media campaign rooted in the team's commitment to transparency has catapulted the Jets to the top of an array of multimedia categories gauging fan interest" ahead of their AFC Championship Game against the Steelers Sunday, according to Sophia Hollander of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. They have the "most Twitter followers of any team in the NFL, despite ranking 27th in the league in national popularity according to an ESPN Sports Poll" last year. And this year, the Jets are the most "buzzed about" team in the NFL, according to NM Incite, a category that includes blogs, blog comments, boards, groups, Twitter and video/image sites. The Jets recorded "more than one million mentions since August 1." The Cowboys were the next closest team with a "little more than 600,000" mentions. The Jets have made "efforts to leverage social media connections to generate revenue." The team's Fireman Ed Chant app is the "second-best selling paid sports app" on iTunes, and the "Ultimate Fan" app on Facebook, which allows fans to make predictions and stage virtual tailgates, "has four sponsors, making it a rare revenue-generating Facebook app for a sports team." A Jets spokesperson said that 10% of Jets sponsorships this year "included a social media component," and the team is "planning to bump it up to 50% by next year." Jets Exec VP/Business Operations Matt Higgins: "It's not just spinning the wheels -- there's a real business purpose behind social media." Former Redskins Senior VP/Digital Strategy Shripal Shah said the Jets "may not come top of mind right at first glance as being leaders in social media." But he added, "I really feel in the last few years we were paying attention a lot more to things that the Jets were doing. ... The Jets, to me, are some of the most creative of all the NFL teams I've seen on Twitter" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/21).

    FLYING HIGH: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Daniel Kaplan reports whether the Jets win or lose Sunday, it is "worth noting how the Jets will make a little money on the playoffs, something NFL teams usually do not do." Deep runs into the playoffs "can mean losses for NFL teams because of the travel costs involved and the fashion in which the NFL shares playoff revenue." But the Jets are "chartering a plane from team sponsor JetBlue and selling packages for $800 to 150 people." The packages "include airfare, hotel and game tickets," and players' families "had first dibs." Higgins said that the team "could have charged more but wanted to keep the price down for team personnel and their families." Combined with Pepsi Max' sponsorship of the team's Twitter feed during the playoffs, the club "has generated at least six figures off just these two endeavors" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/24 issue).

    TURNING THE TIDE: On Long Island, Neil Best writes, "Like it or not, Giants fans, the Jets likely are two victories away from taking over the town." The "interest gap between the two teams isn't as great as you might think." The "most objective measure available is TV ratings, and they are a bit of a shock." The Jets averaged a 15.8 local rating in N.Y. during the regular season, ahead of a 15.7 average for the Giants, "ending a five-year streak in which the Giants led." But "in the eight seasons before that, beginning with Bill Parcells' arrival in 1997, the Jets were 5-2-1, surpassing or matching the Giants in every season but 1999 and 2001." The Giants "do consistently lead in merchandise sales, but not always by much." Through the end of the regular season, the Giants "ranked seventh in the NFL, the Jets 10th" (NEWSDAY, 1/21). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes if the Jets win the Super Bowl, the team has "positioned itself for the kind of status reserved for teams with multiple championship rings." But a TV exec said, "You cannot just throw out the term 'America's Team,' or national team. It's a term you cannot loosely use. If the Jets lose Sunday in overtime they are no farther along than they were last season." Raissman writes the Jets "may well not wind up reaching 'national' team status this season, but the combination of perception and performance will upgrade their TV schedule next season" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/21). However, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes, "Let those who can still be honest with themselves be honest with themselves. If these Jets were the Bears, Ravens or Chargers, Jets fans would despise them. ... The word 'class' is not applicable to this particular organization" (N.Y. POST, 1/21).

    Print | Tags: New York Jets, New York Giants, NFL, Football, Franchises
  • Ravens, Dolphins Will Not Raise Ticket Prices For '11 Season

    Ravens will break trend of raising ticket prices every other year

    Ravens President Dick Cass Thursday said that the team "will not raise ticket prices for the 2011 season, in part because of the uncertainty surrounding collective bargaining negotiations," according to Ken Murray of the Baltimore SUN. The Ravens' protocol "has been to raise ticket prices every other year -- and 2011 called for an increase." But in holding the line, Cass "acknowledged the strong fan support the team has received." Meanwhile, Cass said that the Ravens "will send out invoices shortly to announce their plan on refunding money in the event games are cancelled" due to a work stoppage. Cass: "We're not going to try to finance any work stoppage with the money we get from season-ticket holders. We will hold that separate. That's our plan" (Baltimore SUN, 1/21).

    DOLPHINS HOLD THE LINE: In West Palm Beach, Ben Volin reported Dolphins CEO Mike Dee "has written a letter to season ticket holders that the team won't be raising ticket prices for the 2011 season, the second time in three years it has opted not to do so under owner Stephen Ross, and third time in the last four years overall." The Dolphins "sold 51,069 season tickets for 2010," up from 49,415 in '09 and 46,131 in '08. Dee in the letter also wrote the Dolphins are "optimistic that (collective bargaining agreement) discussions will be successful, and that a full 2011 schedule will be played" (, 1/20). Meanwhile, a ST. PETERSBURG TIMES online poll asks if the reductions in many Buccaneers season-ticket prices will convince fans to buy next season. At presstime, 53% of the 352 respondents voted "Yes," while 34% of respondents voted "No." The remaining respondents indicated that they were already season-ticket holders (, 1/21).

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL, Franchises
  • Orioles Increase Single-Game Ticket Prices For Majority Of Seats

    The Orioles are "raising single-game ticket prices at Camden Yards" for the first time since after the '06 season, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore SUN. Prices for all individual-game tickets "will increase -- except for the cheapest, left-field, upper reserve seats which will remain at $8 and $9 -- with the hikes ranging from $1 to $8 extra depending on the game desired and when the tickets are purchased." The average single-game ticket will go up $3 in '11. Orioles Dir of Communications Greg Bader noted that while "performance on the field is certainly taken into consideration before a ticket hike, several factors must be weighed." Bader: "It's part of the decision-making process, but isn't the primary driver. Like any business decision, there are multiple factors, including increasing costs on our part." Connolly notes there will be "fewer tickets to buy in 2011, because renovations to Camden Yards' seating bowl and the installation of a viewing deck will reduce seating capacity from 48,290 to 45,971." Bader stressed that the Orioles have "maintained the same prices for regular, advance-sale tickets for the past four seasons and haven't had an across the board hike" since '03. The Orioles will "continue to implement higher 'prime-game prices' for all contests against" the Yankees and Red Sox, as well as Opening Day on April 4 against the Tigers. The "extra charge for walk-up purchases on the day of the game, which was implemented for the first time last year," also will return in '11. Bader said that that policy "had little to no effect on the number of walkups" in '10 (Baltimore SUN, 1/21).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Baltimore Orioles, Baseball
  • Is Moving To San Jose The Solution To Issues A's Are Facing?

    New ballpark in San Jose could make A's more attractive to free agents

    The A's need to "move to San Jose," where a 32,000-seat ballpark is "all but ready to go," according to Ken Rosenthal of A's Owner Lew Wolff: "If we had approval from baseball, it would take six to nine months to finish our drawings, then a maximum of two years to build. So, I would say 30 to 36 months." The A's are "confident the ballpark would pass a citywide ballot measure ... absent public financing." Agent Scott Boras said, "A few franchises need to be evaluated and examined. Oakland can immediately improve and become a success if moved to San Jose." The A's failure to sign 3B Adrian Beltre, a Boras client, "for the second straight offseason ... illustrates the difficulty the team faces in landing premier free-agent talent." Beltre, "like most star players, wanted no part of Oakland" and no part of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Boras, "without referring specifically to Beltre," said, "You talk to players. It's not the city. It's not the team. It's the ballpark. And there are no fans there." Rosenthal wrote a "stronger A's franchise would possess greater spending power and help drive the market" for players. The Giants "hold territorial rights to San Jose's home county, Santa Clara, only because the A's were kind enough to surrender them in the early 1990s, when the San Francisco team was exploring a move to the area." Appeasing the Giants "will not be easy." Rosenthal: "The A's remain in limbo, plodding along in Oakland" (, 1/20).

    Print | Tags: Oakland Athletics, Baseball, Franchises
  • NBA Franchise Notes: Prokhorov Starting To Build A Reputation

    Prokhorov took a strong stance this week by ending Nets' pursuit of Carmelo Anthony's Ian Thomsen wrote Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov is the NBA's "new-millennium version" of late Yankees Chair George Steinbrenner. Prokhorov this week put "his foot down" on the team's pursuit of Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony because "this is how it's done" in Russia. Thomsen: "Uprisings like this are made to vanish in a way that sets an intimidating example. ... I would imagine the eyes of many NBA owners lit up when they heard of Prokhorov's gambit" (, 1/20). Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban in an e-mail said, "Smart. Very smart. Smart as in making clear who is in charge and who is running the show." In N.Y., Stefan Bondy writes Prokhorov's "inexperience showed when he pressed the Nets to go so hard after a reluctant target," but he "finally recognized the desperate chase needed to end" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/21). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said Prokhorov "looks terrific, owner stepping out in the middle of all this turmoil and staring down a great player and saying, 'No, enough's enough. We're stopping here'" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/20). The AP's Tim Dahlberg wrote in a "sport where the stars yield way too much power, he struck a rare blow for the guys who pay their salaries" (AP, 1/20).

    TURNING IT AROUND: In New Orleans, John Reid reported the Hornets appear to be "on the verge of meeting their Jan. 31 attendance benchmark requirement" after drawing two consecutive crowds over 15,000 at New Orleans Arena. The Hornets "must average 14,891 for upcoming games" against the Spurs and Thunder to meet the benchmark, and team officials said that they are "anticipating good crowds for both games." Reid noted through the "efforts of the Hornets Business Council, more than $412,000 was pledged by regional businesses to purchase tickets." That helped "boost attendance for Wednesday night’s game" against the Grizzlies (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 1/20).

    GO BIG OR GO HOME: Warriors co-Owner Joe Lacob Thursday said that the "new ownership group has already agreed that, if an elite player is available, the Warriors would be willing to increase their payroll above the current luxury-tax level." Lacob noted that he "has been actively monitoring" the Carmelo Anthony situation. In San Jose, Tim Kawakami writes this is "all pretty radical stuff coming from any owner, but particularly from the Warriors owner, after the long years" of Chris Cohan's "silence and befuddlement" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/21).

    Print | Tags: NBA, Basketball, Franchises
  • Franchise Notes

    In San Jose, Andrew Baggarly reports the MLB Giants are "forecast to spend roughly $115 million on player salaries in 2011 -- the first time the payroll number has climbed beyond the mid-90s" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/21)....Predators President & COO Sean Henry Thursday told the Metro Sports Authority that the Predators are "worth enough money to repay their obligations to the city if the hockey club should break its lease." Henry presented a document showing that the team was "worth at least $50 million" as of June 30, 2010, and the MSA "accepted the certification without asking any questions." Predators Chair Tom Cigarran recently said that a $75M loan the owners refinanced "equals about half of the team's net worth" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 1/21)....While the Capitals reportedly are among the six NHL teams invited to start the '11-12 season in Europe, Capitals VP & GM George McPhee "isn't all too thrilled about going to Russia." McPhee said, "We could refuse. The league has to work things out with the Russians first and then come to us. ... But we need to know quickly because we will have to make adjustments (to the preseason schedule). We don't know whether we'll go yet" (, 1/20).

    Print | Tags: Franchises
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