SBD/January 26, 2011/FranchisesPrint All
Jamie McCourt's attorneys said that Frank McCourt "might have to become business partners with his ex-wife in order to keep the Dodgers in the family," according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Following a court hearing yesterday, Jamie's attorneys said that they "would soon assert what they said were her rights as co-owner of the team." In trying to "assure her interest in the value of the team is protected, Jamie is likely to ask for the Dodgers' most recent financial results and projections, including information on discussions with Fox for a new television deal." Dennis Wasser, Jamie's attorney, said that the divorced couple "might have to agree to work together -- as co-owners, perhaps with additional investors -- in order to keep the Dodgers in the family." Shaikin notes a "joint venture between the McCourts would relieve Frank of an immediate obligation to buy out Jamie, but such an agreement would not ease the Dodgers' stiff debt load." Jamie bases her "claim to co-ownership on the decision" by L.A. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon to "throw out an agreement that would have granted Frank sole ownership of the team." Sorrell Trope, an attorney for Frank, maintains that Jamie is "not a co-owner." Trope added that Gordon's decision was "limited to the validity of the agreement and that Frank would continue to own and run the team until another trial could determine whether the team is community property." He said that Frank "would soon decide whether to appeal Gordon's decision or proceed directly to that new trial." Wasser noted that "such a trial might not start before spring training opens" in '12. The two sides "have not held settlement negotiations since Gordon issued his ruling Dec. 7." David Boies, an attorney for Jamie, said that the "prospect of MLB intervention could trigger the resumption" of those talks (L.A. TIMES, 1/26). In L.A., Steve Dilbeck noted "one theory is that Frank is simply attempting to stretch out all these legal maneuverings as long as he can, get his advance from Fox to stay afloat, and then cash in on either a new TV deal or a Dodgers station, enabling him to finally buy Jamie out" (LATIMES.com, 1/25).
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: A Platinum Equity spokesperson said that Chair & CEO Tom Gores is "not involved in purchasing" the Dodgers. A report earlier this week indicated that Gores, the prospective owner of the Pistons, "might join his brother Alec's attempt to buy the Dodgers" if the team is put up for sale. But the Platinum Equity spokesperson on Monday said, "We are not pursuing any team in today's report. Our current interest is clear." Gores reportedly is "two weeks into a 30-day negotiating period with Karen Davidson" for the Pistons (DETNEWS.com, 1/24).
The third version of the Padres' camouflage tops is the "most authentic by far," according to Bill Center of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. That raises the question: "If the new camouflage uniforms are so authentic that they blend into background from a distance, will Padres fans recognize the tribute the club is trying to pay the military?" The Padres unveiled the new uniforms yesterday, and LF Will Venable said, "When you move around they change color, but it's hard to describe the color. They really blend in." The Padres in the past "used camouflage uniforms representing designs used by the Army and Navy SEALs," but those uniforms "had bolder colors and designs." From a distance, "you could tell those uniforms were designed to represent camouflage." But the new uniforms "are camouflage." The Padres "had to receive permission from the Marine Corps to use the computer-programmed MARPAT design," which "features hundreds of thousands of smaller multicolor patches that are intertwined ... instead of having patches of camouflage colors." The team's use of the copyrighted MARPAT design was "approved by the Marine Corps last year." Corporal Frederico Smith said, "From a distance, these look exactly [like] what we're wearing. No two patterns are alike. There are no copycats." Center reports each replica of the new camouflage uniforms "will carry an official approval from the Marine Corps," and a "portion of each sale will benefit the Marine Corps Assistance Program" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/26).
MILITARY APPRECIATION: MLB.com's Corey Brock reported the Padres will sponsor a Military Appreciation Pavilion located near the 14th green at this week's PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines outside San Diego. The venue is "free for military members attending the tournament," and the pavilion is "open only to active duty military and their families." Spectators who wear their Padres gear to the tournament "will have access to a special Padres grandstand, located adjacent to the Military Appreciation Pavilion." The Padres last season "provided more than 67,000 discounted tickets to the local military community." Last month, the Padres' Holiday Caravan included a visit to Wounded Warriors at Naval Regional Medical Center San Diego, "where the team presented a check to the Fisher House for a portion of the proceeds raised through the sale of military logo merchandise in 2010" (MLB.com, 1/25).
Hornets Chair Jac Sperling yesterday said that the team "will begin a season-ticket drive in the coming weeks" after surpassing the attendance benchmark for this season that ensures the Hornets will remain in New Orleans through at least the '11-12 season. Securing "more corporate sponsorships" is another objective for Hornets officials, who also are "optimistic they will renew" deals with existing partners. Sperling said, "With all these things, we’re trying to set the table for a local buyer. I think getting the season-ticket sales up for next year and our sponsorships will help. Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the business community and the fans have been spectacular, and yet there’s more to come." Sperling "continues to have preliminary discussions with the state about ways to make the franchise more viable, though he and Jindal were reluctant to call the talks 'negotiations'" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 1/26).
PICKING IT UP A NOTCH: The Georgia World Congress Authority yesterday agreed to raise ticket prices for Falcons games at the Georgia Dome "for season club seats and suites" by 4% next season. A season ticket in club section 200, for example, will cost $1,839 for the '11 NFL season, "instead of the $1,768 price tag last year or the $1,700 in fall 2009." Falcons President Rich McKay noted that the team "renewed every suite that was up for renewal in 2010 and hopes to do the same" in '11. He said that the team "tried to make the increase reasonable, raising suites and seat prices just slightly higher than the 2 percent to 3 percent hike in regular season seats" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/26).
ON THE PROWL: In Nashville, Annie Johnson reports the Predators "continue their prowl for qualified investors." Team Chair Tom Cigarran anticipates that it "will take about two years for the Predators to be fully financed by raising additional money -- up to $25 million by one estimate." Cigarran will begin with a "list of six people he feels fit the Predator mold," and the "criteria include locally based investors who won’t have to stretch to make capital calls." He plans to "vet out-of-towners with more scrutiny than those in Nashville," a process that will include not only an "intense financial review, but interviews with friends and former colleagues." Cigarran said, "We're never going to let people not from here (have) more than a certain percentage of ownership" (NASHVILLE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/21 issue).
JUST WIN, BABY: Yankees co-Chair & General Partner Hank Steinbrenner said after the team failed to reach the World Series in '10, club officials will "do what we have to do to win." Steinbrenner: "We have the highest payroll and the reason is we are committed to our fans to win. We just have to (bleeping) win." He added, "Look at the money we are paying out in revenue sharing. We are baseball's stimulus package. The fans of other teams have no reason to complain about us or the Red Sox or the teams that support the rest of baseball" (N.Y. POST, 1/26).