SBD/January 26, 2011/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Sperling says Hornets will begin season-ticket campaign in coming weeks
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).
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