SBD/January 3, 2011/FranchisesPrint All
The Broncos are "expected to call a news conference" for Wednesday to formally announce the hiring of John Elway as VP/Football Operations, according to Mike Klis of the DENVER POST. Elway will "have an upstairs office" at the Broncos' team complex, and will "show up every day." Broncos GM Brian Xanders will report to Elway, whose new title is the "same one Mike Shanahan carried on top of his head coaching position." Elway last Friday on his radio show said, "Hopefully, we get something done (this week). We'll get that all settled. There is a process that has to be followed." Broncos COO Joe Ellis said, "It is not a PR move. That would be a waste of John's time and our time and the fans' time. Because we need to win. He'll roll up his sleeves and do his job. I've had enough meetings with him to know that." Klis noted Elway is "not rejoining the organization with the idea of extending a glad hand." The hiring is "not an image-enhancing tactic, even if it is a nice byproduct for an organization that could use a shot or two of integrity after the unfortunate Josh McDaniels' era" (DENVER POST, 1/2). ESPN's Adam Schefter cited league sources as saying that "one of Elway's first orders of business as a Broncos executive will be to discuss Denver's head-coach opening with Stanford's Jim Harbaugh." A Stanford alum, Elway is an honorary captain for the team's Discover Orange Bowl game against Virginia Tech (ESPN.com, 1/2).
WILL IT WORK? YAHOO SPORTS' Doug Farrar noted it "may not be a traditionally successful transition, but the Broncos could do worse." For every front-office hiring like Matt Millen running the Lions, "there's an Ozzie Newsome," the Pro Football HOFer who has "run the Baltimore Ravens for years and has done so as well as any personnel executive." Farrar: "Who's to say that Elway couldn't make the same leap?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/2). But in Phoenix, Bob Young writes under the header, "History Shows John Elway Might Struggle To Build Denver Broncos." It is hard for "great players to be great coaches," and it "might be even more difficult for former star players to build a team." It is a job that "not only requires the ability to spot talent but recognize how the parts will fit together" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/3). In Denver, Dave Krieger writes under the header, "Elway's Iconic Status At Risk." Krieger: "In success or failure, front-office executives are seldom beloved in the way players are. For Elway, that's the price of getting back in the game" (DENVER POST, 1/2).
TwinsFest is "surviving the collapse of the Metrodome's roof with a move" to the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., but it "might be a smaller affair" this year, according to John Welbes of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. The Twins last Thursday said that the event, which "attracts about 30,000 fans annually drawn by opportunities to meet Twins players," will take place as scheduled Jan. 28-30. But the "move to the Sports Center, a venue with less indoor space than the Dome, could limit the number of available tickets." The Twins said that they are "working with Sports Center staff to determine how many people can fit inside the Sports Hall and the Schwan Conference Center in Blaine at any one time." Twins Exec Dir of Public Affairs Kevin Smith noted that the Sports Hall has 58,000 square feet of space, compared to 100,000 for the Metrodome field. Smith said, "We'll customize what we do in there to fit the space" (TWINCITIES.com, 12/30). Twins President Dave St. Peter: "We are working on the scale of the event at the National Sports Center as we speak. Understanding we will have less total square footage to play with, the event's scope is going to have be altered" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/31).
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Exec Dir Bill Lester indicated that the Metrodome "can't stay open without the Vikings," whose lease to play in the facility expires after the '11 NFL season. In Minneapolis, Kevin Duchschere notes the Metrodome "takes in about $8.5 million a year; $6.6 million of that comes from the Vikings, and $1.9 million from other bookings." Lester said that MSFC officials have "had meetings with the Northern League about locating a minor league baseball franchise at the Dome, but that cash flow would still be an issue without the Vikings." If the Vikings were to leave the Metrodome, Lester said, "Our analysis shows that with current levels of income, we could probably last a couple years." Last year was the "first ever at the Dome without a Twins season," but Lester noted that the "newly opened dates didn't last long." He said, "The 81 Twins' home games were replaced by 240-odd other games. We fit the equivalent of three major league seasons (into one)" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/3).
In DC, Dan Steinberg in a front-page piece noted the "hype surrounding" the Capitals' appearance in Saturday's NHL Winter Classic against the Penguins "brought Washington's hockey franchise a level of attention perhaps unprecedented since its only appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998." For this past weekend, it "was hard to ignore how much progress the franchise has already made." Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis said that the Winter Classic will come to DC "within the next two or three years, and that the franchise could fill a large outdoor arena entirely with its own fans." Leonsis: "To think that 30,000 people would come New Year's Day, a five-hour car ride away, shows how much we've developed a loyal fanbase in our market" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/2).
BUFFALO SOLDIER: In Buffalo, Bucky Gleason reported East Resources President & CEO Terry Pegula is "moving toward a purchase" of the Sabres from Tom Golisano. Pegula's accountants and lawyers are "performing due diligence," though the "time frame for completing the deal" remains unclear. Gleason wrote "nobody should be surprised" if Pegula's formal acquisition comes "with his introduction later this month during All-Star Game festivities in Raleigh." He could "assume control next month" (BUFFALO NEWS, 1/2).
GOOD TIMES HAD BY ALL: Sunrise Sports & Entertainment yesterday announced more complimentary ticket offers for NHL Panthers games as part of the team's "Good Time Guarantee." The new offers include complimentary tickets for fans celebrating their birthday, newly married couples, seniors and active or veteran military, among others. The ticket offers are available to Florida residents only and are subject to blackout dates and other select limitations (SSE).