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SBD/February 8, 2011/FranchisesPrint All
The Grizzlies Friday "sent out incentive-laden renewal forms to their season-ticket holders," and they indicated that "for the sixth straight year, season-ticket prices will not increase," according to Marlon Morgan of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Prices for "nearly 2,000 seats in the lower bowl have been reduced in an effort to get more fans close to the court." The Grizzlies "now have about 1,200 seats in the lower bowl priced at $25 per game for season-ticket holders to purchase, the most they've offered since FedExForum opened" in '04. Season-ticket holders who "pay in full by March 11 will receive a 10 percent discount on their tickets," and renewing early "also makes ticket holders eligible for the reward lottery." The Grizzlies "will kick off their campaign for new season-ticket holders later this month." Morgan noted the team is "expecting to see a continued increase in attendance." The Grizzlies averaged 14,185 fans through their first 22 home games this season, and while that "ranks 26th among the 30 teams in the NBA, it is up over the 13,486 the team averaged last season." This season's average also is the highest since the '06-07 season. Grizzlies VP/Tickets Sales & Service Dennis O'Connor said team officials feel the season-ticket renewal effort will "help us better achieve our goal of getting back to a sellout in the lower bowl on a season-ticket basis" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 2/6).
MAGIC TRICK: In Orlando, Josh Robbins reported the Magic are "incentivizing their current season ticket holders to renew their seats for the upcoming 2011-12 season by offering discounts to people who pay in full by March 4." Current season-ticket holders "who pay their entire bill in cash by the renewal deadline will receive six percent off their total price and also will not be charged with increased prices for 2011 first- and second-round playoff tickets." Magic President Alex Martins: "We're trying to reward loyalty and we're trying to get everyone to renew early, to renew on time and to renew in full." Robbins noted the team "will continue to sell single-game tickets for next season using its current variable pricing model" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/5).
In Phoenix, Nick Piecoro reported the D'Backs and former General Partner & CEO Jeff Moorad are "nearing a resolution in the transfer of his ownership stake in the franchise," more than two years after Moorad left the organization to become Vice Chair & CEO of the Padres. Moorad has "maintained his stake in the Diamondbacks since he left" in January '09, and D'Backs sources said that the share "amounts to roughly" 12% of the team. The D'Backs partners are "now down to three -- Ken Kendrick, Mike Chipman and Jeff Royer, with Dale Jensen no longer in the fold." A source said that they "owned close to" 80% of the club. Those partners "will be buying back Moorad's stake," and one source said that the sale "could be completed in about a month" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/5).
GOING ALL IN: White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf Saturday on ESPN Radio 1000 Chicago said that with a "heavy increase in payroll the team is banking on a heavy increase in attendance at US Cellular Field." The White Sox' payroll this season is expected to be around $130M, which "will be the highest in franchise history." Reinsdorf: "We've really taken a chance. The term all-in I think really makes some sense here. If we draw what we drew last year, we will lose a lot of money. ... Fortunately over the years we've made a little here, we've made a little there and we can cover it if we lose. We won't be able to lose money two years in a row" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 2/5).
FAMILIAR BREW: In Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt reported it "appears the Brewers again are headed for a payroll" of around $85M. The team budgets an additional $5M "for contract incentives and call-ups from the minors, so club officials see it" as a $90M payroll. Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio indicated that they "finished in the red in 2010 after drawing more than 2.7 million" fans. Attanasio: "Once again, I've managed to put ourselves in a position where we could lose money this year even with 3 million fans, which we project coming out." Haudricourt noted Attanasio "decided last fall to take a somewhat unique approach to his team's player payroll" for this season. Attanasio noted the team did not set a specific number, but said, "I wasn't this year going to spend money for the sake of spending money. ... I think we've done that a little bit the last couple of years, and it didn't really work" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 2/6).
SETTING SAIL TOWARD HIGHER PRICES: In Pittsburgh, Rob Biertempfel noted a "day-of-game pricing plan -- calling for walk-up tickets to cost $2 to $5 more apiece than tickets bought in advance -- that the Pirates will implement this season is the first step toward increasing all ticket prices." Pirates President Frank Coonelly: "We need to have a competitively priced product. We've gotten far behind. We need to have a sustainable, competitive team on the field. So we really need to move (ticket prices) in that (upward) direction. When? As soon as we possibly can." The day-of-game pricing increase "does not apply to group or season-ticket sales" and will "affect about 10 percent of their overall ticket sales." The Pirates "do not expect much backlash from the pricing plan." Pirates Exec VP & CMO Lou DePaoli: "We've had day-of-game pricing for four years on our all-you-can-eat seats, and we've never had one complaint. It's an easier way for us to get that price moving upward" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2/6).
Knicks Dir of Pro Player Personnel Mark Warkentien yesterday gave his first interview since joining the organization last week, saying, "You get to work for a guy you always wanted to work with in Donnie Walsh, and then it's Madison Square Garden. I'm 57, and is there anyone in our age group who doesn't want to be a part of the Garden? It's the mecca, and it's New York." ESPN N.Y.'s Ian O'Connor noted the question is whether Warkentien, most recently VP/Basketball Operations for the Nuggets, can "help the Knicks make a deal" for Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony. Does his "intimate knowledge of Denver's management -- coupled with the fact he's represented by the same Creative Artists Agency tag team that represents Anthony -- give the Knicks the competitive edge?" (ESPNNY.com, 2/7).
Broncos could make burnt orange full-time
home jersey color by '12 season
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: In Baltimore, Kevin Cowherd wrote while the Orioles' signing of DH Vladimir Guerrero has team Owner Peter Angelos' "fingerprints all over it, give Andy MacPhail credit, too." The Orioles President of Baseball Operations was "under the gun going into this offseason." Cowherd: "Attendance figures at Camden Yards were plummeting. The fans were in near-rebellion. MacPhail knew he needed to do something drastic." While he "didn't blow up the team," he "damn sure changed it dramatically with trades and free-agent signings" (Baltimore SUN, 2/7).
HOOP DREAMS: Louisville-based attorney J. Bruce Miller Sunday said that he will meet with NBA Commissioner David Stern on Thursday in N.Y. to "update him on efforts to bring an NBA franchise to Louisville." Miller on Friday said that he "had obtained a 'no-shopping' agreement from an ownership interest looking to obtain a franchise and bring it to Louisville." He noted that the agreement is a "commitment from the ownership group that it wouldn’t look at other cities." Still, Miller Sunday stressed there is a "way to go" in the process (COURIER-JOURNAL.com, 2/7).