SBD/February 8, 2011/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Jeff Moorad Near Deal To Sell D'Backs Stake

D'Backs partners are set to buy Jeff Moorad's remaining stake in club
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).
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