SBD/March 18, 2011/Franchises

Checketts Expresses Interest In Dodgers Once Sale Of Blues Is Complete

Checketts part of group that made unsuccessful bid for Dodgers in '03
Blues Owner Dave Checketts, who Wednesday announced that he is putting the team and Scottrade Center up for the sale, said that the Dodgers "would intrigue him if they are sold as a result of the pending divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Checketts "put together a group to buy the Dodgers in 2003 but was unsuccessful." He said, "It's a franchise I've always admired." Checketts said that he is not "interested in buying the Mets." He added, "I'm not focused on anything but selling the Blues right now. Once I take care of that, we'll start to look at other things." Sandomir noted Checketts, whose SCP Worldwide company owns 20% of the Blues, "will leave as its chairman and managing partner." Checketts said that his "five years as chairman of the team were largely successful." The club "has sold out every home game at the Scottrade Center this season, is starting a season-ticket waiting list and is making money" (NYTIMES.com, 3/17).

BLUES BETTER OFF: In St. Louis, Jeff Gordon wrote Checketts "did St. Louis a great service with his stewardship of the Blues." Checketts and those he worked with "took a downtrodden franchise and made it viable again," and "on balance the Checketts Regime moved the Blues into a much better place." With the "help of terrific marketing and aggressive ticket discounting, the Blues lured folks back into the Scottrade Center," and the fan base "was restored." Gordon: "Checketts had a terrific vision for this franchise. He had the right plan. In the face of a national economic crisis and a tightened credit market, he simply lacked the wherewithal to finish the job." Former Blues Enterprises CEO Peter McLoughlin also left the team to become President of the Seahawks and MLS Sounders, which was a "tough blow to the business side." Gordon: "The next ownership group must get out in the business community and rally support for this franchise" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/17).

LOCAL OWNERSHIP EXPECTED: ESPN.com's E.J. Hradek reported there are individuals in St. Louis "that would be interested in purchasing the club." Hradek: "I suspect a local investor or group of investors will emerge as a possible buyer. Further, I think the current ownership group will do what it can to ensure that a potential buyer is committed to keeping the team in St. Louis" (ESPN.com, 3/17). But in St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz wonders if anyone will "step up and give this hockey team the kind of stable, adequately financed ownership it deserves?" Miklasz: "This is yet another test for the St. Louis money. ... The folks with the serious money in STL are ambivalent about owning sports franchises." However, it is "highly doubtful" that an individual from outside St. Louis would "purchase the Blues and hijack them to Canada or Kansas City." Meanwhile, the Blues and President of Hockey Operations John Davidson "have essentially agreed to terms on a contract extension and it happened a while back." Miklasz writes, "We can never know what the future may bring but the owner or owners would be wise to stay the course with the current setup. The Blues have a highly capable front office in place" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/18).
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