SBD/March 1, 2011/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Nets gave away 10,000 Williams T-shirts for his Prudential Center debut
In Newark, Steve Politi notes the Nets "did everything they could" last night to make newly acquired G Deron Williams "feel at home for his debut" at Prudential Center. The Nets "unveiled a giant mural with his likeness on the side of a hotel, took out full-page ads in several newspapers and gave away T-shirts with his name and number to the first 10,000 fans" at the game against the Suns (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 3/1). Williams before the game said, "I want to win. In order to do that, you see the trend now: two, three, sometimes four stars in every city." He added, "We have the market to do that right now, and I think it's going to improve with the move to Brooklyn to attract some of the bigger name guys and it's on not only management, but me, to try to get some people here" (N.Y. POST, 3/1).

TRIPLE-DIGIT HEAT: In Dallas, Evan Grant reported the Rangers' Opening Day payroll is expected to be around $94M, 70% above their $55.25M payroll at the start of the '10 MLB season. Add in "possible bonuses this year -- the Rangers have budgeted for them -- and the figure could climb" above $100M. It is "not unreasonable to think the club will pass the previous franchise high" of $105.3M in '02. Grant: "It serves as a reminder that the club (read: ownership) better be prepared to keep upping the ante. ... If this window is to remain open for more than one or two years, it's a commitment the Rangers are going to have to make over and over again" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/27).

PAY TO PLAY: The GUARDIAN's Matt Scott reports Randy Lerner has injected more than $325.3M (all figures U.S.) into Aston Villa since buying the EPL club five years ago. Lerner has "overseen the growth of revenues" from $60.5M in '06-07 -- his first full season as owner -- to $147.8M last season. At the same time, Aston Villa's salary payments have grown from $36.4M in his first year to about $130M, "nearly 88% of the club's total revenues." Losses last year "were marginally down," to $61M from $75M a year earlier (GUARDIAN, 3/1).

LIFE'S A PEACH: In Atlanta, Chris Vivlamore cites a source as saying that "two non-disclosure agreements were submitted over the weekend from parties showing preliminary interest in purchasing all or part" of the Hawks, Thrashers and Philips Arena. The source indicated that "as many as five non-disclosure agreements have been signed over the past several weeks" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/1).
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