SBD/May 20, 2011/Franchises

Franchise Notes

McLane's sale of Astros to Crane expected to take about four weeks to close
In Houston, David Barron notes Allen & Co. Managing Dir Steve Greenberg, hired by Astros Owner Drayton McLane to conduct the sale of the team, “expects MLB will require four weeks or so to ‘basically cross the T’s and dot the I’s on a whole bunch of stuff’ associated with the $680 million” sale to Jim Crane. McLane predicted his agreement with Crane will “sail through” to approval. Greenberg: “It’s very, very smooth by baseball standards. …. There was a robust level of interest in the market. The best buyer ultimately emerged and struck a deal, that being Jim Crane, and he put together a terrific group of local businessmen (as investors)” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/20).

TRIPLE THE FUN: In Cincinnati, Joe Reedy noted the Bengals “have introduced a new multi-game ticket package for the upcoming season.” Instead of the “usual four-game Orange and Black packages,” the team has introduced the “Triple Option” pack, which will “allow fans to package any three games of their choosing.” Bengals Ticket Sales Manager Andrew Brown said that “ticket sales for the four-game packages last year were strong compared to previous years, but with the current situation and a pretty soft home schedule, it would not have been conducive to do those packages” (CINCINNATI.com, 5/18).

A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: In New Jersey, John Brennan writes “the WNBA scenarios are more favorable that the NBA versions in the long run” for playing at the Prudential Center. The Nets this season discovered “there is a lot of resistance from the waiting Brooklyn fan base to show up for more than the token game at the Prudential Center.” The WNBA Liberty this season will play at the arena as MSG under goes renovations, and MSG Sports President Scott O’Neill “was happy to point out that it took him only 19 minutes Thursday to go from the Garden to The Rock.” O’Neill added that about one-third of the Liberty's ticket base "has been from New Jersey even while the team was playing at the Garden” (NORTHJERSEY.com, 5/19).

NOTES: Colts Owner Jim Irsay “reiterated his stance that he won’t be cutting the pay of any employees, including coaches, during the lockout.” Irsay: “I’ve met with all of our people and my biggest thing is let’s be working hard … let’s get ready for a great season and the unusual privilege of hosting the Super Bowl” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/20)....It has been a "dreary spring for a number of baseball's most high-profile franchises, with slumping ticket sales compounded by ticket-holding no-shows kept home by rain and cold." The Mets through Wednesday were averaging 27,288 fans, down 3,031 from last year (NEWSDAY, 5/20).
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