SBD/August 16, 2011/Franchises

Franchise Notes

In Phoenix, Paola Boivin notes “local fans are starting to respond” to the D’Backs, who are leading the NL West by 2.5 games. Team President & CEO Derrick Hall Friday night “on the spur of the moment … decided to offer $4 upper-deck tickets for Saturday's game against the Mets as a reaction to the team's four-game winning streak.” The offer was mentioned “only on Hall's Twitter account,” and “approximately 1,600 tickets were sold.” Boivin: “Not a bad social-media experiment for a team that has struggled recently to attract fans” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/16). Also in Phoenix, Dan Bickley noted an “estimated 5,000 people were walk-up customers” for the D’Backs games on Saturday and Sunday. Bickley: “Sports fans in Arizona finally seemed to grasp the magnitude of the team’s sudden ascension from last place” (AZCENTRAL.com, 8/15).

MINOR HOLDUP: Astros Owner Drayton McLane said that he spoke with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on Sunday morning and again Monday. McLane said that he was told the “holdup” in approving the sale of the team to Jim Crane “had to do with the completion of background checks on Crane and an investment group that includes 11 principals and a larger group of smaller investors.” McLane said that he “has no concerns the deal, which will end his 18-year tenure as owner, will eventually be passed and was assured by Selig that the background checks ‘should take no more than 10 days to two weeks’ to be completed” (CHRON.com, 8/15).

THE CAT'S MEOW: NFL Panthers President Danny Morrison said that the lockout and “quick turnaround to get training camp started at Wofford College in Spartanburg took precedence this year over negotiating jersey ads.” Morrison: “We certainly haven’t ruled that out for training camp, but we have not implemented that to date.” An NFL spokesperson said that “20 of the 32 NFL clubs have sold ads on practice jerseys since the league approved the idea” in ’09 (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/12 issue). The Spartanburg (S.C.) Convention & Visitors Bureau said that “as of Wednesday evening, a franchise record of 27,071 fans had attended” Panthers training camp, breaking the team's "previous high of 26,760 fans recorded” last year (Spartanburg HERALD JOURNAL, 8/13).

FLY WITH ME: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's James Hookway notes AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes is looking to “buy a majority stake" in EPL club Queens Park Rangers, and analysts said that the move "could buy more exposure" for the airline "back home and abroad as it unrolls more long-haul routes through its AirAsia X Brand.” The airline has sponsored other sports teams in the past, including Manchester United and the Raiders (WSJ.com, 8/16).
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