SBD/September 8, 2011/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Hawks offering different ticket plans for fans during NBA lockout

In Atlanta, Michael Cunningham reported the Hawks are “offering incentives for season-ticket buyers in the form of credits or refunds -- both with interest -- for any exhibition or regular-season games that are canceled" because of the lockout. The first deadline for the program was yesterday, and Hawks Senior VP/Sales & Marketing & Chief Sales Officer Tracy White said that team officials "heard from 86 percent of their 2010 season-ticket holders and 85 percent of those ticket-holders chose one of the two rewards options." Those who chose the account credit option by yesterday will receive 20% interest “on the principal amount at an annualized rate” starting with the first missed home game. Credits can be used “for the purchase of additional seats” for the ’11-12 season or toward ‘12-13 season tickets. Customers that chose the “cash option will receive payments in the amount of 10 percent annualized interest on the principal amount for each game canceled" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/6).

WHEN IT RAINS ... In DC, Gene Wang notes what "started as a seemingly innocuous announcement" about the status of the Dodgers-Nationals game scheduled for yesterday "turned into hours of confusion and frustration." The Dodgers at 1:40pm ET tweeted that the game scheduled for 7:05pm at Nationals Park "had been called" because of bad weather. The Nationals, however, "did not confirm that was the case" until 5:52pm. The "reason for the delay in making an official announcement apparently had to do with a new rule" that requires MLB to approve postponements. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said, "There was all kinds of things going on, and plus most of the roads around here were closed, so it was kind of a no-brainer" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/8). Meanwhile, on Long Island, Ken Davidoff writes MLB’s “heart is in the right place" with the decision to start Tuesday's Orioles-Yankees game after 11:00pm instead of postponing it. But officials "pushed too hard" to play the game, which "should've been postponed at about 4 o’clock Tuesday afternoon" (NEWSDAY, 9/8).

CHANGING UNIFORMS: The UFL yesterday announced Park Avenue Equity Founder William Mayer as the new owner of the Virginia Destroyers. Mayer had owned the Hartford Colonials since the UFL's inception in '09 -- the team played its first season as the N.Y. Sentinels -- but the league suspended the franchise's operations for the '11 season (UFL). Mayer yesterday said that “he spared the fledging life of the Virginia Beach team -- and suspended operations in Hartford -- solely on the ease and cost of doing business" for his new club. Mayer noted that the UFL "hopes a new emphasis on local control rather than a centralized operations from the league office in Jacksonville, Fla., will cut by half last year’s loss of an estimated $50 million” (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 9/8). Mayer, who was an investor in MLS DC United for five years, believes that the UFL "provides a viable football option" for non-NFL cities. He said, "There’s no reason we shouldn’t be successful” (Hampton Roads DAILY PRESS, 9/8).

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