SBD/September 19, 2011/FranchisesPrint All
MLB Giants incoming CEO Larry Baer will "need to be approved by MLB and the other 29 owners, even though Baer has been a high-ranking official within the franchise for years," according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. MLB could potentially "use that approval process as leverage to push toward a resolution of the never-ending squabble between the Giants and the A's over rights to the San Jose area." However, indications are that "isn't likely," because MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "has long viewed that dispute as being far more complicated and complex than your average tug-of-war over whose turf is whose" (ESPN.com, 9/16). In S.F., Bruce Jenkins cites a source as saying, "There's another move coming" from the Giants' front office. The source said, "They're giving Larry Baer the CEO responsibilities, but there has to be a chief liaison between the executive committee and management, so a managing general partner will be named. Literally a chairman of the board. It can't be Larry, because he answers to the board. You can't be church and state" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/18). In S.F., Willie Brown wrote, "Hats off to one of the most phenomenal overachievers in this country, new Giants CEO Larry Baer. I don't know how he does it, but no matter who else fails in that organization, Larry always gets promoted" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/18). When asked about how his accessibility to fans will change in his new role, Baer said, "I think it's going to be pretty much the same, for myself and a whole lot of people. ... The franchise is not broken. This is not a turnaround." Bear added, "We see ourselves in the top echelon in the sport, but that doesn't mean we're going to win the World Series every year" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/18).
NOT SEEING EYE TO EYE: In S.F., Matier & Ross write Bill Neukom's exit as Giants Managing General Partner & CEO "came down to management style and money -- specifically the size of the compensation package he felt he was entitled to for heading the organization." The issue of "just how much salary, bonus and other compensation and shares of the team part-owner-turned-CEO Neukom was entitled to was never finalized even after three years at the helm." Neukom "reportedly felt his work was worth millions more than his fellow owners were willing to pay." A source said, "I think Bill started to meddle in stuff more in the weeds than people anticipated, but then wouldn't resolve any of it" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/19). Also in S.F., Al Saracevic writes Neukom "rubbed his fellow owners the wrong way in a big way." Saracevic: "This is a bad chapter in Giants history. Bill Neukom was a funny sort of baseball owner. But nobody's laughing about his departure" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/19). In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin noted fan reaction "to the stunning upheaval in the Giants' front office won't really be determined until the team ends the season with a three-game homestand against Colorado" next week. (SACRAMENTO BEE, 9/18).
WHERE TO? A SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS editorial is written under the header, "Just Make A Decision, Selig -- Any Decision." The departure of Neukom provides an opening for Selig to "finally decide whether or not the A's can move from Oakland to San Jose." The editorial: "At this point, any decision on the move is better than no decision. ... If Selig can't bring himself to say yes to San Jose over the Giants' objections, then he needs to say no. Period. The city, if not A's owner Lew Wolff, needs to move on" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/19).
The A's "could be making a return trip to Japan to open the 2012 regular season," according to Joe Stiglich of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. Though "nothing is close to being final," A's GM Billy Beane confirmed that there "have been discussions with Major League Baseball about the A's crossing the Pacific for the second time in five years to play their opener." The A's "split two games" with the Red Sox at the Tokyo Dome in March '08. A's P and player rep Craig Breslow said that MLBPA officials "have asked him whether his teammates would be receptive to the idea." Breslow said, "It seems like the guys would be excited." MLB reportedly is "talking to the Seattle Mariners, who feature outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, about playing the A's." Stiglich noted if the A's were to re-sign DH Hideki Matsui, the series "would be huge in Japan." However, there is "skepticism about whether the plan comes to fruition, with one concern being that sufficient sponsorship might not be secured" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 9/18).
Twenty years removed from the Redskins' last Super Bowl win, "just more than half of area sports fans say they view the team favorably," according to Steinberg & Clement of the WASHINGTON POST. The poll conducted during the preseason found "more than a third" of area sports fans have negative feelings about the Redskins, and fans "hold even stronger negative views about" Redskins Owner Dan Snyder. Fewer than half of the area's football fans chose the Redskins as their favorite NFL team. But Steinberg & Clement noted "55 percent of fans view the Redskins at least somewhat favorably, with longtime residents particularly supportive." Among all area sports fans, "34 percent express unfavorable views about the Redskins, compared with 26 percent for the Wizards, 12 percent for the Nationals and low single digits for the Capitals and D.C. United." Among "avid sports fans, 14 percent have a 'strongly' unfavorable view toward the Redskins," while among the other teams, "only the Wizards, at 10 percent, have a strongly unfavorable score in double digits." Meanwhile, more than "two-thirds of fans who grew up in D.C., Maryland or Virginia hold favorable views of the Redskins; it's barely four in 10 among those who grew up elsewhere." The poll also found a "majority of all D.C. area sports fans hold unfavorable views of Snyder, with more than one in three having 'strongly' negative impressions." Just "3 percent express strongly negative views toward" Nationals Owner Mark Lerner and "less than 1 percent express this view toward" Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis. Fans cited a "variety of complaints about the Redskins owner, from his recent lawsuit filed against the Washington City Paper to a perception of impatience and meddling." The poll was conducted by telephone and online July 29 to Aug. 29, among a sample of 1,010 DC-area adults. The results of have a margin of error of "4.5 percentage points and five points for the 806 sports fans surveyed" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/18).Overall, what's your impression of the Redskins?
RESPONSE% Somewhat favorable31% Strongly favorable24% Somewhat unfavorable20% Strongly unfavorable14% No opinion11%What's your impression of other D.C. area sports teams? TEAMFAVORABLEUNFAVORABLENO OPINION Wizards44%26%30% Nationals61%12%27% DC United43%5%53% Capitals61%3%35%What's your impression of…. OWNER/COACHFAVORABLEUNFAVORABLENO OPINION Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder20%54%26% Redskins coach Mike Shanahan48%25%27% Nationals Owner Ted Lerner27%9%64% Capitals, Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis41%4%55%
The NHL Jets are opting for a “random draw to sell what few tickets remain to their games” for the ’11-12 season, according to Tim Campbell of the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS. The draw will allow for a “fair and equal distribution of tickets to the 41 regular-season home games.” Those who are “successfully drawn can ‘win’ only once during the coming season.” The winner will be “sent a code to open access to either two tickets for a single game, or single tickets to two games.” The actual sale of tickets to “draw winners will take place starting the third Saturday of each month for the next month’s tickets.” The team sold 13,000 season tickets in June and “took a waiting list of 8,000 for their 15,003-seat MTS Centre.” True North Sports & Entertainment President & CEO Jim Ludlow Friday said that the Jets “anticipate an average of 600 tickets will be available through the drawing for each game.” Ludlow: “We thought the first-come, first-served method tended to favour some people who are getting to the front of the line all the time.” He added that more than 50% of the tickets that will be available “will be in the upper-deck P7 sections.” The team also "has chosen to follow the lead of numerous other NHL clubs by introducing a variable-pricing policy for its individual-game sales" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 9/17). Ludlow said, “There’s lot of supply and demand economics at play here.” In Winnipeg, Ted Wyman reported starting today, “fans can also purchase individual tickets through the team’s ticket exchange program.” Those will be tickets “returned to the team by season ticket holders who cannot use them.” The tickets will be “re-sold at a cost no higher than the price of individual tickets through Ticketmaster” (WINNIPEG SUN, 9/17).
A WARM WELCOME: The WINNIPEG SUN's Wyman noted some 1,500 people attended the Jets’ “first practice of their first NHL training camp at MTS IcePlex” Saturday. The "parking lot was full and so were the stands." For many in attendance, “this was about making a first impression on players who are moving from a big American city in the hot south, to the smallest, coldest-weather market in the NHL.” Jets RW Chris Thorburn, who played for the Thrasher for four seasons, said, “It was nothing that I’ve ever experienced before in my pro days. To come here and get this kind of reception says a lot about the city and the organization as a whole” (WINNIPEG SUN, 9/17). Meanwhile, YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski reported fans at Saturday night’s Pearl Jam concert at MTS Centre “broke out into a ‘Go Jets Go!’ chant during one of the encores” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/18).
LOOKING AHEAD: In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont writes, “I really like the new logo the Jets developed for their return to Winnipeg. … From an overall NHL business model, I don’t like the geographic/market size fit for a franchise in Manitoba. But I envy the hockey passion that fills every square inch of Canada.” Meanwhile, Dupont noted the NHL, NBC, and Comcast "all say they are committed to giving the game the best TV presence it has ever had in the US." Dupont: "Ok, so it took a mere 50 years to get that kind of traction. We’re going to be hearing a lot of Doc Emrick, and that’s always a good thing” (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/19).
The Senators yesterday confirmed their new heritage jersey was prematurely revealed at a retail outlet in Buffalo after Reebok mistakenly sent the retailer the jersey prior to its official release to other stores. The new jersey pays tribute to the early Senators teams that won 11 Stanley Cups and helped found the NHL in 1917. Fans will see Senators players wear the jersey for the first time when the complete uniform is formally unveiled Saturday, Oct. 1, at Puck Drop presented by Scotiabank (Senators). The new jersey "features a barberpole design, with red, white and black horizontal stripes across the front and a stylized 'O' in the middle, a tribute to the original Senators franchise." The third sweater "will also feature shoulder patches," and the left shoulder "reads, 'Senatuers d'Ottawa,' the right shoulder 'Ottawa Senators.'" Senators VP/Marketing Jeff Kyle chose to keep "many other details secret until the official launch Oct. 1, but he did elaborate on the novelty of the shoulder patches." The new patches are the same shape as those worn by the original Senators, but the new writing is a "testament to the current club being based in a 'bilingual city in a bilingual country.'" Kyle said that the Senators "had spent two years on the new design, working closely with a fan before finalizing the look" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/19). Fans can "pre-order the new jersey on the Senators website, as part of the Heritage Hockey Package." Those who order the "adult heritage jersey from any Sens Store will receive a vintage scarf and toque, plus a voucher for a pair of tickets to the regular-season game between Ottawa and the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, Oct. 13, the first game the team will wear the heritage jersey" (OTTAWA SUN, 9/19).
The Dodgers late Friday filed a motion to hire N.Y.-based PR firm Kekst & Co. to aid with corporate communications during the bankruptcy process. Kekst also represented former MLB Rangers Owner Tom Hicks during that club's recent stint in bankruptcy. The Dodgers called the retention of the firm an important part of its reorganization efforts. The filing states, "Much of the media reporting on off-field issues has been inaccurate or misleading, and [the Dodgers] require a seasoned communications firm such as Kekst to better ensure coverage is more evenhanded and accurate." There are no listed examples in the filing of media coverage with which the Dodgers have found fault. The two proposed account reps from Kekst that would be assigned to the club, Robert Siegfried and Lyndsey Esten, have rates of $750 per hour and $400 per hour, respectively (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). The Dodgers in the filing stated, "It is self evident that the financial success of the Dodgers depends heavily on the goodwill of its fan base. This is true not only for revenues that are derived from attendance at games, but also for ratings on its television and radio broadcasts and in the sale of its merchandise. The ability to derive revenues from all of those sources is impacted heavily by media coverage of the team, as best evidenced by the decline in attendance, which many attribute to the negative publicity surrounding the team" (LATIMES.com, 9/16).
HOT STOVE: In L.A., Steve Dilbeck noted Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has said that he "hasn't been told by McCourt yet what kind of budget he'll have in the offseason, though that's standard operating procedure for this time of year." The team's offense "is the one area everyone agrees the Dodgers need to focus on improving." Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols and Brewers 1B Prince Fielder are the "only two big bats scheduled for free agency" this winter, and Dilbeck noted both "will be looking at a $100 million-plus contract." McCourt has "never spent $100 million on a single player, and that's when he wasn't in bankruptcy court." The Dodgers have "at least $25 million coming off the books this offseason, so the possibility of signing a Pujols or Fielder isn't completely ridiculous." But "even if they were to make a run at them, there certainly is no guarantee that they'd return the interest" (LATIMES.com, 9/17).