SBD/October 21, 2011/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Nolan Ryan Thinks Rangers' Fan Support Is Sustainable

Ryan (r) thinks support was always there, fans just needed something to rally around
Despite the continued market dominance of the neighboring Cowboys, Rangers President & CEO Nolan Ryan said Thursday his club's record-setting fan support is definitely sustainable. "The support, I think, was always sort of there, and they were just waiting for us to give them something to rally around," said Ryan, who met with reporters prior to Game Two of the World Series in St. Louis. "Provided we continue to stay competitive, I see no reason at all why this couldn't continue." The Rangers, playing their 40th season in Arlington this year, set a franchise record with a home attendance of 2.947 million fans. Local TV ratings on FS Southwest rose 11% to an average of 101,000 homes, the 9th largest audience among MLB teams (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
READY FOR LAUNCH? In Houston, Steve Campbell cited a source as saying that MLB "seems very interested" in seeing the sale of the Astros to Jim Crane finalized. That would constitute a "significant shift from August, when MLB removed a scheduled vote to approve the sale from the owners’ meetings agenda." A source said that "concerns about past business practices of Crane’s companies remain a point in contention in approving the deal." Another source contended that MLB "has been using past EEOC complaints and settlements involving war profiteering as 'a bargaining chip' to leverage Crane into accepting a move to the AL as a pre-condition to taking over the team" (, 10/20).

BILL COMING DUE: Dewey & LeBoeuf LLC, lead counsel for the Dodgers in their ongoing bankruptcy case, Thursday filed a request for nearly $619,000 for legal work performed for the club during the month of September. The request brings the total legal fees in the case to date to more than $3.5M. The firm will continue to represent the Dodgers after MLB last week withdrew its bid to have it, along with co-counsel Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, disqualified on conflict-of-interest grounds. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Thursday declined comment on the Dodgers case following the presentation of the league's Roberto Clemente Award to Red Sox DH David Ortiz. Selig is slated to testify along with Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt at a key evidentiary hearing in the bankruptcy case beginning Oct. 31 in Wilmington, Delaware (Fisher).
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