SBD/October 24, 2011/Franchises

Franchise Notes

In Houston, Richard Justice wrote if prospective Astros Owner Jim Crane and MLB are reportedly “negotiating a price to move the Astros to the American League, it’s a clear indication that Crane has passed the highest hurdles.” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has “wrestled for weeks with trying to be fair" to current Astros Owner Drayton McLane and "also trying to do what’s right for baseball.” Justice wrote he is “not sure he’s completely there yet,” but sources said that Selig “is getting there.” Unless negotiations “break down over the league switch, Crane appears on the verge of buying himself a baseball team.” Justice provided a “road map for Crane’s first week of ownership” (CHRON.com, 10/24).

PLEADING THEIR CASE: An ad hoc group of Dodgers season-ticket holders made a final plea late Friday for official recognition in the club's bankruptcy case. The club and its creditors have both steadfastly opposed the designation, which would give the season-ticket holders a greater voice in the reorganization plan, and obligate the Dodgers to pay their legal fees. A hearing on the matter is slated for tomorrow. The Dodgers have argued that since all games were played and obligations to season-ticket holders were honored, there is no need to have them recognized as an official committee. But the season-ticket holders argued that financial impairment is not bankruptcy code threshold for forming official committees. "When the [Dodgers] have asserted that declining ticket sales are one of the very reasons that these cases must move expeditiously to resolution demonstrates the Official Committee's lack of commitment to representation of the season ticket holders' concerns in these cases," the filing reads in part (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

TO-DO LIST: In Philadelphia, Kate Fagan offers up two areas that new 76ers ownership should address. The group can “drag the team's in-game experience into 2012,” as the show inside the Wells Fargo Center “has been stale for years.” In addition, the group can move the team’s practice facility as it is “11 miles from the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly.” Fagan: “Some NBA teams' facilities might be more inconvenient, but none come to mind” (PHILADELPHA INQUIRER, 10/23).

SET FOR A LOSS: In London, Nick Harris noted EPL club Manchester City will “soon publish their annual accounts for the 2010-11 season and are expected to post the biggest one-year loss in English football history.” The club's losses in the '09-10 season “were a record” US$193M. In comparison, Manchester United has “just posted results for 2010-11 that showed a record income” US$528.6M for the ‘10-11 season and “record operating profits” of US$176.93M (DAILYMAIL.co.uk, 10/22).
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