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SBD/December 1, 2011/FranchisesPrint All
Prospective Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan will "buy 100 percent of the team and won't have limited partners," according to Vito Stellino of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Former Owner Wayne Weaver had seven limited partners. Preston Haskell, one of the partners, said, "It's bittersweet. I think in the long run it's going to be very good for the team and very good for the city." Fellow limited partner Lawrence DuBow said, "It was a great ride. Timing is everything in life. It's the right time. If you wait for the ideal time, you wait for the rest of your life" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/30). Former NFLer Deron Cherry also was a limited partner in the Jaguars, and he said, "I have mixed feelings. Wayne does, too. He enjoyed this business as much as I did being a part of it with him. But he has other businesses … he’s got some kids, but I don’t think they were interested in carrying forward with the team. Everyone was aware of the fact with no succession plan … the time for him to exit was getting shorter, and he wanted to wait until there was labor peace." Cherry is convinced Khan "will keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville." He said, "Everyone is talking about the franchise moving. I don't think that's going to happen" (K.C. STAR, 12/1).
MONEY HOLD: In Jacksonville, Timothy Gibbons in a front-page piece notes if Khan "wants to move the team to a new city before 2030, he’d have to pay the city millions of dollars to get out of its lease for EverBank Field." The team "could avoid paying a lot of those penalties -- which could total more than $100 million -- if it lost money one year and was below the NFL’s revenue average the following two years." The agreement "requires the team to pay whatever is left on the lease, which totals just over $145 million spread over the 35-year term of the deal." According to a city analysis of the rental income, the team currently "owes just over $100 million." It would also "have to pony up money related to things like missed ticket surcharges and parking revenue, which would add up to almost $1 million a year." If the team can "show it has lost money for a year and had below-average revenue the following two years, though, that payout gets cut by about 40 percent" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 12/1).
NO CLEAR PATH: In L.A., Sam Farmer writes to believe the Jaguars are "skipping town is to believe the league's other 31 franchises -- run by cutthroat businessmen -- are ready to give Khan a clear path to the pot of gold, a locale that will essentially double the value of his team." The NFL "knows it cannot afford to fail again in L.A.," and it is a "big leap in logic to think that the league would hand that opportunity to its newest, least-experienced, and nowhere-near-richest team owner." Farmer asks, "Don't you think teams such as the Chargers, Rams, Raiders and Vikings might have something to say about the new guy strolling into L.A. and cutting a deal, especially when the looming threat of that market is their main leverage for getting stadium deals done in their current cities?" (L.A. TIMES, 12/1).
TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR MONDAY NIGHT: Jaguars Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Mackey Weaver said that ticket sales for Monday's game against the Chargers "picked up Wednesday" after Wayne Weaver announced he had fired coach Jack Del Rio and was selling the team. The Jaguars have not had any TV blackouts since '09 and Mackey Weaver "was confident they would avoid one for the Chargers game even though they have more than 7,000 tickets left to sell as of Wednesday evening." He said that the team will "ask the NFL for a 24-hour extension until Saturday." Stellino notes when a team "asks for an extension, it usually avoids a blackout." Weaver said that a theme on Monday night will be to "thank Wayne and Delores Weaver for their 18-year tenure as the team's owners." Khan is planning to attend Monday's game (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 12/1).
After losing four straight games, the Bills' December games are "becoming a tougher and tougher sell," according to WGRZ.com. There are "still 12,000 tickets available for the" team's game against the Titans Sunday. For the Dec. 11 Miami game, "13,600 seats remain." And for the team's matchup against the Broncos on Christmas Eve, "there are still 24,800 tickets left." But Bills brass are "trying to brighten that picture through a variety of deals, such as the December package that offers savings of up to $9 per ticket as well as military discounts." Bills CEO Russ Brandon said, "I would like to say that we're in good position but it's going to be a challenge for us. It's a lot of inventory to move in a short amount of time." When asked if the team would buy tickets to avoid a blackout, Brandon said, "We're looking at the standpoint that, that's done in some markets, but in this market our business model really calls for us to be sold out." He added that "buying up seats themselves would devalue season tickets altogether." Sixty-percent of Bills December home games were "sold out in the last decade." And in the '90s, the "Super Bowl years, the stadium sold out only 55 percent of the time in December." Brandon said that it all "has to do with the time of year." And "like before, they're trying with everyone from fans to corporate sponsors to get those thousands of unsold seats bought up before Thursday's blackout deadline" (WGRZ.com, 11/30).
ANOTHER BLACKOUT? The Dolphins yesterday said that they "are 'hopeful' the Raiders game will be televised locally, which likely will require the team to again buy tickets before" today's blackout deadline (MIAMI HERALD, 12/1).
YAHOO SPORTS' Martin Rogers noted the Galaxy "have emerged as the favorite to sign" EPL club Chelsea F Didier Drogba "in a move that would continue to establish Major League Soccer as a popular destination for big-name players seeking a fresh challenge." Drogba has "called off contract talks with his current club, and his agent has been busy fielding interest from a number of suitors with deep pockets." The Galaxy are "one team believed to have made their intent to sign Drogba known, which would suggest that David Beckham is indeed on his way out." Rogers noted signing Drogba "would be a real coup for MLS, as the league continues to ride a recent wave of positive vibes" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/30).
BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL: The White Sox announced the "formation of a 14-game ticket plan Tuesday and that 48 percent of their full and split-season ticket packages will cost an average of less than $30 per game in 2012." In Chicago, Mark Gonzales noted that "revelation could coincide soon with the slashing of a bloated payroll with important decisions awaiting them." The Sox "suffered a substantial loss in 2011 as home attendance dipped for the fifth consecutive season with a record player payroll of $127 million." The Sox' full-season ticket plans "have been cut by up to 31 percent from 2011’s pricing, and the split 27-game plan will be trimmed by up to 23 percent" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/30).
LOCK IT UP: In Cleveland, Joel Hammond notes the Browns are "offering club seat buyers the opportunity to lock in their current prices -- ranging from $1,260 to $2,800 for a season ticket, depending on location within the club seating area -- for three years if they commit to buying their seats for five years and sign up for that plan by" today. Team literature indicates that the five-year option "would be subject to a 3% hike in 2015 and again in 2016." In addition to the price freeze, the Browns "are providing fans who commit to five more years a $250 voucher to be used at concession or merchandise stands at the stadium" (CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS, 11/28 issue).
SAVE THE MUSIC: In Winnipeg, Bartley Kives notes in what is "being described as an unprecedented situation, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Manitoba Opera, Winnipeg Art Gallery and Royal Winnipeg Ballet are experiencing disappointing fall seasons as walk-up attendance falls short of expectations." Arts administrators believe that it is "no coincidence walk-up sales are down during a season when their organizations are suddenly competing with the Winnipeg Jets for a limited entertainment dollar as well as limited leisure time." While the administrators "do not draw a direct correlation between soft sales and the return of the NHL, they said it would be foolish to ignore the attention devoted to the league's heavily anticipated return to a city desperate to watch hockey again" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 12/1).