SBD/January 23, 2012/Franchises

Franchise Notes

In St. Louis, Jeff Gordon wrote Tom Stillman, who reportedly signed a purchase agreement to buy the Blues Friday, “is unabashedly pro-St. Louis.” He is “highly visible at Blues games, offering steady encouragement to players, coaches and management.” Stillman “really, really wants to keep the Blues right where they are, winning game after game at Scottrade Center.” The potential sale “should reassure Blues fans that have become increasingly fretful about this team’s two-year ownership limbo.” But Gordon wrote this “is only good news if this new ownership group has the wherewithal to sustain a competitive payroll year after year” (STLTODAY.com, 1/20).

SAVED BY A PRINCE? In L.A., T.J. Simers wrote under the header, “Want To Boost The Value Of The Dodgers? Sign Prince Fielder.” The winning bidder for the Dodgers will be “on the hook to pay all the deferred money owed to players signed by” outgoing Owner Frank McCourt. And most of McCourt’s deals “have involved putting off payment.” Yet no one “seems to be balking.” Simers asked, “Are we still to believe the signing of Fielder would be troubling to a new owner given the gigantic TV deal that awaits? … Are we to believe the signing of Fielder, which should boost the Dodgers and thereby improve attendance, would turn off bidders?” (L.A. TIMES, 1/22).

OWNER'S MANUEL
: Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov said last week that he "would ‘send my shares (of the Nets) to a blind trust’ should he become prime minister.” In N.Y., Stefan Bondy noted giving his shares to a blind trust “doesn’t mean Prokhorov would relinquish his investment, just that trustees would be given full discretion over the Nets’ assets.” Prokhorov, “who hasn’t attended a Nets game in almost a year, downplayed any change in his ownership duties as status quo.” Prokhorov: “Even now I’m more on the strategy side than the day-to-day routine and I never interfere in my manager’s job” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/21).

SHOW ME THE MONEY: In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette wrote Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan has “made it clear he wants to be held accountable and that the team will spend up to the salary cap.” That is “good because when NFL free agency opens up on March 13, the Jaguars should throw big money at several positions craving an upgrade.” How the team “spends in the open market will be a major test of Khan applying action to his words.” If the Jaguars “are going to live up to Khan's high expectations, it starts with opening up his checkbook” (JACKSONVILLE.com, 1/21).
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