SBD/March 20, 2012/Franchises

Acquiring Tebow Could Mean Boon For Possible New Team In Business Metrics

Jags Owner Khan said he would've drafted Tebow if he owned team three years ago
The Broncos' signing of free agent QB Peyton Manning means incumbent QB Tim Tebow is likely on the market and “any franchise that needs to become more relevant with its fan base would have to be interested in Tebow," according to Mike Klis of the DENVER POST. Tebow's contract is “trade-friendly” and he also “can help a team win.” His jersey and memorabilia "are among the league's best sellers” (DENVER POST, 3/20). Klis wrote Tebow “singlehandedly made the Broncos relevant” last season and “singlehandedly energized the Broncos’ fan base.” Tebow also “all but singlehandedly lifted a bad team” to the playoffs. Klis: “What owner who struggles to sell 10,000 seats every home week wouldn’t want that?” (DENVERPOST.com, 3/19). WFAN-AM’s Joe Benigno said, “I think Tim Tebow make as lot of sense in two places: Miami and Jacksonville. He will sell tickets in both of those places. He is an icon in Florida” ("Daily News Live," SportsNet N.Y., 3/19).

CASE FOR JAGUARS
: In Boston, Greg Bedard wrote it would “make more sense for one of the Florida teams that has attendance problems, the Jaguars or Dolphins, to acquire Tebow.” He would “instantly increase their market value, especially the Jaguars.” Bedard wrote of the Jaguars, “I know the football people there don't want Tebow, but if I'm owner [Shahid] Khan, I'm directing the front office to acquire Tebow purely for ticket reasons. Let the coaches figure out where to play him” (BOSTON.com, 3/19). ESPN’s Skip Bayless said, “Jacksonville, his hometown, dying franchise can’t even come close to selling out. It makes all the sense in the world to me” ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 3/20). CNBC's Darren Rovell said, “From a business perspective, they need Tebow” (“Street Signs,” CNBC, 3/19). In Orlando, Mike Bianchi wrote the Jaguars “haven’t been relevant or interesting in more than a decade,” and they “need to go out and bring Tebow back home where he belongs.” Tebow is from the Jacksonville area and attended the Univ. of Florida. Khan has “already gone on record as saying he would have ‘100 percent’ drafted Tebow if he’d been the owner of the team three seasons ago when Tebow came out of college” (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 3/19). The Chicago Tribune's Von McClure: “I do think if they were to acquire Tebow that they’re going to give him the best shot to start because he’s going to sell tickets” ("Chicago Tribune Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 3/19). But in Jacksonville, Gene Frenette wrote, “I’ve said and written before that you never bring any player, Tebow included, into your organization for the sole purpose of selling tickets. You draft, trade or sign players because you believe they give you a better chance to win, period.” He added, “You don’t bring in Tebow to attract media attention or spur ticket sales. Make it only about football and winning, not because of some romanticized notion with the orange-and-blue portion of the fan base” (JACKSONVILLE.com, 3/19). ESPN’s Mike Golic: “My only issue is if it’s not going to work and you are not winning, you are not filling the stadium. Sell tickets -- at the beginning they will, but if you are 7-9 or 8-8 are you selling out, are you selling tickets?” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN Radio, 3/20).

CASE FOR DOLPHINS: USA TODAY’s Jarrett Bell in a sports section cover story writes, “Remember where Tebow’s rise began last season? Miami. It was the Dolphins’ first sellout of the season.” He added, “Bring him back, and Tebow would surely sell tickets and appeal to Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross’ celebrity factor” (USA TODAY, 3/20). On Long Island, Bob Glauber writes Tebow would “surely be attractive” to Ross, who has “taken a public beating with his inability to attract big-time players and/or coaches to the Dolphins” (NEWSDAY, 3/20). ESPN’s Michael Smith said the Dolphins should want Tebow because they have “swung and missed on trying to get all sorts of people as a head coach and a quarterback to play for them." ESPN’s Charissa Thompson said Tebow “would put people in the seats” (“Numbers Never Lie,” ESPN, 3/19). In West Palm Beach, Ben Volin notes the “issue is whether Tebow would breathe life into a franchise that has been treading water or -- because of his unorthodox style and unpolished skills -- bring chaos to the efforts to improve under new coach Joe Philbin.” The Dolphins could “stick with incumbent Matt Moore, but he doesn't have the [pizzazz] to energize a season-ticket base that was in the low 40,000s and could be dwindling, raising the possibility of local-TV blackouts on a regular basis.” If the Dolphins “want to sell tickets, it could be tempting to turn to Tebow.” The Dolphins, who last season “averaged 59,069 fans in their six home games not involving the Jets or Patriots, sold 63,800 tickets when Tebow and the Broncos came to town.” Still, Tebow “might be a terrible fit in the West Coast offense that Philbin coached successfully the last five seasons” with the Packers (PALM BEACH POST, 3/20).

NOT SO FAST: YAHOO SPORTS’ Les Carpenter noted any quarterback competition Tebow is “thrown into will be a fiasco.” It is “not the situation for a new coach, or a coach who sits uneasy in his job.” Tebow’s arrival in almost any NFL city “will be as much of an internal disaster as a public relations boon.” This is why it is “hard to imagine Tebow in his hometown of Jacksonville, where new coach Mike Mularkey is supposed to be trying to establish Blaine Gabbert, the team’s top draft pick from last year, as the franchise quarterback.” It is also “difficult to imagine new Dolphins coach Joe Philbin rushing to throw Tebow into the lineup while trying to build a program in Miami” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/19). In N.Y., Judy Battista in a sports section cover story writes Tebow’s popularity among fans “may work against him,” as teams could be “reluctant to face what the Broncos did last season -- managing a polarizing player whose fans demanded he play, even if his football skills did not match up with the team’s needs” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/20). ESPN’s Mark Schlereth said, "Some owner might step in and say, ‘I want to sell jerseys and I want to have some excitement. I want to make this move.’ But right now ... I don’t think any football people really want him on their football team” (“NFL Live,” ESPN, 3/19).
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