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SBD/May 15, 2012/Franchises
Published May 15, 2012
In Memphis, Geoff Calkins writes although Grizzlies Owner Michael Heisley broke off negotiations with Oracle Founder & CEO Larry Ellison, “it’s clear that he’d like to sell the team.” Calkins notes, “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a local group takes another run at owning the franchise. Nor would I be surprised to wake up one day and discover that Heisley has struck a deal with some Ellisonesque billionaire” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 5/15). Also in Memphis, Ronald Tillery writes the Grizzlies “will have to make similar tough decisions on several free agents this summer.” The team has big contracts committed to C Marc Gasol and Fs Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph through the ’14-15 season, while G Mike Conley is “on a modest long-term deal” through the ’15-16 season. Heisley said, “We can't be in the luxury tax business. We've got to make some financial decisions. That's without question. But we have to step away from this a little bit and let this settle down. I'm not going to allow myself to have any feelings about the roster right now” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 5/15).
TOUGH ROAD AHEAD: In St. Paul, Charley Walters noted after the Twins lost 99 games last season, the team’s season-ticket total “dropped to about 23,000.” Following the Twins’ 9-23 start in ’12, the team “is expected to face a daunting challenge for season-ticket renewals” in ’13. Twins President Dave St. Peter said that the team’s season-ticket total for this year ranks “fourth in Major League Baseball.” St. Peter: “We'll certainly have our work cut out on renewal based on this start. Still, I think we're still delivering a high value, and there's still a lot of baseball to be played” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/13).
SOMETHING TO BUILD ON: MLS Impact Exec VP Richard Legendre said that he was “pleasantly surprised” to see 60,860 fans turn out Saturday to watch an MLS match against the Galaxy.” In Montreal, Pat Hickey notes the turnout at Olympic Stadium represented “a record for a professional soccer game in Canada.” Legendre: “Montrealers love events, but I think you’re also starting to see the development of a soccer culture.” However, as the Impact prepares to “move to its expanded digs at Saputo Stadium, there are also signs that selling the game is a work in progress.” Two other home games at Olympic Stadium -- an MLS game against the Timbers and a Canadian championship series game against Toronto FC -- “drew fewer than 20,000 fans” (Montreal GAZETTE, 5/15).
ROYAL PLAN: The NBA Kings announced yesterday their first-ever NBA Draft Lottery promotion designed to save fans as much as 50% on ’12-13 season tickets. Should the Kings draw a top-three pick in this year’s Draft, season tickets in designated lower and upper level locations will be offered at 50% off. If the team’s draft pick falls in the five to eight range, tickets will be 35% off. These discounts represent the cheapest price for lower-level season tickets in team history (Kings).