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SBD/June 13, 2012/Franchises
NBA Awaiting Application To Begin Vetting Prospective Grizzlies Buyer Robert Pera
Published June 13, 2012
NO BLUFF HERE: In Memphis, Geoff Calkins writes the local minority ownership “did step up” during the sale process and they are the “only reason the team is here in the first place.” The locals “had the dream of bringing an NBA team to Memphis when nobody thought it was possible.” They would have “preferred to own the team themselves, but were willing to swallow their egos and become minority owners if that's what it took.” Calkins writes he suspects the minority ownership “didn't believe Heisley's buyer was real” when he told them they could meet the price of a buyer. Calkins: “Heisley has had a succession of phantom buyers, starting with Christian Laettner. Which points out the real problem, of course: the utter lack of trust on both sides” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 6/13).
KEEPING INFORMED: Also in Memphis, Ronald Tillery notes Pera “is described as deliberate in his approach,” and that “might also best describe how the Grizzlies will conduct their business until a transfer of ownership” is finalized in the fall. Pera “won't have veto power when it comes to Griz dealings but he'll be kept in the loop about transactions as a courtesy generally provided in the NBA by the outgoing owner.” Heisley “emphatically said that the Griz will operate under his philosophy until ownership changes hands.” Heisley: "I'm going to approach this draft like I normally would. Pera has not bought the team yet. If you think I'm just going to walk away you're crazy.” He added, "But I have every intention of inviting (Pera) to participate when we go through the draft. He will be kept informed of every basketball decision that's being made. Obviously, he'll have an opportunity to put his two cents in. We'll handle it like a fair business man would. I don't anticipate any disagreements" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 6/13).
PRICE INCREASE: Tillery reports the Grizzlies are “raising some season ticket prices effective June 29 -- the first increase in seven years.” But the increase is “not linked to Monday's announcement” that Heisley plans to sell the franchise to Pera. Increases range from $1 to $10 per game. Terrace III seats are “increasing from $10 to $11 per game, and courtside seats from $129 to $139.” Club Level seat prices “will remain unchanged.” The Grizzlies said that their season-ticket prices “remain among the lowest in the league, with 6,000 tickets priced at $11 or less per game and more than 10,000 tickets priced at $27 or less” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 6/13).