SBD/July 16, 2012/Franchises

Franchise Notes

In N.Y., Josh Kosman cites sources as saying that Devils Owner Jeff Vanderbeek is "talking to private-equity firms and hedge funds about buying into his financially strapped team." Sources said that Vanderbeek is "looking to sell a majority stake, but keep operating control." The talks, coming "three weeks after the 55-year-old former Wall Street executive seemed close to inking a deal with an investor to save the team, are leading some in the financial world to believe the deal has fallen apart." Creditors "are owed $80 million." Without an investor "to pay off overdue debts, Vanderbeek risks having the team thrust into Chapter 11 -- or having the NHL" take control of the franchise (N.Y. POST, 7/16).

TIPPING THE CAP: In Pittsburgh, Dejan Kovacevic wrote the "public consensus now" is that Pirates Chair Bob Nutting "had zip to do" with the team's success this season. Kovacevic: "How else to explain not a sliver of credit being sent Nutting's way?" Nutting said Pirates prospect Starling Marte, who the team developed in its Dominican academy, is "absolutely what we need in terms of a talent stream." Kovacevic: "And therein lies the primary reason to tip the cap to Nutting: He's talked about those streams, about building from the ground up, from his very first interviews as controlling owner. More important, he's followed through in the face of relentless, vicious criticism." Nutting has been "demonized like no local sports figure I can recall," and it has been "miles off base" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 7/14).

GLASS HOUSE: In K.C., Sam Mellinger wrote Royals Owner David Glass is "severely misunderstood" in the city, and most of the misunderstanding "is his own damn fault." This is "particularly important right now because this is Glass’ best and last chance to own a winning team." There is an "enormous disconnect between Glass and the fan base." Fans "don’t give him enough credit for his evolution into what people around baseball call a model small-money owner the last six years, and Glass has never been accountable enough for the disastrous years before." The coming months are his "best chance to change all of that, because fans understandably aren’t going to give credit unless they see a winner." The Royals, now "more than ever before, are worth Glass spending more" (K.C. STAR, 7/15).

HEATING UP: In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira Winderman reports the Heat have been "scheduled for a pair of games in China during the 2012 preseason." A source yesterday said that the Heat "will play the Los Angeles Clippers in those games, Oct. 11 in Beijing and Oct. 14 in Shanghai." It will be the Heat's "first appearance in China, with the NBA having visited China in five previous preseasons." The team is currently "in the midst of a multi-year marketing partnership with Chinese beer company Tsingtao" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/16). 
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