SBD/August 7, 2012/FranchisesPrint All
The O’Malley group has purchased the Padres from Owner John Moores for “approximately $800 million,” which “includes $200 million in upfront money the Padres received as an advance payment from Fox Sports San Diego as part of a new 20-year television agreement,” according a front-page piece by Bill Center of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Approval could come “as soon as Aug. 16 when the owners meet in Denver.” The O’Malley group is "led by former Dodgers Owner Peter O’Malley, his sons Kevin and Brian, his nephews Peter and Tom Seidler," golfer Phil Mickelson and Liquid Investments CEO Ron Fowler, as well as a small group of other members of former team Owner Jeff Moorad’s group. Kevin and Brian O’Malley and the Seidlers are “expected to become ‘hands-on’ owners while assuming many of the club’s business, operational and community leadership roles.” Padres CEO Tom Garfinkel and GM Josh Byrnes "will remain" in their positions. No “immediate changes are known on the baseball end of the operation.” Moores put the Padres back on the market in April after Moorad’s bid to purchase the team “collapsed under the apparent reluctance of MLB to approve his purchase.” While six groups and individuals originally “stepped forward," the O’Malley group was the “only potential buyer negotiating with Moores over the past two months.” The O’Malley group will own 100% of the Padres, including Petco Park "and the debt still owed on the downtown ballpark” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/7). Moores said that the sale includes "a 21 percent stake" in FS San Diego. Moores: “This brings a long baseball blood line to San Diego. I couldn’t be more pleased. I feel like I’m handing over the club to the right people” (MLB.com, 8/6).
GOODWILL AMBASSADORS: In San Diego, Acee & Rowe write, “None of the four cousins have yet held prominent positions in professional sports." However, their "pedigree may buy them some goodwill and provide insight into the family business.” Observers predict Kevin O’Malley and Tom Seidler “will move to San Diego to lead the team’s day-to-day operations.” A source said that “this duo possesses many of the same traits that allowed previous O’Malleys to thrive in baseball” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/7). Padres manager Bud Black said, “It’s been much anticipated; I think it’s great. What we’ve heard of the group is all positive. I look for a smooth transition” (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 8/7).
OPEN ARMS: In San Diego, Kevin Acee writes, “Hallelujah. Welcome, O’Malleys and Seidlers. The mere mention of your family name fills us with hope. Now get to it.” Acee: "Tell us and show us you have the ways and means and desire” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/7).
Kevin O’Connor plans to “relinquish his position as longtime general manager of the Utah Jazz” and Spurs VP/Assistant GM Dennis Lindsey “is expected to take over the role,” according to Smith & Luhm of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. O’Connor will “still guide Utah’s basketball operations and retain key aspects of the ‘executive vice president’ portion of his job title.” The Jazz were scheduled to hold a “front-office-related news conference” at 10:00am MT today. The Jazz have “one of the smallest front offices in the NBA, and O’Connor’s decision will push forward a modernization process that began when Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan resigned in February 2010.” A source said the move makes "perfect sense." Smith & Luhm note by removing himself “from the day-to-day grind of being a GM -- dealing with agents, travel, nonstop phone calls and endless rumors -- O’Connor should be able to streamline his responsibilities and provide the Jazz with sharper leadership” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 8/7). In Salt Lake City, Kurt Kragthorpe writes O’Connor “personally tries to take the places of two franchise legends," late Jazz Owner Larry H. Miller and Sloan. After Miller died in ‘09 and Sloan resigned last year, the Jazz “have lacked the administrative layer that O’Connor will now fill.” The newly hired GM “can handle the day-to-day personnel management, with O’Connor functioning as the ultimate decision-maker in the absence of the strong personalities of Miller and Sloan.” Kragthorpe: “This is just another step in the Jazz’s evolution toward normalcy in the NBA. After being owner-driven and coach-driven for nearly a quarter-century, they’re becoming like just about every other pro sports organization” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 8/7).
The Phillies' 257-game home sellout streak at Citizens Bank Park has come to an end, as last night's game against the Braves drew just 41,665 fans. The streak was the third longest in MLB history. The streak began July 7, 2009, and now trails only the Red Sox' active streak of 772 sellouts at Fenway Park and a 455-game mark the Indians set at Progressive Field from '95-'01. As the Phillies sunk early this season to what could be their first losing season in a decade, team execs seemed prepared for the end of the streak. The club at various points employed ticket sales incentives such as buy-one-get-one-free offers for certain seats. Phillies President David Montgomery said in a statement, "The number of sellouts could not have been possible without the tremendous loyalty of our fans who continue to lead all of Major League Baseball in average attendance this year." The Phillies drew a total attendance of 11.59 million fans during the streak for a per-game average of 45,082 (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). In Philadelphia, Matt Gelb writes this day "was coming as irrelevancy swept through a franchise accustomed to success." Many purchased tickets "recently went unused and some began showing up for mere dollars on third-party resale websites" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/7). Also in Philadelphia, Bob Brookover notes the Phillies "still rank first in baseball with an average attendance of 44,606" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/7).
SAN FRANCISCO TREAT: MLB Giants Senior VP & CIO Bill Schlough said that dynamic pricing has "helped the team sell-out 140 straight games, the best Giants streak in almost a decade, though a 2010 World Series victory also helped." Schlough said that the team for the past three years "has used data on the popularity of opposing teams, and prices from online secondary ticket markets, to calculate the price of 20 different seating areas." Schlough: "It seems really archaic to set prices at the start of the season. You have no idea how the team is going to do and you might not even know who is going to be playing." He added that the "supply and demand pricing mimics the success of online ticket outlets, like StubHub" (WSJ.com, 8/6).
In Pittsburgh, John Harris notes prospective Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III “plans on turning his investment into Steelers Midwest.” Haslam, a Steelers minority owner the past four years, will “remake the Browns in his -- and the Steelers’ -- image.” Haslam said, “They do things the right way. They have the Steeler Way of doing things. I think now we will have the Browns way of doing things.” Harris writes in “some ways, Haslam comes across like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, but minus the massive ego.” He is “upfront and gregarious and doesn’t mind sharing his thoughts with the media and fans.” Cleveland reporters “will love him after dealing with the reclusive” current Browns Owner Randy Lerner (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 8/7).
BUC THE TREND? In Tampa, Stephen Holder noted Bucs co-Chair Bryan Glazer is “encouraged by the recent activity in his team's ticket office.” But he said home games are "not a slam dunk" to be televised locally, despite the club lowering the threshold to lift blackouts. Glazer on Saturday said, "We want to give our fans every opportunity to see as many games as they can this year. But I cannot … predict how many there will be. We're hopeful there will be more games on television than last year" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/5).
COME ON DOWN: In DC, Dan Steinberg noted Redskins Owner Dan Snyder hopes to improve “the in-game fan experience to keep people from wanting to watch NFL games at home.” Snyder said, “We happen to have the largest tailgate system in the National Football League, and we’re real proud of it.” He added, “We’re putting in ribbon boards this year. Last year we put in this giant new scoreboards and video boards. And I think you’ve got to continually make sure that the fan experience is at the highest level, and is something they can’t get at home” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/6).
JUSTIN TIME: In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette noted Jaguars first-round draft pick Justin Blackmon and his agent, Todd France, were “in a tough situation trying to resist the Jaguars' efforts to put protection language in his contract as a result of his aggravated DUI arrest in June.” Blackmon yesterday agreed to a four-year, $18.5 million contract. The negotiations turned out to be “about balancing the money the Jaguars were willing to give Blackmon in non-refundable signing bonus, versus how much he was willing to take in a deferred roster bonus.” They finally settled on “giving Blackmon 60 percent in signing bonus for his No. 5 draft slot.” Providing Blackmon “stays clean in the future, he will get all $18.5 million.” Frenette wrote Blackmon "should consider himself lucky that the Jaguars, who didn't take as hard-line a stance as many thought they would, gave him as much money up front as they did” (JACKSONVILLE.com, 8/6).