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SBD/August 31, 2012/FranchisesPrint All
In Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie's annual state-of-the-team address on Thursday, he spent time "assuring fans he would retain control of the team in the wake of his impending divorce," according to Les Bowen of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. When Jeffrey and Christina Lurie announced they were divorcing July 4, they said in a statement that "there would be no effect on the Eagles." Since then, the NFL Network reported that the two "have worked out a settlement that will leave Jeffrey Lurie with total control." Lurie on Thursday said the report was "very accurate." Lurie: "There is no change whatsoever in the operation of the Eagles (or) the ownership of the Eagles. I've structured this franchise around having complete control (including) 100 percent voting and total, final decision-making. That continues. I've always had a couple limited partners that were nonvoting and not involved in decisions, football decisions particularly. That continues. Christina will also be a limited partner, as she has been, just like the other limited partners. That doesn't change." Lurie on Thursday also "made it clear" there will be no contract extension for coach Andy Reid "until the season is over." However, Lurie "kept talking about 'substantial improvement' over 2011's 8-8, no-playoffs season." Bowen writes it was "interesting that Lurie was willing to reinforce the perception that the clock is loudly ticking on Reid, instead of just dancing around the topic." The sense "seemed to be that Lurie really is exasperated not to have won the Super Bowl by now, and really is not going to wait forever." Lurie said, "It's a big emptiness because I feel like we've accomplished everything else. We've been in a huge percentage of the championship games, won so many division titles, came so close in so many ways. ... It's kind of the one remaining situation, one remaining goal" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 8/31).
MAN IN CHARGE: In Philadelphia, Jeff McLane in a front-page piece writes it has "been a year of change for Lurie and the Eagles," as in addition to Lurie's divorce, Eagles President Joe Banner, "Lurie's longtime friend, stepped down." Lurie said that Banner is "still a senior adviser to the team." But McLane notes Banner is "expected to become president of the Browns" once Jimmy Haslam III's purchase of the team is approved. Meanwhile, Christina Lurie has "remained visible at Eagles games and functions this preseason" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/31). Also in Philadelphia, Bob Ford writes under the header, "Lurie Asserts That He Controls The Eagles." Lurie "lost none of his organizational leverage" when his divorce was finalized, nor any of his "ownership compass" when the team parted ways with Banner. Lurie "empathizes with what Reid has been going through in his own personal life." Lurie said of Reid's future with the team, "It's always been my decision. I'm a good listener, and I surround myself with good people, but this is a very, very subjective decision, and I've always been the one to make it. Whether (it is) hiring, changing, whatever, all those are mine" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/31).
Prospective Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III “won’t officially take over the team until late October, but he’s already plunged in head first,” according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Haslam has “already visited” Patriots Owner Robert Kraft, Giants President & CEO John Mara and Texans Owner Robert McNair, and he will “spend time” with Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones on Wednesday. Haslam spent “about four hours in Foxboro, Mass.," with Kraft and Patriots President Jonathan Kraft, where he met QB Tom Brady, toured the facilities and learned "how they privately financed their stadium.” Haslam: “Bob said, ‘Be patient, it’s going to be harder and take longer than you think, but it will be well worth it.’” Haslam said of a potential naming-rights deal for Cleveland Browns Stadium, “We’ve been out talking to people and there’s interest. Obviously I hope it’s soon. I don’t think it happens in the middle of the year, so I’d just say we hope to have somebody by this time next year.” He added that it “wouldn’t carry his company’s name, Pilot Flying J.” Haslam said of potential stadium renovations, “We’ll have three really well-known stadium architects walk through. I do think there’s some enhancements for the fans that need to be done. What, I don’t know. The scoreboard is the obvious thing to look at. We want to give our fans a great venue.” He said that he has not “contemplated putting a dome on the stadium.” Haslam said of hosting non-NFL events, “We’d like to get more use out of the stadium. It’s good for the city and for the Browns brand. ... I’ll go on record as saying I’d love Ohio State to play here” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/31).
Attendance at MLS Real Salt Lake games "has skyrocketed in 2012," with the team seeing "record fan numbers, including eight sellouts so far at Rio Tinto Stadium this season," according to Martin Renzhofer of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. The club is averaging 93% capacity at the 20,008-seat stadium, which "mirrors, for the most part, a league-wide trend." RSL President Bill Manning said, "We're killing it, we really are. We don't even look at the Jazz schedule anymore when we make our schedule. We don't even look at BYU or Utah anymore. We've found we can still sell out when they do." Renzhofer noted it is "not that RSL has stolen the sports pie," but rather the "pie has gotten larger." A younger demographic, "between ages 18 and 30, has discovered professional soccer in Utah." By the end of the season, average attendance at Rio Tinto "will be at or near 19,000 -- a 10 percent jump from last season, which follows a 7.4 percent increase from 2010" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 8/30).
SHAKING THINGS UP: In San Jose, Elliott Almond noted the MLS Earthquakes on Wednesday announced a "pricing structure for general seating for the proposed 18,000-seat soccer stadium that will begin construction Oct. 21." Tickets will rise "by an average of $1.60 per seat for 95 percent of seating in the new stadium." The club will not require a PSL for season tickets. Prices range from $20-130 "for fans who are not season-ticket holders," and most seats are being offered for $25-55. The stadium will "feature a midfield club with 500 seats that include a season parking pass and an invitation to future events." The Earthquakes also "plan to feature a 1,400-person supporters' section with a private clubhouse" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/30).