SBD/September 28, 2012/Franchises

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  • Blues' New Ownership Group, President John Davidson Agree To Part Ways

    John Davidson agrees to a buyout with the Blues with three years, $6M left on deal

    In a move that has "been speculated since last May," new Blues Owner Tom Stillman and President John Davidson "have decided to part ways," according to sources cited by Jeremy Rutherford of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Davidson has three years and $6M "left on his contract, and although paperwork has not been signed, the sides have agreed to an undisclosed buyout." Blues C David Backes said, "He's been an ambassador for the Blues and a guy that's led the turnaround here." Rutherford notes the team is not "expected to replace him based on the moves that led to the development." In addition to the desire to cut costs, Stillman's ownership group "restructured the front office in August, leaving autonomy" to GM Doug Armstrong and adding new VP/Hockey Operations Dave Taylor. When Stillman took over, Davidson exercised a clause in his contract that "gave him 30 days to explore other options." He met with Blue Jackets officials, "but nothing materialized." Davidson also was recently "stripped of his hockey operations title." The former NHLer "connected with players as well as he did with fans." Backes said, "His ability to connect with people is remarkable. He'll still have that wherever he goes, whatever endeavor is next" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/28). In St. Louis, Jeff Gordon writes Davidson "retooled the hockey operation." He "rebuilt the team step by step by sticking to his masterful plan. He got out in the community and energized the fan base." Davidson "didn't bring the Stanley Cup to St. Louis," but "did everything else he set out to do with his old franchise." Stillman is "setting out to make the Blues financially stable" and his plan "includes streamlining the front office, which became top heavy with good hockey men" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/28).

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  • LivingSocial To Fund Extended DC Metro Service Hours For Nationals' Playoff Games

    The DC Metro Thursday announced that locally-based daily deals company LivingSocial "will fund extended Metro service" for any Nationals' playoff game that ends late, according to Berman, DeBonis & Aratani of the WASHINGTON POST. The announcement "ends weeks of uncertainty over how fans would make it home if playoff games run past Metrorail's normal closing time." Even as the Nationals clinched a playoff spot, "the standoff over who should pay for extended service dragged on, with little sign that the District, the Nationals or Metro was willing to budge." LivingSocial "will put down the $29,500 deposit required by Metro to keep the trains running for an extra hour." The Capitals, Redskins, Nationals and other event organizers "have paid for the late-night service in the past." Nationals VP/Government & Municipal Affairs Greg McCarthy, when asked why the Nationals did not put up the money like other teams had in the past, said that the team "wanted more partners involved." The deal covers up to "two hours of extra service for rides beginning at Navy Yard after weeknight games in October and November" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/28).

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  • MLS DC United On Pace For Lowest Season Attendance Ever Despite On-Field Success

    DC United "continues to struggle at the box office," even as the club is "closing in on its first MLS playoff berth in five years," according to Steven Goff of the WASHINGTON POST. Barring an "enormous turnout for the regular season home finale Oct. 20, the club will post its lowest average attendance at RFK Stadium since MLS launched" in '96. At 13,483, DC United is "17th out of 19 teams in a league on pace (18,531) to record the highest attendance number in its history." The club is down 11.1% since last season and a "staggering" 32% since '08 when it averaged 19,835. There is "no single explanation" for DC United's "dreary numbers." Rather, "several factors have contributed to the four-year fall." Some of those include no playoff appearances since '07, no int'l superstars and an "old stadium with no amenities." RFK is also "too large to create ticket-buying urgency" and the season-ticket base "has eroded" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/26).

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  • EPL Club Arsenal's Wage Bill Rises Nearly 30% From A Year Ago

    Sale of Fabregas (l) and Nasri helped Arsenal double its profits in '12

    EPL club Arsenal announced a profit before tax of $59.3M (all figures U.S.) that was “largely down to player sales,” according to Gary Jacob of the LONDON TIMES. Figures show the club’s “reliance on generating income from property deals and transfers" since it moved to the Emirates Stadium in '06. Arsenal’s wage bill rose to $232.5M at the end of May ‘12, "an increase of about 30 per cent in the past two years, and represented 60.9 per cent of the club’s revenues" from soccer. Meanwhile, the club’s income from soccer increased to $381.6M, “although overall turnover fell because of fewer property sales.” The club’s matchday income has “broadly flatlined” at $154.4M, “putting the emphasis on the club generating more money from commercial income and television revenue” (LONDON TIMES, 9/28). BLOOMBERG NEWS’ Tariq Panja noted Arsenal Holdings “doubled its profits” during the '12 fiscal year after the club sold MFs Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. The team revealed that net income rose to $48M in the year ended May 31, from $20.4M, or $329 the previous fiscal year. Revenue dropped to $394M. Arsenal said that commercial sales rose $9M, “taking the income in that part of its business” to $55.5M. That amount is “lower than that achieved by rivals” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 9/27).

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