SBD/November 8, 2012/FranchisesPrint All
Incoming Glendale, Ariz. Mayor Jerry Weiers, after winning his election Tuesday night, had a message “to the Coyotes and the baseball teams at the city’s spring-training ballpark: ‘Glendale is not your cash register,’” according to Sonu Munshi of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Weiers said that the Glendale council and staff “must strike hard, but fair deals.” Weiers said, “We all love the Coyotes and Cactus League but we cannot sacrifice our way of life so they can maintain theirs.” Despite Glendale’s “tight budget situation, Weiers struck an optimistic note for the city’s future” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/7). SPORTING NEWS noted the election “sent mixed signals about the Phoenix Coyotes' future in Glendale, Ariz.” The city's Proposition 457 went down "big time, with voters rejecting the effort to rollback a sales tax increase passed by the city council in August.” Prop 457 had asked voters to “take Glendale’s sale tax rate back down 2.2 percent.” Keeping the sales tax in place “could help the city afford a new arena deal for the league-owned Coyotes, who are still in the process of being sold to Greg Jamison.” But “ardent Coyotes backer" Joyce Clark also lost her City Council seat, and Weiers, "is against paying Jamison tens of millions of dollars to keep the team in town -- regardless of where the money comes from” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 11/7).
BREAKING IT DOWN: CBSSPORTS.com’s Brian Stubits noted Glendale voters had the “chance to turn down a temporary tax hike the city inacted to help fix its budget (and presumably pay for the Coyotes' potential deal with Greg Jamison) but didn't.” Instead, they “backed the tax hike rather resoundingly.” That means the city possibly “will have more money to straighten out the budget and potentially keep the team in Glendale.” The possibility for the team staying “doesn't seem too far-fetched with $6 million needing to be cut,” and that amount “sure beats the $29 million that would have had to been cut if the tax hike had been rejected.” While the rejection of Prop 457 was “mostly good news for the team, the fact that the voters elected Jerry Weiers, the Republican candidate, as the new mayor to replace Elaine Scruggs has to be a bit concerning for fans who want the team to stay.” Stubits: “The fact that we've been waiting for months for a deal to be finalized with Jamison to sell the Coyotes, bringing in a mayor who is not interested in a giving any handouts to the Coyotes doesn't inspire a lot of confidence going forward. The mayor's office isn't the be-all, end-all of the chances to keep the team, but let's just say it helps to have friends in high places” (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/7).
Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan “finds himself in the eye of the hurricane” as fans are “unhappy and many want Khan to shake up the organization immediately,” according to Vito Stellino of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. The team is off to a 1-7 start, but Khan “made it clear” that he is “not going to make any decisions until he evaluates the team at the end of the season.” He also said that things are “going well on the business side.” The Jaguars have “moved up to 21st in ticket sales and he is willing to spend money on players.” Khan said, “We’ve moved up from where we were (around 28). We’ve signed up new sponsors.” He added, “If you look at the game day experience, I was here last year and I think it’s definitely better than what we had. I think being fan friendly, bringing in food if you choose to, bringing in a child (for free), and all the other things have really resonated with the fans. That’s something I think is paramount.” Khan, when asked how he knows he has “the right people in the right spots," said, “I’ve been here half a season. This will be something for me reflect at the end of the season. I want to see where we are as an organization.” Khan said at the end of the year he will “communicate with the fans because we need fan support.” Khan: “We need sponsor support and we can’t exist without it. Fans have to know why we’re doing what we’re doing. … To me, the worst thing is to have a knee-jerk, emotional reaction.” He said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results. If you have a losing season, what are the changes that are being done that will change the organization” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/8).
Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov is “planning to attend more than a quarter of the team's home games this season, trying to work his schedule to coincide with the team's longer home stands -- but he is unsure about what he will do in the spring, when the playoffs begin, and when he expects his team to still be playing,” according to David Aldridge of NBA.com. Prokhorov appears “determined to re-enter the political world in his native Russia, so he may have other commitments.” Prokhorov said, “The team is not only about business. It's about people, the atmosphere, about feeling. And of course, Brooklyn is our home.” He added, “For me, it's very important to have this feeling of community. And we hope, and we want this place [to] be the heart of Brooklyn, and the heart of the community. I am lucky we are on the right way.” Prokhorov said he would tell those opposed to building of the recently opened Barclays Center, “It's their team. It's a part of the community. … I think it's a matter of getting used to it. So please come to the arena, have fun with the Nets, and I think we'll change your mind.” He said, “What we need first is to change the team's mentality. My approach in any business (is) to find the best people on the market and let them do their job. So with [GM] Billy King, I have a great guy with excellent feeling of players.” When asked about the “budding rivalry now with the Knicks,” Prokhorov said, “I think it's really great for the city, for the fans, to have, like, crosstown rival. And I don't think [Knicks Owner] James Dolan is crying. He really understands that it's great for the Knicks to have such a rivalry, just for business, for pleasure, for fun, just for the city” (NBA.com, 11/5).
In Denver, Andy Vuong notes the Denver Post is "actively marketing its minority ownership stake" in the Rockies. Newspaper Owner Digital First Media CEO John Paton in a statement said that the Post is "seeking to sell the stake in the baseball team as it pursues a digital strategy focused on 'content creation and advertising sales on multiple platforms.'" The Post holds a "7.3 percent stake in the Rockies" and took it over "following the closure of the Rocky Mountain News in 2009" (DENVERPOST.com, 11/7).
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: In Seattle, Nick Eaton noted the Mariners yesterday "announced plans to build a new baseball academy for Latin American prospects in the Dominican Republic." The $7M, 24-acre complex will include "enough facilities and equipment to host two full teams and their developmental staff." The Latin American Academy, as the team is calling it, also will "feature a residential area where prospects can live, work out and go to school, in addition to honing their baseball skills." The club said that the new facility in Boca Chica "would make Seattle one of just a handful of teams with their own academy in the Dominican Republic." The facility is the "first big project" for new Dir of Int’l Operations Tim Kissner (SEATTLEPI.com, 11/7).
SITTIN' ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY: The Mets yesterday reached a deal to terminate the remaining year on LF Jason Bay's contract, and SportsNet N.Y.'s Adam Schein said Mets GM Sandy Alderson "has done a good job" in his role with the Mets. SportsNet N.Y.'s Chris Carlin noted Alderson has "gotten rid of a couple of contracts that they needed to get rid of, and that's been more important than anything else" ("Loud Mouths," SportsNet N.Y., 11/7). N.Y. Daily News' John Harper said the Mets need to "rely on" Alderson's "Moneyball" strategy going forward ("Daily News Live," SportsNet N.Y., 11/7). SportsNet N.Y.'s Sal Licata said the release of Bay does not mean the Mets are "going to go out and get a free agent or spend any money" this offseason, but "at least we're moving on" ("The Wheelhouse," SportsNet N.Y., 11/7).
RUNNING THE SHOW: In Boston, Scott Lauber wrote Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino "remains a forceful voice in the Red Sox front office." But as GM Ben Cherington arrived for the two-day general managers meetings that opened in Indian Wells, Calif., yesterday, he is "as empowered as ever in his 13-month tenure on the job." It took a year, but Cherington "finally has a mandate, not to mention his desired manager, to build what he has so frequently called 'the next great Red Sox team'" (BOSTONHERALD.com, 11/7).
STICKING TOGETHER: Pirates Chair Bob Nutting said that the club's management team "would remain intact." Nutting added that the "boot-camp-style developmental camp for prospects, the source of much recent criticism, will be toned down -- at the very least, to a point where developing baseball skills is the highest priority" (MLB.com, 11/6).
In St. Paul, Charley Walters reported Wild investors “have been notified to expect another cash call while the NHL lockout continues.” The team's investors, including “11 limited partners besides majority owner Craig Leipold,” made a “capital call of $10 million after the Wild signed free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in July to contracts that included $10 million bonuses for each.” The second cash call “is expected in mid-November” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/7).
OWNER, FIRE THYSELF: SPORTING NEWS’ David Whitley wrote of Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, “There is no reason why Jones should keep calling the shots, other than he can’t fire himself. Being GM is a vital part of being JJ. And as long as JJ is around, Dallas is perfectly situated in the NFL universe. It will never win a Super Bowl, which will make millions of people happy. But it will never drift into Bengals-like irrelevance, which would be a huge blow to the NFL’s showbiz quotient” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 11/7). ESPNs Jalen Rose said," Sometimes you've got to let your pride and your ego get pushed to the side. ... It's OK to delegate, especially when you're a billion-dollar owner" ("Numbers Never Lie," ESPN2, 11/7). USA TODAY’s Jarrett Bell writes, “With another underachieving season upon them, the owner needs to put Jerry the GM on notice. Tell him: craft a long-term blueprint for success or else” (USA TODAY, 11/8).
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: In Philadelphia, Phil Sheridan writes Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie “made a mistake back in June” after giving an extension to GM Howie Roseman by “failing to announce the extension immediately." Sheridan: “Announcing it then would have been no big deal. Having news of Roseman's extension come out now, thanks to the relentless reporting of The Inquirer's Jeff McLane, was a big deal.” A “big issue” is the Eagles' “unwillingness to look outside their own building for some of the most important hires of the last half-decade or more.” That “festers from the delusion that the franchise is among the NFL's elite.” When former GM Tom Heckert left the Eagles in January '10, Lurie, former Eagles President Joe Banner and coach Andy Reid “didn't look for the best possible talent evaluator in the NFL.” They “promoted Roseman” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/8).
MORE FANS, MORE WINS: In Seattle, Joshua Mayers asked in a Q&A with MLS Real Salt Lake Senior VP/Soccer Operations & GM Garth Lagerwey, “How has moving into Rio Tinto Stadium helped the team?” Lagerwey replied, "We've gone from right around 4,500 season tickets in Rice-Eccles to now over 8,700 in Rio Tinto, so we've nearly doubled the ticket base. … For us it's still a source of some pride that by moving into the new building we've been able to really grow our ticket base. I think it's now comparable to the big market clubs in the league.” Lagerwey added, “By increasing the season ticket base, we got larger crowds, which led to better atmospheres, which has helped us win more home games” (SEATTLETIMES.com, 11/6).