SBD/December 11, 2012/Franchises

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  • Yankees Close To Deal With Ticketmaster After Opting Out Of StubHub Contract

    Yankees thought prices on StubHub often were too far below face value

    The Yankees are "completing a deal with Ticketmaster" as the team's official ticket resale marketplace after opting out of MLB's new five-year deal with StubHub, according to a source cited by Steven Marcus of NEWSDAY. The source said the Ticketmaster deal will be "much more fan-friendly, have less fees and more accessibility." Live Nation Senior VP/Corporate Communications Jacqueline Peterson, whose company owns Ticketmaster, declined comment. The Yankees "believe the prices of their tickets on StubHub often are too far below the printed face value." StubHub Head of Communications Glenn Lehrman said that the Yankees' departure "will have a 'pretty negligible' effect on the company's business and will not significantly affect the fans' access to reduced-price tickets." Marcus notes private sellers "still will be able to sell their Yankees tickets on StubHub" (NEWSDAY, 12/11). In N.Y., Josh Kosman cites sources as saying that Ticketmaster will "likely agree to set price floors on some ticket sales and stop resales before game time." The Yankees and Angels are among a handful of clubs "opting out of a new five-year deal" between MLB and StubHub. Although the Yankees "cannot ban ticket buyers outright from using StubHub to resell tickets, they can make it far less convenient." The Yankees "blame StubHub for some of their gate woes." A source said that the team "might lift attendance by 5,000 a game by dumping StubHub" (N.Y. POST, 12/11).

    IN OR OUT? ESPN CHICAGO's Jon Greenberg noted the Cubs yesterday were "named by StubHub as one of three clubs opting out" of the contract extension with MLB, but this was "news to the Cubs." A Cubs source said that the team was "surprised to be included in a StubHub email to ticket sellers Monday, because no decision has been made about participating in the five-year contract extension, but the team plans to make an announcement about the secondary market in the near future" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 12/10).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New York Yankees, StubHub
  • Bills On Verge Of Selling Out Toronto Game For First Time In Five-Year History

    Bills' pricing structure, entertainment value credited for increase in sales

    The Bills are “on the verge of selling out a regular season game in Toronto for the first time in the team’s five-year history in the city,” according to Steve Ladurantaye of the GLOBE & MAIL. About 85% of the 45,000 seats in the Rogers Centre “have been sold" for Sunday's game against the Seahawks. Bills in Toronto Series Exec Dir Greg Albrecht said that ticket sales are “well ahead of previous years,” and the number sold puts them “within striking range of a sellout.” Albrecht: “This year seems stronger -- there’s a lot more interest because of the pricing structure which helped a lot and the entertainment value is pretty strong as well.” Rogers Communications, which owns the stadium and runs the series, said that its “pregame street festival and its Gangam Style-halftime show seem to have sparked interest.” With the NHL season suspended, Rogers “hopes to convince some hockey fans to wander to the Rogers Centre.” Albrecht: “The NFL and NHL are potentially different fan bases, but I’m sure there are a few NHL fans dying for some sports” (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/8). In Toronto, Alex Ballingall notes Bills fans “offer a mix of outright anger and begrudging acceptance at the Bills hosting games in Toronto.” Many fans in Buffalo said that they “refuse to attend Toronto games, where stricter outdoor liquor laws prohibit the same unbridled pre-game rowdiness seen in Orchard Park” (TORONTO STAR, 12/11).

    SCHEDULE MAKERS UNKIND? In Buffalo, Donn Esmonde noted four of the Bills' eight home games this season "are, you guessed it, in December.” This "all but ensures that the games will not sell out, which hurts the team.” Games that do not sell out are not televised in the Buffalo market, "which ticks off fans and deprives advertisers of ‘eyes.’” It is a “vicious cycle that the NFL seems intent on perpetuating.” The heavy December home schedule "is not a one-year exception,” as it is the “fourth season in the past five that at least three home games were played on or after Nov. 30th.” The Bills "should play no more than two late-season home games, one in Toronto” (BUFFALO NEWS, 12/9).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, Buffalo Bills, Rogers Communications
  • 49ers Hiring Silicon Valley Veterans; Synergy Building Between Business, Football Operations

    Yu has led efforts to bring tech veterans to the team's exec offices

    The 49ers in the last few months have “developed a more aggressive approach to tapping into the tech industry's best minds: They've started hiring them,” according to Kevin Clark of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Led by team President & co-Owner Gideon Yu, the 49ers have been “quietly plucking from the neighboring tech world to fill their top jobs.” The “nucleus of tech veterans in the team's executive offices focuses on everything from streamlining the draft scouting process to finding out how fans in different parts of the stadium can organize chants with their smartphones.” 49ers CEO Jed York said that there is a “level of interaction between the business executives and football staff that he doesn't believe exists in most places.” Still, Clark writes it is “too early to tell how the innovations will show on the field, since many of the new employees started in the last few months.” But most members of the organization said that the '13 NFL Draft “will be the first football event where their advancements will really take hold.” The plan for the draft, "at least for now, is to create a centralized database for scouting information that's available to anyone in the organization and is easier to digest.” Yu has said that in the future, it is “possible the team could open source its football technology, allowing fans to come up with applications for coaches and scouts with numbers provided by the team.” Most of the team's fan experience ideas “involve smartphones,” as York “looks forward to the ability to mobilize fans and increase crowd noise through apps or text messages.” Yu said that the plan is for the team’s new stadium in Santa Clara to "feature the option to use your smart phone to order food or merchandise, which would then be delivered to your seat” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/11).

    LEARNING TO SHARE: In S.F., Ron Kroichick notes the “long-simmering idea of the 49ers and Raiders sharing a stadium remains stuffed in the background.” Kroichick: “It's time both teams set aside their pride, listen to their practical side and seriously talk about making this happen.” In a “perfect world, the Raiders would build a stadium in Oakland, ideally where the Coliseum sits.” But it is “wildly illogical to even contemplate building two outrageously expensive NFL stadiums in these economic times,” as cost estimates for the 49ers' project “have soared north of $1 billion.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league is “open to contributing $200 million to a new Raiders stadium, as it did for the 49ers." But Kroichick writes it is “hard to picture that really happening” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/11).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, San Francisco 49ers, NFL, Oakland Raiders
  • Grammy-Nominated Brooklyn Musician Creates Nets Anthem; Song's Popularity Booming

    Nets fans' newly established chant of “Broooo-klyn! Broooo-klyn!” was created by John Forté, a “Brooklyn musician -- Grammy-nominated for his work with the Fugees -- who was asked by the Nets to create a song that could serve as an anthem for the team’s rebirth,” according to Benjamin Hoffman of the N.Y. TIMES. A portion of Forté’s song -- titled “Brooklyn: Something to Lean On” -- is played “before every game as part of the Nets’ elaborate player introductions.” Forté said, “I didn’t just want this be some sort of cheesy tune. I wanted the blood to get moving. I also wanted it to be lasting.” Nets Senior VP/Event Marketing & Community Relations Petra Pope said, "It speaks to who we are in Brooklyn. We’re in one of the coolest boroughs, and it had this great vibe while still making you want to cheer and chant, so it encompassed everything we were looking for.” When deejay J. Period first heard the song, he “immediately had a vision for it as an arena anthem and set about remixing it to maximize its impact.” J. Period said, “Honestly, I think similar to everyone else, my reaction was that the Brooklyn chant is awesome. It became about enhancing that chant and building everything around it to energize the crowd.” Pope said that the team, which has the song on its website, has “received requests to release it more widely and that it will explore that option.” Meanwhile, J. Period, who “picks all of the music played at the games, thinks a restrained, judicious use" of Nets investor Jay-Z’s image and music "will serve the team well, especially since Brooklyn has so many other distinguished artists to choose from” (N.Y. TIMES, 12/11).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Brooklyn Nets, NBA
  • MLB Franchise Notes: Nationals Becoming A Free Agent Destination

    In DC, Amanda Comak wrote the Nationals after their 98-64 record in '12 are “finding far more dance partners at the free agent social.” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said, “I think this is a nice destination for players.” He added, “It’s a beautiful city, it’s a great ballpark and it’s got a great fan base. ... People really recognize that this is a team that’s going to be good to play for, for a long time. It’s gotten a whole lot easier to talk to players and recruit players. Players are actually seeking us out to recruit us for them” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/11). Also in DC, Adam Kilgore wrote the Nationals in not attempting to sign P Zack Greinke “kept their financial powder dry for down the road, another signal they intend to do everything they can to keep their young nucleus intact” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/10).

    L.A. CONFIDENTIAL: MLB.com’s Mike Bauman wrote while the Dodgers “have not only transcended the Yankees in the sheer size of their player payroll, they may have altered their competitive landscape in a way that no other club has in recent baseball history.” The business side of MLB is “prospering in a way that it never has before, and the Dodgers have become the poster franchise of this phenomenon.” At this point, comparing them to other teams is “not quite insulting, but it certainly is misleading.” The Dodgers have “changed the rules, or [at] least the fiscal playing field,” and they are “flexing their financial muscles as only a mega-market franchise can” (MLB.com, 12/11). ESPN’s Buster Olney said, “In the first seven months of this new ownership group, they’ve committed to about $650M in player acquisitions.” ESPN's Karl Ravech: “That’s more than several franchise values” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 12/10).

    WHAT'S BREWING?
    In Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt wrote Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio “stretched his payroll to a franchise-record $100 million" last season, and he “lost that gamble when the team sputtered at midseason and dropped from the playoff race.” Despite a late season push, attendance dropped from 3.07 million to 2.83 million, and the Brewers "finished well in the red for the year.” Those financial losses “prompted Attanasio to lower his budget significantly" for '13. Brewers GM Doug Melvin said that he “expected the team’s payroll to be about $80 million or slightly above, depending on what personnel opportunities arise” (JSONLINE.com, 12/10).

    SOMETHING FISHY: In Miami, Linda Robertson writes of the Marlins, "As the Rays swim along, smoothly and steadily, Miami’s flashy fighting fish are flailing at the end of a line being jerked by owner Jeffrey Loria." Loria "went for the big splash to coincide with the opening of his half-a-billion-dollar stadium.” Marlins management is “tone deaf to the concept of public relations.” They “need a voice other than” team President David Samson’s, because “who trusts him or Loria?” They “wildly overestimated attendance for 2012 given their history of treating fans like chumps.” As for “constructing a winner,” Loria and Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest are “all over the map” (MIAMI HERALD, 12/11).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, MLB, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Milwaukee Brewers
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