SBD/January 30, 2013/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Rays' Sternberg Calls For More St. Petersburg Support

Rays fans from St. Petersburg account for fewer than 1,000 season tickets
WTSP-CBS' Noah Pransky reported Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg yesterday told Pinellas County, Fla., commissioners that “fewer than 300 St. Pete residents have season-ticket accounts, accounting for just shy of 1,000 season tickets.” Sternberg “pointed out a lack of business support in St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay’s fourth-biggest business center.” Rays President Matt Silverman “addressed the suggestion made last week” by Hillsborough Commissioner Victor Crist that the Rays “may have sandbagged its marketing budget in recent years.” Silverman said, “We spend millions of dollars a year marketing the team. If marketing could determine attendance (alone), we'd be drawing 2.5 million fans annually” (WTSP.com, 1/29). A TAMPA BAY TIMES editorial states Sternberg's request that Pinellas County “help facilitate a stadium study group that builds on the findings of a previous one sounds reasonable,” and St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster “should embrace it.” The sessions between Sternberg and Pinellas County commissioners “turned up the heat on Foster to break the impasse” on stadium discussions “or get out of the way” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/30).

IMAGE REHAB
: In Miami, Douglas Hanks reports the Marlins yesterday “announced the hiring of a new public relations firm,” Miami-based JeffreyGroup, “to help with the team’s battered image.” The company “replaces RBB and founding partner Bruce Rubin, a longtime friend of owner Jeffrey Loria whose Coral Gables firm represented the team since it won the World Series in 2003.” JeffreyGroup President Mike Valdes-Fauli “declined to get into the details of the planned strategy for reviving the Marlins’ image.” But he “conceded his firm of about 100 employees has some work to do with their new client’s messaging” (MIAMI HERALD, 1/30).

FASHION PLATES: YAHOO SPORTS’ Mark Townsend reported the Brewers on Sunday “announced the winner of their ‘Design a YOUniform’ contest.” Richfield, Minn. resident Ben Peters’ winning design included a “cream-colored button-up jersey and navy blue cap,” as well as a “fancy patch with the barrelman logo that will go on the left sleeve.” All in all it “really is a nice uniform,” and the Brewers “will look good sporting it during two of their exhibition games this spring.” The first will be on March 22 against the Cubs, when “Peters and one guest will be flown in to attend.” The other “will be on March 30 at Miller Park" when the Brewers face the White Sox (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/28).
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