Maple Leafs Abstain NHL Rights Deal Vote MLS To Announce '14 All-Star Game Details CFP Committee Members Defend Rice's Inclusion Twitter Me This.... Anderson Leaving NFL At Season's End MLS Dynamo To Operate NWSL Team Landmark Status Sought For Astrodome Steiner Activates Around "Bronx Bombers" NBA TV, FS Indiana Set Records United Airlines Renews As Arena Sponsor
SBD/April 24, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
The Jaguars yesterday unveiled four new uniform combinations that feature a "two-tone colored helmet, a first in the league," along with a "shield patch on the front of the jersey to honor the military," according to Ryan O'Halloran of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. The uniforms were "more than a year in the making," and were created "in conjunction with Nike." Fans can "begin buying the new jerseys" tomorrow, either "online at the team's website or at the Draft Night Party inside the stadium." Player comfort was the "main goal for Nike." The different combinations are "black jersey-black pants, white-white, black-white and teal-white." There is a "greater emphasis on black although teal will remain a complimentary presence." The biggest add-ons are the "shield and the radically-different helmet." The shield logo, which "includes 'JAGS,' was first introduced in February and has become very popular among fans that use it as their Twitter avatars." Jaguars Senior VP/Fan Experience Hussain Naqi said, “It was an element that we wanted to figure out how to get on the uniform. We consulted with the military, and it was very, very well-received.” Nike VP & Football Design Dir Todd Van Horne said that the jaguar head on the shield "looks inward to the chest, 'as a nod to the fan base and those who served.'" The helmet is "striking -- the matte black on the front blends into gold." The helmet’s design was "finalized eight months ago" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/24). In a special to SI.com, Tim Newcomb noted the new design comes with a "slightly revised Jaguar logo -- the fangs got sharper," and the tongue has "more teal." A custom-made Jacksonville font "adds angularity -- at a level far beyond what other teams have used in an effort to further distance themselves from the NFL's other 31 teams -- for the numerals and back nameplate." Van Horne said that team Owner Shahid Khan "really wanted to provide a 'new direction' with the uniforms that included offering modern colors" (SI.com, 4/23).
CRITICS WEIGH IN: ESPN.com's Darren Rovell noted Nike is offering Jaguars players an "integrated system of dress that also includes a new sock design and shoes, for those players that have Nike deals" (ESPN.com, 4/23). ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky writes, "I’m still struggling to get a handle on the helmet." Pictures make it "look as if it sort of shifts from the black matte to the gold as it reflects light." But it is "indeed two different colors." There are some "cool elements" to the new designs. Kuharsky: "I think the teal top-black pants combination is the best and looks quite sharp." There is "only so much you can revolutionize a uniform without taking it to an AFL or XFL level" (ESPN.com, 4/23). ESPN.com's Paul Lukas wrote of the new helmet, "Woof!" Nike and the Jaguars are "trying to sell the notion" that the helmet's two-tone effect "is 'innovative,' but it's really just a failed gimmick." Van Horne "repeatedly mentioned the theme of how a jaguar 'hunts from the shadows.'" If they had "reversed the color alignment -- gold in the front, black in the back -- at least it would make sense." Lukas: "But it would still be ugly. Stupid" (ESPN.com, 4/23). In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette wrote, "Clearly, this is all about selling jerseys and the Jaguars trying to re-brand themselves." New uniforms and a logo "certainly get people talking about the Jaguars." But without a "better won-loss record on the field, the truth is all this is just window dressing" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 4/23).
SPRINGING A LEAK: In Miami, Armando Salguero notes pictures of the Dolphins' new-look uniforms, set to officially be unveiled tomorrow, were "leaked" yesterday. The reaction was "mixed." The new look is "clean," and "something of a return to the past." It is "not cartoonish," and "most importantly, it's not over-the-top embarrassing." There will be "no alternative uniforms used this year" by the team. It will be "all white at home and the aqua jersey and white pants combination on the road or whenever else it is warranted." The aqua numbers on the white jersey are "outlined with blue stripes seem easy to read." The aqua jersey will "go with white numbers outlined mostly in orange." The orange now has "definitely taken a back seat to aqua and white" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/24). In Minneapolis, Michael Rand notes the Vikings were "set to reveal their new uniforms" at their NFL Draft party tomorrow at the Metrodome's Mall of America Field, but an inadvertent photo leak on ActionNewsJax.com yesterday "beat them to it." The website posted photos of the Jaguars' new uniforms but "accidentally revealed the Vikings' new look as well." Most of the changes are "subtle, but among the more noticeable differences: purple pants instead of white pants with the white uniform tops and a different numbering style on the front of jerseys." Vikings Corporate Communications Dir Jeff Anderson on Twitter wrote, "Team has full reveal campaign planned for fans at Draft Party. That doesn't change" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/24).
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today said the league had no knowledge of the FBI investigation into Browns Owners Jimmy Haslam III. Speaking to reporters after a Play 60 Draft event in Manhattan, Goodell stood by Haslam and said he met with the owner yesterday. Haslam and his company, Pilot Flying J, are named in a federal lawsuit filed last week for allegedly defrauding trucking customers. He bought the Browns last year, and some have suggested the NFL should have known about the six-year investigation. Goodell replied the FBI does not, nor should it, share details of its investigations when the NFL does due dligence on a prospective owner. Haslam has denied knowing about the alleged fraud (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer). Meanwhile, CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS' Kevin Kleps wrote under the header, “In All Candor, It’s Getting Harder To Have Confidence In Jimmy Haslam.” Kleps noted until the “mess” of the FBI and IRS investigation into Pilot Flying J is resolved, Haslam “should focus all of his efforts on cleaning up the family business, and leave the Browns” to team CEO Joe Banner. Haslam might “still be the honorable, confident, smooth face of the Browns many of us thought we were getting when he agreed to purchase the team from Randy Lerner.” But Kleps wrote, “Candidly, Jimmy, it's time to step away from your team for at least a couple of months” (CRAINSCLEVELAND.com, 4/23). A Cleveland PLAIN DEALER editorial states Haslam is “now trying desperately to salvage not only his company's reputation, but his own.” He has taken “increasingly aggressive steps at damage control” after first “suggesting the issues were relatively minor” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 4/24). Meanwhile, SI.com’s Paul Forrester wondered what Haslam's role with the team “will be moving forward.” Former 49ers Owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who was removed from the position because of a federal bribery indictment, “didn't survive (on NFL terms) his run-in with the feds, and he had five Super Bowl rings” (SI.com, 4/23).
TRYING TO MAKE GOOD: In Cleveland, John Caniglia in a front-page piece reports Haslam is “calling trucking companies, offering to pay back owners of firms who say they lost money in the fuel rebate program of Haslam's company.” But legal experts said that Haslam's calls “present a legal dilemma in his quest to clear his company's name.” Haslam yesterday “called Curt Morehouse of W.N. Morehouse Truck Line of Omaha and settled their financial dispute.” Morehouse “blasted Haslam and a company salesman last week on Facebook.” But Morehouse said that he was "pleased with Haslam's upfront style of doing business.” Nashville attorney Aubrey Harwell Jr., “hired as outside counsel for Pilot Flying J in the wake of the FBI raid, said Haslam's overtures to aggrieved customers were ‘totally appropriate.’” Harwell said, “There are allegations they have not been treated fairly. Mr. Haslam is determined to get to the bottom of those allegations, if in fact they are true, and pay those companies that are owed money." Still, many defense lawyers yesterday “appeared stunned that Haslam would make the calls, considering his role in the case and the issues involved” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 4/24).
There has been "a lot of negative talk this year" about the Pacers' home attendance, but the team execs yesterday said that "all signs are pointing up, and they’re hoping to use this year’s playoffs to push next season’s numbers even higher," according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Pacers Sports & Entertainment Senior VP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Todd Taylor said that attendance "rose" 7.7% over last season. The boost "represented the team's second consecutive attendance increase, and fourth in the last five seasons." Taylor said that ticket revenue for this season "also increased" about 7.7%. Most of the gains in attendance and ticket revenue were "seen in season and mini-season package sales." The Pacers this year "averaged 15,269 for 41 home games, compared to 14,168 for 33 home games during last year’s lockout-shortened season." They "sold out 10 games at the 18,165-seat Bankers Life Fieldhouse." Taylor added that sponsorship sales "are also on the rise ... up about 20 percent over last season." The "massive new scoreboard the team installed during the off-season helped boost those," and Taylor "expects more improvement next season." The Pacers announced a "sellout crowd for the playoffs' first-round opener Sunday" against the Hawks. While there are "still about 750 tickets remaining" for tonight's game, Taylor is "expecting another full house." Looking forward, the Pacers have "added new signage outside and within the Fieldhouse to promote season-ticket sales for next year; and they’ve launched an ad campaign using high-profile billboards around the city." Taylor said that the Pacers have "used incentives for playoff ticket buyers this month to sell 500 new season packages for next season" (IBJ.com, 4/23).
Similar to what the MLB Giants, A's and 49ers have seen in the past year, the Warriors said that the club’s "winning ways already added more urgency to ongoing discussions with three or four companies about the possibility of becoming top-tier sponsors next season," according to Eric Young of the S.F. BUSINESS TIMES. The Warriors count companies such as Clorox, Visa, Kaiser Permanente and Jawbone as "Golden Alliance sponsors that each spend at least $1 million as part of their deal." A number of companies also have "extended their regular season sponsorship agreements to run into the playoffs, including" Oracle, Clorox, Lucky Supermarkets, Esurance, Cache Creek Casino Resort, Adobe and A-B. The Warriors said that the club "ended the regular season with the second-highest attendance in franchise history, drawing 794,320 fans." Warriors CMO Chip Bowers said that about 90% of current Warriors season-ticket holders have "already renewed for next season." The club added that it "sold 1,200 new season tickets for the 2013-14 season." Meanwhile, the Giants, coming off two World Series victories in the past three seasons, said that their sales execs have "extended existing sponsorships for five to 10 years, compared to the normal extension of one to three years." The Giants said that they have a "waiting list of 800 people wanting to buy season tickets." Giants Senior VP/Revenue Mario Alioto said, "Pretty clearly the excitement over the brand is really strong." The club has "sold 29,600 season tickets, covering" 70% of the seats at AT&T Park. The Giants also said that sales "from the club’s Giants Dugout stores are up" 40% from a year ago. Meanwhile, the 49ers said that fans have "purchased all 68,000 season tickets for 2013" (S.F. BUSINESS TIMES, 4/19 issue).
The Bobcats yesterday fired coach Mike Dunlap after one season, and they now will "conduct their fourth head-coach hire in six years" on Owner Michael Jordan’s watch, according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Dunlap has "one season remaining on his contract, for which he’ll be paid by the Bobcats." It is "unknown how much Dunlap’s contract with the team was worth." The Bobcats have "abundant assets that could make the coaching job more appealing this time around." They can "create up to" $21M in "room under the salary cap this summer to recruit free agents and make trades." They will have "a top-five pick in the 2013 draft and might have three first-rounders in 2014" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/24). In Charlotte, Scott Fowler writes the Bobcats have "been a mess for much of their existence, and they are still a mess." This move "raises the question as to whether the people responsible for hiring Dunlap in the first place really should be the ones in charge of hiring the next guy, too" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/24). Also in Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes Dunlap was a "terrible hire." Sorensen: "But that's not his fault. That's his employer's" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/24). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said, “I don’t know why they had to axe the guy. I think it’s a bad roster. You can blame the owner every bit as much as you can blame the coach” (“PTI,” ESPN, 4/23).
In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes NBA Commissioner David Stern's "legacy will be tied" to the Kings situation. Stern "doesn't have a vote in what he termed this 'wrenching' dilemma between Sacramento and Seattle, but he has a voice, and it remains the league's most powerful one." There is "no chance -- none -- that he is only providing background noise while the league's enormous legal staff examines the two cities." Stern's "final answer, interestingly enough, is proving to be his most vexing." A league exec yesterday "described the commissioner as 'anguishing' over the process that consists of competing offers for one team, proposals for new arenas in Sacramento and Seattle, and questions pertaining to the prudence and practicality of relocating an established incumbent franchise that sold out 19 of 28 seasons" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/24).
HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN: In Phoenix, Paul Coro writes Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby "would like to tab a new GM before addressing the coaching situation." Babby said that a "promotion from inside the organization was unlikely and that he would prefer not to combine the coach and GM roles for one person." He added that GM experience was "not a requirement because of how his three years on the job can fill the gaps" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/24).
LOOKING TO GROW: Grizzlies CEO & Managing Partner Jason Levien said that team execs will "turn their attention this offseason to renewing the 26 courtside suites at FedExForum, as well as growing the season ticket base." In Memphis, Michael Sheffield notes while the team "doesn’t release specific season ticket sales numbers, the number of season ticket holders is believed to be between 8,000 and 10,000." The Grizzlies' "revenue for 2012 was $100 million." Levien "expects a 'double digit' percentage increase in this year’s revenue" (MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/19 issue).
SCHEDULE CHANGERS: In Orlando, Josh Robbins reported a "scheduling conflict revealed in a preliminary draft of the league's upcoming schedule will prevent the Magic from playing next season" at London's O2 Arena. The Magic were "scheduled to play two regular-season games" in London in March '12, but the games were cancelled due to the lockout (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 4/22).
PREHISTORIC THINKING: In Toronto, Frank Zicarelli writes Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment "continues to dither, leaving both" Raptors President & GM Bryan Colangelo and coach Dwane Casey "in limbo when so much can be done at this point of the off-season." Zicarelli: "Perception and profit are the two guiding forces behind this faceless and completely clueless ownership group and a board that borders on the gutless." What is "sad is how irrelevant the Raptors have become." If MLSE had "any idea what it was doing, an endorsement or a pink slip would have been issued to Colangelo the moment the season ended" (TORONTO SUN, 4/24).
The OREGONIAN reported the MLS Earthquakes have “placed supporters group 1906 Ultras on indefinite probation following an incident” on April 14 in Portland “in which a Timbers fan was assaulted.” The Earthquakes in a statement on Saturday said that the group’s travel privileges “have been indefinitely suspended until further notice.” The group “will not be allowed to utilize controlled smoke at any match” and language “within the group on matchdays will be strictly monitored” (OREGONLIVE.com, 4/21).
GOING, GOING, GONE: MLS Sporting KC yesterday announced that its allotment of 14,000 season tickets for the '13 campaign at Sporting Park is sold out, and beginning today, prospective season-ticket holders may join the club's Season Ticket Member waiting list by placing a $50 non-refundable deposit per season-ticket request. The club currently leads all MLS teams in the number of new season-ticket holders for '13 and has averaged over a 90% season-ticket member renewal rate for the last three seasons (Sporting KC).
GAME OF THORNS: In Portland, Geoffrey Arnold wrote “most of the postgame conversation” following the NWSL Portland Thorns’ home win over the Seattle Reign on Sunday was “focused not on the game, but on the crowd at Jeld-Wen Field.” Thorns coach Cindy Parlow Cone said, “It felt like that atmosphere we had at the World Cup and the Olympics." The game “attracted 16,479 fans,” which was “higher than at seven of the weekend's nine MLS games, including in San Jose, where 10,525 watched” the Timbers-Earthquakes game on Sunday. The Thorns “won’t see that type of crowd anywhere else in the NWSL, with most teams playing at stadiums that seat between 3,000 and 6,000.” No other game “so far has drawn more than 7,000” (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/23).
AGE HAS ITS PRIVILEGES: In DC, Steven Goff reported with the NWSL “trying keep costs down,” Washington Spirit execs “sought families to host several of the 18 players -- akin to what minor league baseball teams around the country arrange for their prospects each spring.” Some Spirit players were “placed at guest homes near the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds.” The Spirit “through a chain of local connections” also reached an agreement with retirement community Ingleside at King Farm that allows D Robyn Gayle and MF Diana Matheson “to live free of charge for the five-month season.” In exchange for housing, the Spirit will “provide residents and staff with 20 tickets to each of the team’s 11 regular season home games.” The club will “distribute an additional 300 tickets for a designated game late in the season” (WASHINGTON POST, 4/22).