SBD/July 19, 2013/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross said that former team CEO Mike Dee’s successor “will not be longtime friend Carl Peterson nor will it be" former Jets exec and current RSE Ventures President & CEO Matt Higgins. But Ross said, “Matt does have a significant involvement with the Dolphins.” In Miami , Barry Jackson noted Dee's successor will “run the business side of the operation, and likely will have no involvement in football decisions.” Meanwhile, Dolphins season-ticket sales are “lagging at around 40,000 -- though they say they are ahead of last year's pace” (MIAMIHERALD.com, 7/18).

STARTING NOW: In Toronto, Dave Feschuk writes under the header, “Tim Leiweke Scaling New Heights Of Human Hubris And Ego.” While Maple Leaf fans “wallow in the emotional angst of a circa-1967 Stanley Cup drought,” new MLSE President & CEO Leiweke, “for his part, is acting as though the history of the franchise began the moment he took over his gig on June 30.” It is “laughable stuff for alert Toronto sports fans.” But Feschuk writes, “Don’t get it wrong. There’s a lot to like about Leiweke, who’s one of the most accomplished sports executives of his generation. On many fronts the vision he’s been laying out is bold and inspiring” (TORONTO STAR, 7/19).

CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE: In Pittsburgh, Joe Starkey wrote Pirates Owner Bob Nutting, “arguably the most vilified figure in modern-day Pittsburgh sports, deserves the first Stargell star when doling out credit for the Pirates' rise.” The boss “always deserves the most credit in a thriving business, and the Pirates are just that.” They are a “financially stable franchise sitting 19 games over .500 and playing in front of monster crowds of late.” The “realities of Pirates baseball, even if the major-league payroll remains low,” are that management spends “real money on real free agents” and the team has “become annual buyers at the trade deadline.” The Pirates “long-ago shed their deserved label of draft cheapskates and cowards” (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 7/18).

KING OF THE RING: In Phoenix, Tim Gallen noted the D’Backs have “introduced a new official mascot at Chase Field aimed at Hispanic fans.” Their Luchador mascot “officially has been created out of the popularity of a Lucha Libre mask introduced last season.” The Luchador “speaks fluent English and Spanish” and will appear at “select D-backs games” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/18).
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