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SBD/July 29, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
White Sox and Bulls Chair Jerry Reinsdorf said that upon his death, control of the White Sox would "pass to the executors of his will, and he has 'strongly suggested' that they sell the team" when that happens, according to Hopkins & Harris of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Reinsdorf already had "raised questions about the team's future when he said in May that he recommended to his three sons that they sell the family's interest in the Sox after he dies." Both franchises "undoubtedly will feel the impact when he leaves the city's sports scene." But while the Bulls' future "seems straight and clear" -- his son Michael has been President & COO since '10 -- Reinsdorf "never has offered details about what's ahead for the Sox franchise." Reinsdorf and others indicated that he "always has held virtually unfettered control of the team because he holds a majority stake in the corporation that runs the team." He said that this "gives him -- and the executors of his will, whom he declined to name -- authority to sell without the approval of other investors." Sources said that, "if sold today, the team could easily surpass" the $800M paid two years ago for the Padres. One of Reinsdorf's sons in an interview said that he "isn't sure what will happen." While other investors in the Sox "agree that Reinsdorf asserts absolute control on sales, they expressed confusion about what would happen once Reinsdorf dies." Some indicated that they have a "desire to own the team well into the future." If Reinsdorf's guidance is "heeded, the executors of his will would run the Sox until the team is sold." The team's investors "would receive cash for their stakes." Reinsdorf said that the limited partnership would be "dissolved." If investors wanted to continue being involved with the team, "they'd have to take it up with the new owner" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/28).
THE HEIR APPARENT: The CHICAGO TRIBUNE's Harris & Hopkins wrote Michael Reinsdorf is "seen as the heir apparent" of the Bulls, whom his father "gained control of" in '85. Michael Reinsdorf's positions were "created for him to oversee all business affairs." Prior to that, he had been "representing the Bulls" at NBA BOG meetings. Both Reinsdorfs said that Michael's "involvement in the Bulls -- and not the Sox -- is due to Jerry's schedule." Jerry "snowbirds in Arizona during basketball season and is heavily involved in daily operations with the baseball team." Michael Reinsdorf said, "I think having myself involved here makes it clear to the people inside the office and the people outside the office that the Chicago Bulls are incredibly important to my father" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/28).
The Lions are switching their ticketing provider from Ticketmaster to Veritix, becoming the first NFL team to do so. Veritix, which started six years ago and counts four NBA teams and one NHL club as clients, will now boast the Lions when the club’s single-game tickets go on sale Wednesday. The team today announced the new initiative, which also covers all non-football events at Ford Field. “It was a situation where some of the things Veritix is doing allows us to really take ownership of the ticketing experience,” said Lions President Tom Lewand. One of the big pluses for the Lions, Lewand added, is when fans call the ticketing number starting Wednesday, it will seem as if they are talking to the Lions. He noted Veritix is more of a back-end operation, and the Lions can promote their brand now when fans call for tickets. “A lot of people are looking at a lot of different opportunities to engage with fans,” Lewand said, “so this is a huge opportunity because tickets are a backbone of our operations in a lot of different ways.” The Lions knew Veritix co-Founder and Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert through his Detroit businesses. The new deal will not cover secondary ticketing, which Ticketmaster’s TicketExchange operates for the NFL’s 32 teams. However, all other Ford Field events, Lewand said, will use Veritix’s FlashSeats for secondary ticketing. There is no ability to opt out of the NFL’s TicketExchange deal, Lewand said.
Ticket sales for the Dolphins are "noticeably outpacing 2012 and there are encouraging signs that the home opener will be a sellout," but plenty of inventory "remains, and, given last year’s historically low attendance, the franchise has little place to go but up," according to Beasley & Neal of the MIAMI HERALD. Dolphins Senior VP & Chief Revenue Office Jim Rushton said that the franchise will “'absolutely' have more season ticket holders than they did in 2012, when just 40,192 full-year packages were purchased." That was the "fewest season tickets sold by the franchise in three decades." Rushton would "not say exactly how many 10-game packages have been sold, but he did say that their new season-ticket sales were up 31.4 percent when compared with sales at the same point last summer -- the third-highest jump in the league." The Dolphins drew an average of 57,375 in '12, "their smallest gate in 23 years." Meanwhile, Rushton said that the Dolphins have had "great success with their new three-game promotion ... and are luring casual fans with competitive single-game pricing." Kids 15 and under can "get into any home game for $15 (with the purchase of a full-price adult ticket), and the Dolphins have made lower-bowl seats available on an individual game basis." The Dolphins last year "elected to use the league’s new 85 percent capacity blackout rule, meaning they could get their games on television locally if they sold 51,000 of their non-premium seats." But team Owner Stephen Ross "still had to regularly buy out blocks of tickets to get over that threshold." Rushton said that a decision has "not yet been made on whether the Dolphins will use the 85 percent provision again" this season (MIAMI HERALD, 7/28).
FORGIVE & FORGET? In West Palm Beach, Andrew Abramson reports Dolphins C Mike Pouncey wanted to apologize for wearing a hat supporting former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez but the team "wouldn’t allow it." Pouncey's brother, Steelers C Maurkice, on Friday told reporters that Mike "wanted to apologize but was told not to by the Dolphins." Maurkice Pouncey said, "I'm sure Mike wanted to apologize, but that's how they handled it." Before Mike Pouncey spoke to reporters last week, he "spent several minutes speaking" with Dolphins Senior VP/Media Relations Harvey Greene. Pouncey, through Greene, "declined to comment" yesterday on his brother’s statement (PALM BEACH POST, 7/29).
In San Diego, Michael Gehlken notes half of the Chargers' eight regular-season games in '12 were blacked out, but Chargers Exec VP & CEO A.G. Spanos said he is "very optimistic" the team can sell out every home game this year. That is "in part because of projected single-game sales for a schedule that includes the Texans, Broncos, Cowboys, Giants and Colts." Season-ticket sales have "been a mixed bag" to this point. Spanos said, "We've had a lot of new sales. Renewals are not where we'd like it to be. … We have over 1,000 more new (season) tickets sold than at the same point last year. New sales-wise, year over year, we're much better. Percentage-wise on renewals, we're about the same, but we started with a smaller base. That's what the problem is. We've got to get our renewal percentage higher" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/29).
BUCS BUOYANT AT TICKET BOOTH: Buccaneers co-Chair Bryan Glazer on Saturday said that fans have "been responding positively at the ticket booth" to the team's improved outlook, with sales "rising for a team that had a majority of its home games blacked out on local TV over the past three seasons." Glazer said that fans should "enjoy more televised games this season after just two last season even with a lower threshold for tickets sold to lift blackouts (85 percent)." He added, "We have a ways to go, but it's been improving. The economy is getting better. So everything is coming together at the right time" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 7/28).
WORRISOME TIME FOR RAIDERS? CBSSPORTS.com's Jason La Canfora wrote there is an "air of uncertainty that permeates all things Raiders these days." There is "uncertainty over the future of the franchise in terms of ownership and their stadium," and "uncertainty over just how long this new coaching and front office regime will be given to try to stabilize the reeling organization." Some "groused" about late Owner Al Davis "as he approached the end of his life, and the Raiders surely have foundered since reaching the Super Bowl" in '02. Davis' son and current Owner Mark Davis has "done little to quiet that chorus as he now enters a third year (and second full season) in total control." Also gone is former Chief Exec Amy Trask, Al Davis' "most trusted business ally." Mark Davis' "overblown reaction to less-than-favorable press clippings -- firing the PR staff -- sent a poor message, and some wonder if the steady hand and stability this franchise so craves will come under his leadership" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/27).