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SBD/August 20, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
Rogers Communications President & CEO Nadir Mohamed "isn't giving up on" the Blue Jays, even though the team "hasn't come close to meeting expectations," according to Steve Ladurantaye of the GLOBE & MAIL. Mohamed said that it is "too early to determine whether the company's decision to spend" roughly US$125M on salaries this year "was a bad one." He said, "It's the joy of sports. Anybody that owns sports teams knows there are many elements that go into a winning team. But nobody should be confused -- this is not a one-season investment. We are building what we think will be a better team over time." Mohamed, who is leaving Rogers in January, has been "pivotal in building this team, listening carefully as the Jays management proposed deals and negotiated contracts." The team despite a losing record is "still pulling in decent crowds." Through mid-August, the Blue Jays averaged "more than 31,000 fans per game at the Rogers Centre, an improvement of about 5,000 from last year." If the numbers hold up it would "be the best season for ticket sales" since '07 (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/20).
The Heat, with its first "one-on-one affiliation" with D-League partner Sioux Falls Skyforce, must decide whether it "will stock the Skyforce with players" from its NBA roster, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. The Heat earlier this year purchased control of basketball operations of the Skyforce. The Heat currently have "13 players under guaranteed contract for next season, all established NBA veterans." However, final cuts from Heat training camp "can be designated for assignment to Sioux Falls, assignments that would not impact the Heat's salary cap or luxury tax, but also leave such players exposed to being claimed by an NBA team." Heat Senior VP & Assistant GM Andy Elisburg said, "It's an interesting challenge that we have. We have to fill the needs of the D-League, the Skyforce, and of the Heat. But they also, individually, have their own different needs, and we'll manage the two of them together, to fully support the Skyforce and also the Miami Heat, as well" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/20). In Sioux Falls, Terry Vandrovec notes the Skyforce plan to "replicate the Heat in terms of offensive and defensive schemes." The idea is to "do everything possible to allow for seamless transitions for players or personnel that might split time between Sioux Falls and Miami" (Sioux Falls ARGUS LEADER, 8/20).
Boston-area sports fans "still rank the Patriots as their No. 1 team, while the once-dominant Red Sox trail at No. 2," according to a Channel Media & Market Research survey of more than 13,000 New Englanders cited by Gayle Fee of the BOSTON HERALD. While fans were "generally OK" with the way the Patriots handled Aaron Hernandez' arrest for murder, they are "still fuming over the jettisoning" of WR Wes Welker to the Broncos. The Red Sox "made huge strides in the new poll, with 55 percent of respondents saying the Fenway brass did the best job improving their team over the past year." The Bruins also received "positive reviews overall," but the Celtics were "loudly booed." The survey was completed between Aug. 1-17 and "questioned both male and female sports fans in all six New England states." It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3% (BOSTON HERALD, 8/20). Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino earlier this month said that the Patriots are "one of his team's rivals." Patriots President Jonathan Kraft said in response, "We've been Red Sox season-ticket holders as long as we've been Patriots season-ticket holders. I'm not sure I view it as a rivalry. ... I think what he probably meant is that each of the teams in town is trying to be the best sports entertainment product we can be." He added, "I would never view the Red Sox as a rival. I don't love baseball the way I did growing up, but I do love the Red Sox the way I did growing up" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 8/18).