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SBD/September 10, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross is seeking to acquire an MLS expansion franchise, he said this morning while speaking at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit. Ross' RSE Ventures has been bringing European friendlies to Sun Life Stadium, and now Ross has his eye on the U.S. league. But in the same breath as he disclosed his intention, he said that MLS may not grow as large as some expect because media revenues are not so large. Ross also noted that his early strategy of finding celebrity owners of the Dolphins had "backfired,'' because the media had criticized him so heavily for it. Celebrities who bought small slices of the team include Gloria Estefan, Venus and Serena Williams, and Marc Anthony (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer).
GONE FISHIN': Ross yesterday addressed the media during the introductory press conference of Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel, and said that he is "prepared to improve his offer to help fund renovations for Sun Life Stadium." In Miami, Barry Jackson notes Ross also suggested that "any new offer would not be made in the immediate future," and it is "highly questionable if Ross will get support in the Legislative session next spring" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/10). Meanwhile, Ross said, “There will be no (television) blackouts this year.” In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis noted Ross in recent seasons "has bought up thousands of unsold tickets to satisfy the NFL’s blackout policy and ensure that games have been on local television." His response "suggests that policy will continue, though Ross made it clear he is hopeful there will be fewer unsold tickets after he spent millions to improve the team on the field." It also may have been a "message to fans who question his commitment to the franchise" after he donated $200M to the Univ. of Michigan. Ross during the press conference "fielded more questions regarding the stadium situation and the gift to his alma mater" than questions pertaining to Garfinkel (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 9/9).
The Blues yesterday named Hockey HOFer Brett Hull Exec VP, and for "anybody who thinks that Hull is back simply to flash his familiar grin to Blues fans and the business community, that doesn’t appear to be the case," according to Jeremy Rutherford of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Blues Owner Tom Stillman said, "I don’t think it’s just a matter of shaking hands. He’ll be involved in the substance of selling and showing people and companies in the market that this is an organization that you want to be associated with." However, Hull admitted that the financial side "is not his area of expertise and that there will be a learning curve." Rutherford notes the Blues have "made some in-roads in convincing the business community, but there’s still a ways to go in selling suites and season tickets." Hull said, "It’s hard economic times. It’s a small market. It’s not like we’re the New York Rangers who have a TV deal that helps everything. We need to dig in our heels and get to work and show the community that we’re a class group. I think anybody in the community and the business community sees a team that is classy and is doing the right things not only on the ice, but off the ice ... they’ll jump on board and be a part of it as well." Hull previously worked as Stars co-GM from '07-09 and "found the work to be full of 'minutiae.'" He was "fired as GM, but remained an executive in Dallas." The announcement with the Blues has been "months in the making" (ST.LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/10).
In Cleveland, Paul Hoynes notes while the Indians are just 1.5 games out of the AL Wild Card spot after last night's win over the Royals, the game drew the "smallest September crowd in the history of Progressive Field" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 9/10). Hoynes writes it will be interesting to see what team Owner the Dolan family "spends this winter after taking a beating at the gate." Ownership last offseason was "buoyed by the sale of SportsTime Ohio to Fox Sports along with an influx of national TV money coming in 2014." Better attendance this season "would have given the front office more room to deal" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 9/10).
BAY CITY ROLLING? In San Jose, John Woolfolk reported lawyers for the city's antitrust lawsuit against MLB "filed new arguments in federal court Friday supporting claims" that blocking the A's planned move to the city is illegal (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/7). The lawyers in their final arguments wrote MLB's exemption from antitrust laws "has been eroded by Congress and the courts and should not be used" to block the A's move to San Jose. The city's filing described MLB's antitrust exemption as "antiquated and oft-criticized." But it "did not say it should be overturned." San Jose argued that the exemption "has been narrowed in recent decades and no longer applies to the relocation of teams" (S.F CHRONICLE, 9/7).
NORTHERN EXPOSURE: In Toronto, Bob Elliott reported the Blue Jays "will help bring baseball to Montreal next season with a pair of pre-season games" against the Mets. The games will be "played in March at the Olympic Stadium which has not staged a big-league game, or a ball game of any kind since Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2004" (TORONTO SUN, 9/10).