SBD/October 30, 2013/Franchises

Franchise Notes

On Long Island, Marc Carig notes Mets COO Jeff Wilpon "reiterated Tuesday that the Mets will be free from the financial shackles that have stunted their efforts to add talent in recent years." It remains to be seen "just how much the Mets actually spend to revamp a team that finished with a losing record for the fifth straight season." But expiring contracts alone "are expected to free up" more than $40M in payroll, "signaling what the team insists is the end of an era marked by austerity." Wilpon said, "That's always been part of the plan, to use the money that's coming off the books and try and improve the team" (NEWSDAY, 10/30). The N.Y. Daily News' Andy Martino noted the Mets are "going to spend some money" during the offseason, but the "extent I don't know." Execs are "going to spend some money on somebody," but fans "might have to settle for something less" than top free agents ("Daily News Live," SNY, 10/29). 

TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF: MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that he is "trying to persuade his fellow MLSE executives to spring 500 or so Maple Leafs seats on a nightly basis at a discount so 'diehard, blue-collar fans' can introduce some 'new noise' in a building where the corporate types routinely linger in their luxury suites between periods so the players are greeted by thousands of empty seats." Leiweke: "There’s a lot of people, especially in that lower level, you can’t teach them to cheer. You just can’t. We have some trouble just getting them in the seats at the beginning of every period. I think we have to think about the culture of the Leafs experience and bring fresh blood in there” (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/30).

GETTING THE BOOT: In Utah, Trevor Phibbs notes the AFL yesterday announced its realignment for the '14 season, and the Utah Blaze "were left behind." The Blaze last season "was evicted from EnergySolutions Arena after failing to meet its financial responsibilities as tenants" (DESERET NEWS, 10/30). In Salt Lake City, Christopher Kamrani cites a source as saying that the franchise "is working through its options, though it will be dormant" in '14. The source added that different issues "are being worked out to possibly bring back the Blaze" in '15 (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 10/30).
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