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The Warriors said that they will be "seeking input from fans on whether they should change their name after announcing earlier this week they'd purchased a 12-acre property" in Mission Bay that they plan to use for a new arena, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. The franchise "will keep the Warriors moniker they've used since they were founded in Philadelphia in 1946 but could readopt the name for which they were known when they played" in S.F. from '62-'71. Warriors President & COO Rick Welts said, "We're very curious what our fans think of that. I couldn't imagine making that decision in the very near future, but we definitely want to see what our fans prefer" (ESPN.com, 4/25).
REAPING POSTSEASON REWARDS: Warriors execs said that they expect to "net in the middle-six figures in additional sponsorship revenue for every two playoff games the team hosts." Team CMO Chip Bowers said that several of the team’s "biggest sponsors -- called Gold Alliance partners who pony up at least $1 million during the regular season -- have signed deals for promotions in the postseason." In S.F., Eric Young noted Kaiser Permanente is the "presenting sponsor of the playoffs, putting its name on shirts, tickets and the healthcare giant will have other promotional opportunities in the postseason." Other big sponsors like Clorox and Esurance also have "planned promotions tied to the Warriors playoff games" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/24).
ON THE HOOK: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority Dir Deena McClain said that the Warriors' lease at Oracle Arena calls for the team to continue paying up to $7.4M a year until '27 "whether the team stays or leaves." But the Warriors said that they "don't owe anything beyond 2017, when the team's lease expires." Warriors VP/PR Raymond Ridder said, "Our rent, debt and other payment obligations expire after the 2017 season. We have the option to extend the lease, but not the obligation." Sources said that the dispute "is likely to end in litigation." Oakland City Council member Desley Brooks said, "The contract speaks for itself. The Warriors are choosing to leave, but they should not forget that they still have a large fan base in Oakland, and they need to do what's right for those fans and the taxpayers" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/25).
THE RIGHT CALL: In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes of the Warriors' arena plan, "I'm delighted the Piers 30/32 project fell apart, for it spoke of arrogance and callous disregard. Traffic, sight lines, aesthetics -- all those issues were properly argued and defended." Mission Bay "makes more sense in a thousand ways." The Warriors "should use Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the marvelous facility in Indianapolis, as a model" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/25).
The Islanders this week released an offering memorandum for majority ownership to potential bidders for the team, according to a source in the finance industry. In the memo, Islanders Owner Charles Wang offers 75% ownership of the club, with a five-year option on the other 25%. The memo also states that the Islanders sustained an operating loss during the '13-14 season of $4.8M, with the loss minimized greatly by $15M received from NHL revenue sharing and escrow payments. According to the memo, total revenue for the Islanders this season was $84M. The value placed on the team in the memo is $370M. The memorandum was released by the team on behalf of Wang, who has yet to utilize the services of a bank or financial consultants in the ongoing sales talks. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Wednesday confirmed that while Wang is soliciting and listening to offers for the Islanders, he may not be ready to say goodbye to the team, which he acquired in '00. In earlier discussions with prospective buyers, before the offering memorandum was released, Wang was offering 30-49% of the team at the start, with Wang remaining the Islanders’ majority owner for at least the next two seasons. Philadelphia hedge fund manager Andrew Barroway is the lone suitor whose name has been made public. A league source said a finalized deal between Barroway and Wang “is not close,” and that Barroway “does not have a leg up on anyone else interested in buying the Islanders.” Barroway has been in search of partners to help him fund the purchase. One person who can be removed from consideration is asset management firm Trian Partners CEO Nelson Peltz. He has been linked to bids for the Devils and Senators in the past. However, a source close to Peltz on Thursday said that the Brooklyn-born billionaire has “no interest” in bidding for the Islanders.
EPL club Liverpool Managing Dir Ian Ayre said that because of team Owner Fenway Sports Group, the club has "recovered from being 'seconds from financial disaster' to re-establish themselves at the top of English football," according to Chris Bascombe of the London TELEGRAPH. FSG's takeover in '10, which came after former Owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. were forced to sell their shares, "avoided administration and has been the catalyst for the restoration of Liverpool as a club of substance rather than image." Ayre said, "People sometimes forget how bad it was. I speak to people now and they have really short memories. When you think about that day when we tipped it over the edge and finally pulled it back, we have come such a long way. It is no secret." He added, "It was horrific to see the football club in that state. I do not think there was a Liverpool fan in the city or anywhere who was not worried we would not get back to this position. We went from the court ruling to two years of scrapping via lawyers." Ayre: "As one of the few people who was here with the last ownership and through this one, I can say the club is in a fantastically sustainable position now and that’s down to the people running it in the best interests of the club, not the best interest of the owners. ... It’s an unbelievable achievement to get back where we are today. That is testament to the people who invested in it and worked on getting us back there." Bascombe notes this week’s unveiling of designs for a new Anfield and announcement of the latest commercial partnership with Subway "was further proof that, unlike previous title challenges in the last 24 years, this one has stronger foundations" (London TELEGRAPH, 4/25).
Mandalay Baseball Properties is nearing sales of the Triple-A PCL Oklahoma City RedHawks, Double-A Texas League Frisco RoughRiders and Single-A Midwest League Dayton Dragons, according to industry sources, more than a year after the entire Mandalay baseball portfolio was put up for sale. The sales, particularly Dayton and Frisco, are expected to yield record-setting sums for minor-league sales, with each perhaps surpassing $30M. Former MLB Rangers Managing General Partner & CEO Chuck Greenberg, who owns two other minor-league teams, is leading a group pursuing the Frisco franchise and is now in final stage of due diligence. Mandalay’s majority stakeholder, Seaport Capital LLC, put the portfolio, which also includes the Triple-A Int'l League Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders and Double-A Eastern League Erie Seawolves, up for a sale in April ’13. However, the group failed to find a buyer for the entire block of clubs. Principals involved declined to comment, but Greenberg’s purchase in particular could close as soon as next month. The Dayton purchase bears watching as the Midwest League club has sold out every game since relocating to the city in '00, setting a U.S. pro sports record in the process.
An examination of public preferences on Facebook has granted an "unprecedented look at the geography of baseball fandom, going down not only to the county level, as Facebook did in a nationwide map it released a few weeks ago, but also to ZIP codes," according to data cited by Giratikanon, Katz, Leonhardt & Quealy of the N.Y. TIMES. The study "generated 14 maps detailing baseball’s biggest rivalries, highlighting the borders and offering suggested names for those lines." The maps "were created using estimates of team support based on how many Facebook users 'liked' each team in a ZIP code." The study "applied an algorithm to smooth the data and fill in gaps where data was missing." The study shows that Hartford "has declared for the Yankees." It is "still a border town, but it's a border town the way El Paso is -- clearly on the Yankee side." The Yankees "are the preferred team everywhere" in N.Y, and "nearly everywhere in the U.S. over the Mets" (in more than 98% of ZIP codes nationwide). The Cubs "have always been the better-loved of Chicago’s two teams," but the White Sox -- "unlike the Mets or the A’s -- do have a patch of their own territory." Among all the "second-favorite teams," the Angels "have done perhaps the best job of carving out a niche of fans." But the Dodgers "are still the clear favorite in Southern California." The line in Missouri that represents where most fans support the Cardinals over the Royals "is well west of the halfway point between the two cities." While the Orioles "have held onto many Maryland suburbs, the Nats now dominate Washington and much of the Virginia suburbs." In parts of the DC region, the Orioles "aren’t even the second-favorite team; the Yankees or the Red Sox are" (NYTIMES.com, 4/24).