SBD/August 8, 2014/FranchisesPrint All
Former Sabres Owner Tom Golisano "finally has placed a bid to buy the Bills," according to a source cited by Tim Graham of the BUFFALO NEWS. Initial bids "supposedly were due nine days ago, but the deadline was extended, with Golisano and others stepping forward -- privately -- with interest in the team." The Ralph Wilson family trust "was said to be concerned that only three bids had come in by the July 29 deadline." A source said of Morgan Stanley, the bank overseeing the sale, "The family is still seeking the most money, so they're still bringing people to the table" (BUFFALONEWS.com, 8/7). The AP's John Wawrow noted Golisano's addition "comes at the same time the sale process moved into the next phase after Bills officials began meeting with prospective ownership groups that had already submitted their non-binding bids." The presentations provide prospective buyers "an opportunity to receive extensive financial and background information on the franchise in order to prepare their formal bids, which are expected to be submitted within three weeks" (AP, 8/7). QMI AGENCY's John Kryk cited sources as saying that the Toronto-based group bidding on the Bills, led by Jon Bon Bovi, was "asked yet again to clarify its non-relocation intentions." A source said that by the end of business Thursday, the group "still had not been invited to the final phase of the sale" (QMI AGENCY, 8/7). In N.Y., Josh Kosman cites sources as saying that the Bills last season "posted an operating profit" of between $30-40M. Sources said that new details of the team's finances "came to light Thursday as the auction for the NFL franchise moved into the second round." One source added that profits "could rise" to $60M -- in line with other teams -- if the state "builds the Bills a new stadium" (N.Y. POST, 8/8).
The Univ. of Minnesota wants the Redskins to "wear throwback jerseys without the team name or logo for the Nov. 2 game" against the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium, according to Ian Shapira of the WASHINGTON POST. UM also has asked that the game "not have any Washington apparel or paraphernalia sold on the premise; that the word 'Redskins' not be uttered by the game’s public address announcer; and that the team’s moniker not appear on the scoreboard or in the program guide or other game-related print or digital material" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/8). ESPN’s Keith Olbermann said of UM not wanting to use the Redskins moniker during the Vikings game, "Exactly how much of the use of the name could be eliminated is up for grabs, probably it depends on the Vikings contract to rent the stadium for a quarter of a million dollars a game. If the university retained complete contractual control over what could be considered offensive terms or signs or clothing, it could, in theory, ban Washington from wearing anything baring the word ‘Redskins’ or wearing the team logo. If the contract is looser the university might be limited to insisting that the name and logo not appear on the scoreboards, or the programs, or the tickets. The outcome could be anywhere on the spectrum, from trivial and vaguely symbolic to the NFL having to fight back by pulling the game out of the University of Minnesota stadium and trying to play it somewhere else." He added, "Regardless, the fact that the boycott hinges on pitting one NFL team against another and then maybe one team against the whole league with public institutions like state universities or say local governments then applying the pressure, this is of enormous importance. The Minnesota boycott and whatever is next along these lines combined with the growing media revolt and the gathering stampede of opportunistic politicians will create the proverbial critical mass maybe as early as November 2” (“Olbermann,” ESPN2, 8/8).
Northland Properties, the parent company of the Stars, on Thursday "announced plans to purchase" the AHL Texas Stars and "assume operation of Cedar Park Center," according to Sean Shapiro of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. If the purchase is finalized, the team will become the 14th in the AHL "to be owned by its NHL affiliate." Purchasing the AHL franchise "had been part of the long-term plan since Northland acquired" the Stars from the Hicks Sports Group in '11. Hicks Cedar Park LLC is an "offshoot of the Hicks Sports Group." Stars President & CEO Jim Lites said that the agreement to purchase the AHL franchise "started to finalize six months ago." It began when the AHL team's President & Alternate Gov. Rick McLaughlin "informed Northland that Hicks Cedar Park LLC was looking 'to transition out' of ownership." Organizationally, the sale would "mean few changes" for the AHL team in terms of hockey operations. However, there could be a "new on-ice look" for the team, the defending AHL champion (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 8/8).
STARRY-EYED SURPRISE: The Stars on Thursady named Owen Newkirk as a pregame, intermission and postgame radio co-host alongside Bruce LeVine on KTCK-AM/FM. Meanwhile, Josh Bogorad will serve as the host of "Stars Live" on FS Southwest for games, joined by panelists Brent Severyn, Craig Ludwig and Stu Barnes. Ali Lucia will serve as an ice-level reporter for each home game. Play-by-play announcer Ralph Strangis and color analyst Daryl Reaugh will continue in their respective roles (Stars).
The AP's Jennifer Smola reported State Sen. Eric Kearney (D-Ohio) "introduced a resolution Wednesday that would encourage" the Indians to "adopt a new name and mascot, citing racial insensitivity." He also sent a letter to Indians Owner Larry Dolan "urging a change." But Indians President Mark Shapiro on Thursday said that the Chief Wahoo mascot "'represents the heritage of the team and the ballpark' and will remain in place." He added that the team will "continue to build and promote the use of the block 'C.'" Kearney, who said that he is a "big baseball fan, didn't expect major change right away but said Thursday he's 'asking for a discussion to occur'" (AP, 8/7).
SINGING THE BLUES: In Toronto, Steve Buffery writes when things are "going south" with the Blue Jays, there has been "no one in ownership to step up and saying anything good, bad or indifferent." There is "no reassurance or promise of better things ahead," and there is "no one with the ownership group being held accountable because, quite frankly, fans don’t know who to blame." Fans in the Toronto market "sometimes feel as if Rogers is an absentee owner." Even though Rogers Communications is "based in Toronto, it seems as if nobody on the board cares that much about the ball team" (TORONTO SUN, 8/8).
BURSTING THEIR BUBBLE: In L.A., Bill Shaikin noted when a Dodgers player "hits a home run, the team celebrates with a bubble machine," but prior to Tuesday's game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, MLB Exec VP/ Baseball Operations Joe Torre advised them to "stop using the machine." However, the bubble machine "was back Wednesday." Shaikin asked, "Did the Dodgers negotiate a compromise with MLB, or did they unilaterally decide to bring back the bubble machine?" Shaikin: "No one would say." The "ban of the bubble machine was baffling," and the "refusal of Dodgers officials and MLB executives to discuss it was even more baffling" (L.A. TIMES, 8/7).
BETTER CALL PAUL: In Chicago, Danny Ecker reported the White Sox will "send off" retiring 1B Paul Konerko next month with a "series of promotions throughout the team's 11 September home games highlighting the longtime face of the franchise." Most "prominent in the celebration is the creation of 'Club Konerko' seats in sections 158 and 159 in the left-field bleachers." The White Sox are "counting on the novelty" of Konerko's "final games on the South Side to help boost paid attendance down the stretch." The team has "drawn an average of 20,949 fans per game this year," down 8% from '13 (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 8/6).