SBD/August 15, 2014/FranchisesPrint All
At least two suitors from L.A. "signed the nondisclosure agreement" to be involved in the Bills' sale process, but "abandoned pursuit upon discovering how much opposition there would be to moving the team" out of Buffalo, according to Tim Graham of the BUFFALO NEWS. Philanthropist Eli Broad signed the agreement to "review the Bills' confidential data in contemplation of buying the team." But sources said that Broad "examined the Bills and came away discouraged about moving the team because the NFL and too many powerful politicians are against it" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/15).
SHOT THROUGH THE HEART: In Buffalo, Graham & Rey reported Jon Bon Jovi and his Toronto-based group are "trying to convince the community they are committed to keeping the team" in Buffalo, but the Buffalo Fan Alliance "believes it has uncovered documents that say otherwise." The "smoking gun is deep within corporate documents filed in Canada and includes a brief bio" of Rogers Communications consultant Roger Rai. The document states he "assists in the sports ownership affairs of Rogers Communications and was responsible for the acquisition of the Toronto Blue Jays and is part of the ownership group attempting to acquire and move the Buffalo Bills to Toronto" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/15). QMI AGENCY's John Kryk cited sources as saying when the Bon Jovi group "finally met face-to-face" with Morgan Stanley bankers on Tuesday in Manhattan, the "management presentation was drama-free." But sources said that "permeating the room was an unspoken, shared sense that, yeah, we all have to go through with this, so let's just get through it." Attorneys from Proskauer "did not excessively question" Bon Jovi, MLSE Chair Larry Tanenbaum and Rogers Communications Deputy Chair Edward Rogers about their "non-relocation promise." The "sense of pessimism that had saturated the Toronto bid group two weeks ago -- when sources say the trio were informed their initial, non-binding bid fell hundreds of millions of dollars short of the one submitted" by Sabres Owner Terry Pegula -- has "not dissipated." Kryk: "Defeat seems more inevitable than ever" (QMI AGENCY, 8/14).
WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM: In Buffalo, Jerry Zremski notes when fans arrive at Ralph Wilson Stadium for the Buccaneers-Bills preseason game on Aug. 23, they will see what $130M in renovations "will buy." Long lines at the gates and crowding in the concourses should be nothing but "memories." Clerks at concession stands will be able to "fill orders and process credit cards without scrambling." Portable concessions stands, which "blocked the walkways and caused congestion and annoyance, have been pushed back out of the main concourses" and into "new cubbyholes tucked under the stands on the field side of the concourses." The "cramped 'switchback stairs' that linked the stadium’s levels" are now "gone, replaced by two 'monumental staircases' at the 50-yard line on both sides of the stadium." Bills CMO Marc Honan said that in addition to being "easier to navigate, the wide staircases also will allow much more natural light to enter the center of the concourses." Zremski notes the game’s radio broadcasts will be "piped into every bathroom" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/15).
Hudson Pacific Properties President, CEO & Chair Victor Coleman "wants to own" an NHL team in Seattle, and it is "clear Coleman has the support of the NHL," according to Chris Daniels of Seattle-based KING-NBC. One league source described Coleman as "the real deal." Coleman: "I think the demographic base (in Seattle) and the desire of the NHL in that marketplace is the perfect match right now. The expansion of the NHL into the Pacific Northwest, with Vancouver and the presiding area, makes it a perfect fit. There are built in synergies. That’s a ‘Day 1’ rivalry." He added that the city has a "clear path" to attaining an NHL team. Daniels noted that path "runs through" hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, who in '12 negotiated a deal to build a new NBA and NHL complex, but has "long said he is only interested in owning an NBA franchise." Two sources said that Hansen and Coleman "met in person a couple of weeks ago, and have been actively talking for months." The sources indicated that the two ownership groups "have signed a 'non-binding' agreement which lays out the terms for Coleman’s contribution to the project and his potential revenue streams for a hockey franchise." They added that two other hockey ownership groups -- one led by AHL Chicago Wolves Owner Don Levin, the other by RLB Holdings Founder & Managing Partner Ray Bartoszek -- have "not laid out similar groundwork." Coleman: "The location Chris has established is the right location, and we’re excited to be a part of that. That’s the best location we see, surrounding the transportation needs." He added, "There is obviously a deal in place that can get done" (KING5.com, 8/12). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski wrote basketball "is the priority" for Hansen and "has been the priority for the city and the county." Convincing them otherwise is "going to come down to timing, opportunity (for relocation or expansion) and, perhaps, Victor Coleman" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/13).
The CFL Argonauts "could be kicked out of the Rogers Centre for a few home games" if the Blue Jays make the playoffs, according to Curtis Rush of the TORONTO STAR. The Argos have four home games in October, which is an "unusual number." As part of the lease agreement with Rogers Centre, which expires at the end of the '17 CFL season, the Blue Jays have "priority in selecting dates." Argos Exec Chair & CEO Chris Rudge is "working with the baseball team on contingency plans and with the CFL on a range of options." The "best-case scenario" would be moving a game to "another night of the week." The Argos have "investigated BMO Field," but the MLS venue is "unsuitable because the field and end zones are too short." A "worst-case scenario" is that the club could be "forced to play a 'home' game on the road." Another possibility is for the Argos to "play at the new Tim Hortons Field" in Hamilton, Ontario, if a "revenue-sharing agreement could be reached." Rush noted when the Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series titles in '92 and '93, there was "no conflict" (TORONTO STAR, 8/14).
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones confirmed that the team's training camp will return to Oxnard, Calif., next summer and "continue even after the club’s multimillion-dollar complex in Frisco is complete." In Dallas, David Moore noted the Cowboys are "in the final year of a contract with Oxnard that includes a three-year option at the club’s discretion." Jones "gave a strong indication earlier in camp" that the team would be back in '15 and "was even more definitive Thursday." Jones said of training camp once the Frisco site is complete, "We'll do both. We'll be able to get both in" (DALLASNEWS.com, 8/14).
WHAT'S IN A NAME? In DC, Ian Shapira notes the Redskins on Thursday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Virginia "seeking to overturn" a U.S. Patent & Trademark Office decision "that canceled the team’s trademark registration because it considers the name and logo disparaging." The team also is "suing five Native Americans who won the headline-making patent case on June 18." The Redskins are "asking for a chance to defend their name" and can now "introduce fresh evidence into a battle that has been confined to the patent office and limited to mostly decades-old testimony." The case also "gives the team an extra chance to appeal in case it loses" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/15).
CAN BEGGARS BE CHOOSERS? In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes it "finally seems like the path is clear" for an NFL franchise to relocate to the city, "but heaven help us if that team is the Raiders." The NFL "won't say it, but it doesn't want them here." Sponsors "won't admit it, but they wouldn't embrace them here." L.A. "may be a Raiders town," but that works for the city "only as long as the Raiders aren't in town" (L.A. TIMES, 8/15).