SBJ/July 12 - 18, 2004/Other News

This Week in Sports Business History: July 12-18

1956: A group headed by John Fetzer and Fred Knorr buys the Detroit Tigers and Briggs Stadium for $5.5 million. In 1960, Fetzer purchased controlling interest in the team, and, in 1961, the stadium was renamed Tiger Stadium.
FOLLOW-THROUGH: Michael Ilitch purchased sole interest in the team in 1992 for $82 million. The team now plays in $300 million Comerica Park, which opened in 2000. Comerica Inc., a Detroit-based financial services company, agreed to a $66 million, 30-year naming-rights deal in 1998.

1969: Joe Namath sells his share of Bachelors III, an East Side Manhattan cocktail lounge, so he can resume his football career with the New York Jets. He had retired a month earlier when NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle told him he must sell his interest in the bar, which gamblers reportedly frequented, or be suspended by the league.

1970: The Pittsburgh Pirates host the Cincinnati Reds in the debut of Three Rivers Stadium. The facility was home to the Pirates and Steelers until it was demolished on Feb. 11, 2001.

1975: MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn is re-elected for a seven-year term. Overall, he served as commissioner from 1969 to 1984.

1995: A federal appeals court upholds the NFL’s right to black out games that are not sold out. A Cleveland man who is hearing-impaired sued the NFL, the Browns and Cleveland’s network affiliates, charging that the policy discriminated against hearing-impaired people because they have no other way to monitor games.

1995: After his first meeting with Alabama Republican Party officials, Charles Barkley insists that he should run for governor rather than challenge U.S. Rep. Earl Hilliard in 1996. Alabama GOP Chairman Roger McConnell says, “My gut feeling says he’s thinking more toward governor. … He doesn’t seem that interested in the congressional race. When I mentioned that, he said, ‘Well, I want to be governor.’” McConnell did say of Barkley, “He’s solid with his philosophy. If he runs in politics, he’ll run as a Republican, I have no doubt.”
FOLLOW-THROUGH: Barkley felt that he could influence children by running for office, but ultimately decided the best place to be of influence was on the court. He retired from basketball in 2000, after suffering a leg injury while playing for the Houston Rockets. He is now a commentator for the NBA on TNT.

1995: A German court prosecutes Peter Graf on tax evasion charges, accusing him of failing to report $27.6 million of his daughter Steffi’s earnings between 1989 and 1993.
FOLLOW-THROUGH: Peter Graf was sentence in 1997 to prison for three years and nine months for $6.55 million in tax evasion on his daughter’s tennis earnings. After serving only part of the sentence, he was released in April 1998.

1997: Sylvester Stallone acquires the rights to do a film about Formula One racing from Bernie Ecclestone.
FOLLOW-THROUGH: Stallone had wanted to use Formula One races as part of the story line for a movie, “Driven,” but when cooperation with F1 wasn’t forthcoming, he set the story with CART. The film, written by Stallone, starred Stallone and was released in 2001.

1999: Three construction workers are killed and five injured when wind gusts cause a crane to collapse during construction of Miller Park in Milwaukee.

2000: Bernie Ecclestone secures Formula One commercial rights from the FIA for $316 million.

2000: Puma is awarded $13.5 million in arbitration over Vince Carter’s breach of an endorsement contract.

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