SBJ/May 29 - June 4, 2006/This Weeks News

Tavares ready for new swing after Nats

Departing Nationals president plans to
start a new sports consulting business.
Outgoing Washington Nationals President Tony Tavares is starting a sports consulting business, completing a goal first planned before he embarked in early 2002 upon one of the wildest four-year rides in baseball history.

Tavares, 56, will run the still-unnamed operation from his home in Reno, Nev., focusing on franchise acquisition strategies, facility management and team operations for baseball, basketball and hockey clubs.

He first planned the move in early 2002, shortly after resigning from his post as president of Anaheim Sports, where he ran the MLB Angels and NHL Mighty Ducks for nine years. Within weeks of his departure, however, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig appointed him president of the then-Montreal Expos. The hire began a whirlwind experience for Tavares in which the club would avoid contraction, play parts of two seasons in Puerto Rico, move to Washington, twice nearly fail to get funding for a new stadium approved, and only this month find a new owner to end baseball’s tenure running the club.

Tavares will leave Washington when MLB closes its $450 million sale of the Nationals to a group led by Maryland developer Ted Lerner in late June or early July. Assuming Tavares’ role will be former Atlanta sports executive Stan Kasten.

“My plans for this [business] really haven’t changed, they’ve just been delayed for four and a half years,” Tavares said. “I’ve done a number of different things that I can bring into this, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Before working with Anaheim Sports, a fully owned subsidiary of Walt Disney Co., Tavares spent 11 years in facility management, at one point serving as president of Spectacor Management Group.

Tavares will launch the business later this year after having knee replacement surgery, an operation he has delayed since his Anaheim days. Running another club someday remains a possibility, he said, but right now consulting offers a stable, more serene option after the Nationals’ constant state of triage and uncertainty.

Said Kasten, “No sports executive I know would want to live under these conditions, yet Tony did a terrific job. This is someone to whom not nearly enough credit is given.”

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