SBJ/Nov. 25-Dec. 1, 2013/Franchises

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  • Celtics create pregame show to be delivered through app

    The Boston Celtics have created the NBA’s first pregame show to be streamed live through its mobile app.

    The new show, “Home Court Advantage,” is part of the club’s plan to increase digital content. American Express, a team partner and NBA league-level sponsor, has signed on as sponsor of the new program.

    NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver was a recent guest on “Home Court Advantage.”
    Photo by: STEVE BABINEAU / BOSTON CELTICS
    The show streams live from 6:30 to 7 p.m. ET prior to each home game through the Celtics’ app and on Celtics.com. The programming precedes the traditional 7 p.m. pregame show on Comcast SportsNet, ahead of the team’s 7:30 p.m. home game start times.

    The Celtics tested the show during their first few home games. Based on responses received, the team now is committing to continue the offering through the season.

    For now, plans call for the team to produce the show prior to home games only, but production prior to road games is a possibility.

    “The strategy is to provide Celtics mobile app users with some unique content to get the real live game feel of that night,” said Celtics President Rich Gotham. “A lot of teams are doing pregame shows, but we are the first to do live streaming through our app.”

    The show is hosted by Celtics in-house broadcasters Marc D’Amico and Emily Austen and includes pregame press conferences, live pregame locker room interviews with players, and guest analysts from Comcast SportsNet.

    “It’s another way for fans to connect with the team,” Gotham said. “We want to leverage our assets for a behind-the-scenes look, and AmEx is interested in digital content activation.”

    The Celtics launched their mobile app in January. The team reports 125,000 downloads.

    Initial airings of the show have brought about 2,500 viewers from both the app and Celtics.com.

    Other new digital offerings for Boston this year include the “Celtics Minute,” sponsored by Sun Life, which provides fans with a daily team update; roundtable discussions with Celtics legends; and additional video content and highlights. The content is available both via Celtics.com and the team’s app.

    “We’re continuing to invest in the business and we are getting better at producing our own content,” Gotham said. “We are creating new content platforms for our sponsors and then pushing it out through all our social channels.”

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  • Molson Coors to sell its stake in Rockies

    Coors has been linked with the Rockies since before they began play in 1993.
    Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
    Molson Coors is selling its nearly 15 percent stake in the Colorado Rockies to Arizona developer Jay Stein, ending the equity ownership the brewer has held in the club since the team’s inception in 1991.

    The company said the sale does not affect its long-standing naming-rights deal for the team’s ballpark, Coors Field.

    “Molson Coors is proud of the role we played in bringing a Major League Baseball team to Denver and remains highly supportive of the Colorado Rockies,” the company wrote in a statement emailed to SportsBusiness Journal. “However, we have decided to sell our 14.5% stake in the team so that we can focus our resources more fully on building our global beer business. This transaction has no impact on the naming rights for the stadium, which will remain Coors Field.”

    The move comes as the Denver Post has taken its 7.3 percent share of the team off the market, in part because, sources said, it felt Coors is not getting full value for its stake. The sources would not say what Stein is paying for the Coors stake in the Rockies. One finance expert suggested it is tough to get full value for such a large limited-partnership piece.

    Stein, in an email exchange, asked to wait until this week to talk, then declined further comment.

    Stein is a president of Sandor Development in Scottsdale, Ariz., and was part of Jeff Moorad’s ownership group of the San Diego Padres. Moorad in 2009 agreed to buy the team over five years but last year sold the shares he had accumulated to the club’s current owners.

    Sports finance sources pegged the Rockies’ full franchise value around $600 million. The Padres sold for $800 million, though the buyers used $200 million of the team’s cable TV money as part of the purchase price.

    The Rockies have about $80 million of debt, a finance source said, so 14.5 percent of $520 million would be $75.4 million.

    Colorado-based Coors played an integral role in investing in the Rockies expansion franchise and has been closely linked ever since. Coors merged with Molson in 2005. The new company, Molson Coors, then created a joint venture with SABMiller in 2007, called MillerCoors, and the corporate headquarters for the combined company moved to Chicago.

    Coors signed the ballpark naming-rights deal in 1995 for $15 million with a reported term of “an indefinite period.”

    The Rockies referred questions to the brewer.

    The Denver Post is owned by Digital First Media, which announced just over a year ago it would try to sell its share of the team. The company hired Park Lane to broker a sale. A Digital First Media spokesman did not respond to several requests for comment. Park Lane declined to comment.

    The team is principally owned by the Monfort brothers, Dick and Charlie, part of the original ownership group. In 2005 they bought out the majority partnership interest of team co-founder Jerry McMorris.

    Staff writer Eric Fisher contributed to this report.

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