The Bills have "kicked off a fan-friendly marketing game
plan" for Rochester, NY, according to Roth & Maiorana of the
Rochester DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE. A Rochester ticket and
corporate sales office, which may include a team merchandise
shop, could also open by the end of this season. The Bills'
plan may also include a "possible" training camp intra-squad
scrimmage next summer, with Brockport State's 10,000-seat
Special Olympics Stadium "the leading venue." Currently, 20%
of the team's season ticket and luxury-seat owners come from
the Rochester area (DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 10/30).
After a "slow start," the Trail Blazers' corporate
division that sells advertising at Portland Int'l Airport
(PDX) is turning a profit and selling 96% or more of the PDX
ad sites during any one month, according to Robert Goldfield
of the PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL. Gross revenues from PDX
sales will exceed $1M this year, officials said. Moreover,
the Blazers' ad division has since signed a contract for the
airport in Burbank, CA, "and is a finalist for the job at the
San Diego airport." Steve MacKelvie, Dir of the Blazers'
Airport Division: "We've proven that a themed concept to
airport advertising and design works. We're starting to get
calls from around the country" (BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/24).
ROSE GARDEN DEALS: Goldfield also reports that the
Blazers "recently scored on corporate sponsorship deals that
promise to deliver an extra" $2.5M annually. Coors Brewery
agreed to use the fourth and final "media totem" on the
concourses of the Rose Garden and five companies will place
their names on new rotating signs that will ring the arena's
seating bowl. Coors joins Coca-Cola, Panasonic and Visa on
the media totem. The totems' original price are $395,000 a
year over 10 years, with 10% jumps in the fourth and seventh
years, but Visa and Coors are paying "slightly less" each
year in five-year deals "largely" because they lack
exclusivity agreements with the arena. Thomason Auto Group,
Airtouch Cellular, Henry Weinhard's, Southwest Airlines and
Godfather's Pizza appear on the rotating signs. Blazers VP/
Sponsor Sales & Client Services Erin Hubert said that the
sign system will generate $1-1.5M in ad revenue this fiscal
year and could produce more than $2M in succeeding years
(Portland BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/24 issue).
In a program co-sponsored by Stop & Shop grocery, the
Celtics will set aside 1,000 seats for each FleetCenter game
this season and sell them for $10 each, compared with an
average ticket price of $50, according to Chris Reidy of the
BOSTON GLOBE. In other news, Celtics Exec VP/Marketing &
Sales Stuart Layne said that since Rick Pitino was named
coach of the team, season-ticket holders "have increased by
2,400 to 13,400." Layne: "If we hadn't gotten Pitino, we
would have lost 2,500 season tickets, so Pitino's impact
represents a swing of about 5,000 seats. That works out to
be about $10 million a year in ticket sales alone" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 10/31). Also in Boston, Richard Kindleberger writes
that a St. Louis developer is negotiating with Polaroid Corp.
to acquire a Waltham, MA, site on which to build a $20M
training facility, medical center and fitness club for the
Celtics. New England Baptist Hospital, a marketing partner
of the Celtics, would partner with the team if the facility
is built (Richard Kindleberger, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/31).
NFL Oilers Owner Bud Adams said he will change the name
of his team "if the right name can be found." He also added
that the idea to play in Memphis was TN Gov. Don Sundquist's
(NASHVILLE BANNER, 10/30)....The U.S. Government won't appeal
a U.S. Tax Court decision "absolving the heirs" of Bengals
founder Paul Brown of $40M "plus in estate tax deficiency."
The decision "effectively ends a 21-year crisis for the
Browns in which the family's ownership of the Bengals was
jeopardized" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/30)....In MN, Charley
Walters notes that Twins Owner Carl Pohlad "has been
considering establishing a nonprofit charitable foundation
... as a way to donate the Twins to Minnesota through a
trust" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 10/31).
Interbrew SA announced yesterday that the Blue Jays are
no longer for sale "because lengthy wrangling over a sale was
causing uncertainty and distracting the team," according to
Van Alphen & Byers of the TORONTO STAR. The move comes after
Interbrew's board "rejected" a bid led by real estate
developer Murray Frum and "decided not to wait for a pending
bid" from a consortium led by Toronto lawyer Lawrence Dale.
Interbrew Dir Alan Chapin: "We decided that this prolonged
process of trying to find local partners was no longer in the
best interests of the team or its fans." In addition to its
90% stake in the Jays, Interbrew will retain the CFL
Argonauts and a 49% stake in the SkyDome. Van Alphen & Byers
report that "insiders" say the deal with Frum "collapsed
because Interbrew could not guarantee its stake in the
SkyDome would be part of the deal," since the other SkyDome
partners get the first chance to buy any owner's share "and
several had indicated they wanted Interbrew's stake." Frum:
"I'm very disappointed" (TORONTO STAR, 10/31). Dale said he
and his group, which entered the bidding two weeks ago, are
still interested in the Jays. But Chapin said, "It's off the
market, period. How long, it's not useful to speculate.
We're not going to be talking to the Frum group any longer or
the Dale group" (James Christie, GLOBE & MAIL, 10/31).
TRICK OR TREAT? In Toronto, Janet McFarland reports that
analysts yesterday said Interbrew's decision to keep its
teams "is not evidence of a long-term commitment" to them.
They believe Interbrew "was unhappy with the price it was
offered for its sports assets and has decided to hold on
until they recover some of their value" (GLOBE & MAIL,
10/31). Columnist Stephen Brunt speculates that the deal
with Frum "fell apart because in the end, when forced to put
up or shut up by the appearance of a rival bidder, Frum and
his partners simply didn't have the money" (GLOBE & MAIL,
10/31). Also in Toronto, Mike Rutsey writes that the value
of the Jays "has plummeted" since Interbrew took over. But
Chapin disputed such talk, claiming a sports franchise has an
"intrinsic value that bears little relationship to its
performance on the field" (Mike Rutsey, TORONTO SUN, 10/31).
Between negative press and "an unrelenting owner" in
Peter Karmanos, the city of Greensboro, NC, "is trapped in
the middle of a marketing maelstrom surrounding" the
Hurricanes, according to Scott Michaux of the Greensboro NEWS
& RECORD. Peter Reichard, Dir of the Greensboro Area Chamber
of Commerce: "[T]he community ego has taken a bit of a
bruising here. It would be very good to have (the
Hurricanes) acknowledge that and try to fix it." Team
officials, however, say "they are unlikely" to discount
tickets, which average $38, to increase attendance. The team
has offered $99 family plans and $15 student seats and is
planning another cost-cutting program for later in November.
As a "show of appreciation" to the 3,089 season-ticket
holders, the team is also giving each an extra ticket to
every home game. Hurricanes Owner Peter Karmanos: "I don't
care what anybody says. You don't cut. I'm never going to
discount season tickets because I've grown up in a market
that has never discounted tickets" (NEWS & RECORD, 10/30).
Wheelock Whitney, one of the Vikings' ten principal
owners, said yesterday that he "expects local interests to
step forward and buy the team," according to Don Banks of the
Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE. Whitney said that "now that the
owners' intentions to sell the team have become public," he
thought "some local buyers would enter the picture."
Whitney: "[T]here are a lot of people who either have the
money or could put a group together locally. But who they
are, I really would feel uncomfortable speculating on."
Currently, former Vikings GM Mike Lynn and former Spurs Owner
Red McCombs are the only bidders interested in "buying the
Vikings and keeping them" in MN. Meanwhile, Timberwolves
Owner Glen Taylor said Thursday that he has "virtually no
interest" in the Vikings (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/31).
NO PLACE LIKE DOME: Vikings President Roger Headrick
said yesterday that the team has "rejected" plans to renovate
the Metrodome and wants to "share a dual-purpose stadium with
the Twins or play in a new football stadium," according to
Seidel & Sweeney of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. The remark
"appears to forcefully interject" the Vikings into the debate
over building a new Twins stadium (PIONEER PRESS, 10/31).