DIAMONDBACKS READY TO BANK ON ONE SUCCESSFUL FIRST SEASON
On Friday, D'Backs Managing General Partner Jerry
Colangelo christened Bank One Ballpark and demonstrated the
retractable roof for the media, according to Bill Muller of
the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Colangelo said the ballpark will not
be 100% complete on March 31, "mainly because the Cox
Clubhouse, an area with interactive games and a baseball
museum, would not be ready" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/21). In
AZ, Kerry Fehr-Snyder reported that the economic impact of
the D'Backs "will top" $300M a year in AZ, most of it in
downtown Phoenix. The estimate is a "substantial increase"
from the $230M impact predicted in '93 (AZ REPUBLIC, 3/21).
D'BUCKS: BUSINESS WEEK's Ronald Grover reports that
Colangelo and his group of 15 investors spent more than
$325M getting the franchise ready for this season, but the
D'Backs are "all but assured of placing among the leaders in
attendance and operating profits." The team has raised
$500M in marketing revenue and Colangelo predicts it will
draw 3.5 million this season (BUSINESS WEEK, 3/30 issue).
MEDIA CONFLICT? In AZ, consumer advocate writer Richard
de Uriarte said that some readers have complained that the
Arizona Republic "gives favorable treatment to the
Diamondbacks because of a conflict of interest." Phoenix
Newspaper Inc., Publisher of the Republic, has invested $5M
as a limited partner in the team. D'Backs Dir of Media
Relations Bob Crawford said the paper's investment in the
team "will not give Republic reporters an inside track."
Crawford: "We treat all reporters the same." de Uriarte:
"Editors are aware of the scrutiny. We've made no secret of
the investment. And we have promised our readers it would
not affect coverage" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/22).
DESERT NOTES: The D'Backs drew a crowd of 11,117 on
Saturday, the sixth time this spring the team has played in
front of a crowd of 10,000 or more (ARIZONA REPUBLIC,
3/22)....On ESPN SportsZone, Mitch Lawrence wrote that "more
than one" NBA GM "is privately accusing the Suns of
bypassing the salary cap" when Colangelo made Danny Manning
a minority owner in the D'Backs (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/22).
...CNN/SI's Tom Verducci reported that the "scouting report"
on Bank One Ballpark is that "it's great for fans, but it's
a nightmare for umpires." NL officials said that due to the
park's different angles, they "might have to change the
ground rules during the season" ("CNN/SI," 3/20).
GREEN RAYS: Devil Rays Managing General Partner Vince
Naimoli projects revenues of $90-$100M in his team's first
year, which would rank among the top eight MLB teams. The
team expects to generate up to another $15M from other
events at Tropicana Field. Naimoli predicts Devils Rays'
attendance "should be around" 3.2-million, an average of
40,000 per game (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/22).