NBA Kings Owner the Maloofs “have surrendered controlling interest" in The Palms Las Vegas, claiming that the deal “improves their finances considerably,” according to a front-page piece by Dale Kasler of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The Maloofs yesterday announced that they “reached a ‘recapitalization’ agreement with the Palms Casino’s main creditors,” investment firms TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners. George Maloof said that the deal “erases the Palms’ debt” but leaves the family with “less than 50 percent of the equity.” Maloof said that he “will continue to run” the casino. Kasler notes the Maloofs’ deal “could have significant implications for the Kings at a crucial time in the team’s history.” Sacramento officials and the NBA “expect the Maloofs to contribute” to a new arena for the Kings, though the exact amount “remains to be seen.” Although the Kings and The Palms are separate businesses, it has “been clear that the hotel’s problems have affected the family’s overall finances.” Maloof contends that the family's finances "have improved" with The Palms deal complete. He said, “We’re definitely in a better position" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/15). Maloof also noted that pursuant to terms of the agreement, which is “still subject to regulatory approvals,” the family’s stake in The Palms “will fall to between 10% and 20% from 85%” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/15).
Arizona Hockey Holdings Vice Chair Brad Goldberg, the spokesperson for prospective Coyotes Owner Matthew Hulsizer's group, said that discussions with the NHL and the City of Glendale are "ongoing as multiple proposals have gone back and forth," according to Lisa Halverstadt of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Goldberg confirmed that Hulsizer's group "has maintained $100 million for a transaction but would not detail specific discussions." Glendale leaders "have alluded to the possibility of buyers beyond Hulsizer, but they're mum on details." Glendale Assistant Deputy City Manager Julie Frisoni said that "any proposals were being vetted by the NHL, the owner of the team, but that Glendale officials remained 'engaged' and were eager for a finalized deal" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/15). Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Cecilia Chan noted Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs is "not happy with how the media and others have portrayed the city's efforts to keep" the Coyotes. Scruggs last week said that the $50M the city has pledged to the NHL the last two years is "being mischaracterized as 'Glendale paying for hockey team losses.'" Scruggs said that the money is "for the NHL, which owns the Coyotes, to manage and operate the city-owned Jobing.com Arena." Scruggs added that the portrayal has "led to 'diminished' support and understanding from residents" (AZCENTRAL.com, 6/10).
SWEET MUSIC: Predators President & COO Sean Henry said that the team, which won its first playoff series in franchise history this season, "will enjoy their highest season-ticket renewal rate in the organization's history." Henry: "It's just an incredible relationship that this franchise has with the fans right now." In Nashville, Josh Cooper reports the Predators will "unveil new uniforms this summer" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 6/15).
Bloomberg TV's Michele Steele reported that two execs from rival MLB teams have told her that Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt "losing the Dodgers is a foregone conclusion." The team made payroll today, but if it defaults on payroll in the future, MLB "could seize the team and operate it until it finds a suitable buyer, but that plan is really fraught with potential legal liabilities." Another option is Frank and Jamie McCourt settle their dispute about ownership of the team and "find a viable buyer for the team while the league finances operations" (“Inside Track,” Bloomberg TV, 6/15).
THE BULLY PULPIT: In N.Y., Andy Martino reports the Mets "plan to address bullying," though team sources said that it is unlikely the Mets will work with the It Gets Better campaign as other MLB teams have. A Mets official said, "We had already been looking around trying to find an organization to partner with on the bullying issue. We are interested in inclusiveness. If you target one specific subset, what about the other groups that are bullied?" Several players said that they "would be willing to appear in a video aimed specifically at gay youth" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/15).
TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY: Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver yesterday reiterated he has "no interest" in moving the team to L.A. AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke last week mentioned that he had talked to five teams, including the Jaguars, about a move to Farmers Field in downtown L.A. But Weaver said, "I have been consistent in saying I am committed to Jacksonville and have no interest (in moving)." In Jacksonville, Vito Stellino noted the Jaguars "have often been mentioned in the past as a relocation candidate because of their problems selling tickets" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 6/14).
CALF CRAMPS: On Long Island, Neil Best reported the resale ticket market for Thursday's Rangers-Yankees game "crashed after Derek Jeter suffered a calf injury against the Indians Monday night." Jeter is six hits shy of 3,000, and that was "driving up resale market prices" for Thursday, the Yankees' final game of their current homestand. But FanSnap.com indicated that by early yesterday afternoon, the "average price had been halved to $55 and still was falling fast, even before" the Yankees officially placed Jeter on the 15-day DL (NEWSDAY.com, 6/14).
SLINGS & AEROS: In Ohio, Stephanie Storm reports Double-A Eastern League Akron Aeros are "reaching out to fans to determine" whether team officials should consider a "new moniker for the team" after 15 years. The Aeros are running a rebranding contest in which fans are "invited to submit new names or vote to keep the Aeros name." The contest winner "will get season tickets for life." The deadline for submitting entries is June 23, while "fan voting on potential names runs through the end of the season" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 6/15).