EPL club Manchester United has "crashed through the £100 million mark for the first time," according to James Ducker of the LONDON TIMES. A little more than six years after taking over the club, the Glazer family broke the mark, with "accounts for the year to June 30 revealing commercial revenues of £103.4 million." Some ManU supporters have been "aggrieved at the levels of debt with which the owners have saddled the club, but even their staunchest critics are reluctantly coming to acknowledge the remarkable job the family has done in harnessing the United brand globally." Still, the club believes that it has "barely scratched the surface commercially." ManU Commercial Dir Richard Arnold "did not blink when the idea of revenues increasing at the same annual growth rate over the next six years was put to him" earlier in the week. Arnold said, "We've really only just started. There is a lot more to come. United has huge, future potential." Before Arnold was hired in November '07, ManU's "commercial department effectively consisted of two people working out of Manchester; now there is a team of 45 located in a luxurious, 11,500 sq ft office in" the Mayfair neighborhood of London. In four years, the Glazers have "invested more than £40 million devising and executing a commercial strategy that has yielded a tenfold return, with more than £400 million generated from in excess of 100 commercial products." The club is expected to open an office in Hong Kong next year, and "as the business grows, more bases are likely to crop up around the world." ManU has "commercial partnerships with more than 45 countries in Asia and Africa alone" (LONDON TIMES, 9/23).
LIVERPOOL BY WAY OF BOSTON: Liverpool and Fenway Sports Chair Tom Werner, in a Q&A with EPLTALK.com's Alexander Fairchild, said the EPL club is "looking for a naming rights partner in the event that we build a new stadium at Stanley Park. At the same time, we are also examining a renovation of Anfield, but there are lots of complications if we go in that direction. Emotionally, I think our fans would like to see Anfield expanded, but in the end our interests lie in creating additional capacity one way or the other." When asked if Liverpool will head to the U.S. in the near future to play at Fenway Park, Werner said, "We have not yet made any final decisions about our plans next summer but we are hopeful that Liverpool will play at Fenway Park." When asked if the"plans to upgrade Fenway Park will be suspended due to a lack of funding caused by the large amount of money spent" at Liverpool since FSG took over, Werner said, "We look at both LFC and the Red Sox as stand alone businesses managed by terrific professionals at each club. Nothing at the Red Sox is determined by money spent at LFC and vice versa" (EPLTALK.com, 9/22).
A "leaked version" of the Blue Jays' new logo making its rounds on the Internet "is a winner" with fans, according to the Daniel Girard of the TORONTO STAR. The logo is a "pure evocation of the cheery young bird the Jays sported in their fledgling years." Blue Jays VP/Communications Jay Stenhouse "would not confirm" that the logo, which "has been flying around the Internet since Wednesday, was the one the team has chosen." But "those shown the logo at the ballpark certainly hope the team flies with it." On the Toronto Star's website, "6,155 votes, or 71 per cent, had been cast for 'I love it' compared to 329, or 4 percent, who said 'I hate it' and 1,511, or 18 per cent, who were 'So so'" (TORONTO STAR, 9/23). YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk wrote, "If this leak image is really the Toronto Blue Jays' new logo for 2012, then consider me officially smitten." Though "rumors of a redesigned look have been rampant -- including red uniforms that would tap into Canadian pride -- the team has confirmed nothing" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/22).
THE BIG 5-0: The Astros announced Thursday that they "will tap into their old uniform roots next season as part of the franchise's 50th anniversary celebration." In Houston, Steve Campbell noted the team will "wear throwback jerseys from past Astros eras" for Friday home games, and each month will "highlight a jersey from a different era on these Flashback Fridays." The team also "unveiled a 50th anniversary patch ... that will be worn on the caps and jerseys" in '12. Among their other plans for their 50th anniversary celebration, the Astros will release a special DVD and 50th anniversary gear, "including a cap, polo shirt and T-shirt" (CHRON.com, 9/22).
In N.Y., Sandomir & Belson note one of the "more striking revelations to come to light" since the beginning of the lawsuit filed by Bernie Madoff trustee Irving Picard against Mets Owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz was the disclosure that "Wilpon and Katz, who fought long and hard to make the Mets an exclusive holding of their family, once offered a piece of the team to Madoff." Court documents and sources close to the owners create a picture "of Wilpon as the polished, glad-handing networker and face of the Mets and Sterling Equities, and Katz as a rough-hewn financial whiz who called many of the important shots over the years." In the "interviews with those who know and have worked with Wilpon and Katz, the depiction of their differing strengths and personalities was consistent." One individual described Wilpon "as a Ronald Regan figure, Katz a person deeply involved in the details of any deal." (N.Y. TIMES, 9/23).
INT'L MAN OF MYSTERY: The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts notes Calgary businessman Max Chambers "is getting a lot of attention for a fellow who was quickly dismissed as a prospective NHL owner" by the Blues. Chambers "appears to be an international man of mystery." Shoalts: "Next to no information on either of Chambers's alleged companies can be found. ... Someone whose business involves checking out potential buyers of professional sports teams said he asked several people in Calgary, including some bankers, about Chambers. No one had ever heard of him. However, there are lots of mentions of a Max Chambers from Calgary in media reports about failed attempts to buy sports teams" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/23).
LIGHT IN THE STORM: In Oklahoma City, Darnell Mayberry reported despite the ongoing NBA lockout, the Thunder "still reached its full-season-ticket capacity and announced it has started a waiting list." The team has "created the True Blue Club, which allows fans to reserve a spot in line for when full-season tickets become available" (THE OKLAHOMAN, 9/21).