Raiders Chief Exec Amy Trask said that the team “moved toward ensuring a full stadium" Sunday when the club plays its first game at O.co Coliseum since the passing of Owner Al Davis "with complimentary tickets given to season-ticket holders,” according to Jerry McDonald of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. An e-mail to season-ticket holders sent Monday read, "Your guests will be our guests." The e-mail included “instructions on how to get two additional tickets.” The allotment of tickets “was exhausted within 24 hours, and no more complimentary tickets remain.” A follow-up e-mail sent to season-ticket holders read, "While some of you will be disappointed by this, we hope you will agree with us that the most important thing is that the stadium is full and that so very many people will be able to pay tribute to Al Davis." Trask said the Davis tributes will occur throughout the game (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 10/12).
INHERITANCE TAX LIKELY NOT AN ISSUE: In S.F., Matier & Ross cite legal experts that said the “inheritance tax on the team -- now valued at $761 million -- is not likely to be a problem as long as Davis' wife, 79-year-old Carol Davis, is alive.” But the tax “could be a huge burden down the road for the couple's only child, 56-year-old Mark Davis, because the family isn't known to have other major financial interests to cover a big Internal Revenue Service bill.” Still, a Raiders exec insisted that “it wouldn't be a problem.” The exec said the Davis family had done "intelligent, sophisticated estate planning" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/12). In K.C., Randy Covitz notes “only in recent years” has Mark Davis “occasionally represented the Raiders in some matters, generally accompanied by another executive.” Trask and the Davis family “will have to reach out and look for someone to run the football side of the organization, and already there’s been talk of former Raiders coach John Madden or former personnel director Ron Wolf returning to the club.” Mark Davis “has not made himself available for comment, so the face of the Raiders for now” is first year head coach Hue Jackson (K.C. STAR, 10/12).
The three main parties in the ongoing Dodgers bankruptcy case -- the team itself, MLB and FSN -- yesterday each hardened their legal positions in advance of a session tomorrow that will set rules for a key evidentiary hearing beginning Oct. 31 in Wilmington. MLB again said that the Dodgers' only viable plan to emerge from bankruptcy is to sell the club, and Owner Frank McCourt's proposed plan to sell the club's TV rights would significantly serve his personal financial needs fueled by his ongoing divorce, and potentially create another liquidity crisis as soon as '13. "The delay attendant to Mr. McCourt's frolics is harming the [Dodgers] and every party in interest. … So these cases are at a critical crossroads," MLB said in its filing. Fox, meanwhile, again lent its support to the league, and said that if its current rights deal extending through '13 is rejected in the name of a new rights sale, the RSN would likely receive a largely rejection damages claim that would dilute the club's other creditors. Fox had previously sued the Dodgers on its own, but in this instance is asking the judge to deny the McCourt TV rights plan. The Dodgers responded that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is significantly overreaching in his bid to sell the team, and does not have unfettered power. "The Commissioner does not have the authority to force an owner to sell its team, as the Commissioner has sought to do both before and during these bankruptcy cases," the club said in its latest filing. "The Commissioner has acted outside his authority, and failed to comply with basic rudiments of due process, in refusing to approve any license of the telecast rights as a pretext to force a sale of the Dodgers. The Commissioner has also violated his duty of good faith and fair dealing." The club argued further that the April appointment of Tom Schieffer as club monitor violated league rules (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
BLACKOUT: In L.A., Bill Shaikin notes as the Dodgers "pressed for the television rights sale with which McCourt claims the team could prosper, Fox Sports said such a sale could leave the team liable for damages so 'massive' as to threaten the viability of McCourt's strategy to exit bankruptcy as the team's owner." Fox also "threatened not to air Dodgers' games for the final two years of the current contract, and Major League Baseball reiterated that it could render McCourt's television rights worthless by kicking the Dodgers out of the league" (L.A. TIMES, 10/12).
Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis said there is "no announcement" pending regarding a possible name change for the team. Leonsis appeared on WTOP's "Ask the Owner" with Bruce Alan on Monday and said, "I like where we are right now. I think that the new uniforms, we want to build a great new team and I think we're in a good position right now. So there's no change being contemplated." The Wizards this summer unveiled new uniform designs, and he said, "That went off really, really well and I think when bloggers are calling it the most beautiful thing they've ever seen and Sports Illustrated uses it as their proxy of the best-looking uniforms, I'm really proud of what we did." Leonsis added, "Going back to the red, white and blue for all our teams has really worked, the fans love it and I can't wait to see those uniforms in the flesh." Leonsis also owns the Capitals and was asked why he is so well-liked by area fans. He said, "I hear what the fans are complaining about. Two years ago I made news by saying that I was going to walk around and make sure all the ketchup dispensers were filled and everyone laughed, but that was an issue. And this weekend, one of the No. 1 complaints was mayonnaise, and it was passionate." Meanwhile, Leonsis said it would be "absolutely fantastic" to host a Winter Classic in DC. He added, "We certainly have the fan base for it and the league thought that it was doable, that the technology was available to keep the ice in very, very good condition. ... It's not just great for the league and for the teams, it's great for the fans and it's fantastic for the city" (WTOP.com, 10/10).
A MAN OF THE PEOPLE: Leonsis wrote on his blog yesterday that some fans "may have noticed last night that we have reprogrammed the main screen in Verizon Center to have new graphics -- some new type faces for print oriented messaging and that we changed the order of the teams to be more consistent with the way media reports scores -- visiting team first at home team, second." Leonsis: "Several folks have resisted the change to the order of teams on the scoreboard and have emailed me to ask if we can go back to Capitals on left side of score board, first, followed by visiting team on right - second. We will consider this change. ... Tell us what needs improving and within reason we are here to help and provide service to you. We want you to be happy!" (TEDSTAKE.com, 10/11).