In Houston, Richard Justice writes when MLB Rangers President & CEO Nolan Ryan took control of the club last year, he “brought leadership and credibility to a franchise that had none.” Ryan “set about reshaping the franchise in ways large and small.” Perhaps the “best thing he did, perhaps the most impressive one thing he contributed, was not doing certain things.” GM Jon Daniels “wasn't his kind of guy,” but Ryan “did what smart owners almost always do.” Rather than “make the decision almost everyone expected, he sat back, watched Daniels do his job, and became one of his biggest fans.” And now Daniels “might be baseball's best general manager” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/19).
SUPPLY & DEMAND: The Timbers announced that they “have surpassed a 97 percent renewal rate" of their season-ticket base for the '12 MLS season. In Portland, Kip Kesgard noted the team originally “had announced a cap of 12,000 packages available, but added upon that number to accommodate extra demand; the Timbers eventually sold every available package and began taking applications for a waiting list.” The team “sold out every home match in 2011, including selected dates where stadium capacity was expanded to test the structure for possible expansion.” The Timbers’ season-ticket waiting list “now includes over 5,000 fans.” Season-ticket prices “for more than 80 percent of the seats at JELD-WEN Field remain the same as prices in 2011” (OREGONLIVE.com, 10/18).
PAY TO PLAY? In London, Gary Jacob notes EPL club Chelsea is “rejecting claims that free tickets have been handed out in an attempt to increase attendance.” The club insists that "about one thousand tickets have been given to their foundation after some fans had campaigned for a boycott of the game because of an increase in ticket prices.” Chelsea’s capacity at Stamford Bridge is “reduced by about three thousand to approximately 39,000 for Champions League games because of broadcasting and other considerations.” The club “blamed insufficient time to market tickets for the 33,920 attendance against Bayer Leverkusen last month and deny fans’ claims that 6,000 free tickets were handed out.” The club “put the figure closer to 1,000” (LONDON TIMES, 10/19).
THE CAT'S MEOW: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg writes the NFL Panthers hope rookie QB Cam Newton and a “more exciting brand of football will build ticket sales momentum.” But there are “5,000 unsold tickets for four of the Panthers’ five remaining home games” at Bank of America Stadium. Panthers Dir of Tickets Sales & Operations Phil Youtsey said that to “cope with the downturn, the Panthers have bulked up their group-sales staff and expanded the sales area across the Carolinas in a more pronounced way for the past three years.” Youtsey said that it is “too early to discuss whether a sponsor will buy tickets to secure additional sellouts” (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/14 issue).