Former MLB Rangers Managing General Partner & CEO Chuck Greenberg and CHL Allen Americans Owner Doug Miller "will not bid to purchase the Stars, meaning the door is open for Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi to become the new owner," according to Mike Heika of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Gaglardi "has made a $267 million 'stalking horse' bid that is part of a prepackaged bankruptcy hearing in a Delaware court." The deadline to submit a bid for the team was Saturday, and Miller and Greenberg "had been working feverishly to get their bids in on time." However, both men on Friday indicated that they "have alerted the courts and lenders that they are out of the bidding process." Greenberg said that he "had been working on a long-term plan for the team's rebirth, and that plan had to include a long-term local media package." The Stars' current local television contract with FS Southwest "expires after the 2013-14 season." Greenberg tweeted, "Disappointed but not bidding on Stars. New long term TV deal was key to turnaround plan. Got very close but could not get agreement." Meanwhile, Miller said that he and his investors "could not put together a plan that did not include the Stars losing $30 million-$35 million this season" (DALLASNEWS.com, 10/21).
DC residents “care more about sports than the national average, but many don’t cheer for Washington teams, reflecting the region’s dramatic population growth and sizable transient makeup,” according to a WASHINGTON POST poll of area sports fans cited by the paper's Dan Steinberg. Former Nationals President Stan Kasten said, “Washington fans are really a wonderful blend of the best parts of Northern tier fans and Sun Belt fans. They’re really in the middle.” In a city “whose power structure is biennially reshaped by wins and losses, fans flock to winning teams and tend to ignore losers.” Eighty-one percent of area sports fans “say the city is an average or above average sports town and 11 percent say it’s the best in the country.” Only 1% in a recent national poll “say the same about" DC. Former Univ. of Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams said, “It takes time to build a fan base, and just as you’re starting to get people interested, all of the sudden they’re gone, they go somewhere else. Politics change, contracts run out. This is a unique area.” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said, “You move to a new city, you don’t give up your allegiance to your hometown team.” Steinberg noted that is why “virtually all the local pro sports teams are courting a minority audience, even on their home turf.”
BREAKING IT DOWN: Just 48% of pro football fans in the area say the Redskins "are their favorite team." Among area baseball fans, 51% “support either the Nationals or the Orioles, while 16 percent favor either the Yankees or the Red Sox.” Twenty-nine percent of area basketball fans "choose the Wizards as their favorite team, with a stunning 14 percent identifying the Los Angeles Lakers and 9 percent the Boston Celtics." Forty-two percent of area soccer fans “say D.C. United is their favorite professional team.” Thirty-seven percent of area sports fans aged 18-39 “have ‘strongly’ favorable views of the Capitals, more than double that of any other area team.” The Capitals “are chosen as the favorite NHL team by 72 percent of area hockey fans, dwarfing any other local franchise.” The poll also confirmed that DC is a "decidedly pro sports market; 55 percent of area sports fans favor pro sports and only 10 percent choose colleges." Thirty-five percent “say they like both college and pro sports equally.” DC residents said that “they care about sports, even more so than Americans at large,” with 83% calling themselves “sports fans” and 45% “describing their passion as greater than casual.” That compares to 75% of Americans who “call themselves sports fans, with 38 percent saying they’re more than casual fans” (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23).
The Cowboys drew 78,122 fans for yesterday's game against the Rams, "equaling the smallest" attendance in the three years that Cowboys Stadium has been in existence (PHILIDELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/24). ESPN DALLAS' Todd Archer noted the Cowboys also drew 78,122 fans for their Oct. 2 game against the Lions, and the team's next three home games are against the Seahawks, Bills and Dolphins. The Cowboys averaged 89,757 fans in the regular season in '09 and 87,047 last year. Archer: "Will it dip again in 2011?" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 10/23).
THE HEAD RAIDER: NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reported the Raiders are "Hue Jackson’s show, there’s no doubt about that." When the team gets to the stage of hiring a "general manager, head of football operations or whatever title that man gets, Hue Jackson will be involved in that as well. That man’s ability to work in concert with Jackson on personnel decisions will be integral." There are already four names being mentioned for the position -- the Ravens' Eric DeCosta, the 49ers' Tom Gamble, the Packers' Reggie McKenzie and the Chargers' Jimmy Raye. La Canfora: "Whoever it is, Hue Jackson will have his stamp on that move” (“NFL Gameday Morning,” NFL Network, 10/23). CBS’ Boomer Esiason said, of Jackson making football decisions, including the trade for QB Carson Palmer, “This is a coach that is making decisions above his pay grade” (“The NFL Today,” CBS, 10/23).
PLOTTING NEXT MOVE: In Ft. Lauderdale, Omar Kelly writes with the Dolphins starting the season 0-6, team Owner Stephen Ross' "problem is bigger than pleasing his fan base" by replacing coach Tony Sparano. Kelly: "Everyone in the NFL is watching, waiting to see what he does. And he's been advised his actions will influence established prospective replacements" including former Titans coach Jeff Fisher and CBS analyst and former Steelers coach Bill Cowher. Ross spent the final minutes of the fourth quarter and OT of yesterday's loss to the Broncos standing next to ESPN analyst and former Univ. of Florida coach Urban Meyer, who "appeared to be talking his ear off" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/24). However, sources said that the time Ross and Meyer spent on the sideline "was completely coincidental" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 10/23).
TOUGH TICKET: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler writes of yesterday's Redskins-Panthers contest, "I haven't seen an officially 'sold-out' game look so much like a sellout at Bank of America Stadium in quite a while. Scalpers made some money on this one. There were lots of regular folks holding their fingers in the air and trying hard to get tickets before the game" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/24).
In Houston, Richard Justice wrote if prospective Astros Owner Jim Crane and MLB are reportedly “negotiating a price to move the Astros to the American League, it’s a clear indication that Crane has passed the highest hurdles.” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has “wrestled for weeks with trying to be fair" to current Astros Owner Drayton McLane and "also trying to do what’s right for baseball.” Justice wrote he is “not sure he’s completely there yet,” but sources said that Selig “is getting there.” Unless negotiations “break down over the league switch, Crane appears on the verge of buying himself a baseball team.” Justice provided a “road map for Crane’s first week of ownership” (CHRON.com, 10/24).
PLEADING THEIR CASE: An ad hoc group of Dodgers season-ticket holders made a final plea late Friday for official recognition in the club's bankruptcy case. The club and its creditors have both steadfastly opposed the designation, which would give the season-ticket holders a greater voice in the reorganization plan, and obligate the Dodgers to pay their legal fees. A hearing on the matter is slated for tomorrow. The Dodgers have argued that since all games were played and obligations to season-ticket holders were honored, there is no need to have them recognized as an official committee. But the season-ticket holders argued that financial impairment is not bankruptcy code threshold for forming official committees. "When the [Dodgers] have asserted that declining ticket sales are one of the very reasons that these cases must move expeditiously to resolution demonstrates the Official Committee's lack of commitment to representation of the season ticket holders' concerns in these cases," the filing reads in part (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
TO-DO LIST: In Philadelphia, Kate Fagan offers up two areas that new 76ers ownership should address. The group can “drag the team's in-game experience into 2012,” as the show inside the Wells Fargo Center “has been stale for years.” In addition, the group can move the team’s practice facility as it is “11 miles from the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly.” Fagan: “Some NBA teams' facilities might be more inconvenient, but none come to mind” (PHILADELPHA INQUIRER, 10/23).
SET FOR A LOSS: In London, Nick Harris noted EPL club Manchester City will “soon publish their annual accounts for the 2010-11 season and are expected to post the biggest one-year loss in English football history.” The club's losses in the '09-10 season “were a record” US$193M. In comparison, Manchester United has “just posted results for 2010-11 that showed a record income” US$528.6M for the ‘10-11 season and “record operating profits” of US$176.93M (DAILYMAIL.co.uk, 10/22).