Gaglardi spent more than a year
pursuing ownership of the Stars
Tom Gaglardi yesterday was formally introduced as Stars owner, and he now is "charged with rebooting a once-proud franchise that has lately teetered on irrelevance," according to Art Garcia of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Gaglardi "takes the keys of the club with the NHL's lowest payroll, dwindling attendance and in a three-year playoff drought." His "first order of business was to bring back Jim Lites for a third tour of duty as team president." Lites "pledged to restore the Stars' bond with hockey fans in North Texas and make good on the Gaglardi promise that the franchise will regain its 'elite' status in the NHL." Gaglardi "doesn't have immediate plans to move" to the Dallas area from Vancouver, "entrusting the day-to-day operations" to Lites and GM Joe Nieuwendyk. Gaglardi "has already had several conversations with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressing realignment and scheduling issues." Bettman and Gaglardi "first had discussions about Stars ownership in 2009" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/22). ESPN DALLAS' Mark Stepneski noted Gaglardi "spent more than a year going through the process of completing the deal for the team, which went through a bankruptcy proceeding." Bettman said, "Watching him over the last year, we have the right owner at the right time for the right market for the right franchise" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 11/21).
FILLING A LEADERSHIP VOID: In Dallas, Mike Heika writes Gaglardi "will offer the team the ability to spend money." He also "gives the team direction and the ability to fill out the sales and marketing staff." But what Gaglardi "really offers is passion." The last two seasons, with lenders and the NHL "in charge, the team on the ice has too often reflected that unattached leadership." The Stars "have lacked the extra drive to get the job done." They have played "too often before tiny crowds and couldn’t get the burst of energy when they needed it most." Fans "clearly felt that lack of passion and stayed away" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/22). Also in Dallas, Kevin Sherrington writes the "most important person he brought along, if you're a Stars fan, was Jim Lites." Lites "had been part of another group bidding on the Stars," and Gaglardi "could have advised him to beat it." But he "kept hearing that Lites was just the guy to help rebuild the fan base." Gaglardi believes that to fill seats, "they 'must get out and spread the word' about a dynamic young team" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/22).
The ongoing cable TV rights dispute between Fox Sports Net and the Dodgers has been assigned to a mediator by Judge Kevin Gross of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Gross, overseeing the ongoing Dodgers bankruptcy case, appointed Joseph Farnan, a retired U.S. District Court judge, to run mediation efforts in the heightening dispute between the club and FSN. Farnan helped broker a settlement earlier this month between the Dodgers and MLB, with that deal calling for Owner Frank McCourt to sell the team and related assets. The latest mediation efforts are set to begin Nov. 28 and will remain confidential. MLB is not formally involved in the process, or in the larger FSN-Dodgers dispute. But league Commissioner Bud Selig was instructed in Gross' order yesterday to be "readily available" by telephone. Competing lawsuits from FSN and the Dodgers against each other have been stayed pending the outcome of the mediation (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
OWNER'S MANUAL: In L.A., Helene Elliott notes if "all goes according to the terms of a settlement between" MLB and McCourt, the Dodgers "will be sold in the next several months." Elliott wonders, "Will this person or corporation have the passion and resources to restore the Dodgers' good name? Or will the new owner seek fame or real-estate riches and make only cosmetic fixes to the image McCourt tarnished?" New ownership "can bring positive changes, but -- as with Fox's sale to McCourt -- things can sometimes go sour." Univ. of Pennsylvania Wharton Sports Business Initiative Associate Dir Scott Rosner "divides owners into two categories." Rosner said profit maximizers "are in it for the operating profit and the capital appreciation and some combination thereof." By contrast, "utility maximizers buy teams for ego or to network with power brokers and boost their other businesses" (L.A. TIMES, 11/22).
The Marlins are “looking to become Latin America’s team, catering to the fastest growing minority in the United States, throwing unprecedented dollars at an experiment that will prove, once and for all," whether MLB can work in Miami, according to Dan Le Batard of the MIAMI HERALD. It “isn’t merely that a franchise that has a local and national reputation for being cheap is pushing mountainous millions toward Hispanic faces.” It is that, even “outside the dollars, the Marlins are doing things they never would have even considered previously, things that don’t even make sense until you realize that the international business plan takes precedence over the local baseball plan.” The hiring of manager Ozzie Guillen “gives them a famous Latin face and accented, foul-mouthed Hispanic voice.” It gives them “the kind of buzz and momentum and credibility they are looking to build, piece by piece, just like they built" their new ballpark in downtown Miami. Le Batard wrote the “crown jewel on this construction, of course, is named Albert Pujols.” The Marlins “believe they can sell his face and name all over Latin America in a way they can’t sell, say, Prince Fielder.” If this were “strictly about baseball, not business, Fielder fits Florida’s philosophy a lot better than Pujols because you don’t have to give him as much money or years.” But “you can’t sell Fielder to Goya and Cafe Pilon before your new park has even opened.” Pujols “starts paying for the investment in him before he even takes the field -- in everything from priceless credibility, which can’t be quantified, to international corporate sponsorships, which can be.” Le Batard: “Clumsy and cold as the Marlins have been over the years, give them this: They are very good at the business part of this game, very good at making money” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/21).
Some holders of Pirates Charter Seat Licenses said that “their seat licenses -- purchased for a one-time price of $2,000 per seat when PNC Park opened in 2001 -- are worthless since they no longer get a price break off the regular season ticket cost,” according to Michael Sanserino of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. The Pirates said that they have “acted in good faith toward those customers, offering benefits and special ticket offers over the years, and that the price break they guaranteed for only one year has lasted seven.” Initially, the license “afforded exclusivity as it was the only way for fans to have access to the PBC Club level in the upper deck of the ballpark.” But “demand for those tickets waned, and the Pirates started selling season tickets in the PBC Club level to non-license holders, which took away the exclusivity once offered to seat license holders.” To make amends, the Pirates “offered two options to seat license holders.” One option gave the fans “the opportunity to sell back their seat licenses over a five-year period by offering reduced ticket prices -- about a $5 discount off the 2001 ticket price of a PBC Club level seat.” Those individuals “paid $25.07 per ticket, a discount that was worth $400 per year compared to the '01 price.” The second option “allowed license holders to keep their seat license and buy season tickets at a discount off the going rate.” These fans “paid $27 per ticket -- $6 less than non-license holders, a yearly savings of $486.” That discount continued for seven years, and “those who took the second option saved $3,402 per seat compared to what non-license holders were paying.” But some who held onto their seat licenses “expected the discount to be permanent” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 11/19).
A day after the 76ers "swooped in and collected some Julius Erving memorabilia, team CEO Adam Aron said he has reached out to Dr. J about joining the organization in some capacity," according to Dan Gelston of the AP. Aron yesterday said, "We’d like to bring Dr. J back to Philadelphia. He’s only one of the greatest 76ers of all time. We’d love to see Julius Erving have a connection with the 76ers in some shape or fashion." The 76ers "bought 10 lots containing 18 items from Erving’s personal basketball memorabilia collection auction that ended over the weekend." SCP Auctions said that "more than 140 items from Erving’s collection sold for a record $3.5 million." Aron said that all the items the team "won were $10,000 or less." The 76ers "purchased items representative of his collegiate, ABA and NBA days, as well as awards that recognized Erving’s humanitarian work." The memorabilia will "go on display at the Wells Fargo Center and the team’s practice facility." Aron had "pledged a fan-friendly ownership and plans a grand unveiling of all the winning items at a later date" (AP, 11/21).