In Phoenix, Dan Bickley notes there is a "growing hope that the Coyotes could land a new owner by the end of next week." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently said that there is "a third party involved," joining former Sharks President & CEO Greg Jamison's group and Bulls and White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf. A source said that this third party "is not only very real, but extremely wealthy and spending serious money on due diligence." Bickley notes, "This much is certain: The NHL will not allow the city of Glendale to rent the team for another year and another $25 million." That means the "endgame is coming" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/17).
HEART OF TEXAS: ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky noted Texans President Jamey Rootes is "looking at growing the team's loyal following." As a result of this season's "playoff breakthrough," the team sold "more than $1 million worth of merchandise in just December, and Rootes said the Texans are up 200 percent, year over year." Texans DE Antonio Smith said, "There are still people in their hearts who are Houston Oilers fans, they’re torn in between the Titans and us. We won a lot over. We have to continue to do so, and have the city 100 percent behind us." Rootes said, "Now these new people are exposed to us, which is good. We weren’t on their radar before" (ESPN.com, 2/16).
ME & MY SHADOW: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar notes the MLB Cardinals' schedule was released Thursday and the "most notable item is that they have only two home games set for late-afternoon starts." Games in that block "drew heavy criticism last year from players because of health concerns created by shadows on the field at that time of day." Last year, 11 games were scheduled to start between 3:00pm and 5:30pm CT, but the "only games in that span this time are on Saturdays." Cardinals Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Dan Farrell said, "We certainly listened to the players' concerns. But if it's a choice for us between a 1 o'clock or 3 o'clock game on Saturday, we're going to pick 1 o'clock because it's more of a natural time" (STLTODAY.com, 2/17).
SOMETHING'S BREWING: In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted the Brewers "have decided to continue a modest form of demand-based pricing for a select number of games this coming season." A total of "nine games are involved and will only include seats in the Loge Outfield and Loge Bleacher seating areas." Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger said, "We tested this program in 2011 with three games, and we were pleased with the results and feedback we received from fans who participated" (JSONLINE.com, 2/16).