In Chicago, Philip Hersh cites Scarborough Sports Marketing data as showing that interest in the Blackhawks is "more than five times higher than it was five years ago, and that no U.S. sports franchise has experienced a faster rate of growth in that period." The data also shows that the team has "gone from being a distant fifth in fan interest among the five biggest Chicago pro franchises to the relative equal of everyone but the Bears." Results released in '07 counted just 8% of Chicago-area adults as Blackhawks fans by the WAL standard. Results released last week showed 43% were Hawks fans, compared with 65% for the Bears, 50% for the Cubs, 46% for the Bulls and 40% for the White Sox (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/17).
RECORD-SETTING SALES: The Brewers announced yesterday that they have already sold two million tickets this season, the "earliest the team has ever hit that mark." In Milwaukee, Don Walker notes the "previous record for the fastest" to 2 million came on April 19, 2001, the first year the team played in Miller Park. Last season, the team hit 2 million sold on April 27. Through three home games, the Brewers are averaging 40,460 fans per game, fifth in MLB (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 4/17).
ACCOUNTING FOR FINANCES: On Long Island, Anthony Destefano cited court papers as indicating that the "cash-flow squeeze that faced the owners of the Mets was among the reasons why the trustee in the Bernard Madoff bankruptcy decided to settle his lawsuit" for $162M last month rather than go to trial. Trustee Irving Picard said that the "'restrictive' cash flow, as well as the owners' obligations to banks that lent them money, contributed to doubts that further litigation against Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and their partners in Sterling Equities would produce a bigger payout." Picard said in a statement the settlement "is a practical and fair compromise" that avoided "a protracted and expensive trial and lengthy appeals" (NEWSDAY, 4/15).
CELEBRATORY GEAR: In celebration of the Chiefs' 50 years in K.C., team Chair & CEO Clark Hunt announced all season-ticket account holders -- both existing and new accounts -- will be given one personalized Chiefs Nike jersey per account. The jersey will come with a commemorative STH (Season Ticket Holder) patch that can be placed onto the right shoulder, opposite of the Lamar Hunt AFL patch. Account holders will also be able to purchase additional jerseys at a discounted rate (Chiefs).