The Nets this morning unveiled their new team logos and black and white color scheme as the franchise moves closer to its relocation to the Barclays Center next season. The logo was created by rapper Jay-Z, a Brooklyn native and part owner of the franchise. “The Brooklyn Nets logos are another step we’ve made to usher the organization into a new era,” Jay-Z said in a statement (John Lombardo, SportsBusiness Journal). Nets & Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said the organization is “very happy" that Jay-Z took the time to "really think about the bold move we wanted to make with respect to our move to Brooklyn.” CNBC's Darren Rovell noted the team is “getting rid of red, traditional red, and you're going to be the only NBA team that will have just black and white as the colors.” Yormark: “It's a big departure from where we were with red, white and blue. We think the color pallet of black and white is very simple, it’s traditional, it’s bold, it's all Brooklyn.” When merchandise with the new logos becomes available, Yormark said sales will be “off the charts.” Yormark said there has been an "incredible amount of anticipation and build-up” despite variations of the logo being leaked last week. Yormark added business in Brooklyn has been "terrific.” Yormark: “Sponsorships are great, suites are 75% sold-out. Our general non-premium season sales start tomorrow. We've got a huge database to go after initially, but we're very, very excited. People are voting yes for Brooklyn and they're voting yes for the Brooklyn Nets” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 4/30).
THUMBS DOWN ON TWITTER: The Twittersphere has chimed in on the new logos, and it seems that the new marks have left people underwhelmed. The N.Y. Post's Bart Hubbuch wrote, "Nets' new logo and colors are so generic that it might as well say 'ACME.' Reminds me of generic beer and cigarette props in old movies." Complex magazine's Russ Bengtson wrote, "The new Nets logo looks like it was printed by a computer that didn't have the font specified, so it used the default." The N.Y. Times' Tyler Kepner wrote, "Terrible! No colors, no team name, and as always, no actual net." ESPN's Kevin Conners wrote, "I think it's cool that Jay-Z allowed a 2nd grader to come up with the new Nets logo." Sporting News' Jesse Spector wrote, "Cheers to the Brooklyn Nets for keeping it simple with the logo. Jeers for not advancing past a pencil doodle." But the N.Y. Daily News' Stefan Bondy wrote, "On third impression, I really like the Nets logo and colors."
Former Dodgers Owner Peter O'Malley, his son Kevin and nephew Tom Seidler are "mounting an aggressive push" to buy the Padres, and the group wants to "close a deal by the All-Star break," according to sources cited by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSPORTS.com. Sources said that the O’Malley group has "signed documents permitting it access to team financial information," and that they apparently have "raised sufficient equity to purchase the club." Initial indications are that the group "values the Padres at less than half of the Dodgers’ $2.15 billion sale price, and perhaps significantly less" (FOXSPORTS.com, 4/28). In San Diego, Tim Sullivan wrote if O’Malley "wants to get back into baseball, he is exactly the sort of steward the Padres sorely need: connected, respected, responsible, visionary." But despite the "favorable buzz O’Malley’s name evokes, the sale of the Padres is not yet a one-horse race." There are "at least three or four different groups exploring the idea -- O’Malley being the most public -- and the list may run much longer than that." One prospective bidder said Saturday, "I can smell big money when I get involved. I think this thing is going to go for a big number" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/29). Padres 3B Chase Headley said, "You could do a lot worse than the O’Malleys. If there’s a royalty of baseball, that’s certainly one of them. They’ve got a pretty solid foundation with the game." Padres manager Bud Black acknowledged that there is "something 'very influential' about the O’Malleys and their baseball stature." Black: "It’s a name that’s been associated with major league baseball for a very long time, in a very positive way. It’s been a very influential name in the game" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/29). LET'S MAKE A DEAL: In Calfornia, Marc Figueroa wrote, "Never thought I'd say this, but I miss the Padres." Fans cannnot watch Padres broadcasts because of the "continued impasse" between TWC and FS San Diego. Figueroa wrote, "The Padres should step in as the sensible ones in all this and push Time Warner and FSSD to come to an agreement. Time Warner is already losing subscribers because of this, and the stalemate certainly doesn't help the Padres, who were already dealing with a dwindling fan base" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 4/29).
Millions of dollars in public funds and "unsurpassed on-ice success have not been able to turn the Nashville Predators into a profitable business," according to a front-page piece by Nate Rau of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Predators Chair Tom Cigarran said that members of the ownership group "have been forced to put $60 million of their own money into the operation over the past five years, largely to cover losses." The city has given the Predators $38.6M "in the same period." Cigarran said that his group is "hunting for additional investors willing to kick in" $15-25M. Citing improved attendance and other business accomplishments, Cigarran "predicted the Predators will turn the corner soon on profitability." The team received $11.62M last year "in state and city money." Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s office said that it is "confident in the Predators’ stability," but other Metro officials "expressed concern that the owners say the team is still not profitable." Predators CEO Jeff Cogen said that revenue from "private sponsorships at the arena -- another important benchmark of success for sports franchises -- is up about" 25% since he and team President & COO Sean Henry were hired in '10. Cogen "would not disclose the number of sponsors or how much revenue they generate." Another important source of money for the team "is subsidies and fees from the city and state." Dean has said that the city intends, in a "new deal being negotiated, to offer the Predators more incentive-based dollars and less guaranteed money." Cigarran said that the team "must receive city support near its current $7.8 million figure." In addition to that money, the Predators "receive money generated through state sales and privilege taxes, which vary based on volume but totaled $3.82 million last year." Cigarran said, "So we can’t not have the ability to get approximately what we have been getting and still be viable in the long run" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/29).
TAX COLLECTOR: Rau in a separate piece noted city tax revenue paid to the Predators "was the focus of a labor dispute last year" between the NHL and the players union. The dispute was "ultimately settled with the league and the union agreeing to increase the hockey-related revenue pot by a total of $40 million." Predators management last month said that the "small segments" of some of the revenue streams that make up the city's $7.8M subsidy "do count as hockey-related revenue." But Cogen said that it would be a "mistake to conclude that Metro tax dollars end up in the pockets of NHL players." Cogen said, "If you’re saying Nashville tax dollars go to pay (Predators goalie) Pekka Rinne, that would be wrong" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/29).
Marlins President David Samson admitted in a story recently published in The New Yorker that the organization “lied about season ticket sales while playing at Sun Life Stadium,” according to Tom D’Angelo of the PALM BEACH POST. The Marlins “estimated the number to be about 5,000 in recent years, but Samson said the actual number of season tickets sold was less than half that.” Samson: "It was always 2,000" (PALM BEACH POST, 4/28). In the original piece, THE NEW YORKER's Ben McGrath writes under the header, “Old Fish, New Fish: The Marlins Get A Miami Makeover.” The team “typically claimed season-ticket sales of five thousand in recent years, although” Samson, Marlins’ Owner Jeffrey Loria’s “stepson by a former marriage, freely concedes that was a lie.” Samson estimated that by the 2,000 ticket sales figure, the Marlins “not only were the least popular baseball team (‘by three standard deviations’) but ranked a hundred and twenty-fifth among pro sports franchises nationally, below all the hockey teams, and below even a handful of minor-league teams” (THE NEW YORKER, 4/9 issue).
FINDING A GEM:In N.Y. architectural critic Michael Kimmelman in a front-page piece profiled Marlins Park and wrote MLB “has its first unapologetic 21st-century stadium.” The new venue is “unlikely to satisfy aficionados of the latest trends in architecture, but it is nonetheless a modern building, with genuine panache, as opposed to another pastiche.” Give Loria credit, as he “cares more than most about aesthetics and took a gamble -- part old-school civic improvement plan, part marketing strategy.” The sightlines are “good,” and fans at the top and behind the outfield fences “feel close to the action, and field-level seats benefit from the narrow foul territory” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/28).
SLOW RESALE:In Miami, Peter Zalewski reported the residential real estate resale market around Marlins Park is “off to a slow start.” Southeast Florida MLXchange in a resale property analysis found that the facility is “having a minimal impact to date on the neighborhood’s residential real estate resale market.” At the current pace, the Marlins Park neighborhood “would record fewer than 50 resale transactions of single-family houses, condos, townhouses and multifamily properties in the year 2012” (MIAMI HERALD, 4/29).
Michael Jordan's tenure as Bobcats owner was examined on ESPN's "Outside The Lines" yesterday following the team finishing the season with the lowest winning percentage in NBA history. Jordan has been part-owner of the club since in ’06, during which time the Bobcats have had just one winning season. Former Chicago Sun-Times columnist Sam Smith said the “conventional wisdom is he’s failed, he’s done a poor job." Smith: "I actually think it’s not the case because he’s getting himself cap room, he’s getting himself draft picks, and that’s how you become great in the NBA.” Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears said winning the NBA Draft Lottery on May 30 is “what it’s going to take to turn it around -- not Jordan’s greatness but luck. Spears: "When you’re in a small market it doesn’t matter if you got your logo on your shoe, it doesn’t matter how special you were as a player. ... Trying to win in a small market is the biggest challenge.” ESPN’s Jalen Rose said, “If you’re not in a big-time market, it’s very hard, tough to attract players. You must hit in the draft.” ESPN’s Coleen Dominguez noted Jordan denied a report questioning his future with the team, claiming he is 100% "committed to building the Bobcats into a contender and have no plans to sell the team.” The Washington Post’s Michael Leahy noted there frequently is "criticism that he hasn’t spent enough time around the team, paying attention to matters” in Charlotte. Those issues “rekindle the old questions from the Washington days about the level of Michael’s enthusiasm and commitment.” Leahy added, “We’re talking about this story because it involves Michael Jordan” (“Outside The Lines,” ESPN, 4/29). ESPN’s Michael Smith said the Bobcats “were poorly constructed by Michael Jordan.” Smith: “The entire state of North Carolina is ashamed of this team. Anybody who bought a ticket to see this team play -- God bless you -- are ashamed of this.” ESPN’s Jemele Hill said Jordan “needs to be ashamed” for the Bobcats concluding the season with a 7-59 record and an active 23-game losing streak (“Numbers Never Lie,” ESPN2, 4/27).