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Volume 24 No. 114


The Nets kept it "simple with their new identity, hoping that a combination of black, white and Brooklyn will keep merchandise flying off the shelves," according to Stefan Bondy of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The club "totally rebranded themselves, unveiling a logo and color scheme Monday with no remnants of their time in New Jersey." Grabbing hold of the marketing opportunity, the Nets yesterday "held a press conference at a Modell’s store across the street" from the $1B Barclays Center. Everything about the identity "is black and white: the logos, the T-shirts, the hats." The team "even distributed black and white cookies." Onexim Sports & Entertainment President Irina Pavlova said, "We thought it kind of represented Brooklyn. It’s simple. It’s crisp. It’s kind of classic. It’s urban. We thought it’s New York." The team's primary logo, which is "outlined by the shape of a shield, is similar in style and colors to that of the Oakland Raiders." The secondary logo "is a 'B' imposed over a basketball." After considerable deliberation, Pavlova said that the franchise "decided to use 'B' for the logo instead of 'BK.'" She said that Nets investor Jay-Z "pushed hard for the former and helped sway the vote" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/1). In N.Y., Tim Bontemps notes the "inspiration behind the black and white color scheme, a radical departure from the red, white and blue the team has featured for decades," also came from Jay-Z. Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said, “He came to me with a story he thought we should tell. If you think about the old New York subway system, (it) was very black-and-white ... white tiles, black colors in the subway, and that was his inspiration. He came to us with the concept of go black and white. It’s simple, yet timeless" (N.Y. POST, 5/1). Yormark said that the Nets' circular logo "will be at center court at the Barclays Center," as well as on the team's shorts. (, 4/30).

BROOKLYN, BROOKLYN, TAKE ME IN: In N.Y., Ken Belson noted in many cases, Brooklyn, "not the Nets, gets top billing, or at least equal billing, in the team’s new logos." The black-and-white scheme is "meant to give the team a classic look that plays on the borough’s long history, as well as a sense of urban toughness." Yormark called the colors and logos "the new badges for Brooklyn." Belson wrote, "First things first, though. The Nets need to play a game or two in Brooklyn and convince fans that they are worth following." The team has "always lived in the shadow of the Knicks, so it will take time and work for them to carve out their own fan base" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/30). The N.Y. POST's Bontemps notes the Nets are "using the #hellobrooklyn campaign on billboards that have sprouted up around the city over the past few days" (N.Y. POST, 5/1). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay writes if it is "possible for a sports franchise to take a decades-old nickname, shrink it to fine print, and shove it in a drawer, that's what is happening here." The Nets nickname is a "sidecar, an auxiliary, an Oates to a Hall." Brooklyn is "The Brand." Gay writes some of the new Nets gear "was slick; some of it wasn't." The best stuff "is the plainest, like the basic tees with BROOKLYN and the B basketball logo." Gay: "I think the Nets nickname is a yawn; and I'm not so jazzed about the black-and-white color combo, which seems a little '90s passe. But it could be much worse" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/1).

COLOR ME PLAIN: ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said the Nets logos are “awful-looking” and added, “I don’t know how it makes you very hop by using ... colors black and white that aren’t actually colors.” Kornheiser: “It looks like it could have been worn on Soviet Union uniforms in basketball in the 1940s. I expected more from Jay-Z, I expected more from your boy Prokhorov.” ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "Black and white can work ... in New York City more than anyplace else” ("PTI," ESPN, 4/30). Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s Jim Kozimor said the Nets logo was “very unimaginative.” Kozimor: “That looks horrible. You know what Jay-Z said: This is how good I am. I don’t even have to try. Brooklyn starts with a ‘B.’ Put it out there” (“Chronicle Live,” Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 4/30). ESPN’s Kevin Connors, on the Nets unveiling their new logo and colors: “I must admit they will look beautiful on your black and white TV.” ESPN’s Tim Legler: “I’ll tell you what: very dreary, dark. I like the ‘B’ though. I like the ‘B’ for Brooklyn. Old school” (“NBA Tonight,” ESPN2, 5/1). NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver said that the league has been "trying to steer teams toward emphasizing their traditional primary colors instead of black, which many teams use for an alternative jersey, to make them more easily identifiable on television." But the AP's Ralph Russo noted the NBA "had no problem with the choice of black and white for the Nets." Silver said, "We agreed with the Nets that this color scheme made sense for this market" (AP, 4/30).

IF YOU BUILD IT, WILL THEY COME? In N.Y., Joseph Berger writes although the Nets have a "well-earned reputation for haplessness, those celebrating their arrival made no complaints." A hundred fans "snaked around the block waiting for the new Nets sweatshirts, T-shirts and hats to go on sale." The question hovering over the event "was whether the Nets would be able to fill the 18,000-seat arena." A number of fans buying team merchandise "expressed optimism that the combination of a new owner, a new arena and a new hometown might overcome the history of futility" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/1). Silver believes that it is "important for the team to get off to a good start as it begins to cultivate an identity in Brooklyn." Silver said, "They'll get it done. They were unlucky last season, and it didn't help that they were playing in a temporary arena and about to make a move. ... Cementing their identity in Brooklyn, I believe, will help in player recruitment as well" (, 4/30).

The $2.15B sale of the Dodgers to Guggenheim Baseball Management did not close yesterday as expected, as the myriad details surrounding the record-breaking transaction are extending the closing into at least today. In particular, attorneys for the Dodgers, Guggenheim and MLB were still working through documents that had not previously been cleared by Joseph Farnan Jr., the mediator appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to oversee the sale. Lawyers involved in the deal have been working around the clock attempting to reach closing, but industry sources close to the transaction said there are no structural problems and completion remains well within reach. The closing is now anticipated for early today. Jamie McCourt, ex-wife of outgoing Owner Frank McCourt, is said to have received the $131M due to her yesterday as part of the pair's divorce settlement, according to industry sources (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). In L.A., Shaikin & Hernandez cite sources as saying that the sale “does not appear to be in jeopardy.” Guggenheim Partners CEO and Dodgers Controlling Owner Mark Walter and co-Owner Stan Kasten were among the incoming execs to meet with Dodgers' players prior to Sunday's game, which had been “expected to be their final home game” before the change in ownership. Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw said, “It sounds like they’re very committed, which is always awesome to hear from your ownership (L.A. TIMES, 5/1).

SEE YA LATER: In L.A., Steve Dilbeck writes that from a bloggers perspective, he’s sorry to see McCourt leave the Dodgers, as the former owner “was a regular hit machine” when it came to stories on the web. Dilbeck wrote that "in the world of blogging, you can see every single day how many hits you received, how many each post generated. And I’m here to tell you, [Frank] McCourt was good for business.” Dilbeck: “I am seriously worried the Guggenheim Baseball Management just won’t carry its page-view weight. It could force me to actually have to work for hits" (L.A. TIMES, 5/1). In California, Howard Cole writes Frank McCourt “holds no more power over the precious resources of our fair city,” so everyone can “all exhale and get on with our lives.” Cole adds, “The gloom and doom of the McCourt years is behind us. Frank has adiosed himself from the premises, the locks have been changed and everything really is going to be OK” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/1).

The Senators' success this season has put the team’s business department “in its strongest position in five years,” and it is possible the Senators “could achieve a long-term goal of 13,000 season tickets an entire year ahead of schedule,” according to Mark Sutcliffe of the OTTAWA CITIZEN. Senators President Cyril Leeder said that from a business perspective, the club is “in better shape now than in any offseason in team history other than 2007, the year the club went to the Stanley Cup final.” The Senators have added 1,100 new season tickets since February. Leeder said adding 2,000 new subscribers in one year would be "huge." He said that it is "a possibility this year.” Sutcliffe reported that the team has “already renewed 80 per cent of this year’s season-ticket holders for next year,” compared to an 83% renewal last year. Leeder: “We’re likely going to get that to 90 per cent.” Sutcliffe noted that would put the Senators "within striking distance of their high-water mark of 13,000, which they reached in the 2007-08 season.” The team had 10,000 season-ticket holders at the end of the '10-11 season. The Senators pushed the top-seeded Rangers to a Game Seven in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, and Leeder said, "We exceeded the public’s expectations. But that's only one factor. They like this team better than our other teams. They like the group of players. They like watching them. They like the style that they play.” Leeder added that the Senators are “getting more requests for promotional partnerships with clients such as Subway.” The team also is “selling more ads for their local television broadcasts” (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 4/28).

Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan predicted at the Super Bowl that his team would spend $130M this year on player salaries and said last Friday "during the draft that the team has already exceeded that figure,” according to Vito Stellino of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Khan said, “We’ve spent a lot more than $130 (million) already in cash. Much more than that. A little bit under $140 million.” Khan is also putting about $10M into "locker room and weight room improvements at the stadium," and said that money "will not be a factor in the discussion of whether to build a practice bubble.” But he indicated that the club would “still be prudent in their spending” Khan: “I want to set an example to have the best facilities. I’ve been to a lot of locker rooms and we weren’t the best and we weren’t the worse. We were in the middle. I had some players ask me on some specific requests and if we’re going to do it, do it really right where it is such an image for the team that every fund-raiser wants to be there for dinner and most important, it’s something great for the players.” He said that the upgraded facility will “have 90 lockers so each player will have his own," and that the locker rooms will feature "state-of-the-art creative comforts.” Stellino noted Khan also gave GM Gene Smith and his staff "good grades for how they ran the draft” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/30). Khan said the positive reaction from fans after the Draft has translated into an overall "bump up" in ticket sales. But, he said that it was “a little too early to tell.” Khan: “I see it going in the right direction” (, 4/27).

In Indianapolis, Alex Campbell wrote under the header, “Why Don’t We Give The Pacers More Love?” The club has “what can best be described as an enthusiasm gap,” and “no one feels that any more profoundly than the Pacers themselves.” The team's attendance is “second-worst overall in the league and fourth-worst if you take it by percentage of capacity.” But it is “slowly climbing, up 600 seats per game compared with last year.” Ratings for games shown on FS Indiana have “improved by 50 percent in two seasons from an average audience of 17,760 in 2009-10 to 26,640 this season.” Pacers Merchandise Dir Gary Nelson said that sales are "up 42 percent compared with last year.” Sales on are also up 62% and the team ranks “eighth in the league in per-capita in-game sales this year.” Pacers Sports & Entertainment VP/Corporate, Public & Community Relations Greg Schenkel said, "We are trending in the right direction here" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/28).

ANTE UP: Bills Senior VP/Business Development Bruce Popko said that it “is likely the Bills will reach out to most, if not all, of the regional casinos” after the NFL’s recent ruling to allow casino advertising. In Buffalo, James Fink noted the Bills’ regional footprint “extends from Syracuse to Toronto,” and in that area “are a number of casinos." Seneca Gaming Senior VP/Marketing Jim Wise said that his company “is waiting to talk with the Bills before deciding what, if any, ads his organization will undertake.” Seneca Gaming “already leases a luxury suite” at Ralph Wilson Stadium (Buffalo BUSINESS FIRST, 4/27 issue).

HELPING HAND: In Oakland, Jerry McDonald notes the Raiders “have announced a season ticket plan they hope will help fill the stadium and assist the Oakland public schools at the same time.” For new season tickets purchased and paid in full between May 1 and June 30, the Raiders will donate 10% of the “gross ticket purchase price to the Oakland Unified School District.” Season tickets start at $260 each (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 4/30).'s Peter King wrote, "I love what the Raiders did over the weekend." The donation "should help motivate all fans thinking of buying seats to do so in the next two months." King: "It's a tremendous cause, for those who aren't familiar with the needy school district. And I applaud the Raiders for stepping up to the plate" (, 4/30).