Comedian Bill Maher, who hosts HBO's "Real Time," revealed last night that he is a minority owner of the Mets and said that he "will be a truly silent partner" with the team, according to Anthony Rieber of NEWSDAY. Maher said, "I have enough stress in my real job. I don't need to worry about this." He was a guest of Mets COO Jeff Wilpon at Citi Field "before last night's game against the Cardinals." Maher: "I think it's a great investment. It happened months ago. It's the first time I've been in New York since then." Rieber notes Maher "would not say how much he invested" (NEWSDAY, 6/4). In N.Y., Berman & Sandomir write, "Whatever the size of his investment, he is the most celebrated person ... known to have become a new partner in the team with the Wilpon family," who raised $240M from selling pieces of the team. But Maher is "not quite as renowned as the comedian some people assumed would invest in the Mets: Jerry Seinfeld." Maher jokingly said that "he did not know why Seinfeld did not invest in the club." Maher: "He sure has more money than I do" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/4). Maher said that it was his "first trip to Citi Field and the first time" he met team Owner Fred Wilpon. Maher: "I definitely want to come back for the All-Star game." He added, "I think my role is to bring luck to the team, like I did this weekend. I mean, let's be honest: They did not have a no-hitter for 50 years, I buy in and I come to town and there's a no-hitter. Draw your own conclusions" (AP, 6/3).
The Dolphins have “developed a ‘brand identity’ to help set a new direction,” and the team’s new marketing campaign has “three magic words: Iconic. Vibrant. Meaningful,” according to Ben Volin of the PALM BEACH POST. The franchise in recent months has “embraced social media, tried to become more transparent to the public and actively sought to reconnect with a community turned off by the club's lack of success.” Several members of the team’s front office have joined Twitter. The Dolphins also have “reached out to their season-ticket holders, whose numbers are believed to have tumbled into the 30,000s, almost half of the 61,000 the team announced it had" before the '06 season. Dolphins fans "were united in their feedback: The Dolphins needed to focus more on promoting their rich history and the players on the field, rather than a supposed South Beach party atmosphere, the ‘Orange Carpet’ for the glitterati, and celebrity partners such as Marc Anthony, Fergie or Serena and Venus Williams.” The Dolphins’ TV commercials this year, "which will be in heavy rotation in August, emphasize football and tradition.” The team’s commercials in ‘09 and '10 “featured dance music, flashing cameras and phrases like ‘South Florida's biggest party.’" One of this season’s commercials features OT Jake Long “sitting in a bathtub of ice for 30 seconds,” while another “features new coach Joe Philbin at 11:47 p.m. sitting in his office.” A third spot “shows three generations of Dolphins fans enjoying a tailgate -- the grandfather wearing a Larry Csonka jersey, the father wearing a [Dan] Marino jersey and the young son wearing a Reggie Bush jersey.” Volin notes some critics have called the Dolphins' decision to appear on HBO's "Hard Knocks" reality series "another example of style over substance.” But the Dolphins view the show as the “perfect representation of what they're trying to accomplish -- promoting the game of football and the players on the team” (PALM BEACH POST, 6/3).
IT'S THE HARD KNOCK LIFE: SI.com’s Peter King cites sources as saying that Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross “did not influence the decision for the Dolphins to welcome HBO and NFL Films” into training camp for “Hard Knocks.” Ross reportedly “wanted the Dolphins to do it, but left it up to" Philbin and GM Jeff Ireland. Sources said that Ross “had given up on [the] chance of it happening because it just wasn't Ireland's cup of tea, and Ross didn't want something that would likely be very good for the marketing of the team (and ticket sales) to overshadow what Philbin and Ireland wanted to do.” But Philbin “went to Ireland and told him he'd actually like the spotlight of the show to help his team focus, and to show off that what the team is doing is right, and that the players are ready for prime time” (SI.com, 6/4).
The Bobcats "appear to be contemplating a change to their uniform colors, but a team spokesman says that has nothing to do with a potential nickname change," according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Pictures "circulated on the Internet Friday night of a Bobcats cap tied to" the '12 NBA Draft. Most of the cap "looks like the Bobcats' current blue primary color," but the cap's bill is a "new, lighter shade of blue." The "only orange in that cap is the small 'Charlotte' stenciling." Bobcats Dir of Basketball Communications B.J. Evans said, "We're always trying to explore accenting our colors in different ways." Bonnell noted there has "been a grassroots effort of late, lobbying the Bobcats to acquire the Hornets nickname from the New Orleans Hornets." Evans said that "a possible color change would neither increase nor decrease chances of the Bobcats considering a name change." Evans: "We haven't been orange-heavy for a while. For a couple of years we went with blue-and-silver and orange has been an accent" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/3).
POSITIVE SPIN: After missing out on the No. 1 pick in this year's NBA Draft, the Bobcats are now promoting possible picks at the No. 2 slot. The team ran a full page ad in yesterday’s Charlotte Observer and showcased eight players: Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, Thomas Robinson, Andre Drummond, Harrison Barnes, Damian Lillard and Perry Jones III. The bottom of the ad also touted their latest season-ticket sales initiative, "Buy this season, get next season free!" (THE DAILY).
The Clippers announced on Friday that an agreement in principle has been reached between the team and VP/Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. The '11-12 campaign marked Olshey's second season in that position, and his ninth overall season with the team. Olshey began his career as Dir of Player Development prior to the start of the '03-04 season (Clippers). In L.A., Broderick Turner noted Olshey "had been working without a contract all season, and on a month-to-month basis." Olshey recently traveled to London to interview with Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen for their vacant GM position. It was Olshey's "second interview in two years" with the Blazers (L.A. TIMES, 6/2). NBCSPORTS.com's Kurt Helin wrote, "This is a smart move by the Clippers, Olshey has been at the heart of the turnaround [of] the franchise." Rumors "had said staying with the Clippers was his preference, however other offers such as Portland likely would have been for more money (Olshey was one of the lowest paid GMs in the game, we don’t know the terms of the new deal)." Helin wrote one thing "that should be interesting -- Olshey was rumored to be ready to remove" coach Vinny Del Negro mid-season. Owner Donald Sterling "has picked up Del Negro’s contract for another year." Helin: "We’ll see who wins that battle as it continues another year" (NBCSPORTS.com, 6/1).
NEGATIVE ATTENTION: CSNNW.com's Dwight Jaynes wrote the Clippers' announcement "leaves the Trail Blazers with three candidates who have interviewed" with Allen for the team's vacant GM position -- former Hornets GM Jeff Bower, 76ers VP/Basketball Operations Tony DiLeo and Pacers GM David Morway. Reaction around the NBA to the Trail Blazers search has been "mild amusement, which broke into open laughter Friday night when it was learned that Olshey is no longer a candidate." Jaynes cited sources as saying that the group of finalists for the Trail Blazers GM position is "underwhelming" or "disappointing" considering the team's stated goals. Jaynes: "Many expected Portland to make a big splash with a well-known name. But now, with continued inaction and one candidate slipping through their fingers, the whole thing is making the organization a laughingstock" (CSNNW.com, 6/1). A source said that Allen is "concerned with Morway's character and finds that he reminds him" of former GM Kevin Pritchard. The source said DiLeo's "lack of experience in charge is 'worrisome.'" CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes noted Bower "happens to be the most experienced candidate" and would "appear to be the logical choice." However, those that know Allen said that he "prefers his general managers be/remain in good physical shape and Bower doesn't fit that criteria." Sources also said Trail Blazers interim GM Chad Buchanan "has become an option again" (CSNNW.com, 6/2). ESPN's John Hollinger wrote on Twitter, "Reading Blazer news this AM with slack-jawed wonder. If they're going status quo, only amplifies rumors of team for sale" (TWITTER.com, 6/3).