Without any fanfare, the Bears "have significantly raised single-game ticket prices," according to Jon Greenberg of ESPN CHICAGO. Last year, the "cheapest ticket for both season-ticket holders and single-game purchasers was $74 for 400-level seats." This season, that price "jumped to $101 for single games, as compared to $76 for season-ticket holders." A chart on the Bears' website shows that every single-game ticket "will be $25 more expensive than a season ticket, from the 'cheap' seats in the 400 level to the pricey club seats, which go up to $410 for single-game purchases." Season tickets "have been increased between $2 and $10 for non-premium seats." Bears VP/Sales & Marketing Chris Hibbs said that the price increase "is to benefit the team's strong season-ticket base." In an e-mail, Hibbs wrote, "Our focus has been around adding benefits and amenities for our season-ticket holders. They should be paying less for their tickets than what the general public pays" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 7/11).
The NFL Jets and the N.Y. Film Academy are launching the Sports Media Academy, which will offer two 16-week workshops in Sports Photography and Sports Broadcasting for fans and aspiring media professionals. As part of the program, students will create a media portfolio while covering the Jets at select events during the '12 season and throughout the calendar year. Jets Senior VP/Corporate Sales, Marketing & Stadium Development Marc Riccio said, “We are looking forward to working with the N.Y. Film Academy to develop this unprecedented relationship between professional sports and the arts.” Beginning Sept. 5, the Sports Media Academy will offer students the opportunity to refine their craft and cover the Jets at home games, practices, media events, organized team activities, training camp, draft events and other team activities. Jets Senior Dir of Broadcast & Multimedia Production Rich Gentile, entering his fifth season with the team and 16th with the NFL, will be joined by long-tenured official team photographer Al Pereira and N.Y. Film Academy’s award-winning faculty to provide expert instruction in every aspect of the field.
The Heat yesterday officially signed G Ray Allen to a three-year deal for the "mini-midlevel amount" of just more than $3M per season, while F Rashard Lewis signed for $2.6M "over two years at the veterans minimum” (ESPN.com, 7/11). In Miami, Greg Cote writes the Heat "had hardly anything to spend in free agency this year and still somehow signed" Allen and Lewis. Cote: "This isn't fair. Other NBA teams should file a grievance. ... Best team, best players, South Beach, LeBron James, [Heat President Pat] Riley -- who needs money!" Economics once "ruled NBA free agency." Players followed "the biggest contract offer." Now players "follow the scent of other talent and of championships, not money" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/12). ESPN’s Dan Le Batard said of Lewis joining the Heat, “What I think is interesting and undercovered about the most-hated team in sports is that three-quarters of the roster takes discounts to be near the winning. You can’t get anybody in this league -- one guy! -- to take a discount” (“Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable,” ESPN2, 7/11).
MAKE SOME, MISS SOME: A Nets spokesperson said that since last Tuesday, when G Deron Williams announced on Twitter that he was staying with the team, the Nets have "sold more than 2,000 full season tickets." ESPN N.Y.'s Mike Mazzeo noted they have sold 70% of the suites at Barclays Center, and "have already booked more than two times the sponsorship revenue for the team than they had all of last year" (ESPNNY.com, 7/10). In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence writes the Knicks "scored a huge win" with the Nets not acquiring Magic C Dwight Howard. Having to "face the Nets with Howard meant the Knicks were looking at becoming No. 2 in their own town." Lawrence: "Until further notice, New York stays a Knick town" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/12). Meanwhile, ESPN N.Y.'s Ian O'Connor noted Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov "has taken on more than a quarter billion dollars in long-term player commitments this month, and Howard won't be seeing a dime of it" (ESPNNY.com, 7/11).
BLAZING A NEW TRAIL: Former Trail Blazers President Larry Miller, who resigned earlier this week to rejoin Nike, said, "I feel like I'm leaving on a good note. I feel like this organization is in a good place and the Jordan Brand ... was kind of my baby. I kind of helped get it going and to be able to go back and help take that to the next level was hard to say no to." Miller said, "One of the things that I feel really good about is the fact that the fans are reengaged with this team now, supporting the team." He added, "All the talk about political stuff and all that, there's none of that. ... I'm looking forward to not being in the spotlight" (OREGONLIVE.com 7/9).