The long-awaited sale of a majority interest in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment "to Rogers Communications Inc., and BCE Inc., is on schedule to close Aug. 1," according to sources cited by David Shoalts of the GLOBE & MAIL. Once the sale closes, the MLSE BOD "will undergo a major change." It will "shrink from seven directors to six, as the incoming company president is not expected to get a seat." Leaving the BOD "will be Robert Bertram, Jane Rowe, Glen Silvestri and Ashvin Malkani, who represented the former owner, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board." Richard Peddie "stepped down from the board when he retired as MLSE president earlier this year." The only holdovers on the new board will be MLSE Chair Larry Tanenbaum, "who owns the other 25 per cent of the company, and his long-time associate Dale Lastman." The other four BOD seats "will be split equally between Rogers and BCE." A source said that Rogers President & CEO Nadir Mohamed and BCE CEO George Cope "will be on the board but it isn’t known who the other BCE and Rogers representatives will be." It also is unknown if the new owners "have settled on a replacement for Peddie as MLSE president." The leading internal candidate is MLSE COO Tom Anselmi, "who appears to have the support of Tanenbaum and Lastman." But both Rogers and BCE "have kept their feelings quiet." The hiring of a new president "will require the unanimous approval of the MLSE board" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/19).
The Rockies "stink but somewhat remarkably continue to draw well, ranking 13th overall in baseball attendance despite having fallen 21 games under .500," according to Benjamin Hochman of the DENVER POST. The Rockies' losing record "leaves fans who go to Coors for more than a social event -- the ones who actually know the players and follow the strategy -- looking for other ways to express their displeasure." Two fans recently "were spotted at Coors wearing paper bags over their heads, one of the bags reading: 'YEAR OF THE FAN??' -- in retrospect, a bad slogan for the Rockies to adopt this year." Denver's KCKK-AM radio host Peter Burns "is having T-shirts made that read 'Road to 100.'" Rockies fan Julian Mitchell said, "I was at the game against the Angels and Bob Apodaca stared me down as I screamed, 'You're the best pitching coach in the MLB, Bob!' Shortly after, I was pulled aside by security. I was told that if I continued to yell I would be ejected. That's the kind of club we have where the unhappy fans are silenced if they express their frustrations." Hochman writes fans "don't have carte blanche to vent" at Coors Field. Rockies VP/Communications & PR Jay Alves said, "As a security measure, post-9/11, any clothing which conceals a guest's face is prohibited, including but not limited to, costumes and masks. That would include bags over a guest's head." He added, "The fans can say as much as they want, and the die-hards can not go, but there's always going to be a packed stadium. It's just a good place to hang, and tickets are moderately affordable" (DENVER POST, 7/19).
BIG RED MACHINE: In Cincinnati, John Fay notes the Reds "are on pace to draw" 127,078 more fans than last year. At $25 a ticket, that "would add $3.2 million to [the] bottom line." The Reds "are now on pace to draw 2,340,576 overall," which would "fall just short of breaking the Great American Ball Park record" of 2,355,259 set in the venue's inaugural season of '03. Reds' attendance has "built steadily since bottoming out" at 1,747,919 in '09. The team's '10 attendance was 2,060,550, then 2,213,498 last year (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 7/19).
REUTERS’ Stephen Lacey reported EPL club Manchester United is “expected to launch its IPO in New York as early as next week, for pricing in early August, after earlier attempts in Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK.” Sources said that the timetable “marks a change from the original schedule to proceed after the U.S. Labor Day holiday September 3.” In another change, ManU is “now looking to raise $300 million on the IPO, less than the $500 million previously contemplated.” The decision on timing and sizing “is still fluid and could change, depending on the regulatory review process” (REUTERS, 7/18).
WAITING GAME: In Phoenix, Sarah McLellan notes while the hockey world is waiting on Coyotes RW Shane Doan “to pick a team,” Doan is “waiting on potential buyer Greg Jamison to determine the likelihood his bid to purchase the Coyotes will be completed.” Doan’s agent Terry Bross said, "We're waiting to see what Mr. Jamison is going to do, now that it seems like the path has cleared to take ownership of the team.” Bross hopes to “hear from the Jamison group by Friday to receive some reassurance that a sale is coming.” And if that “doesn't happen, it's likely that Doan would begin to examine the list of 16 teams that have expressed interest” in him (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/19).
WON'T BACK DOWN: In Cincinnati, Joe Reedy noted it appears the Bengals “will join a number of teams who will not reduce their capacity to avoid blackouts.” The Bengals were one of the teams “who voted against the new rule, which allows teams to reduce its listed capacity down to as much as 85 percent, to lift blackouts.” The biggest reason “why the Bengals voted against it was that it ends up penalizing small-market teams because any sales over that percentage would mean a bigger cut of revenue to the visiting teams” (CINCINNATI.com, 7/18).
UNDER REVIEW: In Miami, Barry Jackson reported the Dolphins “have discussed cutting capacity at Sun Life Stadium, but now are re-evaluating that because they’ve sold 6,000 new season tickets, mostly since the draft.” Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said that number is “the most in several years” (MIAMIHERALD.com, 7/18).