The Jaguars have "decided not to take advantage of the provision in the new blackout rule," but they "could be utilizing a tweak that permits them to remove the tarps from time to time in 2012," according to Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK. Previously, the Jaguars were "prohibited from de-tarping Everbank Field on a piecemeal basis." If the team chooses to "lift the tarps, the Jaguars would have to surrender 50 percent of every dollar generated by the sale of the otherwise covered seats." The move means the team is "indirectly using the new blackout rule." The problem is that "not many games currently stand out as obvious candidates for a huge crowd" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 8/18). YAHOO SPORTS' Michael Silver wrote Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan's "first order of business is to eliminate the upper-deck tarps that in recent years have covered an estimated 10,000 of the 76,867 seats at EverBank Field." Khan, who has "likened the tarps’ presence to 'underachieving,' said he expects to address the problem in the very near future." Khan said, “Stay tuned, because to me, we’ve got to start taking the tarps off. I look at that and it frankly sucks my energy. I really don’t want to subscribe to excuse-making and talk about the challenges of the market -- I just want to solve the problem. And if we can take them down for two games this season, or even one game, it’s progress. Eventually, winning solves all of these issues" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/18).
READY TO CROSS THE POND:In Jacksonville, Vito Stellino noted Khan on Friday "suggested in the pregame show that an announcement the Jaguars will play a game in London next season could come in a few days" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/18). Khan, who recently attended the London Games, said, "It was great to go out there and London did a fabulous job. We got a lot of great ideas for the homefield experience" (ACTIONNEWSJAX.com, 8/18).
WORKING TOWARD COMPROMISE: In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette noted a City Hall committee Friday "chose Global Spectrum over SMG (the Jaguars' preference), and that recommendation will go to Mayor Alvin Brown." A potential compromise "would be having SMG manage EverBank Field beyond the 2012 season and let Global Spectrum run the other facilities." The Jaguars and the city "appear to be building a trust that should serve them well over the long term" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 8/17).
Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino has gone into "blame the media" mode recently, a “good diversionary tactic and befitting of his law degree,” according to Peter Abraham of the BOSTON GLOBE. However, Lucchino “has to know that Red Sox fans are smarter than that.” Fenway Sports Group co-Chair John Henry is “controlling the message,” which is “filtered through” Senior Advisor Dr. Charles Steinberg. Henry would be “wise to take unfettered questions at some point and let fans hear his answers.” That “hasn’t happened since spring training” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/17). Manager Bobby Valentine, when asked if the media was to blame for the team’s struggles, said, “No. The media had nothing to do with this season.” In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy wrote, “My skull’s been imploding as I read and hear the ridiculous spin from the Red Sox front office.” Former Red Sox strength and conditioning coach David Page was “one of several individuals blamed for last season’s epic fold, and was fired in the offseason.” Unlike a “lot of his fellow fall guys, Page has chosen not to go quietly into the night." On July 8, Page tweeted, “20 players on the DL 23 times in 1/2 a season and I was the problem last year.” Page then responded, “There are times when I’m pretty bitter and I have trouble holding back. I need to vent” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/18).
KING OF WISHFUL THINKING: Also in Boston, Ron Borges wrote Lucchino “runs the Red Sox, but only when things are running right.” But when things are not, “the media’s running the Red Sox,” and the players “see it the same way.” Borges wrote, “It’s the media that decided to charge $75 for a brick, 7 1⁄2 times what a bottle of water costs anywhere else on the planet and to quadruple the cost of pink hats. … It’s the media that keeps saying the place is sold out when it isn’t, thus causing heightened performance anxiety all around” (BOSTON HERALD, 8/19). USA TODAY’s Paul White in a sports section cover story notes the Red Sox “have spent most of a week trying to navigate the latest crisis to engulf an already underachieving team” (USA TODAY, 8/20). Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said, “Things aren’t going the way you want them to, so you’re scrutinized more. We sort of made that bed ourselves and it’s up to us to make it better. When we make it better there will be less scrutiny and probably fewer distractions” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/20). FOXSPORTS.com’s Ken Rosenthal wrote Lucchino should “open Fenway Park for a town-hall meeting and listen to what fans think of the 2012 Red Sox.” Since the Red Sox are “so big on group discussions, ownership should require the players to attend and hear how they’ve alienated Red Sox Nation every bit as much as Valentine has alienated them.” Then ownership can “do something completely different, and acknowledge its own role in helping create this mess” (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/17).
Roughly 10 years after its creation, Spurs Sports & Entertainment "has finally seen its operations across the board begin to match the success of its famous flagship franchise," according to Richard Oliver of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. SS&E President of Sports Franchises and Spurs GM R.C. Buford said, “I think the values of the organization are consistent throughout. Where you have values driving your decisions, then your performance -- if you’re consistent to your values -- should follow a similar path to consistency.” While the Spurs remain the "unquestioned centerpiece, the team's peripheral interests have reached a crossroads of longevity and triumph." The WNBA Silver Stars and AHL Rampage have "evolved into what officials say are profitable franchises, including marked upswings in attendance and the standings." SS&E President of Business Operations Rick Pych said, "We talk about what has happened with the Spurs team as an example and a model all the time. We consider all of our business activities a team sport, and it’s the whole of the team that’s more important than any individual of the team.” Rampage Dir of Hockey Business Ryan Snider said, “We’re not competitive. The Rampage is its own business unit, but I am just as vested in seeing the Silver Stars succeed as I am seeing the Rampage succeed. I think we all feel that way. We want to help each other out.” Oliver noted the "evidence can be seen at most events at the AT&T Center." At each Spurs game, "concerts, Rampage and Silver Stars contests and other attractions are routinely pitched, an evolution of proactive partnership that until recently wasn’t in place" (MYSANANTONIO.com, 8/17).
Packers season-ticket holders all received “a discount coupon book” in their envelopes this year, according to Richard Ryman of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. Businesses featured in the Green & Gold Certificate Book can “claim a relationship with the team without the higher cost of a sponsorship.” Packers VP/Sales & Marketing Tim Connolly said, “We really thought it would be a win-win deal. Many are small companies that don’t have a chance to have a formal relationship with a league entity.” He added that the companies had to "provide a real value." Connolly: “It couldn’t be a dollar off.” The Packers estimate coupons in the Green & Gold Certificate Book “could be worth $2,000 to $4,000, depending on how they are used.” About 70% of the businesses “are in the Green Bay and Fox River Valley areas and 30 percent are in the Milwaukee area.” The Packers “tried to include stable businesses.” Logan Higgins, restaurant manager at Chives, said that the “cost to the restaurant is $12 to $15 per table” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 8/19).
WASTE OF SPACE: Packers President Mark Murphy, on the notion of adding seatback chairs at Lambeau Field, said that it “won’t happen because the stadium would lose a significant amount of its capacity if chairbacks were installed.” A team spokesperson said that the venue would “lose an estimated 12,000 seats in the bowl area of the stadium, which seats around 60,000, if chairbacks were added” (GREENBAYPRESSAGAZETTE.com, 8/18).