K.C. resident Joseph Accurso bought a half-page ad in Thursday's edition of the K.C. Star that included a letter to Royals Owner David Glass "imploring him to sell the team," according to Blair Kerkhoff of the K.C. STAR. Accurso said, "I'm a lifelong Kansas City guy, who like a lot of people loves the Royals. My buddies and I were tired of complaining about it and decided to do something about it." Kerkhoff noted Accurso created a website "to solicit donations for the newspaper space, and more than 150 people contributed $5,100, sending anywhere from $5 to $250." The letter begins by "thanking Glass for buying the team in 2000." However, it concludes, "It's time to win again, Mr. Glass. I implore you, Mr. Glass, to sell the team immediately, enjoy the rest of your days with your family without the burden of team ownership, and accept our thanks for keeping the team in Kansas City." Accurso said, "I'm not naive enough to think I can write a letter, Glass will read it and say, 'I should sell the team.' But I felt like, 'Can I take some initiative and at least get a conversation started?'" (K.C. STAR, 8/23). In K.C., Sam Mellinger writes, "It’s a wonder that it took this long for a Kansas Citian to take out an ad in the Star telling David Glass to sell the Royals." Glass is "the most hated sports figure in Kansas City, and it’s not close." It "doesn’t matter that Glass has been -- all things considered -- a very good small-market owner the last six years." But the Royals have become "quite possibly the worst franchise in sports" under his ownership, so if "your stance is that nothing short of a parade can make up for that, I understand" (KANSASCITY.com, 8/23).
Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino on Thursday "would not discuss the status of his contract," but said that he "fully expects to reach an agreement with the Red Sox that will keep him with the team for some years to come and that he will continue to have 'a seat at the table' on baseball decisions," according to Gordon Edes of ESPN BOSTON. Lucchino during his weekly Thursday radio appearance on WEEI-FM said, "I expect to be here. ... My role is not going to change. I will have a seat at the table, and I love Boston." Lucchino also "emphasized that the Red Sox will spend the offseason looking 'under every rock' in trying to determine what went wrong" with this season. He said, "It's not a question of fine-tuning, it's a question of looking back to the fundamental things ... Do we have the right kind of system in place?" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 8/23). In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes Red Sox Owner John Henry "truly seems to think there is not much of a problem here." Shaughnessy: "I tried to remind him that here in Boston the highs are higher and the lows are lower -- that's why 2004 was so great. I tried to explain that I am not alone in critiquing what the Sox bosses are doing, and he said, 'No, it's just you.' I then asked him if he owns a television or a radio" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/24).
Canada “appears ripe for major league sports expansion over the next two decades," according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada cited by Bruce Cheadle of the CP. Economic and demographic trends suggest that the Canada "could support three new NHL teams, the return of major league baseball to Montreal and the NBA to Vancouver, and as many as three, new Major League Soccer teams.” The study, which was released Thursday, also suggests that "by the year 2035, another seven cities could support Canadian Football League franchises.” The study “looked at population growth trends in specific markets, the effects of an aging population, the strength of the Canadian dollar, the movement of corporate head offices, and income growth to predict which cities will be able to support big-league sports.” The study found that all of Canada’s existing major league sports teams "are on a sound market footing," and suggests that Toronto "could support a second National Hockey League team, along with Quebec City and Hamilton -- bringing the Canadian total to 10.” The report said while the Expos left Montreal in ’04, the city “already possesses the basic market conditions required to support a MLB franchise and will strengthen its position over our forecast horizon” (CP, 8/23).
A Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL editorial states prospective Grizzlies Owner Robert Pera is “off to a promising start as it relates to winning over Memphis.” The agreement and terms that will add local investors to his team “essentially guarantee the team will remain in the city for another 15 years.” The team's longterm future in Memphis “was the issue hanging over the pending sale of the team by current owner Michael Heisley.” The deal with the local investors, “which still must be signed, is a tangible sign of Pera's commitment.” Memphis residents “can take further comfort from the makeup of the local group" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/24).
CITRUS SOURS? In Orlando, Mike Bianchi writes Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan “is already seemingly dissing his team's biggest league-designated TV market right here in Orlando.” The Jaguars have “turned their back on Orlando, which has been designated by the NFL as a ‘secondary TV market’ for the Jaguars.” The Jaguars beginning in '13 will play four regular-season home games in London, and three of those games "might have easily been played" in Orlando. Bianchi: “I've got a better idea for the Jags: Why don't they try to effectively ‘localize’ their brand before they ‘globalize’ it?” The Citrus Bowl is “scheduled to undergo a nearly $200 million renovation by 2014, which will make it plenty nice enough and give it enough club seats and luxury suites to host NFL games” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/24).
GOOD NEWS BEARS: In Chicago, Danny Ecker noted “more than 100,000 fans this year” attended Bears training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. That attendance mark is the “second-most ever behind the 2007 preseason, which followed a Super Bowl appearance.” Highlights from the 14 practice days "included 10,000 people showing up for the team's first padded training camp practice, as well as 27,000 attendees at the Chicago Bears Family Night scrimmage at Soldier Field on Aug. 3.” Bears VP/Sales & Marketing Chris Hibbs said that a "Movie Night" on Aug. 1, showing "Hugo" on a giant outdoor screen, “was also a big draw” (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 8/22).
GARDEN PARTIES: In N.Y., Ken Belson noted the Knicks and the NHL Rangers “are on pace to sell out nearly all their available season tickets for this season after both teams qualified for the playoffs for the second straight year.” The teams announced that more than 95% of Knicks season-ticket holders “have renewed their plans during the off-season, while more than 90 percent of Rangers season-ticket holders have already done so.” Last season, the Knicks’ renewals “were over 90 percent and the Rangers’ more than 85 percent.” The high renewal rates “suggest that fans are willing to pay more if their teams are winning” (NYTIMES.com, 8/23).