The Astros yesterday said they will unveil the club's new logo, color schemes, uniforms and mascot on Nov. 2, a day after the scheduled end of the World Series should it go the full seven games. The club's rebranding under Owner Jim Crane has been long planned and is prompted in part by Houston's pending move to the AL beginning next season. The unveiling will be a free public event at Minute Maid Park in which both dugouts will be converted for the evening into merchandise stands selling the new gear (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reported fans “will be able to interact on the field with Astros personnel” before the program begins at 6:00pm CT. Several players, including Ps Lucas Harrell, Jordan Lyles, Justin Maxwell and 2B Jose Altuve, will be introduced for a fashion show of the new uniforms, at which point the “club's new identity will be revealed” (MLB.com, 10/1).
Nuggets President Josh Kroenke yesterday said that a recent report saying that the team gave permission to the 76ers to talk with Exec VP/Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri about their GM post "was untrue.” Ujiri said that there was “never any thought to leaving Denver.” Ujiri said, "It wasn't a tough decision for me. As long as this guy (Kroenke) doesn't kick me out, I'm here for whenever.” In Denver, Adrian Dater notes Ujiri is “in the last year of a three-year contract.” Kroenke acknowledged that the “interest from the 76ers could influence the Nuggets wanting to sign him to an extension before it's up” (DENVER POST, 10/2).
FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT: In Detroit, Vince Ellis noted after “generating buzz with the introduction of musical acts during halftimes of Pistons games, Palace Sports & Entertainment personnel hope to top last season.” PS&E VP/Lifestyle Marketing Harlan Hendrickson said that fans can expect the entertainment teams to “pull off a halftime reminiscent of Michael Jackson's landmark music video to the '80s hit ‘Thriller’ with an updated twist.” The dance team will give its “take on the famous ‘Thriller’ dance routine," and fans also will “get a glimpse at a new dance team, ‘The Detail,’ this season.” The organization also announced Motown Mondays and Wired Wednesdays promotions as well as halftime acts “such as The Temptations, Mary Wilson, Gladys Knight, Hammer, Fat Joe, Jay Sean and Bobby Brown are scheduled to appear” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/30).
GRIN & BEAR IT: In Memphis, Geoff Calkins noted Grizzlies season tickets “are up again.” Grizzlies President of Business Operations Greg Campbell said, "We're up about 1,200 over last year.” Former Grizzlies President of Business Operations Andy Dolich said that the team needed to “become a part of the ‘community's DNA.’" Calkins wrote, "It has taken a dozen years, but it feels like it that has finally happened here.” Calkins: “Nobody is saying that there is not work to be done by the franchise. Ticket sales must continue to grow.” But those are “minor compared with the issues of past years,” and they are “evidence of how far the team has come” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 9/30).
HOOSIER DELIGHT: Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Jim Morris said, "Our ticket sales are going very strong. At this point, we've had more ticket package sales than we had the entire season last year. Our ticket sales across the board are 27-28 percent higher than last year at this point. The renewal rate has been going very well" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 9/30).
Yankees Managing General Partner & co-Chair Hal Steinbrenner reiterated that he “plans on cutting the Yankees' payroll by 2014.” ESPN N.Y.’s Andrew Marchand noted the Yankees under the MLB’s new CBA “could save tens of millions of dollars if they lower their payroll -- now around $200 million -- to $189 million.” Steinbrenner said, "I've made it clear that is very important to me, for several reasons. You are talking about a 10 percent reduction in payroll. I don't see that as an outrageous concept. I never have." Meanwhile, he said that "neither manager Joe Girardi's job, nor anyone else's, is in danger,” despite the team “having relinquished a 10-game lead in the AL East.” Steinbrenner: "Jobs are not riding on this" (ESPNNY.com, 10/1).
ARE YOU ON THE LIST? In L.A., Helene Elliott noted the Stanley Cup “made its first public appearance Saturday since the Kings’ names were inscribed on it, and the updated trophy contained a surprise.” The name of club co-Owner Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski, “omitted from the original list submitted to the NHL and the Hockey Hall of Fame, is on the top line following the names" of AEG Chair Phil Anschutz, Anschutz’s wife, Nancy, and AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke. That gave the Kings 53 names on the Cup, "one above the limit, but Roski’s ownership role was considered important enough for the league to add his name.” Roski teamed with Anschutz “to buy the Kings out of bankruptcy in 1995, but the two men later became opponents in backing different proposals for a local NFL stadium” (LATIMES.com, 9/30).
DRAWING IRE: In Toronto, Daniel Girard noted MLS Toronto FC has “angered its most loyal fans with a promotion cutting seat prices.” A post on the team’s Facebook page Thursday morning read that for the “next 48 hours, the club was ‘waiving ticketing fees’ for its final two home games -- next Saturday versus D.C. United and Oct. 20 against Montreal.” A link headlined “No Fee Frenzy!” said that between 10:00am ET Thursday and 10:00am Saturday “all fees normally charged on top of the ticket price would be gone.” That amounts to C$8.50 per ticket plus C$5.25 “for each order, regardless of the size.” Girard noted many season-ticket holders commenting on Facebook “are angry” (THESTAR.com, 9/28).
FRONT RUNNER: In Akron, Stephanie Storm noted as the Akron Aeros minor league baseball team “begins the process of changing hands from the longtime father-son ownership of Mike and Greg Agganis,” Fast Forward Sports Group Founder & CEO Ken Babby’s name “has surfaced prominently as the reported buyer.” Babby’s father, Lon, is a “former sports agent who serves as the president of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.” It is "understood that if Ken Babby were to gain control of the team, he would not move or rename the Aeros.” As of Friday, the Aeros' website “still listed Greg Agganis as the team’s chief executive [officer].” However, rumors have circulated that the “pending sale could be approved as early” as this week (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 10/1).