Royals Owner David Glass yesterday confirmed the club is "operating with a $70 million soft cap for next season's payroll but emphasized 'nothing is set in stone' and reiterated a willingness to fund a deficit to bolster the team's deficiencies," according to Bob Dutton of the K.C. STAR. Glass said, "We don't have a hard number on anything. I would tell you that for us to break even, our payroll has to be in the $70 million range. But as we've discussed before, we will react based on what our opportunities are." Glass also "disputed the notion ... that he has pocketed more than $100 million in operating profit since purchasing the club in 2000." Glass: "From the time we've owned the team until now, accumulatively we've done no better than break even. We've actually subsidized it slightly during that period of time." He added, "I've always said that whatever money the franchise generates, we're willing to put it all back in -- whether it's in amateur bonuses or payroll or scouting. I'm even willing to go further and subsidize it at a time when we've got a chance to win our division or really be competitive. We're at that time" (K.C. STAR, 11/29). Glass said, "I'm not interested that much in us being competitive for one year. I don't want to shoot craps for one year and mortgage the future for us to do it. I want us to be competitive every year and continue to get better" (MLB.com, 11/28). In K.C., Sam Mellinger wrote Glass "should know his credibility is on the line," and that "a decade of promises and six years of changed ways will be proven fraudulent if he continues pulling the false-economy parking brake that diminishes his team's ability to improve at such a crucial point." His "apparent insistence" on capping the team's payroll is "an assault on common sense." If Glass "doesn't step forward now ... then everything he's said about wanting to win is a lie" (K.C. STAR, 11/28).
Following the Jets' 49-19 Thanksgiving Day home loss to the Patriots, seats to Sunday’s home game against the Cardinals "were selling yesterday on secondary markets such as StubHub for as low as $15," according to Calder, Bennett & Abrahams of the N.Y. POST. TiqIQ Data & Communication Dir Chris Matcovich said that the "average resale listing for Sunday’s game is $108.03 -- the lowest for a Jets regular-season contest since the club moved into MetLife Stadium in 2010." Upper bowl seats that run $75 at face value were "listed on StubHub yesterday for $15," which is 80% less than face value. There were "even bargains to be had in the luxurious Coaches Club, where seats running $700 were listed as low as $380." Matcovich said that fan support "is at all-time low since the Jets arrived at their new digs -- and even meaningless exhibition games in earlier seasons were more coveted tickets." There were "more than 8,100 seats listed for sale yesterday on secondary market sites," and that "doesn't count seats the tied-for-last-place Jets have yet to sell." Since the team moved into MetLife Stadium, Jets home games "have regularly been plagued with thousands of empty seats" (N.Y. POST, 11/29).
UPRISING? In N.Y., Brian Costello wrote Jets fans should "skip Sunday’s game" in order to "get a message across" to team Owner Woody Johnson. Costello: "Don't sell your tickets, either. Make sure there are so many empty gray seats in the stadium that Johnson can’t even choke down a shrimp cocktail in his luxury suite. Instead of hitting Stubhub to unload your tickets, mail them to Johnson" (N.Y. POST, 11/28). Also in N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote, "It's worth wondering if any of the Jets’ corporate sponsors still want to be associated with the team." As things "stand now, only companies selling clown noses and whoopee cushions would benefit from an alliance" with the Jets. Raissman: "Unless, of course, the Jets’ current sponsors think there’s an upside in being associated with a team still leading the NFL in headlines." Even in the "aftermath of the Thanksgiving debacle against New England, Gang Green was generating media attention with stories of Tim Tebow’s cracked ribs." The "problem the organization has is that none of these distractions provided cover from the fact the Jets are now officially a media joke" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/27).
The Pistons announced a crowd of 10,517 for last night's game against the Suns at The Palace of Auburn Hills, but "maybe 3,000 bothered showing up," according to Drew Sharp of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The Pistons are the "only team in the NBA this season that's filling less than 60% of its arena." Their overall average attendance is the "second lowest in the league." The Pistons are "doing what's necessary in building a team people will take seriously," but they "can't get anybody into the building to watch the process." Sharp: "How much longer can this franchise keep fooling itself into believing that it can independently exist 30 miles away from this sports community's epicenter -- downtown Detroit?" The "allure's gone." Every home game "with three quarters of the Palace empty represents another harsh reminder that the Pistons must get out of there and return to downtown Detroit in a shared new arena arrangement with the Red Wings as quickly as possible." The market the Pistons court "is now more comfortable spending their time and disposable entertainment dollar downtown than they were 20 years ago" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 11/29).
NO KINGDOM COME? In Sacramento, Tom Couzens writes the Kings' announced attendance of 10,741 for Tuesday's game against the T'Wolves at Sleep Train Arena "seemed like a stretch, especially to those watching on TV." There were "plenty of empty seats in the lower level and wide stretches of the upper level were empty" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/29).
MLS club Toronto FC by hiring President Kevin Payne “fell in line with the other two major-pro franchises under the auspices of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. in having a dedicated administrator running affairs,” according to Paul Attfield of the GLOBE & MAIL. Payne will be “tasked with lifting TFC to the top table of the city’s sports teams.” Attfield: “No longer can TFC complain that its affairs were being muddled by soccer neophyte” MLSE President & COO Tom Anselmi. Given his track record at DC United, Payne “might actually do the impossible and restore some of the lustre that has been eroding almost since the day TFC took the field for the first time in 2007.” Payne has “the glowing endorsement of the incumbent management team.” Head coach and Dir of Soccer Operations Paul Mariner said, “I think it’s probably the best signing that we’ll make” (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/29). In Toronto, Daniel Girard writes Payne has “an ambitious roadmap.” Payne is “looking to take the side that had its worst season yet in 2012 and finished dead last in Major League Soccer and turn it into a potential playoff team in 2013, a ‘realistic competitor’ to win the East in 2014 and ‘one of the top teams’ in the league by 2015.” Payne said, “That may be a challenge. That may be a stretch. But I think we have to have a sense of where we’re trying to go” (TORONTO STAR, 11/29).
WASHINGTON'S MONUMENT? In DC, Daniel Sernovitz reported DC United officials are “still pushing forward with plans to develop a new soccer stadium in the Washington region” despite the resignation of Payne, who was "an advocate for those efforts.” DC United Senior VP/Marketing Communications Doug Hicks said, “We are working through a process and have made some real progress. We have a team that’s dedicated to that effort and that work continues.” DC and team officials have said that they “would like to see a stadium built at Buzzard Point, and both sides have acknowledged ongoing negotiations.” But Hicks said that the team is “still weighing all of its options and would not rule out the prospect of a new stadium being built in Maryland or Virginia instead” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/28).
The Jaguars in '13 will begin the first year of a four-year commitment to the NFL Int'l Series, "effectively marking them out as 'London's team', at least in the short term," according to Simon Veness of the GUARDIAN. While the Jaguars "may not be the sexiest vehicle in which to test-drive this idea ... they do have one powerful force behind their London surrogacy" in Owner Shahid Khan. Veness: "Brace yourself, London ... here come the Jacksonville Jaguars." That "may not sound like the greatest call to arms the NFL has sent across the Atlantic," but listen to Khan "for a few minutes and your perspective on what to expect may change, and drastically." First, it "has to be said that he is not looking to move the team out of Florida." Khan gave a "verbal commitment to Jacksonville when he bought out the previous owner, Wayne Weaver, ... and he aims to see it through." Khan believes he can "put some bite back into the toothless Jags by going global." Khan said, "Point one for us ... is to tap into the UK visitor base here in Florida and we have made a point very early on to talk to the civic leaders for the area and the state as a whole to build a significant profile." He added, "Next year is our coming-out party. ... We need to get established with the local civic causes; we want to be part of the fabric of sport in London and it needs to be done on and off the field" (GUARDIAN, 11/29).