Former Hornets Owner George Shinn yesterday said that when the New Orleans franchise "relinquishes the Hornets name, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan should pounce on it," according to Tom Sorensen of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Shinn said that the Hornets nickname "would be great for Jordan, Jordan's team and the community." He added, "It was never my name. It belonged to Charlotte." Sorensen notes the Hornets could "become the Pelicans as soon as next season," which would free the nickname." For "no more than" $3M, the Bobcats could "make the name theirs." Shinn: "I think they should use the colors, the mascot, all of that." One reason Shinn is "excited about the name change is because this is his turf." He is from Kannapolis, N.C., and name-change proponents "might appreciate his support and remember him more fondly." Shinn said, "The name will bring fans back." He added that if Jordan wants the name, he will "do anything he can to help." Shinn is a friend of Hornets Owner Tom Benson and said that he "wouldn't merely call Benson on Jordan's behalf," he would "go to him." He also would "go to NBA Commissioner David Stern" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/12). Meanwhile, GRANTLAND's Carles wrote the Hornets "don't evoke the sense of pride that New Orleans demands." The Pelicans "sounds like a silly name, but it could be their silly name." There is a "risk in nontraditional names, but that risk pays off in the long run." A Pelicans rebrand "offers New Orleans a chance to have something that is legitimately their own after a decade of instability" (GRANTLAND.com, 12/11).
The Triple-A International League Durham Bulls are rolling out a unique ticket promotion for the ’13 season around a player who may not even take one at-bat in the team’s uniform. The Bulls are the top farm team for the Rays, who acquired ’12 Minor League Player of the Year Wil Myers earlier this week in a trade that sent Ps James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals. Bulls Dir of Marketing Scott Carter said he wanted to “strike while the iron was hot” in the aftermath of the trade, so the team created the “Wil He, Won’t He?” campaign. The promotion centers on whether Myers will spend next season playing for the Rays or Bulls. The $24 package includes tickets to games on Opening Day, July 4 and Fan Appreciation Day at the end of the year. Fans will receive an extra game for free if Myers earns a spot on the Rays’ roster during Spring Training and is not in Durham on Opening Day. “It’s got an incredibly long shelf life because it only gets more interesting as Spring Training progresses,” Carter said. “As he does well or doesn't, everybody who’s purchased that package will have a vested interest into what happens.” Bulls Premium Ticket Sales Manager Eli Starkey said the team already has gotten “great feedback” for the promo. Starkey: “If he’s here, you get to see great baseball. If he’s not, you’re still going to see great baseball.”
In Tampa, Stephen Holder noted the Buccaneers, in an effort to "stem their years-long attendance woes, have numerous reductions" in their '13 season-ticket pricing. The Bucs said that prices on 35% of seats "will be reduced." The team added that seats that are not reduced "will not increase in price." Season tickets will "start as low as $30 per game for adults and $15 per game for children." The Bucs said that there will "continue to be savings over single-game tickets -- 20 percent on average." The various payment plans used in the past "will again be available." Included are "discounts on parking,concessions and merchandise." The team in '12 has "had just one sellout" (TAMPABAY.com, 12/11).
DESERT HEAT: In Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes NFL Cardinals President Michael Bidwill has "escaped any shift in public perception" and is "generally well-received, and far more image savvy than his father," team Owner & Chair Bill Bidwill. The younger Bidwill is "passionate and articulate" and he "says the right things." His battles "are fought in private." Winning "seems more important to him." By "putting his team in a new stadium and the franchise on a higher competitive plane, the younger Bidwill has polished up his surname." But with the Cardinals on a nine-game losing streak and "again floundering, the heat is beginning to rise" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/12).
SUPER-CHARGED DEAL: In San Diego, Michael Gehlken reports the Chargers have partnered with Groupon to "offer a package for Sunday's game against the Panthers." A team spokesperson said that this marks the first time the Chargers have "sold tickets through Groupon." The $68-per-person deal "combines one pass for 'endzone-level seating' and a $20 voucher for food and drinks." As many as eight packages "can be purchased in one order," with a Saturday deadline to buy (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/12).
In Detroit, John Lowe notes the Tigers "sent out season-ticket renewal forms to season-ticket holders this week," and the team's average season ticket for '13 will "cost between $2 and $3 more a game than it did this past season." Tigers VP/Communications Ron Colangelo said the team's average ticket price "will be below the median" MLB ticket price for '12. The Tigers said that season-ticket holders for next season would "continue to receive discounts up to 36% over the price of single-game tickets" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/12).
STILL FLYIN' HIGH? Flyers Senior VP/Business Operations Shawn Tilger yesterday said "less than 1 percent" of the team's 18,280 season-ticket holders have canceled their tickets during the NHL lockout. In Philadelphia, Sam Carchidi notes that means fewer than 182 fans "have been angry enough to fight through the red tape to get their money back" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/12).
EVERYTHING'S BIGGER: In Dallas, Eddie Sefko wrote fans should not “plan on the Mavericks giving any guarantees that fans will be satisfied with their experience,” as team Owner Mark Cuban “believes that’s a given.” Cuban said, “The difference between us and some other teams is we work really, really hard to make sure they’re entertained. We spend more on promotion and in-game entertainment than half the league combined. You make guarantees when you know you’re underperforming in the entertainment department.” The Mavericks last week were the opponent when the Suns offered a "Satisfaction Guaranteed" money-back promotion (DALLASNEWS.com, 12/9).
VIVA LA MEXICO: GOAL.com’s Kyle McCarthy wrote of MLS Chivas USA Owner Jorge Vergara's recent comments regarding returning the team to its Mexican roots, "If Vergara wants to persist down this ill-advised path, he must commit ample resources to give Chivas USA the best chance to succeed.” He must “plunge millions of dollars into his playing squad and millions of dollars into his youth development setup.” McCarthy: “Little evidence exists to suggest Vergara understands that he cannot build the squad he wants on the cheap." He has "time and again failed to provide the necessary support required to compete with teams with clear operating principles, deft executives and full wallets” If Chivas USA “falters yet again, then the blame falls squarely at Vergara's door” (GOAL.com, 12/10).
SOCCER DOWN UNDER: In London, Emily Benammar noted EPL club Manchester United will “travel to Sydney next summer to play the Australian A-League All Stars, 14 years after their last trip Down Under.” Organizers have suggested that the team bring its “full squad for the July 20th match meaning Australian football fans will have the opportunity to see Wayne Rooney, Nani and Robin van Persie in action.” Football Federation Australia confirmed that the A-League All Stars “would be selected by fans” (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 12/10).