The Browns yesterday named Alec Scheiner team President, marking "the first hire" by new Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III and CEO Joe Banner, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Scheiner, who starts Jan. 7, "spent the previous eight years with the Cowboys," the last five as Senior VP & General Counsel. He replaces former President Mike Holmgren, but Scheiner's role "will be different." Holmgren "oversaw the business and football operations, while Scheiner will focus on the business side." His primary duties will "include stadium enhancements and local TV/radio broadcasting." Scheiner "views the Browns as a marketing gem similar to the Cowboys." He said, "The brand is so iconic and there's so much history behind it and the fans clearly care about the team. We just have to harness it. We have to harness it everywhere. We have to harness it with our employees, we have to harness it with people in the community, everyone can be a Browns fan." Banner said that Scheiner "fits his criteria of searching for the 'best of the best' at every position." Banner: "In my opinion, there's nobody better at what he does." Meanwhile, Cabot notes Browns Exec VP/Business Operations Bryan Wiedmeier will "take a new role in which he'll work closely with CEO Banner, focusing on long-term strategic planning for the organization, including stadium projects and other capital endeavors" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/19). Scheiner in '10 was named to SportsBusiness Journal/Daily's “Forty Under 40” list (THE DAILY).
BANNER YEAR: In Akron, Nate Ulrich wrote the addition of Scheiner "will presumably free up Banner to deal more with the football side of the organization" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 12/18). Banner yesterday stressed that he will "act swiftly" on the futures of coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert following the season finale on Dec. 30. Banner added that he and Haslam "haven't made up their minds yet, but have continued to discuss the front-office lineup" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/19).
Golfer Phil Mickelson while meeting at Torrey Pines Golf Course last night to discuss renovation plans, said that he has "withdrawn his interest" in being a minority owner in the Padres, according to Tod Leonard of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Mickelson said, "I've been born and raised here, but at this moment I'm not able to make that kind of long-term commitment to the city and to the team." Mickelson said he notified the Padres "within the last six weeks" that he would not be joining (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/19). The AP's Bernie Wilson reported Mickelson feels the O'Malley and Seidler families, who bought the Padres along with Liquid Investments Chair & CEO Ron Fowler, "have the depth of commitment the city needs." Mickelson's spokesperson T.R. Reinman said that the golfer feels he "can't match that level of commitment, at this point." Mickelson had spoken "excitedly about the possibility of joining the ownership group." When the Seidler/O'Malley group formally announced the $800M purchase of the team in August, Padres ownership group member Peter Seidler said that "there was one spot left in the ownership group and it was being held for Mickelson" (AP, 12/18).
The Colts’ 9-5 record has “reversed what looked in early October like a bleak scenario for the team’s sales staff,” according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Of the 7,100 club seats at Lucas Oil Stadium, 4,300 were "up for renewal" after last season. But the team then “won five of six as the Colts began their club-seat renewal effort, which ended late last month.” Colts COO Pete Ward said that the renewal rate “soared above 90 percent.” Demand for "all tickets is on the rise," as enough seats "are already sold" for the Dec. 30 Texans-Colts game to avoid a local TV blackout. Additionally, merchandise sales are up 38% "over last year,” while sponsorship sales are up 8%. New sponsors include “Barclays bank; US Foods; and CDW, a Carmel-based information technology firm.” MainGate CEO Dave Moroknek, whose company handles the Colts’ merchandise sales, said, “The combination of the team performing above expectations, having the number one pick [QB Andrew Luck] who is playing great, and the motivation that ChuckStrong brings to the table all line up great for merchandise sales.” Schoettle notes prices for club seats -- between the 25-yard lines -- this year “range from $232 to $283 per seat per game.” Club seat buyers who “took advantage of early renewal are guaranteed no price increase for the first two years of their three-year contract.” Ward thinks that it will “be easy to find buyers for the club seats that aren’t renewed,” as the waiting list is at 1,500. Meanwhile, several hundred names "have been added to the season-ticket waiting list, which is near 8,000 after having been cut in half" following last year’s 2-14 record (INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/15 issue).
Cowboys DT Josh Brent “will not be permitted” to be on the team's sideline during NFL games “for the remainder of the season,” according to sources cited by Ed Werder of ESPN.com. The Cowboys and NFL officials were “unaware” that Brent, who was charged with intoxication manslaughter two weeks ago after the death of LB Jerry Brown, would be on the sideline for last Sunday's home game against the Steelers. Sources said that the team and the league “agree that it was not appropriate.” Werder noted several of Brent's teammates “urged him to attend Sunday's game.” The game already had begun when Cowboys coach Jason Garrett “realized Brent was on the sideline," and Owner Jerry Jones "didn't know until he saw Brent on television.” Once Brent became aware that his presence "was sparking a national debate, he left Cowboys Stadium in the third quarter” (ESPN.com, 12/18). ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano wrote having Brent “stand there with his teammates for those three nationally televised hours, as though he were on injured reserve with a shoulder injury or something like that, sent the wrong message about the seriousness with which the Cowboys were treating Brent's situation.” However, “no one did anything horribly wrong here.” The Cowboys' players “aren't PR executives in charge of considering the way a move like this will be perceived nationally” (ESPN.com, 12/18). CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb said, “There are things as an organization you have to have class, and someone needs to grab Josh Brent before that game, on national TV, and say, ‘Hey man, we love you, we want you to be a part of things no matter what happens but we can’t have you on the sideline. It doesn’t look good’” (“Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 12/18).
DON'T BE CRUEL: CBSSPORTS.com’s Gregg Doyel wrote under the header, “Brent Deserves Prison, But Getting Banned From Sideline Is Cruel.” Doyel: “I hear the ‘it sends the wrong message’ argument, but think it through. If Josh Brent were on the sideline again Sunday, people would be talking about his story -- which means talking about the dangers of drunk driving. That's a conversation that can save lives” (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/18).
The Yankees' decision to leave MLB’s “preferred ticket reseller, StubHub, in favor of crafting their own deal with Ticketmaster has some fans and elected officials unhappy,” according to Daniel Barbarisi of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. A group organized by the Fan Freedom Project, including several N.Y. City Council members, “held a small rally at City Hall Tuesday to decry a Yankee plan which they say will include price floors on resold tickets.” The Yankees “charge that this is no grass-roots effort, noting that Fan Freedom gets much of its funding from StubHub.” Yankees spokesperson Alice McGillion said, "It is a desperate ploy because StubHub knows the flaws in their system will soon be clear.” Fan Freedom “acknowledges it gets much support from StubHub.” But the group said that it is “backed by other parties as well, including the National Consumers League and several elected officials” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/19).
The Jaguars will remove additional tarps at EverBank Field for the team's final home game this Sunday against the Patriots due to high demand for tickets. The tarps covering section 442 will be removed and a limited number of tickets for that section are now available. The team previously removed tarps from section 404 for the Dec. 9 game against the Jets, and has already sold most of the tickets in that section for the Patriots game. The tarps were taken off section 403 for the Oct. 7 Bears-Jaguars game (Jaguars).
ROAD WARRIORS: The Warriors following a 6-1 road trip surpassed 11,000 full-season tickets sold for this season. Since the road trip began on Dec. 5, the team has sold over 700 new full-season tickets. The Warriors are currently one of eight NBA teams to have sold more than 11,000 full-season tickets (Warriors).
LIGHTNING STRIKES: Lightning Exec VP/Communications Bill Wickett said that “about 100 Lightning season-ticket accounts have been canceled” due to the NHL lockout. In Tampa, Damian Cristodero reports the team “gives fans three ways to manage their season tickets during the lockout.” A ticket holder making no changes gets 10% interest "toward food, beverages and merchandise.” Fans also can receive 5% interest "paid in monthly installments following any missed games to be applied to the playoffs, if there are any, or the 2013-14 season.” The third option is what one fan called "financial divorce” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/19).