Prospective Coyotes Owner Greg Jamison recently made a "novel but failed attempt to find investors through the Immigrant Investor Program of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services," according to David Shoalts of the GLOBE & MAIL. Sources said that Jamison "tried to raise at least some of the $170-million (all currency U.S.) purchase price by using what is also known as the EB-5 program." EB-5 is the "official name of the visa, a conditional green card, granted by the U.S. government to wealthy immigrants in exchange for an investment of at least $1-million in an American business." Jamison on Thursday said that he "took a look at the program, which essentially trades green cards for cash, but said it will not be part of his financing package in the purchase of the team from the NHL." Jamison: "I’ve been at this 18 months, I’ve looked at everything. I’m aware of the (EB-5) program and what it can do. We did discuss it, but we’re not using it as part of our program, no." One source said that Jamison spent "a lot of time and travel trying to attract foreign investors through the program, particularly in the Middle East." Another source said that Jamison is "not using the program because he failed to find any takers for the same reason he is having trouble getting conventional investors -- the Coyotes are a poor investment." A third source said that while Jamison "never discussed using the program with his only known investors, the Ice Edge group of Canadian and U.S. businessmen, at least one member of the group checked out the EB-5 program on his own to see if it would help land a green card." Shoalts writes Jamison's usual doubters are "giving him full marks for creativity in his hunt for investors" (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/28).
GETTING CLOSER: In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks noted the sale of the Coyotes "took another step forward this week as the city of Glendale has signed its arena management deal and lease" with Jamison. The city’s move "represents progress towards keeping the Coyotes in Glendale." The city approved a previous deal in June but "decided against signing it," instead opting to "forge a new arena pact with Jamison last month." The new deal totals more than $300M over 20 years and "pays Jamison to run the city-owned Jobing.com Arena." Jamison has until the "end of next month to buy the Coyotes and ink his signature line of the arena deal" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 12/27). Sunnucks in a separate piece wrote the Coyotes could have their "best financial season ever -- by not playing a single game because of the NHL lockout." The team could "turn a profit this season -- or at least break even -- thanks to first-year money" from the arena deal, "as well as the lockout." The Coyotes "won’t have to pay out an estimated $49 million in player salaries." Financial estimates show that the Coyotes lost $20-25M "in recent seasons" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 12/26).
The batting practice caps MLB teams will use during the '13 season were unveiled on Thursday, and the "most newsworthy revelation" is that the Braves' cap "features the return of the 'screaming savage'" that served as part of the team's logo from '67-89, according to Kevin Kaduk of YAHOO SPORTS. The re-emergence of the "questionable logo is surprising given that the Cleveland Indians have been distancing themselves from Chief Wahoo in recent years." The Indians' BP cap for '13 "features the increasingly familiar block 'C.'" Even the Braves have "landed on the right side of sensitivity, replacing an offensive savage patch" on the throwback jerseys the team introduced in '12. Kaduk: "It really is a wonder that the Braves are going with these caps. As far as I can tell, there was no real groundswell to bring this logo back. ... Also, will the sales numbers for these caps really make it worth the bad PR the team and league are going to take over this?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/27). The ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION is running an online poll asking readers for their reaction to the use of the logo. At presstime, 73% of respondents voted they like the cap and "might even buy it." Eighteen percent voted they "couldn't care less," while 9% are "offended" (AJC.com, 12/28).
MAKING THE GRADE? ESPN.com's Paul Lukas on his Uni Watch blog reviewed all 30 MLB teams' new batting practice caps, noting there are 36 new caps in all, "because some teams have separate designs for home and away." Lukas wrote it is "disappointing" that the Braves' throwback logo "hasn't been permanently mothballed." Lukas offered his grade for each new BP cap, and gave the Braves' cap an "F." Meanwhile, Lukas gave the Astros' cap an "A+" and wrote, "The circle around the logo has a tequila sunrise gradation -- genius!" Lukas gave the A's cap an "A" and wrote, "Always loved that elephant logo, and the gold squatchee is the cherry on top." The D'Backs' new cap is a "really nice mix of the team's original logo and its current color scheme." The Mets' new cap features the team's Mr. Met mascot, which has "appeared only one time on a Mets uni component, so it's cool to see him on the BP cap." The Nationals' multi-colored panel treatment "totally works here, because the red-white-blue effect seems appropriate for a team in Washington" (ESPN.com, 12/27).
Nets GM Billy King on Thursday said that the decision to fire coach Avery Johnson, who was in the final season of a three-year, $12M deal, was "made by ownership during an hourlong call" with team Owner Mikhail Prokhorov "earlier that morning." On Long Island, Roderick Boone notes the Nets started the season 11-4 but "have floundered in December, going 3-10.” Johnson said, "If somebody else thinks maybe we should be 24-4, that's their opinion. And if I have to pay the price for that, that's the way the business is.” Boone notes Prokhorov “shelled out" more than $330M in new contracts in the offseason, so there was "no way he was going to stand for mediocrity” (NEWSDAY, 12/28).
CLIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK:The Clippers are on a 15-game winning streak and hold the league's best record at 23-6, but Celtics coach Doc Rivers said L.A. is "always going to be a Laker town." Rivers: "But the buzz is strong for the Clippers, and that’s really nice to see. It’d be great for the area and for the league to see these teams competitive with one another for a while.” Celtics G Paul Pierce said that some of the “old Clippers bias may be lingering.” But he also believes that Clippers F Blake Griffin, G Chris Paul and the rest of the team “need to chase down some postseason success before they can truly plant their flag and have the locals salute” (BOSTON HERALD, 12/28).
BIRDS ON A WIRE:Orioles VP/Communications & Marketing Greg Bader said that it is “too early to have a grip on possible attendance" for the '13 season, but he added that the club has seen a noticeable uptick in deposits for season-ticket plans, "especially from new customers.” In Baltimore, Childs Walker noted the Orioles are “a stronger presence in national retail than they have been in years.” Fanatics.com reported sales of Orioles merchandise since Black Friday are up 136% "compared to the same dates last year," and up more than 300% "compared to the same dates in 2010." Women's and kids' merchandise are both up more than 200% "compared to 2011 holiday sales” (Baltimore SUN, 12/23).
FRIENDLY CONFINES:The Cubs last Friday said that they have “renewed their agreement with StubHub, changing their stance” from when they “opted out of the ticket-resale market.” The team will “end StubHub sales six hours before event time.” Cubs VP/Communications & Community Affairs Julian Green last week “declined to comment on why the Cubs chose not to participate in the latest deal with StubHub” (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 12/21).