Prospective Coyotes Owner Greg Jamison "failed to purchase" the team on Thursday, but he and "other suitors will continue efforts" to buy the franchise in the coming weeks, according to sources cited by Paul Giblin of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Jamison in a statement said, "Our journey to purchase the Coyotes will continue. We realize this will require additional conversations with the city of Glendale and the NHL. We still believe we can reach an agreement that satisfies everyone." Thursday was the "last day Jamison could have purchased the team from the NHL to meet a clause in a lucrative contract with Glendale to manage Jobing.com Arena." It is "doubtful city officials will offer the same terms." Coyotes G Mike Smith said, "I’ve only been a part of it for the last year or so, but for guys that it’s been four years now, obviously it’s a frustrating time. It’s something we can’t really solve, otherwise we’d buy the team if we could." Glendale City Council member Gary Sherwood said that he "understood Jamison and NHL officials discussed several options to assemble an ownership group during just the past two weeks." Giblin reports during that time, a "major new investor emerged, but the new investor demanded a controlling interest, which Jamison was reluctant to cede." Jamison instead tried to "press on with a larger collection of smaller investors, but the group failed to jell before the city’s deadline" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/1).
ONTO THE NEXT: In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks wrote new Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and new city council members are "not likely to craft yet another Coyotes deal that helps facilitate a sale via arena management payments and letting the Coyotes charge for parking on city-owned spaces next to Jobing.com Arena." There could be groups that "step forward to keep the team in Glendale, or long-term in the Phoenix market at a new arena in downtown Phoenix or perhaps in Scottsdale on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community land" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/30). FOXSPORTSARIZONA.com's Craig Morgan cited sources as saying that PEAK6 Investments co-Founder & CEO Matthew Hulsizer "has sought to re-enter the Coyotes ownership mix recently, but it's unclear in what capacity" (FOXSPORTSARIZONA.com, 1/31). The PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL's Sunnucks reported many Coyotes and Glendale officials "are in the dark regarding the Jamison bid." A source said, "Many have been 100 percent duped." Boston Pizza Owner Jim Treliving's name also has "popped up as a Coyotes suitor" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/31).
STRANDED IN THE DESERT? The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts writes the "uncertainty" with the Coyotes will "continue with still no end in sight." With both the NHL and the city of Glendale "intractable on their terms, there is little chance a new buyer will surface, as the team has been for sale for more than three years with no one willing to step in unless" Glendale pays $15-20M (all figures U.S.) per year in arena-management fees. Once again it looks as if this "could be the team’s final season in Glendale, with a possible move to either Seattle or Quebec City on the horizon." Ice Edge Holdings CEO Anthony LeBlanc, whose company is working with Jamison on the purchase, said that "no buyer can make the Coyotes sale work given the team’s annual losses unless it receives the same kind of lease Jamison negotiated." LeBlanc said Jamison "has not thrown in the towel." A source said that the NHL in the meantime "has an agreement with Glendale" to manage Jobing.com Arena for $1M per month for the rest of the season. Another source said that Hulsizer is "hoping to buy an NHL team in partnership" with former Lightning co-Owner Oren Koules. But other sources said that there is "no substantial new group on the scene" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/1).
The Red Sox' home sellout streak of 793 games is "in jeopardy" as season-ticket renewals are "down 10 percent from this time last year," according to a front-page piece by Nick Cafardo of the BOSTON GLOBE. Although the team's "coveted tickets will eventually go to fans on the waiting list, the renewal lapse is seen as a signal that even hardcore fans are cooling in their enthusiasm." Red Sox VP & COO Sam Kennedy said, "It will come as no surprise if, on the heels of a 69-win season, our fans don’t sell out the park some nights this year. We know it takes time to reconnect, to restore faith, and to believe again." Kennedy added that while there are "no tallies yet on single-ticket sales, he expects those to be down, too." Cafardo notes uncertainty about the streak "began last season," when at some home games "empty seats around the venerable park were there for everyone to see, even as another sellout was announced." Yet Red Sox management’s "definition of a sellout -- in which they count the total number of tickets distributed, including 800 complimentary tickets to each game, plus standing-room tickets -- allowed the team to keep the streak alive." The streak is "second only" to the Trail Blazers' mark of 814 games from '77-95 among major U.S. pro leagues. A source said, "Actually, being 10 percent down after a year they had last year isn’t that bad. I think only in Boston could you see that minimal of a dropoff." The Red Sox have "about 20,000" season-ticket holders (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/1).
The Eagles will "raise ticket prices" by an average of $8 in '13, marking the team's "first increase in season-ticket prices" since '09, according to Zach Berman of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Tickets will "range from $75 to $105, up from $70 to $95 last season." The average cost will be "about $93," marking a 9.45% increase over last season. The Eagles rank "No. 11 in the NFL in ticket prices," after ranking "14th last season." Some fans "expressed displeasure on Twitter, particularly about an increase coming after the worst Eagles season (4-12) in more than a decade." The Eagles on Thursday sent invoices to season-ticket holders with "a letter from team president Don Smolenski outlining the increase" (PHILLY.com, 1/31). In Newark, Jordan Raanan notes there will be "an 11-percent increase for the lower level sideline seats, 12-percent increase for the lower level end zone and seven percent for the upper level." The Eagles "claim their tickets still remain the lowest in the NFC East and 'middle third of the NFL'" (Newark STAR LEDGER, 2/1). SKINS GAME: In DC, Rich Campbell noted the Redskins have "increased the price of general admission tickets and parking" for the '13 season. The price of most seats will increase by "no more than" 10% and parking will be $40. General admission ticket and parking prices had been "unchanged for the previous seven seasons" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 1/31).
NO HORSING AROUND: In Indianapolis, Phil Richards reported a downtown admission tax increase enacted this week will "mean higher ticket prices" for Colts fans, a "circumstance with which the team is prepared to work." Colts COO Pete Ward said while the cost of some '13 seats will increase for the first time in three years, the majority of seats "will not see a price increase, regardless of the tax." He added that the team "intends to absorb most of the pain of the tax increase." The Colts have "sold out their past 87 home games, including playoffs, and 121 of their past 122" (INDYSTAR.com, 1/30).
The Dodgers on Thursday announced the launch of a free rewards/fan engagement program that will offer prizes based on a variety of digital activities, including online merchandise purchases and checking in at games via MLBAM's At The Ballpark mobile app. Fans also can become eligible for prizes by interacting online within the team's official website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram accounts. The first sweepstakes offers began yesterday and will run through March 15 (Dodgers). In L.A., Steve Dilbeck noted the basic premise is the "same for all you points freaks tied to a hotel chain or airline programs," and signing up "is required." Rewards for the sweepstakes "aren't too bad: two tickets to opening day or a Sandy Koufax signed baseball." The Dodgers are "getting ahead of the curve in MLB." ButDodgers Exec VP & CMO Lon Rosen said that teams such as the NFL's Ravens, Dolphins and Texans, as well as the NBA's Heat and Magic already are "utilizing similar programs." The Dodgers for the program partnered with Austin-based Lodestone Social Media, which has "launched similar programs with national universities and colleges, including USC and UC Riverside" (LATIMES.com, 1/31).
CHEERS TO YOU, MR. ROBINSON: In L.A., Brian Charles notes on what would have been Baseball HOFer Jackie Robinson's 94th birthday Thursday, the man who broke baseball's color barrier "graced the Google homepage adorned in his Dodger jersey and with a bat in hand." The tribute to Robinson "came as a surprise to the Dodger organization." Dodgers Assistant PR Dir Joe Jareck said, "I'd love to take some credit for the organization, but that was all Google." Illustrator Mike Dutton, who created the image, in an e-mail said, "By celebrating Jackie today, we're hoping to spread his message of respecting each other as a human beings" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/1).