The Internet leak last week of the Dolphins’ new logo “was indeed the new logo,” according to sources cited by Armando Salguero of the MIAMI HERALD. The Dolphins “originally planned to unveil the new gear April 18 but has changed that and will now do it April 25, which is also the first day of the NFL Draft.” Team officials “know some fans will initially dislike the new logo,” but they also expect “many fans to embrace the change and flock to stores to buy the Nike gear and jerseys that will bear the new logo and new look.” There is expected to be more buzz “than there was a couple of weeks ago for things that actually have an effect on winning and losing such as the addition" of free agent WR Mike Wallace. There will be “so much buzz about this change that the team is uncertain how media covering the draft and the official logo and uniform reveal on the same day ... will divide resources and determine priorities.” When the team’s first-round pick is announced it will be “the first time the gear will be on national TV.” Salguero notes some believe the NFL “asked for the move and owner Stephen Ross, vying to land a Super Bowl in May, compromised in order to gain favor.” It is also possible the club “is using the draft to shield the new logo and uniforms from a chorus of criticism.” The color scheme of the new logo reportedly “will be a throwback to the team’s roots.” The aqua and orange “somehow morphed over the years sometimes getting darker, sometimes lighter, sometimes even looking a bit turquoise or teal or even somewhere in the green family when none of that was the original intent.” The mascot will be “parallel to the ground and seem to be flying through the orange sunburst, which is bigger now” (MIAMI HERALD, 3/27).
PUBLIC DISPUTE:The HERALD’s Salguero reported the Dolphins have been “simmering privately” about former Eagles Owner and local car dealer Norman Braman's “lobbying of politicians against their efforts and public stance against the team in the media” in their effort to gain public funds for Sun Life Stadium renovations. Dolphins CEO Mike Dee yesterday “took to twitter and went after Braman.” Dee wrote, "With the offer that is now on the table, Norman Braman is frankly irrelevant to this conversation." He added, "When he agrees to repay the public money he accepted for his dealership, we will be happy to acknowledge his otherwise hypocritical stance" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 3/26).
The Browns for the next two years "will work closely with NFL marketing and Nike on an apparel makeover," according to Tony Grossi of ESPN CLEVELAND. The process is one which the franchise "has never undergone." Everything is "on the table to be discussed except for one thing." Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III said, "I will say there will be no change to the helmet. But we will look at everything else." Grossi noted "minor changes, done without market research, would have resulted in a 12-month process overseen by NFL marketing." Haslam "thought the new uniforms would be ready for the 2014 season." But after "further consultation with the league, Haslam decided to go through the more extensive, 24-month process recommended by experts in the field of brand marketing." Haslam: "This allows you to change anything you want. That doesn’t mean we will. I want to be perfectly clear about that. We just want to get a lot of input from our fans and take our time with it. Because you can do it only every five years.” When the Browns were "reborn as an expansion franchise in 1999, the effort was made to connect it as closely as possible to the bedrock franchise made famous" by founding coach Paul Brown. Grossi: "At some point, I felt the NFL openly encouraged the Browns to change their uniform, ostensibly to spur stagnant sales of club merchandise." NFL CMO Mark Waller said, "Since I’ve been (with the NFL) we’ve never encouraged them. This has absolutely came out of the ownership and that’s their desire" (ESPNCLEVELAND.com, 3/25). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Paul Schwartz noted the Giants instead of their traditional grey pants "will wear white pants for select games in which they wear their blue jerseys." They will "not wear the new white pants with their white jerseys." The "last time" the Giants wore white pants was in '99 (NYPOST.com, 3/26).
The vast majority of Red Sox fans have indicated that they will not attend more games at Fenway Park because of the "price breaks on food and drinks" during the month of April, according to a BOSTON.com poll. Out of 1,871 votes at presstime, 86.1% said they will not be more likely to go to more Red Sox games, while just 13.9% said they would be more likely to buy tickets (BOSTON.com, 3/27). Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy said, "This gesture is meant to be a thank-you gesture. We don't really see it as an enticement to get people to come to the ballpark." He added, "We've got 17 home games in April, which is a lot of games for a month that is traditionally a difficult month for ticket sales for most baseball teams, specifically in markets where you've got colder weather. So we took that into consideration." Kennedy did indicate that "no gesture could be as important to Boston fans as an improved team" (USA TODAY, 3/27). NBC Sports Network’s Michelle Beadle said, “I don’t know if this is an act of desperation or they're just embracing the fan. Their little sellout streak that they're so proud of -- and they should be -- it’s in jeopardy of ending. ... Beer should never be $7.50, period. So I think a $5.00 beer is perfectly acceptable." But NBC Sports Net's Dave Briggs said, "You pointed out that they’re saying thank you to the fans. Is it, or are they saying we’re sorry for the disaster of the last two years?” He added, "The sellout streak, as a Red Sox fan, most of us know is kind of fixed. They give away a lot of seats to keep that going” ("The Crossover," NBCSN, 3/26). MLB Network’s Kevin Millar said of the price reductions, “It makes a lot of sense right now. ... At some point it gets a little ridiculous. $8.50 for a 12-ounce beer? It’s like jeez Louise, what do you do? Five bucks makes more sense. Nice job by the Red Sox” (“Intentional Talk,” MLBN, 3/26).
YAHOO SPORTS' Mark Townsend notes the Brewers have "managed to put together one of the more creative multi-game ticket plans we’ve seen." The Brewers are calling it their “Chance 2 Advance” ticket plan. For $99, the team will give "a Bernie's Terrace ticket" to nine select Tuesday games at Miller Park. Every time the Brewers win, fans "exchange" their Bernie's Terrace ticket "for the next game in the plan for just $2 to the next best seating area." Fans "remain in that seat location until the Brewers win the next game in the plan." If the Brewers "don't win, you simply exchange your Bernie's Terrace ticket at no cost for a seat in the same section where you last advanced -- no backsliding" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/27).
RETAIL THERAPY: In DC, Dan Steinberg noted the Nationals have a "new home alternate red cap, with a navy blue brim, navy blue-lined eyelet holes and a blue button on top." It will be "debuted Friday during the home exhibition game against the Yankees." The cap starting on Friday also will be "available at Nationals Park team stores." Meanwhile, there will be "a new '47 Brand' walk-in store on the stadium's third-base line this season, plus a kids-themed Adidas store on the main outfield concourse" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 3/26).
NO VACANCY: In Cleveland, Michael McIntyre noted people who park daily in the Gateway East Garage near Progressive Field will "have to find someplace else to park" during the Indians' home opener on April 8. Customers pay $70 a month for their parking spot, but "Clause 14 of their parking agreement informs them that the city can deny parking during a special event." The city is "contractually obligated to provide spaces for the Indians and Cavs on game days." The parking price will be "the same as the public's that day: $12" (CLEVELAND.com, 3/25).
STRONG MARKET: In New Jersey, John Brennan wrote the "lack of optimism among Mets fans seemingly would lead to a cratering of their ticket sales -- and a similar depression of sale prices on the secondary ticket market." But research by TiqIQ "does not seem to bear this out -- not yet, anyway." TiqIQ Senior Dir of Data & Communications Chris Matcovich said that the average price being offered for Mets tickets on the secondary market "is the 7th highest in baseball -- and 2nd-highest in the National League behind only" the Cubs. Meanwhile, the Yankees' resale asking prices "are an average of $100.19 -- up 11 percent from this time a year ago but just 4th-highest overall" (NORTHJERSEY.com, 3/25).
In Pittsburgh, Alan Robinson reported the Steelers could "be in line to play host to the NFL's season-opening prime time game, one usually staged at the home of the Super Bowl champion," now that the Ravens cannot open at M&T Bank Stadium due to a scheduling conflict with the Orioles. Ravens-Steelers is "widely considered to be the NFL's best ongoing rivalry." The Ravens' other road opponents -- the Browns, Bengals, Lions, Dolphins and Bills -- "wouldn't offer nearly as attractive an opening night TV matchup." Ravens-Steelers games "normally get high TV ratings and often are played at night." The Steelers would "not have any baseball conflicts on Sept. 5 because the Pirates will be on a road trip" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/26).
HELP WANTED: In Buffalo, Bucky Gleason wrote Sabres Owner Terry Pegula "owns the only vote that matters" within the franchise, but it has become "increasingly evident that he's not sure how to proceed" with the team in last place in the Northeast division. Pegula "has good intentions and could become a very good owner, but he needs a reliable advisor." He could "stay true to his affinity for ex-Sabres, upgrade his hockey department and breathe some fresh air through his organization and the community." Team President Ted Black recently has "been running daily business operations, but he's not a hockey guy." Pegula "needs hockey minds making hockey decisions." Gleason listed possible candidates (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/24).
ALL IN THE FAMILY: In Columbus, Jeff Bell conducts a Q&A with Lamar Hunt Jr. regarding his new role with the MLS Crew in the area of corporate partnerships. Hunt: "I'm meeting with decision makers on such things as stadium naming rights and getting to know civic leaders. We're actually considering a couple civic projects we might be involved in as a couple, my wife (Rita) and I." Hunt, when asked how close the Crew is to getting a stadium naming-rights partner, said, "We have had a lot of meetings with a lot of different people, but we have not had any full negotiations with anybody." He added, "We have a couple local champions in Barbasol, OhioHealth and some other sponsors like Cardinal Health. If we can get two or three more local champions, that will push along the naming rights as well" (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST, 3/22 issue).