Barclays Center execs are "weighing a change" in the Islanders' royal blue, orange and white team colors to align with the team's relocation to Brooklyn before the '15-16 season, according to sources cited by Josh Kosman of the N.Y. POST. Islanders Owner Charles Wang recently said that while he was "turning over the business operations to Barclays Center, nothing much will change." However, a source said that Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark "is leaning toward a recommendation" that the Islanders "undergo a complete rebranding." Sources said that Barclays Center is "currently holding separate focus groups of Islanders fans and Brooklynites." One source said that the focus groups "will be done in about 45 days," at which time Wang "will be updated." Yormark is "encouraged by his efforts" at rebranding the Nets after their move to Brooklyn last year (N.Y. POST, 4/25). Yormark last Thursday during the '13 Sports Facilities & Franchises Conference said that 70% of Islanders' season-ticket holders plan to stay on after the team relocates, but added, “At the same time, we need to introduce the sport and the game to a new fan base here in Brooklyn. How do you connect those dots? I think we're going to have to meet each other somewhere in the middle. The colors black and white are the new badge of honor in Brooklyn. The question is, Can we weave that into their color scheme, and create a connection to the fans here in Brooklyn?" However, Wang later that day said not to expect an overhaul, and that the main color scheme will not change (THE DAILY).
The Marlins are offering "deals aplenty" to combat their NL-worst average attendance of 19,586 this year, and fans "know supply outstrips demand during this season of discontent," according to a front-page piece by Linda Robertson of the MIAMI HERALD. Free tickets are being given out for "test driving a new car or buying a pizza or visiting a museum." Fans also can find deals for "cheap tickets with a Subway sandwich," or offers such as "two-for-the-price-of-one bargains" and food vouchers. The Marlins also have "partnered with the Orange Bowl Committee and Miami-Dade County Public Schools and other entities to give away tickets." It is a "game that precedes the game, and fans are willing to play in order to see baseball but snub" team Owner Jeffrey Loria. The Marlins had "originally hoped for average attendance in the range of 33,000-35,000 when they moved from Sun Life Stadium," but those numbers "proved far too optimistic, and this year is expected to be worse." Marlins President David Samson said, "We are confronting a confluence of things, including a fan base that is upset. We’re trying to bring people to the ballpark to enjoy baseball in spite of their feelings for me or Jeffrey." Robertson notes the Marlins "have not been a consistent big draw in their 20 years," and their attendance was "third-worst in MLB" when they won the World Series in '03. Miami-based Schwartz Media Strategies President Tadd Schwartz said, "Ownership needs to stop the harping on all the animosity by reaching into their pockets, starting a buzz and making a trade to shift the talk to baseball.” Samson said that the franchise will "continue to market itself aggressively" and practice dynamic pricing (MIAMI HERALD, 4/25).
The Indians on Tuesday held a “full-scale emergency exercise" at Progressive Field, in which "a bombing and a hostage situation were staged,” according to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. The team “partnered with the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and various emergency response agencies” to conduct the event. Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said, "We envisioned this as a jewel event in baseball, an All-Star Game with 42,000 people in the ballpark, 1,000 media from around the country and the world, people in the restaurants, shops and bars. It would have been a very difficult task." Castrovince noted Tuesday's event was “attended by security staff" for MLB, as well as reps from "several other teams, including the White Sox, Astros, Phillies, Padres, Blue Jays, Pirates, Rays and Orioles.” The exercise “wasn't scheduled in response to the Boston Marathon bombings; it had actually been in the works for months.” Tomba said, "We set a high standard for Major League Baseball. I know this will be duplicated as time goes by" (MLB.com, 4/23).
In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis writes the Dolphins hope the “lack of suspense" around tonight's unveiling of a new team logo and uniforms caused by recent image leaks "will be offset by buying fervor as new merchandise goes on sale at the stadium immediately after the unveiling." Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill and DE Cameron Wake tonight at a free fan event prior to the first round of the NFL Draft will “model the new home-and-away uniforms, while former stars Bob Griese, Dan Marino and Jason Taylor will wear those of their eras to showcase the evolution.” The reaction thus far “seems far less vitriolic" than when the Marlins unveiled their logo and uniforms in '11 (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 4/25).
QUICKEN RESPONSIVE: Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert yesterday announced the team hired Mike Brown as head coach, and in Akron, Marla Ridenour writes under the header, “In Rehiring Brown, Cavaliers’ Dan Gilbert Falls On His Sword.” Gilbert's decision in '10 to fire Brown was "a desperate attempt to keep" then-free agent F LeBron James. Gilbert yesterday said, “Yeah, it was a mistake. For sure it was a mistake. In hindsight it was a mistake.” Ridenhour writes Gilbert's comment was “a stunning admission." He was “expected to express some regret as he reintroduced Brown as the replacement for Byron Scott,” but even those who “have spent time around Gilbert were surprised at how far he went" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 4/25).
MUSIC CITY MIGHT: A Nashville TENNESSEAN editorial states the Predators’ success over the last 10 years “reflects the consistent leadership” of coach Barry Trotz and GM David Poile. Ownership's “commitment to those two is rare, but it has been rewarded with the Predators becoming the fourth most consistent franchise in the Western Conference.” When fans “turn out for a losing team, when their ardor is undiminished, we know that hockey has found a home” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/25).