New Padres President & CEO Mike Dee held his introductory press conference yesterday alongside Exec Chair Ron Fowler and investor Peter Seidler, and it "became clear" during the event that Dee is "in charge of the day-to-day operations," according to Bill Center of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Fowler: "Mike reports to me. But my job is funding." Center notes one thing "not to expect from Dee is any immediate changes in the leadership of the Padres." Both he and Fowler yesterday "expressed their support" for Exec VP & GM Josh Byrnes and manager Bud Black. Still, "almost everything else is open to discussion, including future Padres uniforms." Fans "have no connection to the current uniforms and many see them as ties to the failed" leadership of former Vice Chair Jeff Moorad and former President & CEO Tom Garfinkel. Dee said that he is "well aware" of that notion. Dee "overhauled the look" of the Dolphins in his previous position (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/21). Fowler said that Dee's role will be "very hands-on." Fowler: "I call him Mr. Outside, because he'll be out and about in the community. My job is to make sure the money is there to do what we want to do." Dee said that the club's ownership group "will provide a solid backing for a larger payroll down the road." Dee: "Clearly, we're going to look to invest more in the team, moving forward. We're in a great condition to do that." He added that solving the carriage dispute between Time Warner Cable and FS San Diego "will be one of his first orders of business" (MLB.com, 8/20).
PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS: Fowler said that the Padres "will have more than a 20 percent increase" in payroll next year. In San Diego, Matt Calkins writes, "You have to credit Fowler for giving us a number. Now he just has to back it up." Seidler "pointed out" that the team's payroll has "increased double-digits from last year's mark." Calkins: "Is that significant? Is $67 million a number that could even moderately satisfy a victory-starved fan base at this point?" Fowler was told that many Padres fans are "offended by the team's payroll, and that ownership isn't spending enough." He replied, "I agree." It is "important to remember" that the increase Fowler predicts would have the Padres' payroll at around $85M, which, as of right now, "would bump them ahead of only the Rockies" in the NL West (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/21).
Angels Owner Arte Moreno on Monday said that his "ongoing evaluation of the organization encompasses 'everyone,'" and he "isn't precluding himself from that evaluation," according to Barry Bloom of MLB.com. Moreno said, "I've been very upfront with people about how we've done economically and attendance-wise. But the reality is, when you're not going to the party, you better figure out what you need to do to improve the team." Moreno said of the Angels' ballpark situation, "There are ongoing conversations that I would say have been positive. ... Hopefully we'll be able to work something out long-term. We really have until the end of 2016 or '17 if we're going to opt out." Asked about the infrastructure of Angel Stadium, Moreno said, "It's the fourth-oldest stadium and has gone through some remodeling. We have worked hard to maintain it physically and cosmetically. ... Would we like to have more amenities? Sure. But our access to parking and in and out of the park is good. ... But as far as sight lines, I think it's a good park to go watch a ballgame." Regarding the Dodgers' success and its impact on the Angels, Moreno said, "I don't think it impacts us. ... What the Dodgers are doing is great, because when all the other (ownership) stuff was going on, it wasn't good for us, it wasn't good for baseball. (Los Angeles) is a huge area. There are 18 million people in the metroplex. There are plenty of people to draw from." Moreno then added, "From the economic side, we have no debt. We have a really good long-term television agreement. We own our own radio, and we don't lose money. We may not always make the right decisions, but we try to stay competitive" (MLB.com, 8/19).
The Blackhawks have "increased prices on single-game tickets for the 2013-14 season while creating a second tier of prices for what the club deemed 'premier games' based on the date or the opponent," according to Brian Hamilton of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The exact increase on single-game tickets "depends on the price level and game but the overall average" increase is 17%. Then there are the 12 games on the "premier" tier for '13-14, which "appear to carry an additional $20 to $50 charge per ticket." The Blackhawks in May announced an "increase in season-ticket prices as well," which was "an average hike" of 16% (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/21). Meanwhile, in Toronto, Lance Hornby reports that "just in time for a new-look NHL schedule with all 29 opponents coming to the Air Canada Centre, the Maple Leafs are going to charge fans more to see premium teams." That could mean "hiking up the prices for old rivals" like the Canadiens, Bruins, Sabres, Senators and new Atlantic Division foe, the Red Wings. MLSE COO Tom Anselmi yesterday said that the pricing details "have yet to be finalized" (TORONTO SUN, 8/21).
Blues Owner Tom Stillman in his first year at the helm has "overhauled just about every part of the organization, from beer deals to sponsorships to player contracts to selling its minor league affiliate," the AHL Peoria Rivermen, according to Samantha Liss of the ST. LOUIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. He "cut 40 employees from the payroll" and has "grown ticket revenue 27 percent on a per-game basis this season over last, although Stillman declined to give attendance or revenue numbers because of last season’s lockout." One of Stillman’s first moves was "renegotiating a deal" with A-B InBev. Stillman said that he negotiated "a five-year extension deal ... estimated at seven-figures annually, that allowed his team to go after other liquor sponsorships." He then landed a "joint liquor sponsorship with Grey Goose and the local Sub Zero Vodka Bar." The deal includes "signage around the rink and a Grey Goose Club suite near the Blues locker room, plus additional bars around the arena." Sources said that it is "worth six-figures annually to the franchise." The Blues "did not clarify" liquor distributor Luxco CEO Donn Lux' role in the deal. On the sponsorship side, Stillman "extended a five-year sponsorship with BJC HealthCare and locked down major sponsorship deals with Missouri Lottery, Anthem, BMO Harris Bank, Famous Footwear and Jimmy John’s." He declined to give revenue figures, but said that sponsorship dollars "are outpacing last year." One deal that Stillman "can’t change is the Blues' concession agreement with Levy Restaurants." Stillman was "at the table as a minority owner when former Blues majority owner Dave Checketts negotiated a 20-year deal that included a revenue sharing clause that was front loaded, giving the team smaller commissions on concession sales for the remaining 15 years" (ST. LOUIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/16 issue).
The Lakers will "wear short-sleeve jerseys next season in 'several' games," according to a source cited by Dave McMenamin of ESPN L.A. The jerseys "will be white, the same color as the alternative uniforms the Lakers introduced for the 2002-03 season and traditionally wear on Sundays." A source said that adidas has "mocked up short-sleeve alternative jerseys for all 10 teams playing on Christmas Day." The Lakers were "one of 17 teams to experiment wearing the short-sleeve jerseys" during the summer league this offseason (ESPNLA.com, 8/20).
SHARK WEEK: CSNBAYAREA.com's Kevin Kurz reported the Sharks yesterday on their website "unveiled new home and road sweaters in time" for the '13-14 season. The result is a "much lighter and cleaner look to the home teals and road whites." There was an "emphasis on decreasing the weight of the sweaters, so the striping on the bottom and the shoulder caps were removed, and there is now neck line lacing." There is "much less orange in the new sweaters, as well, as that has been removed as an accent from the players’ numbers." The design is "similar to the black third jerseys, which remain unchanged" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 8/20).
FEED THEM TO THE LIONS: In Vancouver, Lowell Ullrich noted the CFL BC Lions debuted their "futuristic black uniforms" last weekend, and the team sold "everything available." The team had to go "into back orders online." The franchise "hasn’t decided whether to wear them again this season but is considering the idea, which was not the plan before they were unveiled to an enthusiastic response" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 8/20).
Kiss bassist Gene Simmons appeared on CNBC yesterday to discuss his role with the expansion AFL L.A. Kiss and said the team will be "bringing bombast and bang for the buck to football." Simmons, along with fellow Kiss member Paul Stanley, band manager Doc McGhee and longtime AFL team owner Brett Bouchy, will run the franchise. Simmons said, "We're going to be taking Arena Football to the next level -- family entertainment, bombast, more firepower than most Third World countries." He noted fans will "find out that you can bring your entire family and treat them to an entire season for 99 bucks." CNBC's Kelly Evans asked, "How well does this team have to do for you to get your money back?" Simmons: "We're not looking at the (short-term). We always take a look at it in the long way, in the same way that the investment community does. You can't take a look at it like, 'Where's my pay date?' You've got to love something, put your nose to the ground, smell it, feel it, touch it, know the business model, know the structure of how it works. We understand that part." CNBC's Carl Quintanilla said, "We've talked to you for years about how good Kiss is at licensing. This is like the icing on the cake" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 8/20).