The Dolphins today named former Padres President & CEO Tom Garfinkel to the same position for the team and Sun Life Stadium. Garfinkel was selected following a search led by RSE Ventures President & CEO Matt Higgins and Turnkey Sports & Entertainment. He will be responsible for all business operations, including budget responsibility. Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland and coach Joe Philbin will continue to oversee all football operations, reporting directly to Owner Stephen Ross. Garfinkel left the Padres in July after four years with the club. He previously worked for the D-Backs and Chip Ganassi Racing (Dolphins). In Miami, Barry Jackson notes former Dolphins CEO Mike Dee last month filled the Padres' vacant CEO position, meaning he and Garfinkel "ended up filling each other's most recent jobs." Garfinkel "figures to be heavily involved" in Ross' efforts to get funding for Sun Life Stadium renovations. He "will not be involved in player selection." The Dolphins considered more than 75 candidates for the job (MIAMI HERALD, 9/9).
ESTABLISHING A THRESHOLD:Dolphins Senior VP & Chief Revenue Officer Jim Rushton yesterday said that the team has "decided again to use the 85 percent blackout threshold, meaning the Dolphins need to sell just 51,000 non-premium tickets to get home games on TV locally." In Miami, Adam Beasley notes the Dolphins, who have not had a game blacked out since '00, "elected to have the same threshold" in '12. Rushton said that the team "has already sold more season tickets than it did in 2012, when the Dolphins had 40,192 season-ticket holders -- the franchise’s lowest figure in 30 years." The Dolphins "drew just 57,375 fans per game last year, their lowest average attendance" since '89 (MIAMI HERALD, 9/9).
MERCH SALES MOVING UP: In Ft. Lauderdale, Doreen Hemlock cited analysts as saying that the Dolphins' "weak performance on the field" last season "contributed to the team's failing to rank among the top 10" for NFL merchandise sales. However, the Dolphins said that sales "are up so far this season." Team execs said that stores at Sun Life Stadium and the team's training camp sold 36% more since the team's new logo was unveiled this season "compared to the same period last year." The execs declined to "specify dollar or unit amounts." Dolphins Senior VP & CMO Claudia Lezcano said that this increase was "fueled by optimism over new players and increased attendance at training camps this year -- not just the new look." Online retailer Fanatics has "seen a major pickup in sales of Dolphins gear this season." The website said that its sales of Dolphins merchandise rose 140% "since the new logo was unveiled, compared to a year earlier." Its sales of Dolphin jerseys "tripled in that time." Its top-selling new Dolphins jerseys are QB Ryan Tannehill, WR Mike Wallace, DE Cameron Wake, former RB Reggie Bush and WR Brian Hartline. Fanatics also declined to specify dollar or unit amounts but said that its "top markets" are the Miami and N.Y. metro areas (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 9/8).
The Raiders-Chargers game on Oct. 6 may be moved from O.co Coliseum to Qualcomm Stadium "in an effort to accommodate the MLB playoffs," according to Michael Gehlken of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The A's currently are 1 1/2 games up in the AL West and "comfortably control one of two wild-card spots." Both Oakland clubs share O.co Coliseum as a home venue. Early indications are the locations in the Chargers and Raiders' divisional series this year "will indeed be flip flopped," but the decision on that is not expected to come until roughly a couple weeks before the two teams are scheduled to play, "allowing for team travel and other necessary arrangements to be organized." If the first Chargers-Raiders game is moved to Qualcomm, the second game in Week 16 will move to O.Co Coliseum (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/7).
STADIUM STRUGGLES: San Diego interim Mayor Todd Gloria on Friday said that he is "moving forward" with the city's current $520M convention center expansion plan, as opposed to the Chargers' current stadium plan of building a joint-use stadium-convention center for the East Village. But in San Diego, Sharon Chen noted "moving forward with expansion of the convention center does not mean a new stadium for the Chargers is out of the question." Gloria: "The Chargers, we all know, are an enormous community resource" (FOX5SANDIEGO.com, 9/7). Meanwhile, in San Diego, Lori Weisberg wrote the Chargers' "latest move" of proposing the joint-use venue "opens the door to a major showdown next month when an alliance of city and business leaders, the San Diego Unified Port District and Convention Center Corp. make their case for a project they say will deliver a huge economic bonanza and attract the kinds of major shows and conferences that cannot fit within the current center." Gloria was "not dismissing the Chargers’ proposal for a joint-use facility with retractable roof." But he said that "too many unknowns remain, including financing, its design and how much of a contribution city taxpayers would be called upon to make." Weisberg wrote, "Still uncertain ... is just how the Chargers project would be financed" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/7).
The Hurricanes yesterday announced that Exec VP & Assistant GM Jason Karmanos "had been fired" after 15 years with the organization, according to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Hurricanes Owner Peter Karmanos in a statement said his son’s dismissal was a “family matter” and that he would have no further comment. Jason Karmanos yesterday said a “personal disagreement” with his father resulted in the move. He said, "The disagreement I had with my father had nothing to do with the direction of the team or the business of the team. This has nothing to do with my job performance." Hurricanes President & GM Jim Rutherford "confirmed that Karmanos' firing was not related to his job performance." Asked if there might be a “cooling-off period” and if it was possible he might one day return to the Hurricanes organization, Jason Karmanos said, “Based on the conversations I had today and how they went, I do not think so.” His duties "will be assumed" by VP/Hockey Operations Ron Francis and Video Scout & Hockey Operations Assistant Darren Yorke. The Hurricanes begin training camp Wednesday (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 9/9).
In N.Y., Larry McShane reports Sunday's Broncos-Giants matchup -- also known as "Manning Bowl III" because it will pit sibling QBs Peyton and Eli Manning against each other -- is currently the city's "hottest ticket, with 50-yard-line club seats selling for up to $4,400 apiece on StubHub." TiqIQ data shows that the current average asking price to the game is $489.42 per ticket, while lower-level end zone seats with a $120 face value currently "are priced anywhere from $331 to $630" on StubHub depending on how close they are to the field. VividSeats.com "advertised lower-level seats between the 40-yard lines for up to $1,200 a pop," and upper-deck 50-yard line seats with a face value of $85 were on sale for $330 apiece (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/9).
FAMILY MATTERS: CBSSPORTS.com's Jason La Canfora cited sources, who confirmed a SportsBusiness Journal report last month, as saying that Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III could turn the "day-to-day-operations" of the team over to his father, Jim Haslam if he is forced to step down in light of the Pilot Flying J scandal. Sources said that the deal has already been signed off on and "would go into place should ... the younger Haslam be suspended from serving as owner." Sources also said that it is "extremely remote that Haslam would be in a position whereby the NFL would prompt him to divest himself from the club entirely," but added that if this happens, the league has "identified potential owners who might be able to assume control of the team in an expeditious manner" (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/7).
SCHEDULING SHAM? CBSSN’s Amy Trask said of the Ravens' season opener being played in Denver due to a scheduling conflict with the Orioles, "I do not think Baltimore should have been placed at Denver for that game. Because they could play at home and had to be on the road, they should not have had to play at the site of last year’s dramatic double-overtime playoff victory." She added, "Knowing that the Orioles weren’t going to move their game and Baltimore couldn’t be in Baltimore, then put them somewhere else" ("That Other Pregame Show," CBSSN, 9/8).
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: In N.Y., Billy Witz wrote, "Nobody does expectations like the Cowboys." Team Owner Jerry Jones said, "We have the Cowboy factor. ... When you look at the cities that don’t have NFL football, we have a great following there. We’re the No. 1 television team there is." He added of the Patriots, "How long has it been since New England’s won a Super Bowl? Almost 10 years. What happens is if you can do really well for a notable period of time -- and they got three -- you can ride that horse for a long time." Jones: "The Cowboys, it’s like going to Las Vegas. We shove a lot out there when we throw the dice. I’d rather go down falling short on expectations and have done it not in an unorthodox way, but with some twist" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/8).