The Pirates yesterday announced that the gold "P" on their cap will become their "primary logo, replacing the pirate logo," according to a front-page piece by Michael Sanserino of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. It is the "first time since the 1930s that a cartoon pirate will not serve as the team's primary logo." The team will "continue to feature the pirate logo on uniform sleeves for the immediate future," and it is "still part of the team's official style guide." But most of the team's retail apparel now will "feature the gold 'P' and not the grumpy pirate." It is a change that has been "in the works for several years as merchandise has increasingly emphasized that logo." The current version of the pirate that the team refers to as "Jolly Roger" has been around since '97, "but the original dates to 1936." Initially, the team "planned to replace the most recent incarnation with another pirate." But after consulting focus groups of fans, the Pirates "decided on the 'P.'" By emphasizing the "P" logo more prominently in recent years, the Pirates "made the transition easier because fans already identify the new logo with the team" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/9).
Browns President Alec Scheiner said gate revenue remains "a significant part" of the team's business, because the NFL's "media product is not as good if our in-person product isn't as good," according to Kevin Kleps of CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS. Scheiner: "A lot of that stuff is driven by ticket sales -- concessions revenue, in-game merchandise sales. It's only 10 games, but it's still a big part of our business." He added of the NFL's TV deals accounting for the majority of each team's media-rights revenue, "We do put a high importance on those local media rights. We place high importance on corporate partnerships. As long as we continue to take that approach, we think we'll be successful." Scheiner also addressed whether the team's ticket prices will be affected by the team's $120M renovation of FirstEnergy Stadium, saying, "We don't link those two things. We haven't raised our ticket prices in five years, and I believe we were 31st in the NFL in average ticket price this year." Meanwhile, Kleps cited a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the North American sports industry as showing that merchandising "will grow at a compound annual rate of 1.3% between 2013 and 2017, compared to 7.7% for media rights, 6.0% for sponsorships and 3.9% for gate revenues." Scheiner said, "That becomes a very local business. That can be focused on which players you have. If you talked to the Washington Redskins last year, their merchandising business was probably off the charts because of RG3. In Dallas, we ran our own merchandising. We opted out of the NFL deal. Marketable players really drive your merchandise sales" (CRAINSCLEVELAND.com, 1/8).
CSNBAYAREA.com's Scott Bair wrote of the Raiders retaining coach Dennis Allen for '14, "Why it took owner Mark Davis a week to acknowledge something he claimed to have always known is curious, but continuity was his best available option heading into an all-important transition from 'deconstruction' to 'reconstruction.'" The team's actions will tell if its "steadfast commitment to a long-term plan remains intact." While GM Reggie McKenzie "hasn't put together a top-flight roster" in his current role, the hierarchy remains because Davis "trusts McKenzie and McKenzie trusts Allen." However, it remains "uncertain how Davis feels about his head coach" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 1/8).
KICK IT UP A NOTCH: NBCSPORTS.com's Richard Farley reported the NASL Atlanta Silverbacks are expanding the role of Technical Dir Eric Wynalda, giving him "control of everything from the technical director's office to the training ground and sidelines." Wynalda also is an analyst with FS1, and "whenever he's not fulfilling that deal in California, he'll be with Atlanta." Wynalda, who has "long coveted a job in MLS, gets to flash his coaching potential to whatever extent his Fox contract allows" (NBCSPORTS.com, 1/7).
RIGHT ON TARGET: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman reported the Twins "have renewed" more than 85% of their '13 season tickets and "expect to surpass 17,000 season ticket equivalents" in '14. The team's season-ticket sales in '13 were 19,000 (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/5).