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Volume 24 No. 115


The Grizzlies are "reporting robust ticket sales" for next season and are also "finishing the process of renewing leases on the lower-level luxury suites," according to Zack McMillin of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Grizzlies VP/Ticket Sales & Service Dennis O'Connor said that the franchise is "on pace to match last year's 90-plus percent renewal rate among season-ticket holders." Grizzlies VP/Marketing & Communications John Pugliese said that if some of the season-ticket holders for the 27 lower-level suites "do not renew," there is a waiting list. The team also is showing off a new product called “Grizzlies Theater Boxes,” in which the arena takes "three current club-level suites" and partitions them so that there are "six private boxes of four to six seats." The pricing "includes access to every FedExForum event." The concept is "similar to mezzanine or balcony seating at a theater or opera house, but with a common area in behind the seats." Grizzlies COO Jason Wexler said that the new boxes are "aimed at offering premium suite access and amenities to individuals and companies for whom a 16- to 20-ticket luxury box is not an option." Wexler said, "There’s a lot of businesses that want to entertain and a very high, premium level but maybe can’t fill 16 to 20 seats for every event." He added, “They are targeted for people who do a lot of private-client type of business or families who may want a more exclusive environment.” O'Connor: "We're on pace to hopefully get a franchise record in FSE number and also in revenue." Meanwhile, Wexler said that the franchise is "making strategic investments in 'business analytics.'" McMillin wrote with Grizzlies Owner Robert Pera appearing to "spend more time directly involved" with the franchise, expect to see his influence "showing up more on the business side" (Memphis COMMERICAL APPEAL, 7/4).

EARNING POWER: The MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL writes after a month that began with the firing of CEO Jason Levien, things have "calmed down" and are "looking good again" for the Grizzlies. Pera's regime is "slowly earning more trust from fans" as the owner "disappeared back into the ether that he materialized from in time for the draft." Pera will "never be as outgoing" as late former Owner Michael Heisley, nor will he ever be a "high-profile celebrity" like Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban. But what Pera "needs to understand" is that if he is not going to talk to fans outside of his Twitter account or radio appearances, he needs to "find someone within the organization that he trusts and empower them enough to speak on his behalf" (MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/4 issue). 

The Lakers last season were the "most profitable franchise in the NBA -- by a large margin," according to an NBA memo cited by Eric Pincus of the L.A. TIMES. A memo distributed to teams by the league projects the Lakers will earn a profit of $158.3M from the '13-14 season, "before tax and revenue sharing." The Bulls were second on the list, earning "less than half that amount" at $75.7M. The Clippers were seventh at $30.4M, while the Nets were the "least profitable" with a loss of $51.5M. The Lakers also will pay $8.7M in luxury taxes and contribute $49.6M to NBA revenue sharing, "reducing their profits" to $100.1M. The Grizzlies will "receive a league-high" $23.1M in revenue sharing, followed by the Hornets at $22M. There are 21 teams that "project to finish with a positive cash flow, up from 17 before taxes and revenue sharing" (L.A. TIMES, 7/6). GRANTLAND's Zach Lowe reported the NBA's revenue sharing is "complex, with payouts and contributions tied to all sorts of variables -- market size, profitability, earnings benchmarks, and other stuff." The Lakers and Knicks are among the teams that "play in markets so large they are disqualified from ever receiving revenue-sharing payouts." The Knicks are "expected to take a net loss for the season" of around $3.5M, but they are still "insanely profitable." They made $58M "on their own, and will 'lose money' only because of their huge revenue-sharing contribution" of nearly $27M and the "giant tax bill they paid for a lottery roster" (, 6/30).

The Triple-A Int'l League Charlotte Knights through July 5 have seen a "record-breaking" 429,133 fans attend games at the club's new downtown BB&T Ballpark, eclipsing the club's "previous season attendance record" set in '93 when the Knights game were still playing in Fort Mill, S.C., according to Gavin Off of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The team has "sold out 22 of 45 games so far this season" at its new 10,200-seat ballpark (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/6). Knights Exec VP & COO Dan Rajkowski on Tuesday said, "It's different, that's for sure. A week ago, I asked [GM Scott Brown], 'What have we got tonight?' He said, 'About eight.' In Fort Mill, that was 800 (tickets sold). Now it's 8,000. And the 800 (last year) might have been generous." In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg wrote there is "no need to attribute the on-field product to any of this growth." The Knights are "tied for the worst record" in the Int'l League and finished with a losing record in '13. But add a "new stadium, new colors and logos and -- presto! -- crowds now average 9,574 per game, or nearly 1,000 more than the second-best draw in the league," the Indianapolis Indians. In '13, Knights' crowds "fell short of the league average of 6,719" by 43% (, 7/3).

In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette noted the Jaguars have “6,000 new season-ticket holders and are briskly selling a variety of expensive specialty items.” Most of the cabana seating near newly-built pools in the north end zone is “sold out, as well as 38 newly designed four-person tables on the east and west sides of EverBank Field.” Jaguars President Mark Lamping said that there is a “waiting list for the terrace suites.” Frenette wrote while the Jaguars will “fall well short of selling out 10,800 club seats, the encouraging news is they’re increasing local revenue without putting a heavy burden on fans buying the large majority of seats” (, 7/4).
DOLLAR BILLS: SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said the number of billionaires "in the mix" who might decide this month to bid on the Bills is "far broader than the names the media have identified.” Ganis: "I know that there are very financially capable prospective bidders who are looking at this. ... I suspect they won't be identified publicly unless they are successful.” Ganis said that the unidentified potential bidders he is aware of are “so deep-pocketed and cash fluid” that each could “potentially buy the team on his or her own” (QMI AGENCY, 7/6).

A PHINE MESS: In Ft. Lauderdale, Chris Perkins noted Dolphins DE Dion Jordan’s four-game suspension for violating the NFL's PED policy is “another bad news episode for the Dolphins, a team that has been immersed in a string of bad news events for almost a year.” Each of these events has “added to the perception that coach Joe Philbin and owner Steve Ross still don’t have a firm grasp on their organization.” In the end, this is “just another episode to make fans shake their heads” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/4).