Spurs Sports & Entertainment "would be against the Raiders, as they are currently structured, relocating to South Texas," according to sources cited by Orsborn & Baugh in a front-page piece of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. Spurs shareholder Charlie Amato indicated that SS&E "harbors concerns about its long-term financial health should it be forced to compete with another major league franchise for sponsorships, suite sales and ticket sales." Amato said that the solution would be for SS&E to have "controlling interest in the Raiders or perhaps any other major league franchise that wanted to move to San Antonio." Amato: "I would be more excited about the Oakland Raiders moving to San Antonio if the Spurs ownership group had the possibility of purchasing the team." He added that a Spurs-controlled NFL team would "ensure that the football club would be culturally compatible with the NBA power." Consulting firm The Aspire Group Chair & CEO Bernie Mullin believes NFL teams seeking to relocate should "seriously consider moving to South or Central Texas." Mullin said a recent study by his firm "indicated San Antonio and certainly somewhere between the San Antonio and Austin markets would appear to be extremely viable for the NFL." While Mullin acknowledged that San Antonio "lacks a robust corporate base for pro sports sponsorships," he believes that an NFL team with "only roughly 10 home games per season in such a tourism hotbed as San Antonio would draw fans and sponsors from an 'extremely large radius'" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 8/12).
DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH: In Lubbock, Enrique Rangel wrote Raiders Owner Mark Davis is "doing what other franchises have previously done when trying to negotiate a new stadium with their host city: They have used the Alamo City as a bargaining chip." The city's TV market ranks 36th in the nation, "not big enough for an NFL team." Also, "a fifth of the city’s population lives under the poverty line and there are not enough Fortune 500 corporations" (LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL, 8/9).
The Buccaneers for the second year in a row are "making the commitment to casual fans that there will be no local TV blackouts, with all 2014 home games available for local TV broadcast," according to Greg Auman of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. The NFL's blackout rules state that a home game cannot be shown locally if less than 85% of the non-premium seats have been sold, but a team "short of that threshold can 'purchase' unsold seats at a fraction of the price to lift the blackout." The Bucs said "the majority" of the team's '14 home games are projected to reach that 85% minimum. Auman noted the team "might not have to write a large check to the league at all to assure no blackouts" (TAMPABAY.com, 8/11). In Florida, Beasock & Fredericksen note the Bucs "also are ensuring that the two preseason home games against Miami on Saturday and against Washington on Aug. 28 will also be broadcast by the team's official preseason broadcast partner" WFLA-NBC. Individual game tickets, in "most price categories, remain available for all games except for" the Week 16 matchup against the Packers, "which is sold out" (Lakeland LEDGER, 8/12).
NHL Panthers Vice Chair & Partner Douglas Cifu said he and team Owner Vinnie Viola are "here to make this franchise work in Florida," but added the team and BB&T Center "have lost a significant amount of money year over year for the last 10-plus years and the current business model is not sustainable," according to Jameson Olive of FOX SPORTS FLORIDA. The team's long-term future in Florida is a "conversation that has been ongoing for over a decade." Cifu said ownership has "kept our end of the bargain by signing six free agents on July 1 to more than $60 million of contracts and resigning some key young players to multi-year deals." He added the Panthers' payroll is "currently about $5 million from the NHL cap, the highest it has ever been." Olive noted the Panthers last month made headlines by eliminating their ice dancers. Cifu explained the decision, saying, "We concluded that we wanted the hockey experience at the BB&T to be just that -- all about hockey." He added, "We were contacted by a number of fans that bring young children to games who expressed some level of concern regarding the ice dancers. As a father of two children who are 11 and 12, I understood and respected their points of view which are consistent with our hockey-first vision for Panthers games." Cifu also noted the team's Club Red premium lounge will have a "smaller footprint" this season (FOXSPORTSFLORIDA.com, 8/9).