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Volume 24 No. 117


The struggle between Lakers President Jeanie Buss and her brothers Jim and Johnny, the former Exec VP/Basketball Operations and former Exec VP/Strategic Development, respectively, for control of the Lakers has "moved toward resolution," according to Nathan Fenno of the L.A. TIMES. The brothers signed a two-page consent agreement last week to "waive the team’s annual shareholders meeting and elect their sister and four others to the board of directors." This means Jeanie Buss will "remain the team’s controlling owner until at least the next shareholders meeting in December." Also selected as directors were NBA D-League L.A. D-Fenders President & CEO Joey Buss, Johnny Buss, AEG President & CEO Dan Beckerman and Lakers Exec VP Francis Mariani (L.A. TIMES, 3/18). In L.A., Altman & Medina noted Jeanie Buss appears to have "won the battle with two of her brothers to remain in control of the team -- at least for now." The action comes two weeks after Jeanie Buss "thwarted a coup attempt by Jim and Johnny Buss to oust her from her job as the team’s governor" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 3/18).

The A's on Saturday unveiled their new "Rooted In Oakland" ad campaign with a series of TV spots that emphasize the club's commitment to building a new ballpark in Oakland. The ads, created in conjunction with Hub Strategy & Communication, S.F., were shot in Oakland. Visit the A's website to view all five spots: "Mayor Melvin," "Elephant Country," "Out For Run," "BART Training Camp" and "Fireworks Dreams" (A's). In San Jose, Carl Steward wrote the campaign begins to "drive home the point that the A's are staying home." The team has "finally and fully embraced its home market under the aggressive, energetic direction" of new President Dave Kaval, and "not just at the Coliseum for a change." The "rebooted ad campaign effectively expands the boundaries." The "objective was clear: show off Oakland." Featured in the ads are Ps Sean Doolittle, Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman, C Stephen Vogt and SS Marcus Semien. The A's also "received the cooperation" of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to "appear in two commercials." A's VP/Marketing & Sales Jim Leahey said, "The organization has a good opportunity to get a lot of mind-share in Oakland and the surrounding areas." Steward noted Oakland residents as part of the campaign will see "plenty of green and gold around town -- a flood of billboards, 122 light pole banners and an 80-foot mural on the side of a building." There are "several different sub-themes that will be displayed on the various banners." One denotes, "We Never Give Up, Unless It's A Seat On BART, Because We're Gentlemen" (, 3/18).

Atlanta United asked fans on Twitter "how the experience was" at Saturday's home game against the Fire "compared with two weeks ago," according to Doug Roberson of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Some of the 45,000 fans on hand said that it took "just five minutes" to get into Bobby Dodd Stadium and "purchase a beer" after it took 45 minutes just to get into the venue for the first game. Other fans reported that "lines were still more than 10 minutes long to purchase beer at halftime." The club and the Georgia Tech Athletic Association spent the past two weeks "trying to improve the experience" with the "addition of more food and beverage vendors, more ushers at the gates, more beer pourers" and other changes (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 3/19).

: The AP's Paul Newberry wrote though it is "early," Atlanta has "really embraced" MLS. While Atlanta United has been "impressive on the field, winning the last two games by a combined score of 10-1," the club's "best work has [come] in the stands." The club's inaugural home contest attracted a sellout of 55,297, which was "larger than any crowd drawn this past season" by Georgia Tech football. That was followed by turnout of 45,922 for Saturday's game, another sellout since the school "closed off 10,000 seats in the upper deck for previously planned renovation work." That is "not too shabby, considering United won’t even move into its permanent home," Mercedes-Benz Stadium, until late July. Atlanta United D Michael Parkhurst said, "The support has been just amazing. We’re very, very fortunate that we’ve got this atmosphere to play in front of." The club "hardly has the look of a neophyte organization." Saturday's crowd was on its "best behavior," even "unveiling a banner before the game that said, 'Give Racism A Red Card'" (AP, 3/18).

The Bruins are "taking their Twitter videos to a whole new level" by using the social media site to "replay game highlights and share footage of on-ice action," according to Olivia Vanni of the BOSTON HERALD. The team has also been "showing snippets, like locker room confessionals." Bruins LW Brad Marchand, in an episode of "Behind the B," a web series that earned the Bruins a New England Emmy Award for best sports series, "confesses his affinity for pizza." On March 15, the Bruins "tweeted out footage of Marchand ... repeatedly asking, 'Where's the pizza at?'" So far, the Twitter video has "been watched nearly 30,000 times" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/20).

In Orlando, Josh Robbins reports Clippers President of Basketball Operations & coach Doc Rivers is "distancing himself from speculation that he could join" the Magic this summer in a front-office role. Rivers said, "I can tell you I had a past with the Magic. I have no future. My future’s here." Magic GM Rob Hennigan "appears likely to be fired after the season." The Magic are "fighting against irrelevance, even in their own market." The Magic hired Rivers in '99 as a first-time head coach. Rivers, the DeVos family, which owns the Magic, and Magic CEO Alex Martins "nonetheless are on good terms" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/20).

WHO SHOT YA? In N.Y., Phil Mushnick noted the Nets honored the Notorious B.I.G. last week, though it was on the "pathetic premise" that the late rapper was born in Brooklyn and it was the 20th anniversary of his drive-by murder. What Biggie Smalls has to do with the Nets" is unclear. Still, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark and the Nets "apparently couldn’t find anyone else born in Brooklyn -- an educator, war hero, physician, nurse -- more worthy to honor" (N.Y. POST, 3/19).

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: Former Knicks and MSG President Dave Checketts said that times and expectations "have changed" for the team. Checketts: "They are way lower than ever before. I’m not mocking them. I’m just saying -- making the playoffs would be a gigantic accomplishment." Checketts added, “For the teams we had, we couldn’t afford to not at least make a case that we could win it all. But I don’t think there’s any question that they could get away with rebuilding now, because the fan base has been built over time and the expectations are so much lower. But I think it’s going to be important to communicate it purposefully and properly" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/19).

YELLOW SUBMARINE: In Phoenix, Dan Bickley wrote the Suns have "finally embraced" tanking. Entering the final month of the NBA season, the Suns have "shut down three healthy players, including two members of their starting lineup." The team said that it needs to "test and grow their younger players." They are also "protecting their haul of ping pong balls in the upcoming NBA draft lottery at the expense of team morale and fan experience." Bickley wrote "good for them," even though ticket buyers "can’t be all that thrilled." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver "better find a solution before his regular season becomes a total joke." This decision is "appropriate and intelligent, regardless of the feelings that might get hurt in the process" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/19).