MLB owners today begin a two-day quarterly owners’ meeting in Chicago and will conduct an initial review of the proposed Marlins sale from Jeffrey Loria to a group led by Derek Jeter and businessman Bruce Sherman leading the agenda. Owners will not take a formal vote on the $1.2B deal, with that step anticipated next month in advance of a targeted early October closing. But there is expected to be significant discussion on the transaction, particularly among the league’s ownership committee (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
I NEED A HERO: In N.Y., Tyler Kepner writes the sports world’s "default stance on the prospect of Jeter heading the baseball operations of the Marlins" is to say "all he does is win." Based on Jeter's on-field track record, the "reasoning among optimists goes, success surely will follow." A 43-year-old Jeter could "conceivably run the Marlins for decades -- and as a biracial executive with a high-profile, authoritative presence in the game, he would immediately represent at least a symbolic victory" for MLB in its "struggle for front-office diversity." Former NL President Leonard Coleman Jr. said of Jeter, "I’m very pleased. When Jackie Robinson made his last speech in 1972, he talked about just this: minorities moving into front offices and team ownership. This is great, and certainly extends Jackie’s legacy." Kepner notes Jeter and Sherman will "likely be embraced by the Marlins' fans, many of whom have been deeply disillusioned by Loria and the team’s original owner, Wayne Huizenga, who dismantled championship teams." But good will "only goes so far." TBS MLB analyst Gary Sheffield said, "I don’t care who you bring as owner, Derek Jeter’s not going to put one more seat in the stands because he’s not playing." Kepner notes the Marlins "face other big hurdles before Jeter signs a single player," including an estimated $400M debt, the possibility the league will reduce its revenue sharing (now about $50M) and the lack of a good RSN deal. Former MLB Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg, who is now seeking to own the Hurricanes, said that Jeter should "study the example" of Penguins co-Owner Mario Lemieux. Greenberg: "He partnered with a terrific businessman in Ron Burkle, and together they worked in an exemplary fashion. They hired great people, they relied on those people and they’ve got three Stanley Cups" (NYTIMES.com, 8/16).
FOOL'S ERRAND? In DC, Thom Loverro wrote under the header, "Even Jeter Can't Rescue Dismal State Of Baseball In Florida." Jeter and Sherman would be acquiring a team that "loses money and that no one in South Florida particularly cares about." But then again, there are "only 30 such positions available," so if a person or group wants to get an MLB club, "you pay the freight, even for a dog of a franchise like the Marlins" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 8/15).
The Chiefs ranked ninth in NFL attendance last year with an average of 73,328 fans per game, "despite being one of the NFL’s smallest markets," but the numbers "do show a downward trend, miniscule as it might be," according to Terez Paylor of the K.C. STAR. Despite the Chiefs' success the last four years under coach Andy Reid -- three playoff appearances -- attendance has "dropped a tad" each year since '13, when an average of 75,359 fans trekked to Arrowhead Stadium. Chiefs Chair & CEO Clark Hunt said, "I don’t know that there is a silver bullet on that, and the at-home experience is going to continue to get better. That’s just the nature of technology." Clark added that the "challenge right now" is to "make sure the team’s in-stadium experience is ... as good or compelling as the at-home experience, and unique in certain respects." Paylor writes to that end, the Chiefs have an "advantage some other markets don’t." The club's tailgating experience is an "entrenched staple" in K.C. and "something that continues to draw fans to Arrowhead, even in today’s premium TV era." That is "part of the reason the Chiefs created a new viewing area at Arrowhead over the offseason." With a "capacity of about 100 fans, the new viewing area is located just steps away from the Chiefs' locker room and 50-yard-line entrance to the field." Other NFL teams have "similar features in their stadiums," including the Cowboys and Vikings. Hunt said that with 13 years remaining on the Chiefs' lease, he will "continue to monitor exciting features in new stadiums and explore more ways to upgrade Arrowhead" (K.C. STAR, 8/16).
BRING IT ON: In K.C., Blair Kerkhoff reported the Chiefs, K.C. Sports Commission and Visit KC have "submitted an 'expression of interest'" in holding the NFL Draft during the period of '19-23. Hunt: "Any time we can bring a national event to Kansas City, that’s something we want to do." Kerkhoff noted K.C.'s bid "includes three options for sites: Union Station, the World War I Museum and Kauffman Center would be combined for one option; Sprint Center and the Power & Light District for another; and the Truman Sports Complex as the third." Hunt: "We’re so glad the NFL made the decision to move the draft out of New York and rotate it. ... Hopefully in the next three, four or five years, we’ll get it." Kerkhoff notes K.C. Sports Commission President Kathy Nelson "attended the drafts in Chicago and Philadelphia and was convinced it would thrive" in K.C. (KANSASCITY.com, 8/15).
The NFL Jets yesterday laid out their new fan initiatives for the season, from "perks for season-ticket and PSL holders to mobile app upgrades" and even establishing a Jets Fan HOF, according to Brian Heyman of NEWSDAY. Season-ticket and PSL holders are "getting 'Jets Cash' worth $20-$100 per seat." It is "credit at the home games for merchandise, food and drinks." Plus, hot dogs and 12-ounce sodas "will be half-price." There also will be "PSL holder-only events, including a kids combine at the training complex in Florham Park." The team is also "launching 'Jets 360 Productions,' providing more content for its digital and social media outlets." There will be a "new pregame show on SNY and a new Sunday show on Channel 2 after the late news." The Jets' mobile app will now "feature a connection to Uber and Jets Official Answer Network, a chatbot to answer questions" (NEWSDAY, 8/16). In N.Y., Thomas Lipe notes to be inducted into the HOF, fans can "visit the Jets’ website and nominate themselves, or others." From those who are nominated, 10 finalists "will be selected by Jets legends." Of those 10 finalists, three will be "chosen by the fans to become part of the inaugural class." The three fans will be "honored on the field during the final home game of this season" (N.Y. POST, 8/16).
NOW BOARDING: SPORTING NEWS' Michael McCarthy wrote one idea is "adventurous enough to appeal to millennials: the new Jets Boarding Pass season ticket plan." The Boarding Pass invites fans to attend 10 games (eight regular season; two preseason) in "varying seat locations for the 2017 season." Boarding Pass is a "smart way to appeal to fans who might like the novelty and surprise of sitting in different seats on any given Sunday." Team President Neil Glat "declined to comment on how many fans he expects to purchase the 10-game season pass" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 8/15).
USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale notes White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf "concedes that all of the losing this year has been rough on the soul." Sitting at last place in the AL, the team is on pace to finish with its "second-worst record in 47 years," behind only '70. But Reinsdorf "keeps reminding himself that everything is going according to plan." He said, "It’s tough, very tough. What made it hard for me was my age. I’m 81 years old. How long am I going to be around, right? So why would I want to go for a full rebuild at my age." Reinsdorf: "The decision I made was that I can’t be a factor in this thing. As the owner of this team, I have an obligation to do what’s right for the fans" (USA TODAY, 8/16).
SLASH & BURN: The AP's Ronald Blum noted the Mets have "cut payroll" by more than $11.6M in recent weeks. The team saved $3M by trading 2B Neil Walker to the Brewers, $3.77M when they dealt RF Jay Bruce to the Indians, $2.61M when they traded 1B Lucas Duda to the Rays and $2.26M when they sent P Addison Reed to the Red Sox. The Mets "began the season" with a $156.8M payroll for the 40-man roster (AP, 8/15).
GETTING IT RIGHT: In Memphis, Geoff Calkins wrote under the header, "NBA Rights A Wrong, Puts MLK Day Game Back In Memphis." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver "understood the importance of putting a game in Memphis on Martin Luther King Jr. Day," with Lakers-Grizzlies now slated for an afternoon game on Jan. 15. Silver also "understood the game had to be on national TV" as '18 marks the 50th year after MLK was shot and killed. The end result is "exactly the way it should be ... should have been since the Grizzlies essentially invented the concept of the MLK Game" back in '03 (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/15).