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Volume 24 No. 216

Franchises

The impact the Jaguars' postseason run is having on the team’s fortunes is "getting gaudy," as fans are being asked to make a $100 "non-refundable deposit for general or $250 deposit for prime season tickets" in '18, according to Drew Dixon of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Jaguars Senior VP/Sales & Services Chad Johnson said the team has "more than three times the total number of deposits" that it received last year on potential season-ticket sales. He noted the team has been "doing about similar numbers each day from the time of our first (home) playoff game until now." But Johnson said that there was a "spike in deposits on Sunday afternoon and Monday" as the Jaguars' AFC Divisional playoff win over the Steelers "brought an even bigger spike in deposit season ticket demands." The team has "launched what Johnson called probably the most intense marketing campaign in team history with advertisements inundating television, radio and digital outlets." He noted the Jaguars typically will increase marketing efforts "around the game." But Johnson added, "This is the strongest market push we’ve placed. Excitement is at an all-time high. The schedule for next year is great. It’s our opportunity to capitalize and continue to allow our fans to support this team" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/17).

The average ticket price for an NFL Jets game next season "will decrease" by 11% following the team's second straight 5-11 season, according to Brian Costello of the N.Y. POST. More than half of the tickets at MetLife Stadium "will decrease" in price for '18, with the other prices remaining flat. The Jets are also "offering a two-year freeze on ticket prices -- meaning they will remain the same in 2019 -- for fans who order their tickets by March 1 and enroll in an automatic payment plan" (N.Y. POST, 1/17). The team is "offering some mezzanine season tickets without PSL fees" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/17). The Jets said that all season-ticket holders "will receive Jets Cash for food and merchandise credit if they renew by March 1, at levels based on the cost of their seat and whether the price has been lowered for that seat" (NEWSDAY, 1/17). 

Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban said that the team next season "will begin accepting cryptocurrency payments," according to Stan Higgins of COINDESK.com. Cuban was asked on Twitter yesterday about the possibility of paying for tickets with cryptocurrency, to which he replied: "Next season." Cuban later "confirmed the news and said that the team would take both bitcoin and ethers -- as well as 'possibly some other currencies.'" He suggested that the Mavericks' "crypto-payments system could, when launched, offer support for other tokens as well beyond the more well-known cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether." He said, "We will also look at accepting tokens from companies we have traditional business relationships with as a way to expand our customer base" (COINDESK.com, 1/16).

The Double-A Eastern League Hartford Yard Goats will "look a little different" in '18 under newly promoted President Tim Restall, according to John Altavilla of the HARTFORD COURANT. Restall's rise from GM to president "led to the naming of a successor" through the promotion of Assistant GM Mike Abramson. Restall said Abramson will "focus on the day-to-day operation, from guest services to ticket sales to concessions." Restall: "I will be more focused on big picture items, working with our community programs and getting some outside events into the ballpark." Abramson has 12 years of experience in MiLB front offices, and there was "no better organization in minor league baseball last season than the Yard Goats," who are the Double-A affiliate of the Rockies. The Yard Goats "sold out 41 times, including the final 21 and 26 of the last 30 games in Hartford." However, Abramson said the team has "room for improvement" since it "only sold out" 41 games. Abramson said that the "key to attracting more fans during the traditionally slow months of April and May is as simple as thinking creatively." Abramson: "You have work very hard to sell out a game in April. It’s possible, and if you had enough time, energy and money you could sell out every game. ... It’s a pipe dream, to some degree. But I see no reason not to start there" (HARTFORD COURANT, 1/16).

The Steelers yesterday "had no comment" on a report that some of the team's "limited partners plan to lobby" for team President Art Rooney II to fire coach Mike Tomlin. The ownership group "consists of 19 members, with five being members of the Rooney family" (TRIBLIVE.com, 1/16). In Pittsburgh, Ed Bouchette writes if he was Rooney and "one or more of these people came to me to suggest such a thing, I would show them the door." Bouchette: "It is beyond ludicrous for one or a few minority owners to even think they have enough influence to persuade Rooney to can Tomlin" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/17). THE MMQB's Peter King offers 10 reasons why Tomlin "should not be fired," including that the Rooney family "is sane" (SI.com, 1/17).

BROWN OUT: Padres Exec Chair Ron Fowler shot down rumors the team will "bring back brown uniforms on a full-time basis" in the near future. He said during an appearance on XEPRS-AM that it would "probably be the 2020 season before we see anything" regarding uniform changes. Fowler: "I'm not a fan of, as Tony Gwynn used to say, the 'baby poop' brown-and-yellow uniforms. I think there's some brown that is very, very classy, and we'll see what the market tells us" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/17).

ALL IN THE CARDS? The MLB Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up fan fest concluded Monday, and foot traffic "was light, lines often short, and autograph sales, in some cases, slower than usual." Cardinals Care Dir Michael Hall said that total admission tickets sold "were 16,000 ... despite how the crowd looked." That was up from last year "when the team canceled a day because of poor weather" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/16).