The financial returns from the Hurricanes' first playoff appearance in 10 years will take some time to calculate, but team President & GM Don Waddell said that they "might not be all that consequential anyway," according to a front-page piece by Andrew Carter of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. This is because the "majority of first-round playoff revenue goes to the NHL and not individual franchises." Hurricanes execs are "less interested in what the team's recent success means to the current bottom line compared to what it might mean years from now." Waddell said, "The driver is for us to create the excitement of building your season ticket sale base for next year." Five years ago, Waddell said that the team's' season-ticket holder base "amounted to 5,200." This season, it was approximately 7,400. Last year, Waddell said that the team "generated about $400,000 in 'new' ticket revenue for next season." Now, he said that the Hurricanes have "already generated" $2M in new ticket revenue. Carter notes under the leadership of Owner Tom Dundon, the Hurricanes have "tried to build a culture of showmanship and entertainment." Dundon said what drives the success of any franchise "can't just be winning." Dundon: "If winning is your only plan, then you're only going to be halfway successful." He added that the team has "much work to do in the areas of corporate sponsorships, ticket sales and suite sales." He said, "Our revenues are below other NHL teams. And given that, what you'd like to do is at least be average, maybe slightly above" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 4/23).
MLS expansion club Inter Miami CF will spend its first two seasons at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, raising the question of whether fans will "make the trek" to Broward County and whether the club can "capture the hearts of a fickle and fragmented sporting public in South Florida," according to Jeff Carlisle of ESPN.com. Playing in Ft. Lauderdale and "basing some operations there would have its advantages in terms of location and would provide leverage in any kind of negotiation" with Miami over the stadium site. However, it also "runs the risk of sending mixed messages." Inter Miami supporter group Southern Legion Founding Member Piet Brown said, "You branded your team from day one as Miami. I think you need to play your MLS games in the city you're named after." Inter Miami has been "laying the groundwork to get the lease" negotiated for the Melreese site, where it plans to build its permanent stadium. Inter Miami Managing Owner Jorge Mas said that he "anticipates being able to bring the lease before the City Commission in the next month." Former Sun Sentinel columnist Jeff Rusnak said, "In South Florida, you make judgements about how far will I drive to see something. I'll do anything if it takes me 15 minutes. If it's an hour, it better be really worth my while" (ESPN.com, 4/22).
The Clippers are currently playing the Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and Thursday will mark five years since the two teams faced off in a series that was "overshadowed by the infamous Donald Sterling tapes," according to Arash Markazi of the L.A. TIMES. Markazi recently spoke to LAFC Senior VP/Communications & Content Seth Burton, who then held a similar position with the Clippers, to take a look back at the fallout from TMZ releasing the "taped conversations of the Clippers owner making insensitive racial remarks." Burton said TMZ Founder Harvey Levin called him before releasing the tapes, and warned they were "really bad." Burton: "He said it was racial but he wouldn’t get into specifics." Burton "finally obtained a copy of the tape the morning before it was released and listened with Clippers coach Doc Rivers in the hallway of the Four Seasons Hotel" in S.F. Burton said Rivers was the "right person at the right time in history for that moment." Burton: "I don’t know if there’s another coach who could have handled it better than he did." Burton discovered that Sterling, who had attended Game 3 of the series, was also "planning to go to Game 4." Burton: "I run into the locker room and I hand Doc my phone and said, ‘Please, Doc, talk to these guys.’ It got heated. He was telling them he couldn’t come to the game" (L.A. TIMES, 4/23).
COMPLETE 180: THE ATHLETIC's Zach Harper wrote under the header, "Five Years After Donald Sterling’s Ban, The Clippers Have Become A Beacon Of Professional Light." The Clippers are now "being taken seriously around the league," as they have "gone from being one of the biggest punch lines in sports to looking like a model for professionalism and success." Team Owner Steve Ballmer and company "have the Clippers run as well as just about anybody" (THEATHLETIC.com, 4/22).
Rogers Communications President & CEO Joe Natale "remains fiercely committed" in the company's ownership of the Blue Jays "even after costly trades of two players led to an earnings miss," according to Natalie Wong of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Natale said, “We are very much focused on the broad sports business, and we’re focused on investing in the capabilities of our sports properties as a whole." Rogers reported last week adjusted earnings per share in Q1 that were "below the lowest analyst estimate, partly due to a hit in media revenue following the trades" of C Russell Martin and DH Kendrys Morales. The Blue Jays had to "pick up portions of both players’ contracts as part of the deals." Rogers CFO Tony Staffieri last year said that the company was "considering selling assets such as the Blue Jays and a stake in media company Cogeco Inc. to off-load capital for other investments." However, Natale said last week that he has "no plans to sell the team" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 4/18).
Former Flyers VP Lou Scheinfeld said that the team "painted itself into a corner" once it covered a statue of late singer Kate Smith with a black tarp in response to racist lyrics she sung in the 1930s. Scheinfeld said, "They had no choice. It was obvious they couldn't leave it covered up and they couldn't uncover it." Scheinfeld added that covering the statue "was a mistake," and one that "put the Flyers in a tough spot." He said, "When you make a knee-jerk reaction, you can't take it back." Scheinfeld said that if late Flyers Founder Ed Snider were still alive, the statue would not have been "covered or removed" (PHILLY.com, 4/22).
THE SEARCH CONTINUES: In the aftermath of former Canucks President Trevor Linden's departure, the team is "still looking" for a president of hockey operations. The "scope of that search is unclear, as is the priority it's been assigned by ownership." The Canucks' front office is "understaffed" compared to "virtually every other NHL franchise." However, team Chair Francesco Aquilini has said that ownership will "supply the necessary resources to return the team to relevancy" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 4/21).
PHONE A FRIEND? TSN's Darren Dreger said that Red Wings Senior VP Ken Holland has "taken himself out of contention" for the open GM positions with the Oilers, as well as with the expansion team coming to Seattle. However, sources said that he is "still in the picture." Oilers CEO & Vice Chair Bob Nicholson will be "heading up the job search," and has a "long history with Holland from Hockey Canada, where Holland was on the managers committee on Olympics teams." Nicholson "may have already had a meeting with Holland to sound him out about the Oilers position" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 4/22).