Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 26 No. 65

Franchises

Tsai will likely be much more visible around the Nets and NBA than Mikhail Prokhorov has been
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Nets co-Owner Joe Tsai's deal to buy full control of the team from Mikhail Prokhorov "does not include a stake in the Barclays Center," which is owned by Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports & Entertainment, though Tsai is "expected to eventually gain control of that, too," according to Draper & Hoffman of the N.Y. TIMES. The multibillion dollar deal for the Nets "illustrates the value of scarcity." Financial advisor Salvatore Galatioto, whose firm consulted on the sales of the Kings and Warriors, said, "I don’t think there is an NBA team that would sell for under a billion. I would be shocked for that.” Galatioto Sports Partners is "not involved in the Nets deal" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/15). In N.Y., Brian Lewis writes with Tsai gaining full control of the Nets, the team's "deep pockets ... will remain." Sources have consistently said that Tsai will give GM Sean Marks the "money needed to win." Fans also can "expect Tsai to be more visible" around the Nets, the NBA and in N.Y. Tsai already has "attended more games the past two seasons than Prokhorov did over the past several years combined" (N.Y. POST, 8/15). Forbes' Joe Barnathan writes the Nets are "set to become a global brand" under Tsai, which is a "huge win for the NBA." With "deep pockets and a vision towards the future, there is little reason to worry about any fundamental upheaval within the organization" (BYERS MARKET, 8/15). 

Orioles attendance this year was down 11% heading into the season's final two months
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Orioles "aren’t being sold and will not be moving to Nashville," according to Peter Schmuck of the BALTIMORE SUN. The "latest round of sale and relocation rumors have not been debunked publicly." However, an Orioles official labeled the notions as "nonsense," calling the recent media reports about a possible sale "rank speculation." The official added that whispers about the team moving to Nashville "are ridiculous." The latest speculation about a possible franchise move has been "swirling for at least a year, beginning as soon as it became apparent" Exec VP John Angelos and Ownership Rep Lou Angelos had "taken over operation of the team from their ailing father," longtime Owner Peter Angelos. But those who have long known the Angelos family "doubt they would cost Baltimore the Orioles." They "would not want to be forever linked" to late Colts Owner Robert Irsay, who has been "reviled in this city since he moved the Colts under the cover of night" in '84. John Angelos has said on multiple occasions that his family is "committed to Baltimore." If the Angelos family "did want to enter into negotiations to sell the team, MLB rules require official notification is made to the commissioner’s office before proceeding" (BALTIMORE SUN, 8/15).

Leonsis formed the Monumental Basketball team in order to give the Wizards a fresh perspective
Photo: MONUMENTAL SPORTS

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder & Chair Ted Leonsis said that he "spoke to 78 people in professional sports and beyond, seeking to learn where he had erred and how he should reconstruct the Wizards into a modern sports organization," according to Candace Buckner of the WASHINGTON POST. Leonsis' talks included "exit meetings with Wizards players, Monumental Sports & Entertainment executives and members of the ownership group." But the discussions "also stretched to giants of their industries" like Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and agents like Rich Paul, David Falk and Mark Bartelstein. Leonsis said, "I knew I would get grief for it, but if I did the work, my partners and the executive team would feel good about it." It all started when Leonsis "sought information" from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who suggested Leonsis call Sportsology CEO Mike Forde. Sportsology is a "consultation group that works with and caters to the specific needs of professional and collegiate sports teams." Forde began "sending Leonsis articles to read as well as board structures of other teams and how they got there." Forde was a "sounding board" for Leonsis and also "lined up several" of his clients to speak with Leonsis, including Pelicans President of Basketball Operations Mickey Loomis and MLB Rangers GM Jon Daniels. Leonsis also "reached out to someone he considers a friend," President Obama. The two "spoke in late April about the importance of building the right culture for the Wizards" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/14).

Stills has had support from Stephen Ross in recent seasons in his decision to kneel
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Dolphins WR Kenny Stills said he and Owner Stephen Ross talked out their differences regarding a fundraiser for President Trump and have "agreed to disagree," according to Hal Habib of the PALM BEACH POST. Stills saw Ross' fundraiser for Trump's re-election campaign as "contradictory to the mission statement of Ross’ nonprofit, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality." Stills texted Ross, who then "called Stills to talk it out." Stills said, "There’s not much to argue about. He has his feelings about it and he stands firm in that and I respect that. But I disagree and I told him there’s no hard feelings" (PALM BEACH POST, 8/14). In Miami, Greg Cote wrote Ross "appeared stunned" that there was "negative backlash" over the fundraiser. The RISE mission is "at odds with a president who has been so critical of players." Ross’ fundraiser for Trump has been a "major, instant credibility blow to his own RISE organization." Ross is a man who "evidently did not realize, or did not care, how bad the optics look here" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/13).

Hornets President & Vice Chair Fred Whitfield said that season- and partial-season ticket plan sales for this year have "held up well" despite Kemba Walker’s departure for the Celtics in free agency and "low expectations for a quick turnaround," according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Whitfield "estimated ticket renewals in the range of 83% to 85% for this season." Combined with new sales, he "predicted full-season equivalents ... will once again surpass 10,000." That figure is a "league benchmark for financial stability." Meanwhile, the Hornets are "already working closely with city government and tourism leaders on plans for the Republican National Convention next summer." Concentrating on the RNC "may also delay the next round of negotiations between the team and city regarding arena renovations and updates." The Hornets' lease "calls for discussions to begin next month" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/14).