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Volume 26 No. 87

Franchises

The Private Suite members pay up to $4,500 annually to benefit from expedited security
Photo: THE PRIVATE SUITE
The Private Suite members pay up to $4,500 annually to benefit from expedited security
Photo: THE PRIVATE SUITE
The Private Suite members pay up to $4,500 annually to benefit from expedited security
Photo: THE PRIVATE SUITE

The Chargers are set to move into the new Inglewood stadium next year, and suite owners will be "incentivized as the organization debuts" the Chargers LUX premium membership program to coincide with the venue change, according to Michael LoRe of FORBES. Chargers LUX "connects suite owners to the Los Angeles lifestyle through exclusive access to high-end hospitality, business and entertainment benefits year round." Membership includes "access to Spring Place, Velocity Black concierge service and The Private Suite terminal" at LAX. Located in Beverly Hills, Spring Place is a "workspace and private membership club for the city's visionaries and entrepreneurs to work, socialize and relax; resident membership is $1,250 per month." Velocity Black is a "members club and concierge service for high-end experiences, travel, dining and accommodation." Membership fees to this "invitation-only service cost $2,800 per year." The Private Suite is a "new gate into LAX where members pay up to $4,500 annually to benefit from expedited security, await their departure ... in personal suites, and are driven directly to their aircraft." Chargers LUX will "eventually feature a tiered system as it expands to include the rest of the team's fan base, including club suites and other premium properties while incorporating various other partners." The program was inspired by the "invitation-only American Express Centurion Black Card" (FORBES.com, 9/11).

The Fire are a "step closer to playing at Soldier Field" after the Chicago Park District voted to "continue negotiations and enter into a permit and operating agreement for the Fire to use the 61,500-seat stadium" starting with the '20 MLS season, according to Morgan Greene of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. CPD Chief Administrative Officer Juliet Azimi said that the agreement includes a "three-year term with extension options for eight more years." The Fire would pay the CPD a "use fee and for operating expenses for home games." The CPD also would "receive a facility fee for each attendee as well as a share of net revenue from parking, concessions and merchandise sales." The Fire for months have been "engaged in negotiations to play at Soldier Field after negotiating to amend their current lease" with the village of Bridgeview, Ill., and leave SeatGeek Stadium. The Fire moved to SeatGeek Stadium in '06 (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/12). In Chicago, David Roeder cites a source as saying that among the "points still being worked out is how the grass field can be shared" with the Bears (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/12).

Packers fans lament "less rowdy" atmosphere following altered acoustics at Lambeau Field
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Packers fans lament "less rowdy" atmosphere following altered acoustics at Lambeau Field
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Packers fans lament "less rowdy" atmosphere following altered acoustics at Lambeau Field
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Packers are entering a "stretch of three straight home games" at Lambeau Field, but it is "possible the Frozen Tundra no longer is the house of horrors it once was for opponents," according to JR Radcliffe of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Packers fan Donna Barrett said, "Though we say we're really supportive ... we're not really as loud and don't have those extra gimmicks." She added, "Some stadiums just have a lot of stuff to bang on that makes it really loud. ... When you have a dome over the top, that makes a huge difference." Radcliffe writes "perhaps the problem" is that Lambeau Field "doesn't possess an indoor quality, and renovations have altered the acoustics in the seating bowl." Barrett added the stadium's "sound system isn't very clear." She said, "There are a lot of times we can't even hear what they're saying. I think they could do more on the JumboTrons to get the crowd involved." Packers fan Mike Mertens "attends a sampling of games" each year in the six-game Green and two-game Gold packages. He said, "I would say over the course of the last five years, I would agree the fans have become less rowdy. I don't know if it's because they've become less competitive. I would also say with the Green Package, you used to always see the same people. Everyone would go to all the games." The Packers have not made the playoffs the last two years (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 9/12).

Lowe's and the NFL Panthers last week awarded a 12-year-old boy with a "laundry list of gifts, including a $500 electric lawn mower" and a football signed by QB Cam Newton, but the gift "sparked a heated debate over both the size of the gift and how the presentation of that gift was packaged," according to Theoden Janes of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The decision by coach Ron Rivera and Lowe's came after seeing Jaylin Clyburn on the local news for his "flourishing lawn mowing business." The Panthers invited him to Charlotte to "mow grassy areas right outside of Bank of America Stadium." The Panthers posted a video on their social media channels that "highlighted their gift," and the video went viral. Most of the consternation was on Twitter, as a "hard line was drawn between two camps: One that felt Lowe's and the Panthers should have done much more just than patting him on the back and sending him back to work -- e.g., a college scholarship -- and one that responded by arguing that giving him a free ride would send the wrong message about initiative and earning your own way." It caused "enough of a stir" that Panthers Owner David Tepper "decided to intervene personally." Wendy Clyburn, Jaylin's mother, revealed that Tepper had "personally met with Jaylin earlier in the week, following the controversy over the video." She said Tepper was "kind enough to assist in Jaylin's education future" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/12).

In Atlanta, Mark Bradley writes Braves Exec VP & GM Alex Anthopoulos "should be MLB's executive of the year." In an organization "brimming with gifted players and a solid manager, the GM is the MVP." While Anthopoulos "fell into the sport's best collection of young talent," his ability to "balance tomorrow and today has been masterful." In 22 months on the job, he has "sacrificed no prospect on track to become more than a serviceable big-leaguer." Even the extensions for RF Ronald Acuna and 2B Ozzie Albies were "frugal if not cheap" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 9/12).

TIME FOR A CHANGE: In Pittsburgh, Kevin Gorman wrote the Pirates organization "requires a housecleaning." A Monday altercation between Ps Kyle Crick and Felipe Vazquez that "led to Crick suffering a season-ending finger injury is a sign" that the Pirates "lack leadership." Meanwhile, the fan base has "gone from frustrated to disillusioned," which has "affected attendance at PNC Park." The Pirates are "on pace to draw fewer than an average of 20,000 a game and 1.5 million in total attendance for the second consecutive season" (TRIBLIVE.com, 9/11).

WHERE IS EVERYONE? In San Jose, Kerry Crowley notes the Giants "sold a season-low 26,627 tickets" for last night's home game against the Pirates. The team has 10 games left at Oracle Park this season, including "six in a pair of weekend series, so it's difficult to envision attendance dropping any lower" than last night's figure, the "fifth-lowest in ballpark history." The Giants have a "base of about 26,000 season-ticket holders, meaning the record low attendance at Oracle Park of 23,934" set in '09 "won't be in danger of falling until at least next year" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 9/12).