Battle over Rangers sale rages on
The latest salvos were lobbed in the whole Texas Rangers sale mess earlier this week when the lenders for Hicks Sports Group claimed that there were better monetary offers for the Rangers and then subsequently, MLB fired back by saying that the accusations were false. The creditors claim that there was an offer by Houston businessman Jim Crane that was much better than the deal put out there by the group led by Chuck Greenberg. The filing says Crane’s offer was $13-20 million more then Greenberg’s and that if he needed to, he could have gone higher.
That same day, MLB fired back by saying all of the documents the creditors submitted happened after Dec. 15, 2009 when Greenberg was given the exclusive negotiating window. This is interesting because MLB’s stand isn’t that there wasn’t a better offer (because it looks like there was) but that the better offer isn’t relevant because it occurred only when Greenberg had the ability to negotiate a deal. MLB goes on to say that during the one-month negotiating window that Greenberg’s offer did in fact go up from what he initially presented.
All I know is this is getting more and more messy. Now it’ll be up to the courts to decide. There’s a lot of dynamics in play here. Usually MLB sticks with there own little fraternity when it comes to ownership and this is now being called into question. You also have the fact that you have a team that’s operating out of bankruptcy so that is also unique.
Twins top 3 million mark
The Minnesota Twins announced earlier this week that they topped the 3 million mark for tickets sold at their new ballpark, Target Field. The last time the Twins did this was way back in 1988 when they were coming off of their World Series win in 1987. This also puts them very close to breaking their all-time attendance record set that year when they sold 3,030,672.
Minor League Baseball shows gains at ticket booth
Minor League Baseball has seen more than 13.5 million tickets sold through the first two months of the season. This is almost 700,000 more tickets than at this point in the season last year. May accounted for more the 7.5 million of those tickets so Minor League Baseball looks like it might be able to press for another new attendance record in a year when MLB is showing little growth.
Six different leagues have shown gains from last year with the Carolina League leading the way with a 15.8 percent increase. It’ll be interesting to see how the totals begin to shake out when the short season leagues start up.
Roger Clemens Foundation called into question
Brian McNamee, who’s claimed that he sold Roger Clemens performance enhancing drugs (PHDs), has recently come out and said that it was Clemens’ non-profit organization, the Roger Clemens Foundation, that paid him for the training services and performance-enhancing drugs. McNamee claims that he received payments from the foundation between 1998 and 2001 when McNamee claims he routinely injected Clemens with PHDs.
Clemens’ lawyer is sticking with the story that Clemens never used PHDs so the whole idea is without merit. McNamee is not helping himself out because he doesn’t appear to have the proper documentation to back up his claims.
What’s hot and what’s not
There’s little doubt that while MLB sells baseball tickets, they also have their hand in a lot of different areas, namely merchandising. As Ken Belson writes, every year MLB comes out with several new products to see what sticks. Caps, jerseys and T-shirts are the better sellers but he also points to things like MLB-licensed caskets that aren’t big sellers but may help drive sales elsewhere.
Overall, MLB expects sales of licensed goods to decrease by about 2.5 percent this year but that makes picking the winners that much more important. The average royalty is just over 10 percent and Belson estimates that each team’s share of the pot comes out to around $10 million. That’s a decent left-handed starter these days.
A’s supporters in San Jose face Aug. 3 deadline
San Jose city officials face an Aug. 3 deadline to get an Athletics stadium deal on the ballot for this November. Both San Jose mayor Chuck Reed and Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff are pointing to a recent ballot victory by the San Francisco 49ers as proof that now may be the time for a stadium win.
There are still some major hurdles. First, MLB has to approve the sticky deal of moving the team to San Jose, which is in San Francisco Giants territory. Also, there’s been some noise that the ballpark opponents might sue if the city council puts the stadium referendum on the ballot.