BOB: Red Sox soccer purchase and Athletics land grabsby Brian Borawski
October 20, 2010
Red Sox ownership group buys Liverpool soccer teamJonathan Halket wrote about this yesterday and did a nice job breaking down the deal but it’s still worth mentioning the ownership group that owns the Boston Red Sox purchased the near-bankrupt English Premier League’s Liverpool team from a group that included former Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks for $476 million. This wasn’t an easy purchase because Hicks tried to block the purchase after he claimed the value is worth around $1 billion and that his bank didn’t allow him to repay the team’s debts in order to keep the team.
Things didn’t go Hicks' way and with the sale now complete, he’s threatening further legal action. He did drop his claim for $1.6 billion in damages but Hicks claims this was a conspiracy between the team, the British establishment and the Royal Bank of Scotland, the bank that held the debt.
San Jose land purchase snagWhile it’s still premature to say that the Oakland Athletics are moving to San Jose, the city has been positioning itself so once the approvals are in place, it can react accordingly. Now it looks like the general financial climate is putting a damper on their plans because San Jose’s redevelopment agency doesn’t have enough money to buy the remaining parcels of land for their potential downtown stadium.
While there’s been nothing formal, it’s been hinted that Athletics owner Lew Wolff could step forward to buy some of the land to help push this along. For now, most everything is on hold until an MLB panel makes their recommendation on where the Athletics should call their home. Ironically one of the parcels of land is owned by AT&T, which has some heavy ties with the cross town San Francisco Giants. The city also needs voter approval to move forward but the fact that the money isn’t even there has to be a discouraging sign.
LCS ratings higher then usualWe’ve closed the books on the divisional series and now that the League Championship Series (LCS) are in full gear, it’s nice to note that ratings are up. Game 1 of the Yankees-Rangers series was the best ever in “cable” history. Since TBS got a piece of the postseason pie in 2007, the numbers have to be looked at differently (there are still people who don’t have cable) and this is the best TBS showing since the current format was put into place.
Through the first three games, the ratings were also the best since 2006. The three-game average was up 6 percent over last year’s two LCSs.
Cardinals most watched teamFox Sports Midwest, which broadcasts the St. Louis Cardinals, finished first among regional sports networks in Major League Baseball markets in 2010. The 9.5 average rating was almost 20 percent better then last year and it’s the best showing by Fox Sports Midwest ever. It’s also the first time the Cardinals have topped the television market ratings and it ends the Boston Red Sox/Northeast Sports Network’s six-year run atop the ratings. It’ll be interesting to see how the numbers come out next year because in 2011, all Cardinals’ games will be on television for the first time. Last year, just 127 games were televised.
Portland Beavers sold and moved to TucsonNot only are the Triple-A Portland Beavers getting kicked out of their own home, but they also have a new owner. The San Diego Padres affiliate is being forced out of their Portland home because their current ballpark is being retooled into a soccer-only stadium. There’s been nothing definitive but at the same time the team was announced as being sold, it was also said the team might find a temporary home in Tucson, Ariz.. Tucson is the former home of the Triple-A Sidewinders, a team that relocated to Reno, Nev. after the 2008 season.
Now former Beavers owner Merritt Paulson sold the team to current San Diego Padres owner Jeff Moorad. This consolidation of minor league teams by their major league affiliates has been interesting. The hope is to eventually find the team a home near San Diego in Escondido, Calif. but the city still has to approve the construction of a new ballpark in November.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.