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Silver Sox Fan
05-28-2007, 09:16 PM
I haven't see these on the front page so I thought I would post them. Some interesting financial stats regarding Triple A teams, the direction and current situation with the GBL, and the possibility of selling the Silver Sox.

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GBL founder says a Triple-A team unlikely in Washoe County
Steve Sneddon (SSNEDDON@RGJ.COM)
RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL
May 20, 2007

The independent Golden Baseball League came to Reno because it was convinced that a Triple-A team wasn't going to come to Washoe County in the foreseeable future. The league CEO and co-founder's opinion is unchanged.

The Reno Silver Sox are in their second season and Dave Kaval isn't worried even though the Washoe County Commission voted this week to approve a pre-development and finance agreement with SK Baseball and Nevada Land for the design and construction of a Triple-A stadium. Jerry and Stuart Katzoff told the commission they have a preliminary agreement on a $13.5 million purchase of a Pacific Coast League franchise that they plan to relocate to Washoe County for the 2009 season.

"I will believe it when I see it," said Kaval by phone Friday. "I think it's a very difficult proposition financially to build a stadium that's going to cost $50 million. There's a lot of people out there who would like to see it happen, but not a lot of people who want to pay for it. And I think there's a lot of questions whether or not Reno can support a Triple-A team.

"I'm pretty confident it's not going to happen. But I'm also pretty confident it's going to continue to be discussed."

The Katzoffs, a father and son from New York City, told commissioners that they hoped to have a news conference, where the team they're trying to acquire is currently operating, to announce the purchase of the franchise on Wednesday. The Katzoffs cited a confidentiality agreement with the seller as the reason they can't identify the franchise. The Katzoffs' partner in the deal is Indiana Pacers' co-owner Herb Simon. Simon, a major mall owner, began acquisition of Meadwood Mall in February.

The Katzoffs said they are considering five or six sites in Washoe County, including the Sparks Marina, as locations for a ballpark. They said they want to make a decision on the site within three months.

"This has been going on for five years, at least," Kaval said. "It seems like the same story is being run over and over. People are commenting, they're looking at sites. There's a team that can't be named. There hasn't been a lot of new news. Some new people have come into it, the Pacers' people. They're obviously very good businessmen.

"That's the thing. It requires a good business person to own a Triple-A team with all the restrictions and requirements and they're not going to do something stupid like build a $50 million stadium with their own money because it just doesn't pan out. That team is going to do $3 million in revenue (annually). It's never going to pay off."

Funds from a rental car surcharge in Washoe County, which was imposed by the state Legislature in 2004, also will go toward the construction of a stadium with the remainder paid by revenue bonds. The Legislature is considering extending the rental car fee after setting an Oct. 1 deadline for a Triple-A franchise to be in place in Washoe County. The Katzoffs and Simon agreed the county will not be asked or expected to provide a full faith and credit replacement for the repayment of the bonds.

Kaval said he bases the $3 million figure on the amount of the revenues of a club in the PCL in a market similar to the Reno-Sparks area, although some league teams produce more revenue. Kaval said the Silver Sox revenues add up to around $1 million.

"We're really focused on the Silver Sox," Kaval said. "We're focused on the tens of thousands fans we had last year. Season ticket sales are way up. They're double what they were at this time (last year). The sponsorships are pretty much doubled. This team financially is doing very well."

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Baseball league owners open to selling teams
Steve Sneddon (SSNEDDON@RGJ.COM)
RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL
May 26, 2007

The independent Golden Baseball League was the brainchild of two Stanford graduate students who envisioned the league owning all the teams.

That vision for the third-year league, which has the Reno Silver Sox as one of its six members, has been altered sooner than expected. The league has sold two teams this year, the Fullerton Flyers and St. George Roadrunners, that will be competing with the four league-owned teams. The Silver Sox aren't on the market right now but could be for sale if the right buyer came along, said league CEO and co-founder Dave Kaval, who visited Reno on Friday.

"Obviously, if anybody wanted to buy the team they could. They could contact us and we would have conversations about it," Kaval said. "That would have to be something that would get finalized and completed in the fall.

"We would be open in discussing it with people if it was the right group. If it wasn't the right group, we'll continue to own the team and make money, be a success and go from there."

In their first season in 2006, the Silver Sox, who open the season against Chico at home June 7, were second in attendance and revenue and captured the league championship. Kaval predicts that the Silver Sox will be financially profitable this season.

The future of professional baseball in Northern Nevada should become more clear by the fall. Although Kaval has been skeptical that a bid to bring a Triple-A team to Washoe County for 2009 will be successful, that effort continues. A prospective ownership group led by Jerry and Stuard Katzoff and Herb Simon has a preliminary agreement to purchase a Pacific Coast League and relocate it to Washoe County.

The state Legislature has set an Oct. 1 deadline for a Triple- A team to be in place in the county, extending a rental car surcharge that contributes funds for a stadium

Kaval said when he Amit Patel, the current league president, founded the league that they believed they could eventually sell franchises within the league. Kaval said the purchases of the renamed Orange County Flyers and the Roadrunners came sooner than expected. Kaval said both groups had goals similar to the league's objectives.

Kaval calls it "a McDonald's hybrid model." The Golden League will have a combination of league-owned and franchise teams, that is similar to McDonald's, which has company-owned and franchise stores.

"We didn't think people would see them (the individual teams) as being valuable this soon," Kaval said. "We thought it would take longer to get to a point where you establish a reputation and sort of an aura of success and credibility where people would fork over seven figures to by a team.

"That it happened sooner is obviously because we're ahead of our plan. We're also ahead of our plan financially where the league is and it allows us to focus on expansion, adding more teams to the league, getting more sponsors and focusing on the player side, getting more exciting players in the league."

The league didn't release the price tag on the franchises other than saying it was seven figures.

Kaval said he doesn't see any problem with franchise teams competing against league-owned clubs.

"It has been done before," Kaval said. "The Central Hockey League was done like this for many years and it was very successful. The ECHL is very successful."