Steve Marzolf [editorial/content/strategy/copywriting]

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Posts Tagged ‘America!

How to Buy … A Baseball Team!

Got a few hundred grand lying around? Ditch the fantasy roster and buy your own franchise. 





Pick a Winner: Buying into the majors, or even the minors, is tough. Of the five levels of minor league ball – rookie league, short-season A, A, AA, and AAA –short-season is the cheapest, but teams are still worth multimillions. Your best bet is to cherry-pick from one of the nine independent leagues sprinkled around the U.S. After getting a couple dozen friends together, an independent league team can cost each of you less than a nice Toyota. “That’s how an ownership group starts,” says Frontier League franchise co-owner Bill Bussing. “As the years progress, people leave, and pretty soon one person has a majority stake.”

Keep It Liquid: You should expect to bring your share of the investment to the table in cash, and have at least $200k socked away for first-year operating expenses – especially if you’re buying in the winter, when your initial income will be zero. “I’d be skeptical that a bank would rely on the franchise value itself for collateral,” says Bussing, who paid $800,000 for the Evansville Otters in 2001. One failing team drags down the value of its competitors, so the league will scrutinize your expenses. After all, if a league goes belly up, everyone loses their entire asset overnight. The resale market on jockstraps? Not great in a recession.

Find a Stadium: Do not try to build your own. Shouldering $1 million in annual debt service to build a $10 million stadium can cripple your franchise, so buy a team that has a rental agreement with the local town. Keeping ticket prices down requires at least 5,000 seats, and if the rent climbs past $3,000 per game, you’ll need good concessions to cover it. “Concessions can make or break a season,” says Bradley Wendt, CEO of the United League (a six-team Southern association stretching from Texas into Louisiana). “For every person who walks through your gate, you need to make at least $5 or you may as well hang it up.”

Staff Up: Unlike other minor league teams, indies recruit their own squads (usually sluggers passed over in the draft or released from other clubs). And at the Frontier League’s slave-labor pay range of $600 to $1,600 a month, players come cheap and easy: According to Wendt, of the 200 hopefuls who report to United’s tryout camp this year, only 10 to 15 will earn a spot on a team. Is it time to shutter your fantasy operation and rule the real game? “Everybody loves baseball,” Wendt says. “When I was managing director at Goldman Sachs, nobody wanted to talk to me at cocktail parties. Now? I’m the most popular guy in the room.”


Buying Home [Three teams bad enough to be affordable]

Shreveport Sports ($1,000,000) – The Sports’ pitchers have been atrocious – only two starters have winning records in the past two seasons. And forget run support: The club averaged 6.5 strikeouts per contest.

Laredo Broncos ($2,000,000) – Last in their league in batting? Check. Back of the pack in pitching? You bet. Is Laredo on the border of Mexico? Yup. Will you have to budget for bailing players out of a Tijuana prison? Possibly!

Orange County Flyers ($3,000,000) – The Flyers are skippered by Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, but their coyote mascot has his own email address. Interested? You can book him for “any kind of function.” Any kind.

Yakima Bears ($7,000,000) – A short-season Class A affiliate of the Arizona D-backs, the Bears are plagued by the dreary weather of the Northwest – and a pitching staff that pegged a league-leading 74 batters in 2007. 

Written by Steve

November 7, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Posted in Maxim

Tagged with , , ,

How to Purchase …





Hitting the track is that much sweeter when you’re watching your own pony kick ass. Here’s how to make it happen. 

Name Your Price: Thoroughbreds aren’t cheap, so unless you spend your summers at the Kennedy compound in Cape Cod, you’ll probably need track-savvy buddies to split your horse’s cost and upkeep. “About 10 guys throwing in $5,000 each can get you a decent $25,000 horse and cover a year’s worth of training, stabling and feed,” says Daniel Metzger, president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

Shop Around:  You can buy an untrained animal straight from the farm, pick up a hot prospect at a “purchasing event” (a race in which a horse can be bought for a pre-determined amount), or hit a public auction and let the market dictate a fair price. In any case, hire a trainer beforehand at your local racetrack – that or risk a premature trip to the dog food factory.

Cover Your Assets: To guarantee you’re not the one who ends up sleeping in a barn, Metzger advises setting up an LLC (limited liability company) to separate your racing business from your personal assets. And be sure to elect your most responsible buddy “managing partner” so unpaid oats bills don’t get in the way of swilling bourbon in the winner’s circle, you cheap bastard.

Ride It to the Bank: The possibility of losing your shirt is real, but chances are you’ll recoup your investment through track winnings over the first year or two. And if you discover the next Secretariat, an early retirement could lead to millions in stud fees. “With a good racehorse, the real payoff is in the breeding shed,” says Metzger. “That’s where the real money’s at.”



buymusclecar-lrA windowless van has utility, but a ’74 Camaro makes you even cooler than the kids who smoked in high school.

Stay Simple: Picking up a classic for less than 15 grand requires a few concessions – you’re not going to land a souped-up V8 or a custom trim. But a standard-issue second-generation muscle car is well within reach. Floyd Garrett, owner of the Muscle Car Museum in Sevierville, Tennessee, says the sweet spot for Camaro deals falls between 1970 and 1974.

Snoop Into the Past: Like that stripper at your brother’s bachelor party, you need to figure out where she’s been – but as long as her body holds up, anything else can be fixed. “If I found a ’69 Camaro with a good, solid body and the engine had a rod thrown out the side of it,” Garrett says, “that wouldn’t bother me a bit.” Beware of heavy undercoats hiding 30 years of Detroit winters, and check the trim tag on the firewall to see if the paint color changed – a clue to long hours spent at the body shop.

Keep it Real: The more original parts, the more valuable the car, so hunt under the hood for as many GM stamps as you can find. When it comes to making your own repairs, almost anything is fair game: radiators, alternators, starters, even entire engines can be swapped with moderate ease and expense.

Pimp Your Ride: While the ‘70s offered marvels like outrageous horsepower, sofalike backseats and Freddie Mercury, a few inventions from the golden age of chest hair fell short, namely brakes. Garrett advises replacing the front set of drum brakes with discs for the added convenience of being able to stop on command. 

Written by Steve

November 7, 2008 at 8:04 am

Posted in Maxim

Tagged with , , ,

Local Legends

Road-tripping? Get plastered like a townie by shotgunning these top regional brews. 

Written by Steve

November 5, 2008 at 10:45 am

Posted in FHM

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