Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More feathers fly between UVSC and the Owlz

Jason Franchuk over at the Daily Herald has picked up on the story about the fight between the Orem Owlz and it's landlords at UVSC, that has both sides pointing fingers and brandishing contracts.

Owlz owner, UVSC bicker over park name (Daily Herald)

Franchuk's story has more of the two sides locked in a passive-aggressive game of tug-of-war, and it follows on the heels of Jason Adkin's story in the Deseret News last week.

A few more details have come out, including Val Hale saying that he believes that the reason why the Owlz are insisting the stadium be called the "Home of The Owlz" is because they missed out on a possible pay day when they failed to secure a sponsor.

There was also this little nugget:

"While we enjoy the media coverage given us by the various media outlets, we will ask once again, this time with legal documentation to supplement the request, that all media references to the stadium be 'Home of the Owlz' and not Brent Brown Ballpark, Brown Ballpark, or any other variation of that name," Owlz general manager Zachary Fraser wrote in an e-mail dispersed to media outlets last Saturday that Katofsky approved.

"Our ownership group has stated that if this is not the case, we will unfortunately have to not allow violating members of media groups access to the stadium, players, or staff during our season."

In other words, they are asking the local media to pick sides. Some might think this is a smart move, after all the sports writers at the two papers in this one horse town get mighty lonely between BYU Football seasons, so staying on the team's good graces means better access to sports stories during the long boring summer.

On the other hand, The Owlz just might need the papers more than the papers need the Owlz. Throwing down an ultimatum complete with "legal documentation" to a bunch of fickle sports guys just might be enough to piss them off. And they would have a tough time locking out the guys from the Daily the paper is a major sponsor of the team and has contracts swapping print ads for signage at the stadium.

And according to Franchuk, it isn't all just talk On opening night, June 19, there were issues in the stadium regarding banners. One was a Brent Brown banner that Owlz officials tried to cover before being stopped by UVSC reps.

This one might be a black eye for both parties for a little while. UVSC's VP of marketing Val Hale (pictured to the right) summed up the school's side of the story thusly: "It's totally baffling to everyone at UVSC that the Owlz would do this...The school owns the ballpark, the school owns the rights and keeps all of the revenue [from the Brown sponsorship]...It's in the contract. It's black and white, no question to it."

Katofsky, a lawyer and real estate developer in California, sees it the other way. "I know our deal. Our deal with the school was very clear," he said. "I am very happy UVSC got sponsorship, but they can't sell ours. For all of us (in the Owlz ownership group), it's a labor of love first and a business second. But it's still a business."


Anonymous said...

The Herald might give in to this because of sponsorship deals they have, but the others won't for sure. You watch. We might not be reading any more Owlz stories in the D-News.

Anonymous said...

I think the Herald might NOt give in, because they DO have those sponsorships...The Owlz can't penalize a corporate partner. It is a silly fight that just shows bad management on the Owlz end.

The Pipeline said...

According to The Daily Herald on Saturday June 30, 2007 the ultimatum made by the Owlz has resulted in reduced coverage of the team by both the Herald and the Deseret Morning News.

Buffalo Chip to the management of the Orem Owlz for attempting to bully the media into taking their side in a dispute over the name of UVSC's baseball stadium. UVSC awarded naming rights to local car dealer Brent Brown. But Jeff Katofsky, the minor league baseball team's majority owner, claims that calling the field "Brent Brown Ballpark" violates his agreement with UVSC. Oddly, he turned his wrath on the local media, demanding that the park be called "Home of the Owlz" -- a name that rolls off the tongue with the grace of a Tim Wakefield knuckleball. Any news organization failing to comply would lose all access to the team. Not to be bullied, the Herald and Deseret News decided to curtail news coverage of the Owlz. We used to call this a California punch. It's when your opponent steps in to deliver a haymaker and walks nose first into a straight arm.