Hollywood ready to play ball

Bruckheimer in talks with NHL for Vegas team

Peter Guber’s Mandalay Co. is reducing the number of players on its sports roster but is planning to stay in the game as several Hollywood heavyweights join them in actively considering crossing the lines into sports.

Jerry Bruckheimer is talking to the National Hockey League about ponying up as much as $250 million to create a team in Las Vegas.

Joe Roth is linking up with Paul Allen’s Vulcan Sports & Entertainment to try to attract a Major League Soccer franchise to Seattle.

Mark Cuban, the movie distributor and theater exhibitor who owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, is on the short list of potential buyers of the Chicago Cubs, which the Tribune Co. has put up for sale.

Mandalay Co., meanwhile, has sold Triple A baseball team the Las Vegas 51s, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, to the Stevens Baseball Group, a family with holdings in Detroit and southern Nevada.

But the company is still eager “to expand our baseball operations,” said Mandalay Baseball CEO Ken Stickney.

He called the sale an “opportunity to redeploy assets.”

Mandalay owns and operates six other minor league baseball teams, franchises that are part of the farm systems of the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals.

“Minor league teams offer solid live family entertainment,” Guber said.

Also, Guber said, most of these games are not available on television, making attendance at the game a must for the local fans.

“We’ve run a profitable business for the last 10 to 12 years,” said Guber, fueled by fervent support of the local community. He said more than 90% of the crowds who attend a minor league game are people who live in the area.

During Fox’s coverage the World Series, Hollywood types on the sidelines got a glimpse of the thrills ownership can deliver. Viewers were reminded regularly that one of the Boston Red Sox’s owners is Tom Werner, whose Carsey-Werner Prods. produced such hit TV series as “The Cosby Show,” “Roseanne” and “That ’70s Show.”