David Cope, the Baltimore Ravens' vice president for sales and marketing, who is known for his innovations at PSINet Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards when he worked for the Baltimore Orioles, has been hired by the new owners of the Washington Redskins to be the team's executive vice president, according to sources.
Cope, 35, is the first front office hire by the Redskins owner, Bethesda businessman Daniel M. Snyder, who purchased the team and Jack Kent Cooke Stadium for $800 million last month. The sale is expected to be finalized by the trustees of the estate of the late Jack Kent Cooke within the next two weeks.
Snyder is planning to hire a chief executive in the near future. Starting next week, Cope will be the franchise's number two executive, responsible for stadium operations, corporate sales, broadcasting, public relations, ticket operations, premium sales and marketing -- everything but the legal, financial and football responsibilities, sources said.
Cope declined to comment last night. Snyder could not be reached to comment last night.
Meanwhile, the Redskins are in negotiations with several Washington television stations to carry four preseason games and a rookie scrimmage from training camp and become the team's "official" local station, including the possible frequent on-air presence of Snyder.
Tom McCormick, the lawyer who is handling the negotiations, said yesterday the team would like to conclude a deal within the next two weeks and confirmed that Snyder, 34, would not be opposed to appearing in front of the camera on a fairly regular basis during the season as part of the package.
"He'd make himself available, but I don't think we're talking about a weekly show," McCormick said. "Some of the people we're talking to are trying to figure out a way to have something different. We've been asked if they could have more access to the owner, and that certainly is a possibility. But Dan also realizes he's got to make himself accessible to everyone."
McCormick said he was not prepared to name the final candidates, but industry sources said yesterday that WJLA-7 appears to be the leading contender ahead of NewsChannel 8 and Channel 20/HTS. Channel 7 has carried preseason games the past five years and also aired Coach Norv Turner's show over the same span. The Redskins would like a one-year deal because Snyder might want to have the team produce all its own shows in the future.
"I would certainly be interested in doing a show that would include Dan Snyder," said Rich Daniel, Channel 7's executive producer for sports. "I think that would be a great asset for anyone. It's certainly something we're suggesting to them. It really could be terrific."
One of the top teams through the 1970s and 1980s, the Redskins have not made the playoffs since the 1992 season.
The team's revenue from in-stadium signage is among the lowest in the NFL, and the two-year-old facility's image has suffered because of problems that range from poor food service to traffic snarls.
The Redskins' priorities will be to sell the remaining 2,000 of the stadium's 15,000 club seats, which is the most in the NFL, and to increase revenue from stadium signage, in-game promotions, video features and special events.
A native of Rockville, Cope worked for the Orioles for seven years, helping to open Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which has become a model for fan comfort, the variety of its food concessions and its strategic placement of signs. He was also part of a team that brought major league baseball's all-star game to Baltimore in 1993.
Cope is experienced in the naming-rights business, which the Redskins' new owners hope will be a major source of revenue. While a general sales manager with Washington Sports and Entertainment in the early 1990s, Cope helped sell MCI Center's naming rights for a then-record amount on a per year basis.
Last year, Cope sold the naming rights to Ravens Stadium to PSINet for $105 million over 20 years.