The members of Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks didn't need Robin Hood to steal from the rich in order to buy their club from billionaire David Murdock.


They received a loan from Encino-based California United Bank for $14 million to buy the club from Murdock in a deal that closed in July.


By buying up all unsold memberships, the members achieved ownership of the club. Once that happened, a four-month drive added nearly 100 members, bringing total membership to 350. The revenue generated by the drive will allow Sherwood to pay back most of the loan when new members are officially added in January.


"Getting 100 members in that short of a period is nearly unheard of," said Peter Wagner, president of Sherwood Country Club. "It was important to help us break even as a business."


Membership costs $200,000, but was temporarily reduced by 20 percent to spur sales. The drive helped development in other ways, especially by generating interest in the housing development. Castle & Cooke Inc., Murdock's real estate development company, still owns the Sherwood housing development.


"We separated the club from Murdock on very friendly terms," Wagner said. "They have seen a jump in home interest and attribute that to our membership drive."


The site is home to 165-acre Lake Sherwood, which got its name because the 1921 film version of "Robin Hood" was filmed at the site.


The area has attracted many celebrity residents and homes in the area sell for as much as $25 million.


The club features a Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole golf course and is home to Target World Challenge golf tournament. Despite the $5.75 million purse, the event, which is hosted by Tiger Woods, is not a moneymaker for the club. Proceeds from the event are donated to the Tiger Woods Foundation.


The event's contract runs through 2009 and the club wants the tournament to stay there.


"We are going to sit down with Tiger after the tournament and talk about extending the contract," said Wagner.


Talent Spike


Los Angeles-based AVP Inc., the company that owns and operates the AVP professional volleyball tour, has hired Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency to represent it in entertainment media, including broadcast, film and alternative media.


CAA will seek broadcast opportunities for AVP Tours and other events. For CAA, this signing marks the first sports league that will be represented by the agency. It has steadily grown its sports division over the past several years by adding agents and representing athletes for both sports and talent contracts. Athletes represented include football stars Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson and Tony Romo. Basketball star LeBron James is also a client.


The agreement comes at a time when AVP is expanding its beach volleyball product in terms of events and media coverage.


AVP also announced last week that it reached a five-year agreement with the Australian Volleyball Federation to expand internationally. It will operate the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour and will promote five tour stops January through March the Australian summer. The number of events is expected to increase with the support of AVP in 2009.


Terms of the deal call for it to automatically renew upon AVP achieving certain performance milestones.


Concurrently, AVP will conduct a two-month indoor winter tour in the United States starting in January in partnership with Los Angeles-based Anschutz Entertainment Group. The winter tour will take AVP players to about 20 cold weather cities that are top television markets for the lifestyle sport.


The events conducted this winter are expected to generate added interest in the Olympic sport. NBC has committed to showing beach volleyball matches in prime time during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. American women Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh are gold medal favorites in Beijing after taking gold in Athens four years ago.


Super Bowl


The Super Bowl is not expected to come back to Los Angeles anytime soon, as area officials seem unable to lure an NFL franchise here. However, when Super Bowl XLII is played on Feb. 3, 2008 in Arizona, Super Bowl Host Committee officials hope that many L.A. executives make the short trip to see the game.


"We just launched regional outreach efforts to capture L.A. and Las Vegas," said Bob Sullivan, Super Bowl host committee president. "They are two markets where we are hoping fan interest is high."


This year marks the first time in five years that the game will be played in the Western U.S. A quick flight or car ride and a small fortune can get local executives to the game and various pre- and post-game events.


Hospitality packages range from $1,250 up to $100,000. The highest priced package buys 10 tickets to the game, a table at the Big Ticket Gala with one NFL Hall of Famer seated at your table, and access to the post-game reception hosted by Jay Leno.


Staff reporter David Nusbaum can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 236, or at dnusbaum@labusinessjournal.com .

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