SBD/23/Franchises

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  • GRIZZLIES BANKING ON '94 EXHIBITION TO SELL SEASON TICKETS

         To date, the Grizzlies have only "one up-front, in the
    public-eye employee," VP/GM Stu Jackson.  "And it's a safe bet he
    isn't going to sell 8,000 season tickets with his "charming smile
    and nicely tailored suits."  Jackson is counting, in part, on an
    October 25 exhibition between the Lakers and Sonics to help the
    team reach the league-mandated minimum of 15,000 season tickets
    by December 15.  Jackson said the Grizzlies have had slightly
    more than 7,000 season tickets registered to be purchased, plus
    1,250 suite seats  (Dan Stinson, VANCOUVER SUN, 9/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Los Angeles Lakers
  • MARYLAND'S RAMS HOPES TAKE A HIT

         MD Gov. William Donald Schaefer said that a recent meeting
    with Rams officials "left him less optimistic that the team will
    move to Baltimore."  Schaefer cited many "obstacles," most
    notably the opposition from NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and
    Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke.  Schaefer: "The Rams know that
    Baltimore would be a great market, but you've got a Marylander
    [Tagliabue] against us.  St. Louis is our main rival and
    Tagliabue supports them over us" (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN,
    9/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins
  • NBA CANADIAN EXPANSION TEAMS HAVE MUCH SMALLER TV POT

         The Raptors have "ambitious broadcast plans and hopes to
    wrap up" its TV deal quickly "to start building what it expects
    to be a major promotional vehicle for the club."  Raptors
    VP/Communications Tom Mayenknecht: "In an ideal world, we'd like
    to be in a situation where we have our radio and television deals
    in place by the beginning of the 1994-95 season."  That means
    November 1, "and that's also unrealistic."  Christmas may be a
    more "reachable target, but the point is the negotiations have
    become a priority and talks are getting more serious by the day."
    Up for negotiation are national, local and cable TV deals.
    Nationally, the NBA handles the talks on a 12-game schedule and
    the league has already met with CTV, CBC and TSN.  On the local
    level, the NBA has granted the Raptors permission to broadcast 41
    games.  The league has defined the Raptors' "region" as Ontario;
    the Grizzlies have British Columbia as a protected area (Rob
    Longley, TORONTO SUN, 9/23).
         NO SUPERSTATIONS:  "Because of the absence of a regional
    sports network in Canada, the Raptors don't have the same range
    of distribution as most U.S. teams."  Mayenknecht: "We are in a
    situation where we are all dressed up with nowhere to go on
    cable."  TSN is not an option because it is considered a national
    network, though it has "recently hinted at looking into regional
    programming"  (Rob Longley, TORONTO SUN, 9/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, Toronto Raptors
  • ORLANDO HOTELIERS TAX THEMSELVES FOR STADIUM

         The Central Florida Hotel and Motel Association's board of
    directors supported a "tourist tax increase on their industry" to
    help Orlando's bid for a MLB franchise.  The hoteliers supported
    a $.01 increase to the $.04 tourist tax on Orange County hotel
    rooms to help finance a $150M ballpark should Orlando get an
    expansion team.  The support of the industry was "key" to the
    expansion efforts, and the three principals behind Orlando's bid
    -- Boca Racon Real Estate investor Norton Herrick, and Denver
    partners Paul Jacobs and Steve Kurtz -- were "pleased" by the
    vote.  County commissioners are "expected" to approve the raise
    by mid-October (Lawrence Lebowitz, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, MLB
  • SUSAN O'MALLEY GETS ADDED RESPONSIBILITY IN POLLIN'S EMPIRE

         Bullets President Susan O'Malley, already one of the highest
    ranking women in pro sports, has been given new responsibilities
    that make her the "second most powerful person in Abe Pollin's
    sports empire."  In what amounts to a restructuring, Pollin has
    put O'Malley -- whose title will be President of the Bullets and
    Centre Group Marketing -- in charge of most of the business
    operations of the Bullets, Capitals, along with the sales and
    marketing of USAir Arena and a proposed 23,000-seat facility in
    downtown DC.  In addition, Pollin has given Bullets VP Wes Unseld
    new responsibilities in the marketing of the proposed arena.
    Unseld's title:  VP/Bullets and Centre Group Marketing.  Jerry
    Sachs will retain his title of president of Centre Group Limited
    Partnership, which oversees day-to-day operations of USAir Arena,
    while O'Malley is heading the newly created division that
    combines the sales and marketing of the two teams and arenas.
    O'Malley's promotion "comes after five highly successful seasons
    with the Bullets."  During her tenure, average attendance
    increased every season from 9,814 in '88-89 to 15,116 for the
    '93-94 season (Richard Justice, WASHINGTON POST, 9/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Washington Capitals
  • WOLVES SALE MIGHT NOT BE COMPLETED BY NBA TARGET DATE

         The sale of the Timberwolves "is on the verge of unraveling
    because negotiations on a Target Center lease have hit 'huge
    hurdles.'"  Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Henry
    Savelkoul said that he has "a significant fear" that a lease
    agreement between businessman Glen Taylor and the commission will
    not be worked out by October 5 -- when the NBA is set to approve
    the sale.  Savelkoul, who for a year has "steered a plan to
    publicly" buy the Target Center from Marv Wolfenson and Harvey
    Ratner, made his comments after a team of bond lawyers told him
    and Taylor's representatives that their proposed lease includes
    legal flaws with "deal-breaking tax implications."  Taylor is
    also seeking to place a limit on a ticket surcharge mandated by
    the legislation that authorized the public buyout of the Target
    Center.  The legislation authorized a $42M buyout paid for by
    ticket taxes and $750,000/year for 15 years.  NBA Commissioner
    David Stern was optimistic:  "It's the normal ups and downs of a
    deal that's destined to get done."  Wolfenson and Ratner agreed
    to sell the Wolves for $88.5M, but Taylor might not buy the team
    if a lease deal is not worked out.  "One remote solution, Taylor
    could buy Target Center."  Taylor: "Nothing is out of the
    question for me" (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/22).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA
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