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  • BASEBALL TEAMS GIVE THANKS TO SEASON TICKET HOLDERS

         The White Sox are offering season-ticket holders their money
    back if fans don't like the way the team plays during its first
    four homestands.  The new policy, "designed with owners
    considering the use of replacement players, gives season ticket
    holders a June 1 deadline."  Ticket holders asking for refunds
    will get them on the remaining games, plus interest on the money
    spent to secure their seats.  The White Sox join the Brewers, and
    the Angels in offering a refund (AP, 11/23).  The Pirates'
    "strategy is simple:  worry about keeping the existing 17,100
    season-ticket holders and court new business later."  The team is
    holding parties and writing letters, even manger Jim Leyland is
    sending hand-written notes to fans who renewed season-ticket
    plans.  Pirates VP/Marketing Steve Greenberg said they have had
    65% of fans ask for credit, with 35% for refunds.  But in San
    Diego, the Padres' season-ticket base has dropped from 16,000 to
    9,000 (Mel Antonen, USA TODAY, 11/23).
    

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Sports, Chicago White Sox, Franchises, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Walt Disney
  • BUCS TRUST MAKE PILGRIMAGE TO MEET WITH THE RAMS' SHAW

         Rams President John Shaw said there was little to report on
    a Monday meeting with three Buccaneers team officials in L.A.
    Shaw said the group "compared notes, that kind of thing. ... We
    caught up with each other on where we were with St. Louis.
    Nobody should read too much into this" (Himmelberg & Mouchard,
    ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/23).  Meanwhile, in Tampa, two local
    leaders "in the battle to keep" the team have "taken a beating in
    the stock market in the last two days."  Outback Steakhouse CEO
    Chris Sullivan says the drop in his company's stock will not
    "affect his ability to make an offer for the Bucs -- if he and
    fellow investor Bob Basham event want to."  Falling stock prices
    have "stripped" Outback of 16.8% of its value over the past two
    days.  Personally, Sullivan and Basham have combined to lose
    about $43M (Joe Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/23).
         IS THE TABLE FULL OR IS THERE ROOM FOR MORE?  George Stamos,
    an attorney for Orioles Owner Peter Angelos, said it is
    "possible" Angelos "could keep the team" in Tampa if was the
    buyer.  Nelson Peltz, CEO of the company that controls Arby's and
    R.C. Cola, also may be considering making a bid for the franchise
    (Joe Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/23).  ESPN's Chris Mortensen
    reports the Bucs are determined to sell the team by January, "in
    part to facilitate an offer to [Jimmy] Johnson.  And the NFL
    privately believe that a fertile, football-crazy market like
    Tampa would thrive under new ownership and Johnson as coach"
    ("SportsCenter," 11/22).      HOLIDAY SHOPPING:  Bucs "boosters"
    are trying to restructure legislation that would allow state
    sales tax money to be used to help renovations on Tampa Stadium.
    The "hitch" in the legislation is no money can be used for
    existing franchises.  Reworking the legislation is not considered
    easy, and supporters in Tampa are "reluctant to talk about the
    initiative for fear of creating a stir in other parts of the
    state."  But FL Gov. Lawton Chiles says he will do all he can to
    keep the team.  Chiles: "I'm trying to call the NFL commissioner
    to add my two cents, and I'm ready to meet with him" (Phil
    Willon, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, ESPN, Franchises, NFL, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Walt Disney
  • HUDSON WANTS MORE THAN THE TRIMMINGS IN HEAT SALE

         Stephen Roddenberry, attorney for Whit Hudson, said progress
    was being made in Hudson's purchase of managing control of the
    Heat.  A source close to the proceedings said Roddenberry met
    with members of the Arison family, the team's majority owners,
    and that they are moving forward in resolving issues that are
    "stalling" the $60M sale of 41.5% of the team (Alex Marvez, MIAMI
    HERALD, 11/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Miami Heat
  • IHL EXPANDS FEAST TO 18 WITH TEAM IN SAN FRANCISCO

         The IHL has added a team in San Francisco, bringing the
    total number of franchises in the league to 18 for '95-96.  The
    team "will being play next season, with its home games at the Cow
    Palace in Daly City, CA.  The team will be owned by David Pasant,
    43, a retired president and chief executive officer of Jackson
    National Life Insurance Co. of Lansing, MI.  The team will
    display a logo, team colors, and season ticket plans by mid-
    December.  Pasant, who said he has been "looking for different
    sports ownership opportunities for some time," called the
    franchise "a great opportunity to operate a team in one of the
    world's best cities, and to be able to go to San Francisco and
    fill the hockey void that has existed there."  Pasant said the
    team will offer an affordable alternative to the NHL Sharks.
    Pasant: "I would estimate our prices to be half of theirs."
    Sharks President Art Savage is not worried about the competition
    from the IHL team, saying "they have a good product, but it is a
    developmental product that we support" (Mike Weaver, SAN JOSE
    MERCURY NEWS, 11/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NHL, San Jose Sharks
  • LIGHTNING SLICES UP THE PIE WITH NEW CEO IN TAMPA

         The Lightning's general partner, Kokusai Green Ltd., has
    named a team CEO to operate out of the team's headquarters in
    Tampa.  Saburo "Steve" Oto has replaced "the seldom-seen, non-
    English speaking" Yoshio Nakamura as President of Lightning
    Partners, Ltd., which oversees the business operation of the
    team.  Oto said the changes are "structural in nature, and has
    nothing to do with Nakamura's performance or that of the team's
    governor, David LeFevre."  Oto will oversee both LeFevre and
    Lightning President & GM Phil Esposito. Oto, who stresses he will
    "exemplify Kokusai Green's commitment to the Bay area":  "This
    hockey team is a very important part of Kokusai Green's holdings,
    so what we are doing here is adding power. We are making a
    powerhouse" (Roy Cummings, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Palace Sports & Entertainment, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • MORE DECEMBER DEADLINES, THIS TIME FOR THE TIMBERWOLVES

         Rising interest rates "pose the newest threat to completion
    of the Target Center buyout and Timberwolves sale," with a
    December 31 deadline approaching.  Henry Savelkoul, chair of the
    Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission said that the Federal
    Reserve's announcement that it will boost interest rates another
    3/4 of a point will make the Timberwolves/Target Center
    transaction "very difficult."  Since the summer, when state and
    city financing of about $54M was approved to buy the downtown
    arena -- and another $25M or so set aside to refinance other
    outstanding debt on the building -- interest rates have gone up
    two full percentage points.  Debt service on a new mortgage for a
    publicly owned Target Center could be as much as $1.4M more per
    year than projected, according to Savelkoul (Weiner & Hartman,
    Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/22).
         SOLUTIONS?  According to Savelkoul, one possible solution is
    issuing shorter term bonds than the previously agreed-upon 30-
    year long bonds.  Short term financing could bring down the
    interest rates.  Wolves buyer Glen Taylor and team and arena
    sellers Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner are facing a December 31
    deadline to close on the sale of the team.  That sale is
    contingent on the Sports Facilities Commission buying the Target
    Center.  There is a "risk" that interest rates will continue to
    rise, "placing the entire financing package in jeopardy" for
    buying the arena.  As of now, ticket taxes will pay the mortgage
    on the arena, but if that does not cover it, then the Commission
    may ask the city to cover the payments through a liquor and hotel
    tax (Weiner & Hartman, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/22).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • SALT LAKE BUZZ/NEW BRITAIN OWNER HAS TO PAY $2.1M IN DAMAGES

         An arbitrator has awarded the former Salt Lake Trappers
    baseball team $1.75M for being displaced by the AAA Salt Lake
    Buzz in '93.  In an opinion announced Monday, George Nicolau
    ordered Buzz owner Joe Buzas to pay the Pioneer league $317,000
    as well.  Buzas also owns the AA Eastern League team in New
    Britain.  The $2.1M award is more than half of what the Rockies
    had to pay the minor league team it displaced when it took over
    the Denver territory.  Nicolau:  "It was the Trappers that
    revitalized the territory to the point where it again became
    attractive to a Triple A team.  The Trappers, a highly successful
    club in performance, profit and attendance, are entitled to the
    benefit of that effort" (AP/HARTFORD COURANT, 11/22).
    

    Print | Tags: Colorado Rockies, Franchises
  • THE PRIDE OF PORTLAND TO BE SOLD TO G.I. JOE INVESTORS

         The CISL announced that a four-person investment group has
    purchased 70% of the Portland Pride.  The new ownership group is
    headed by Norm Daniels, president of G.I. Joe's Sporting Goods,
    and joined by three Oregon businessman -- Roy Rose, Mike Truax
    and John Zupan.  Brian Parrott, who served as the team's
    president during the Pride's first two years, along with the
    original partners will retain 30% of the franchise (CISL).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises
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