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  • COLLINS GROUP "CLEAR FRONT-RUNNER" AMONG NO. VA MLB BIDDERS

         The partnership headed by telecomm exec William Collins has
    "emerged as the clear front-runner" among the two potential
    ownership groups seeking an MLB franchise for Northern VA.  One
    baseball official close to the process: "If we decide we want to
    expand into that area, it looks at this point like the Collins
    group is the one we'll be dealing with."  Sources said that at
    the Chicago meeting on Tuesday, Collins' presentation was "more
    impressive" than the one given by the coalition led by Washington
    lawyer Bart Fisher.  One local official familiar with both
    presentations: "Collins's group was much stronger.  The financing
    is solid stuff.  With Fisher, it was like, 'We are happy to meet
    with you when you put the numbers all together.'"  Fisher is
    hoping to counter Collins' bid with the addition of a coalition
    of minority investors.  Fisher's group would be the first MLB
    team headed by minority ownership (Maske & Lipton, WASHINGTON
    POST, 11/3).
    

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  • COURT ALLOWS OTHER PARTIES TO JOIN SUIT AGAINST STAVRO

         A judge allowed a group of minority shareholders of Maple
    Leaf Gardens Ltd. to join a lawsuit against the company.  In a
    decision released yesterday in the Ontario Court, Justice John
    Ground said Jim Devellano, and Harry Ornest and his family can
    join a suit launched last summer by a group of charities to block
    the takeover of the Gardens by grocer Steve Stavro.  Ornest, his
    family and Devellano own more than half of the outstanding
    Gardens shares, which amounts to less than 10% in total.  Since
    April, Stavro has acquired more than 90% of Gardens shares,
    including 60% from the estate of the late Harold Ballard which
    Stavro bought for C$34 apiece in a private deal with the estate's
    executors.  Those challenging Stavro's ownership charge a
    conflict of interest due to Stavro's role as one of the executirs
    of Ballard's estate (Paul Waldie, FINANCIAL POST, 11/3).  One
    Toronto lawyer called Justice Ground's ruling "a blow to Stavro.
    It's something he didn't want to happen."  The case is expected
    to be heard in court next spring or early summer (Toronto GLOBE &
    MAIL, 11/3).
    

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  • NO CHAMPIONSHIP BANNERS FOR ROCKETS FRONT-OFFICE

         The marketing department of the NBA Champion Rockets has
    only sold a season ticket base of 8,600 and the team faces a
    crowd of only 9,200 for its second home game.  Fran Blinebury
    writes, "There are so many franchises in the NBA and in other
    sports that are doing a booming business.  It must be left open
    for consideration that Rockets management simply didn't do the
    job over the summer that should have been spent cashing in on the
    championship. ... They blew it.  There is an inclination to blame
    the whopping price hikes in tickets.  Yet the highest-priced
    tickets are the ones that have all been sold to season-ticket
    holders, a base that numbers roughly 8,600 paid.  It is the
    consumers of the cheaper seats who must be brought on board.  The
    Rockets don't have a business operation of which the team can be
    proud" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/2).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Houston Rockets, NBA
  • SHOULD THEY STAY OR SHOULD THEY GO? RAMS DECISION PENDING

         Rams President John Shaw said yesterday that the club will
    choose from among three options -- staying in Anaheim, or moving
    to Baltimore or St. Louis -- over the next two months.  Shaw:
    "We'd like to accommodate the time frames Baltimore and St. Louis
    have requested sometime between Dec. 1 and Jan. 1, although
    there's no guarantee" (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 11/3).  Shaw
    said, however, that the Rams are "aggressively pursuing" a move
    to St. Louis: "That's not to say we will ever complete a deal
    with St. Louis; we still have unresolved issues" (ST. LOUIS POST-
    DISPATCH, 11/3).  Shaw acknowledged that Anaheim has "sweetened
    its offer" to keep the Rams, but he added, "I feel that Baltimore
    and St. Louis are offering something that Anaheim is not in a
    position to offer to the team -- a new, football-only stadium."
    Orioles Owner Peter Angelos said that he plans to meet with Shaw
    tomorrow in Los Angeles and he remains convinced that the
    Baltimore offer is better than St. Louis': "Baltimore is far more
    supportive of football than St. Louis" (Baltimore SUN, 11/3).
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Franchises, St. Louis Rams
  • STEINBRENNER DEFENDS TICKET PRICE HIKE, WANTS NEW STADIUM

         Yankees owner George Steinbrenner defended the club's
    decision to raise their top ticket price from $17 to $25
    yesterday, noting it only affects 4,200 seats.  Steinbrenner said
    it has grown "increasingly tough" to stay competitive  on the
    field because of "the archaic configuration of Yankee Stadium
    limits luxury boxes, and hence revenue."  Steinbrenner, on the
    "new, state-of-the-art" AL ballparks in Chicago, Baltimore,
    Texas, Cleveland:  "They all get tremendous revenue
    opportunities.  I'm dealing with a stadium with 18 suites while
    they all have at least 75 suites."  The $25 seats will feature
    arm rests, cushions and waiter-waitress service (Anthony Gargano,
    N.Y. POST, 11/3).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New York Yankees, YankeeNets
  • STERN STANDS GROUND ON TICKET GOAL FOR NEW NBA FRANCHISES

         At yesterday's NBA telephone press conference, NBA
    Commissioner David Stern was asked if the franchise would be
    revoked from either Vancouver or Toronto if the 12,500 season
    ticket goal is not met by 12/31/94, Stern said simply:  "Yes."
    When asked to elaborate: "I'm reaching back to our Orlando
    situation and I remember Orlando was somewhat short of the goal
    and I remember Orlando calling and asking whether the committee
    [meant exactly or approximately 10,000], and the response at that
    time from the committee was 'no.'... Historically, [the
    committee] has enforced the agreement" (THE DAILY).  In
    Vancouver, Neil Campbell also notes that Stern "hinted that he is
    growing impatient with the Raptors' here-today, gone-tomorrow
    plans for a downtown Toronto arena. ... The usually precise Stern
    seemed somewhat confused when discussing the Raptors' arena
    situation, sounding very much like a man who has heard so many
    different stories he is having trouble fitting them all together"
    (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/3).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, Toronto Raptors
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