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         The Boston Celtics Limited Partnership "dramatically beefed
    up its financial clout in a three-month period this year,
    virtually doubling its assets to $206 million," according to a
    report in today's BOSTON HERALD.  The partnership borrowed $85M
    from Shawmut Bank between June 30 and September 30, and put the
    funds into short-term investments.  The team "is apparently
    making use of the expected windfall from the pending sale" of
    WFXT-TV to Fox Television Stations Inc., which is currently tied
    up by NBC's FCC probe of Fox.  Partnership and team execs
    "declined to elaborate on the likely uses of the added financial
    clout" (Steve Syre, BOSTON HERALD, 12/14).

    Print | Tags: Boston Celtics, Franchises, NBC

         FANS Inc. point-man Tom Eagleton isn't concerned by comments
    from Rams President John Shaw that the team could remain in
    Anaheim.  Shaw stated on Monday the team may sign a short-term
    lease in Anaheim to see if the league will come through on a
    proposal to build a football-only stadium in the area.  Eagleton:
    "The league, in all fairness, is not going to build a $300M
    stadium in California and then say to the Bears who want a new
    stadium, 'No, we can't build you one'" (Bernie Miklasz, ST. LOUIS
    POST-DISPATCH, 12/14).

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bears, Franchises, LA Rams

         With no offers for the Buccaneers on the "horizon, the trust
    that owns the team has devised a way to pump some wind into their
    sale."  A deadline for submitting an offer may be announced to
    prospective owners in an "effort to accelerate the deal" (Rick
    Stroud, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/14).  Jack Donlan, a member of
    the three-man trust in charge of selling the team, said the team
    needs to prepare for next season, adding, "You have to get things
    in place."  Trustee Steve Story said the deadline would be placed
    on prospective owners "to get things going -- to get a deal
    done."  The notion of a deadline drew criticism from local
    bidders.  Tommy Shannon, point-man of a group from Outback
    Steakhouse: "I don't understand the sale process.  I don't think
    anyone does.  Is it a sealed bid?  An auction?  Are they going to
    shop around the bids?"  Shannon added: "You're buying this at
    peak value.  This is not a good time to buy" (Joe Henderson,
    TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/14).  Palm Beach millionaire and interested
    buyer, George Lindemann: "It looks like they want us to make an
    offer and then they'll shop it around to the next guys. ... No
    one is going to make an offer on that basis" (Rick Stroud, ST.
         STARR QUALITY: Bart Starr met with Story for 30-minutes
    yesterday stating his interest.  Story said Starr's group would
    keep the Bucs in Tampa (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/14).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

         A report this morning indicates that a string of corporate
    block buys could put both the Raptors and Grizzlies over the NBA-
    imposed goal of 12,500 season-tickets.  The Raptors are believed
    to be in negotiations with Ford, Shoppers Drug Mart, and AST
    Computers about the purchase of a large block of tickets.  The
    Grizzlies, who are also speaking with Shoppers Mart, and AST,
    will hold a news conference next Tuesday to announce the total in
    their ticket campaign.  It is believed they will reveal at that
    time that they have reached the 12,500 goal. Grizzlies
    spokesperson Steve Frost: "We're discussing block ticket buys and
    working toward closing those deals" (Craig Daniels, TORONTO SUN,
         RAPTORS TV:  The Raptors are reportedly interested in ABC-
    ESPN announcer Mike Jones to host game coverage on City-TV
    (William Houston, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/14).

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, Toronto Raptors, Walt Disney

         Red Wings Shawn Burr and Dino Ciccarelli are among a group
    of investors who purchased the Seattle Roller Hockey franchise.
    The team, "whose nickname might be determined by a major local
    sponsor," will play at Cobo Arena in Detroit for the June-
    September schedule.  Burr said he will play for his team if the
    NHL season is cancelled due to the labor dispute.  This is the
    second franchise for Ciccarelli and Burr, who also own the Sarnia
    Sting of the Ontario Hockey League.  Burr said the two will be
    very involved, adding that season-ticket prices for a 12-game
    package will range from $100 for children to $150 for adults.
    The team's home games will be on local cable and all sports radio
    (Keith Gave, DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/13).

    Print | Tags: Detroit Red Wings, Franchises, NHL

         The Grizzlies enter the final stretch of their season-ticket
    drive to bring basketball to Vancouver.  Since awarded a
    franchise by the NBA on April 27, owner Arthur Griffiths has led
    a furious charge to meet the league's requirements.  Unlike the
    Raptors, who began taking season-ticket orders in October, the
    Grizzlies kicked off their campaign on April 28 with a season-
    ticket hotline.  Two days later, 6,000 fans had called and
    committed a $100 deposit toward a season-ticket.  Sales have
    slowed, but the Grizzlies organizational efforts have met with
    greater success than the Raptors.  Over the past week, THE SPORTS
    BUSINESS DAILY spoke with members of the Vancouver media and Tod
    Leiweke, who is charge of the development of business and
    marketing opportunities for the Grizzlies.
         THE NUMBER:  The team is around 3,000 sales short of the NBA
    mandated-minimum of 12,500, but reports this morning indicate
    that deals could push both teams over the top this week.
    Leiweke, Exec VP of Northwest Entertainment Group, parent company
    of the Grizzlies and the Canucks, said the franchise "has made
    progress," but refused to speculate on numbers.  The Grizzlies
    announce their total on Tuesday.   THE MARKET:  Leiweke, who came
    over from the Warriors in early November:  "The community has
    really wanted to see this happen. It has largely been a community
    initiative."  Leiweke mentioned "The Ambassadors," a group of 49
    business leaders throughout the city who have organized the
    business community.  He also praised business leaders who stepped
    forward and purchased suites and club seats for the Canucks, and
    then consented when asked by the Grizzlies to increase their
    commitment on their suites.  Although Vancouver is a hockey town,
    the SUN's MacDonald said, "The town is talking about the
    Grizzlies."  Still, Tsumura calls the NBA a "brand new game in
    town" and for Vancouver fans "it is almost like buying into
    something on faith."
         ORGANIZATION: "The Grizzlies always knew they had a selling
    job and they got their organization in place and went about their
    business," according to MacDonald.  Griffiths, who is looking for
    an investment partner for the team, received high marks from the
    media for his organizational skills.  MacDonald: "They come
    across as a very slick, well organized, franchise."   Tsumura
    agrees that the organization is well run, giving kudos for
    bringing in Magic Johnson for an appearance and an ownership
    guarantee for a full refund if the customer is not satisfied with
    the performance of the team.  Likewise, GM Stu Jackson has kept a
    high profile, making appearances and being a front-man for the
    team in advertising.  Tsumura: "Jackson has really done the job
    and gotten out there."
         CORPORATE HELP: The team has been active in the corporate
    community. Spectra Foods Restaurant Group signed a deal that
    included the purchase of 300 season-tickets. Leiweke said it has
    been untraditional corporate help, those "who might not buy a
    media package or a sign in the arena."  Although Spectra is not
    engaging in cross-promotions, Leiweke did say the deal "sparked
    the imagination of other companies."  There are reports this week
    that both Shopper's Drug Mart and Overwaitea grocery stores are
    close to making a significant corporate ticket purchase.  The
    team is currently in discussing a media deal, but nothing is
         OVERALL: Tsumura compares Vancouver with NBA expansion
    franchises, such as the Magic.  MacDonald:  "Orlando had a full
    year longer to sell 10,000 tickets and they went right to the
    end. If you gauge it that way, for Vancouver being a non-
    basketball town, the 9,000 they have sold is quite a good
    number."  Lieweke on the NBA's deadline: "It is not fair for me
    to sit here and pass judgement.  We only had one choice and that
    was to rise to the challenge. ... Certainly, if you look at the
    last expansion with 10,000 tickets and here you come into a
    market where there has not been a ton of NBA exposure in the
    market place, it is really quite amazing that they would rise to
    this challenge" (THE DAILY).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Golden State Warriors, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors, Vancouver Canucks
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