SBD/5/Franchises

NO MORE LOW PROFILE AS LIGHTNING TRY TO BOLSTER IMAGE

     The Lightning's "financial strength" and their "promise to
stay in the area" was again questioned by FL media, as it was
reported that "progress on the team's downtown arena suddenly was
stopped because the team had fallen behind in paying for $658,500
worth of foundation work."  Roy Cummings of the TAMPA TRIBUNE
writes that until the team pays it's bills on time, "the public
perception will continue to be that the Lightning are struggling
to stay alive" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/4).  Kokusai Green (KG), the
Japanese company that runs the Lightning, has spent more money
than they anticipated on the franchise, and word of a possible
sale to Ted Turner and a move to Atlanta forced KG to change the
team's president and take a more active role in the daily
operations of the club (David Neal, MIAMI HERALD, 12/4).
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