SBD/31/Franchises

GOING TO HELL IN A BUCKET, AT LEAST CATS ENJOYED THE RIDE

     "The end of a season generally is dictated by lack of
performance.  The Hartford Hellcats' season ended Monday because
of a lack of money," according to Roy Hasty in this morning's
HARTFORD COURANT.  The Hellcats' ownership, the Hartford Sports
and Entertainment Group Inc. (HSE), ended operations Monday,
causing the CBA team to fold.  The HSE ran out of money to
operate the team and couldn't meet the payroll over the weekend.
HSE was "hoping to get help from the Connecticut Development
Authority (CDA), which was negotiating with three groups
interested in buying" the team, but none of the offers were "firm
enough" to reach a deal.  HSE Spokesperson Tom Drohan said the
group owes about $200,000 in addition to its loan commitments of
$1.25M to the state, which guaranteed the loan package through
the CDA.  Although the CDA currently operates the Connecticut
Coyotes of the Arena Football League, CDA spokesperson Joseph
Cohen said the authority did not want to assume control of the
Hellcats because the team "has been bleeding large amounts of
money over an extended period of time."  Cohen:  "The Hellcats
were just too far gone."  The CBA also has a "provision to take
over the operation" of a failing team, but refused to do so. CBA
Commissioner Tom Valdiserri: "This situation does not and will
not deter the CBA from continuing our efforts in moving the
league in a positive direction" (Roy Hasty, HARTFORD COURANT,
1/31).  Drohan on the Hellcats' failure:  "We didn't sell enough
tickets ... And we didn't get the corporate support we needed.
... We know how hard-pressed the corporations are in this
community" (Owen Canfield, HARTFORD COURANT, 1/31).  ESPN's Keith
Olbermann reported the story last night, quoting a team official:
"There is no money to go forward, there is no reason to go
forward" ("SportsCenter," 1/30).
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