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         Although no definite decisions were made during a conference
    call Friday, MLB's expansion committee "is thinking 1998 for two
    new teams to begin play, rather than a year earlier."  Also
    discussed were the expansion fees, which is expected to be
    between $125M and $140M, the timing of the payments, and when the
    new teams should start sharing national broadcast money.
    Favorites for expansion continue to be Phoenix and Tampa Bay.
    Vince Naimoli, who heads the Tampa Bay group:  "It's not a
    surprise to me, I guess.  I was optimistic it would be '97, but
    the obstacles proved to be too large" (Bill Chastain, TAMPA
    TRIBUNE, 2/11).  In Washington, Mark Maske writes that Metro DC's
    chances "were dealt a blow."  Northern VA stood the best chance
    of being included in the first round due to the fact that Phoenix
    can't have its retractable roof stadium ready until '98
    (WASHINGTON POST, 2/11).
         "DONE DEAL" IN PHOENIX?  Jerry Colangelo, president of the
    Suns and head of a group bidding for an expansion baseball
    franchise for Phoenix, said that he saw no possibility that
    Phoenix's bid could be derailed.  Colangelo told THE SPORTS
    BUSINESS DAILY:  "We have the market. They've expressed their
    great interest in having us participate.  I think on March 9th
    when the owners meet in Palm Beach it should be a done deal.
    We're looking forward to the future of baseball, not the present
    circumstances of baseball.  And we're excited about building a
    $275 million facility that will be a world-class facility."
    Asked whether he had any concerns about joining the MLB's
    ownership ranks considering the game's present condition,
    Colangelo said, "I think baseball has a great future because it
    can't get any worse.  It can only get better."  Asked his
    position on the present dispute, Colangelo held up the NBA as a
    model:  "You have a partnership that exists between the players
    and the owners -- a revenue-sharing plan. ... We've never had a
    work stoppage in the NBA.  Why not look at that model and pattern
    yourself after it?" (THE DAILY).
         THE NHL, TOO?  According to Friday's ARIZONA REPUBLIC, if
    one of Canada's small-market teams falters, it could end up in
    Phoenix.  Phoenix Arena Sports President Bryan Colangelo:  "We've
    had discussions with some NHL teams and that has been on public
    record.  We've also had discussions with others who remain
    nameless and have been on hold due to situations working out
    locally and in those respective cities.  But we are keeping a
    watchful eye on those scenarios and are waiting for something to
    come out of it."  Jerry Colangelo is confident Phoenix will get
    an NHL team, and according to the REPUBLIC, Colangelo has been
    assured by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that the league wants a
    franchise in Phoenix.  J. Colangelo: "The question is only when
    and how, whether it's two or three years, and whether it's
    through expansion or relocation" (TORONTO STAR, 2/11).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, MLB, NBA, NHL, Phoenix Suns

         The Oakland Athletics Baseball Company announced the
    selection of San Francisco-based Hoffman/Lewis as its new ad
    agency.  One focus of the Hoffman/Lewis ad campaign is the A's
    new ticket policy reducing ticket prices through April,
    regardless of whether replacements are in uniform.  Ticket prices
    have been rolled back to '81 levels and reduced up to 78%.  A's
    VP/Business Operations Alan Ledford: "These are unusual times for
    Major League Baseball.  Given the current labor situation, our
    marketing challenge is to re-awaken fan interest in the A's and
    bring them back to the Oakland Coliseum."  According to the A's,
    Hoffman/Lewis created a "unique, highly recognized campaign" for
    the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Commission last summer.  This
    effort raised awareness and support for keeping the A's in
    Oakland (A's).      OTHER AD NEWS:  According to NEWSDAY's Steve
    Zipay, new sales pitches for most MLB teams "essentially will
    cover three bases:  the image of the game, lower prices and the
    ballpark atmosphere."  The Tigers' current TV ads feature hot-dog
    vendors; the Dodgers portray a trip to the park as "enhancing
    family values"; and the Yankees promote a stadium tour including
    the field and the dugouts (NEWSDAY, 2/10).

    Print | Tags: Detroit Tigers, Franchises, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics
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