Carnegie Mellon University's current $2M ownership stake in the Pirates is supported by funds from the Heinz Co. and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, according to the current issue of the PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES. According to Heinz spokesperson Debbie Foster, the company's anonimous role is due to the fact the corporation "is not interested in establishing a high profile as a team owner or as a participant in current negotiations to sell the Pirates." However, both Heinz and Mellon "may want to retain ownership stakes in the Pirates if the team is sold." Foster added that Heinz also did not "want to create a perception that it was straying from its main business." Foster: "We're not trying to diversify into sports marketing" (Suzanne Elliott, PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES, 2/26 issue). RIGAS-MORTIS? Adelphia Communications Chair John Rigas, the "would-be-owner" of the Pirates, is "still confident" he will finalize a deal for the team in the face of recent competition. Rigas, who has said he would be willing to add partners to his group to increase his offer: "I'd rather have an exclusive. But the owners are doing what they think best." Rigas says his bid has climbed to $112.15M for the team, including repayment of a $20M loan taken out by the owners to Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority and $7M in interest. Rigas: "We're very close. Each and every week, something positive happens and we're not discouraged" (PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES, 2/26 issue).
The Brewers are "turning to the future in marketing their 1995 season tickets." The team is making available to TV stations around Milwaukee a 30-second public service commercial that "doesn't talk about expectations on the field this season or the players likely to be stars, the kind of things they promoted in past years." Instead, the video shows the newest stadiums around the league -- Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Jacobs Field, and The Ballpark at Arlington. The next scene is "that familiar rendering" of the proposed $223.5M stadium the team wants constructed. Then the message -- "Share the dream of a new stadium. Support baseball for Wisconsin. Buy your 1995 season tickets today" (Daniel Hanley, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL, 2/22). BRAVES ON FILM: Turner Sports President Harvey Schiller and Braves President Stan Kasten met the media this week to discuss the team and TBS's plans for '95. Among the different plans under consideration: Producing a movie in conjunction with TBS about the "unprecedented upcoming season" (Henry Unger, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/22).
In his column in this morning's TORONTO STAR, Bob McKenzie speculates that a departure from Disney by company chairman Michael Eisner could mean an ownership-change for the Mighty Ducks. According to McKenzie, "it is obliquely suggested" in the March issue of ESQUIRE that "Eisner may be contemplating new career opportunities." MacKenzie suggests Disney's purchase of the Ducks was "for no other reason than Eisner's interest in the game itself and, perhaps to a lesser extent, the business of hockey. ... If the rumors come to fruition and Eisner ceases to run Disney, will the impetus be there for the corporation to stay in the NHL?" Also suggested: Disney could sell or give Eisner the team as a going-away present (TORONTO STAR, 2/23). POWER PLAY: Since Disney's stock fell to 39 3/8 in November following Eisner's heart bypass surgery, the unexpected death of Disney President Frank Wells and slumping attendance figures at its parks, the company has "rebounded with a mighty roar." Disney stock rose to 53 on Wednesday after the company announced an unspecified "multimedia venture" with Southern Bell, Ameritech and SBC Communications (REUTERS/MIAMI HERALD, 2/22).
The owners of the Silver Bullets women's professional baseball team will hold two tryouts for their Mediterranean Baseball League, a six-team league for women that will start play this summer in Spain, France, and Italy. The six teams will consist of 20 players each, and will run from mid-June through August. Each player will be paid a salary, plus housing and meals for the season (Silver Bullets).