SBD/15/Franchises

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  • ARE THE JETS MINNESOTA'S BEST HOPE FOR HOCKEY?

         The uncertain future of the Winnipeg Jets is the best
    opportunity the Twin Cities have in landing an NHL team,
    according to Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE.  With
    expansion franchises "expected to go" to Phoenix, Houston,
    Atlanta and Denver, Hartman writes that NHL Commissioner Gary
    Bettman "is looking favorably on Minnesota landing another hockey
    team."  Hartman said there are buyers ready to put up money to
    bring hockey back to the area (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 3/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, New York Jets, NHL
  • ARIZONA FINDS THEIR DIAMOND AS TICKET SALES SURGE

         The Diamondbacks "are on target to become the hottest sports
    ticket in town," writes Eric Miller in today's ARIZONA REPUBLIC.
    As of Tuesday, the number of orders for season tickets for the
    MLB expansion team had hit close to 18,000.  The team began
    taking orders, with a $50 deposit, on Friday.  Diamondbacks
    spokesperson Ray Artigue: "I think the Colorado Rockies were in
    the low 30,000s going into their first season, which is great.
    They broke expansion records.  We're more than halfway there in
    only three days."  Artigue estimated the cost of a season-ticket
    will average about $12.50 a game, or $1,012.50, and their goal is
    to have season-ticket holders pay for tickets and select seats by
    the end of '96 (Eric Miller, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Franchises, MLB
  • BIRMINGHAM-BY-THE-SEA: BEWARE OF BARRACUDAS

         The CFL franchise in Birmingham announced that it will be
    named the Barracudas -- "never mind that there is no salt water
    within about 200 miles of Birmingham."  Team Owner Art Williams
    said the choice was based on the reputation of the fish, and not
    geography.  Williams: "It's an animal that's vicious and mean.
    No other team in pro sports is called the Barracudas" (AP/N.Y.
    TIMES, 3/15).
    

    Print | Tags: CFL, Franchises
  • COWBOYS HIKE TIX PRICES, SUNDAYS IN IRVING TO COST MORE

         The Cowboys have raised ticket prices and parking fees for
    next season.  Ticket prices will see a 15% increase from the past
    two years, with the average price up to $39.98, from $34.20.  The
    top-priced seats will increase from $38 to $46 and other sideline
    seats will also increase by $8, up to $42.  Parking passes will
    increase variably, with VIP passes going from $15-$20, and the
    lower-proced lot from $5 to $7.  Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said
    fans should not be "alarmed" about the increase, and that their
    prices are in relation to the league (Dwain Price, FORT WORTH
    STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/15).
         COWBOYS IN THE SKYDOME:  The Cowboys will play the Bills in
    Toronto's SkyDome on the weekend of August 13-14.  But it looks
    as though the NFL won't stage a game in Mexico this summer,
    "partly because of Mexico's economic woes" (Tim Cowlishaw, DALLAS
    MORNING NEWS, 3/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Franchises, NFL
  • ECHL RENEGADES ASKED TO PONY UP AND JOIN THE AHL

         The ECHL's Richmond Renegades were one of five ECHL teams
    formally asked to join the AHL.  But a "sticking point" appears
    to be money, with the AHL apparently asking for a "substantial"
    expansion fee, reportedly in the high six figures.  ECHL teams
    had been led to believe that they would not have to pay a high
    fee to become members of the AHL, according to the RICHMOND
    TIMES-DISPATCH.  The AHL will allow ECHL teams to pay an
    expansion fee over time, but sources say the AHL is not giving
    them "long to think about the proposal."  Charlotte and
    Greensboro are "virtual locks" to join the AHL, while others
    "aren't as anxious."  Charlotte President Carl Scheer said he has
    "no choice" but to move, citing the IHL's inquiries about setting
    up an expansion franchise in Charlotte.  Scheer: "The IHL has
    been very aggressive all over the country. ... We just have to
    protect our territory and we're being forced into some early
    decisions" (John Packett, RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 3/14).
    

    Print | Tags: AHL, ECHL, Franchises
  • PIRATES OWNERS DELAY RIGAS' OFFER; WANT BIDS FROM VA GROUPS

         In an action delaying a vote on Adelphia Communications
    Chair John Rigas' bid for the Pirates, Wertheim Schroeder, the
    investment bank handling the sale of the franschie, is trying to
    "pry offers" from both Northern VA groups interested in acquiring
    the team.  One of those groups, Virginia Baseball led by William
    Collins (favored to get expansion in the next round), wants to
    move the team to the DC suburbs.  Homestead Baseball, led by
    Robert Johnson and affiliated with Capital Baseball -- another
    group seeking an  expansion team -- has said they would keep the
    team in Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh City Councilmember Dan Cohen:
    "It's outrageous and offensive to all Pittsburghers for the
    owners to have any discussions at all with people who would move
    the team out of Pittsburgh."  The Council has introduced a
    resolution demanding that Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy "appoint
    one or two council members to participate in all talks pertaining
    to the sale."  Murphy selected Rigas as his choice to buy the
    Pirates last November (Steve Halvonik, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE,
    3/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • RAIDERS' DAVIS INJECTS NEW WRINKLE INTO RAMS DISCUSSION

         While discussion of the Rams move continued at the NFL
    owners meetings in Phoenix, Raiders Owner Al Davis asked the
    league to approve the idea of a new football stadium.  Davis said
    he needs approval for the new stadium, to be located between
    Hollywood Park and The Forum in Inglewood, within ten days or it
    cannot be built.  "Owners winced," writes Bill Plaschke and T.J.
    Simers of the L.A. TIMES, "but, with the prospects of losing a
    Los Angeles team increasing every hour, they seemed eager to
    embrace the report."  The proposed $200M facility would be
    privately financed by NC-based NationsBank.  But Raiders and
    Hollywood Park officials claim that "it is not possible to pay
    for the stadium" without revenue from at least two Super Bowls,
    which would have to be played there during a five-year period
    after '97.  Oilers Owner/Finance Committee Chair Bud Adams:
    "We'd love to help him out ... we just need to see a little more"
    (L.A. TIMES, 3/15).  Davis has spoken with Orioles Owner Peter
    Angelos in recent days about his attempt to get an NFL team in
    Baltimore (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/15).  Although
    Davis gave "the impression" he would play at Anaheim Stadium
    until the propsoed new stadium opens in '97 (should the Rams move
    get approval), he did not commit to any stadium for '95 -- a
    "factor that has NFL owners worried."  Davis: "I think I could
    play in any facility I wanted to next year. ... That doesn't mean
    just Los Angeles" (Michele Himmelberg, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER,
    3/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Baltimore Orioles, Bank of America, Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NFL, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams
  • THE LATEST ON THE RAMS' MOVE: LET'S MAKE A DEAL

         Despite Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's recommendation that
    NFL owners vote against the Rams move, the "tone changed" in
    Phoenix yesterday as the Rams and owners tried to negotiate a
    settlement that would compensate the league for lost revenues.
    Save-the-Rams Leader Leigh Steinberg:  "I'm frustrated.  I feel
    our message is not getting through" (Steve Bisheff, ORANGE
    COUNTRY REGISTER, 3/15).  The league has reportedly asked the
    Rams for $25M, while the Rams are "considering an offer" of $13M.
    Browns Owner Art Modell: "The Rams have not been given any figure
    (yet).  Television remains a major factor" (Michele Himmelberg,
    ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/15).  The Rams would like to spread the
    payment over 40 years, while the league would like it in four
    years (Plaschke & Simers, L.A. TIMES, 3/15).  ESPN's Chris
    Mortensen reported the Rams expect the league will want $20-30M
    to approve the move, and they are willing to negotiate because
    they also want to stay out of court ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/14).
    In Boston, Jack Craig reports that Fox will seek a rebate of $14M
    for '95 if the Rams move, $500,000 per team.  But it "would not
    be much of a hit, considering that each team is scheduled to
    receive $42 million from Fox over the last three years of Fox'
    contract" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/14).
         ALL THOSE IN FAVOR:  49ers President Carmen Policy and
    Chargers Owner Alex Spanos spoke in favor of the move during
    meetings that lasted over five hours (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 3/15).  Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones:   "Right now my
    vote is up in the air.  I'm very much for teams having the right
    to make their own decisions ... We need an NFC team in Los
    Angeles" ("Up Close," ESPN, 3/14).
         YOU PROMISE?  Will Leigh Steinberg and Save the Rams "wangle
    a promise for an NFC expansion franchise in the next three
    years?," asks Steve Bisheff of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER.
    Bisheff predicts that owners will approve the Rams move in order
    to keep their leverage to build new stadiums, and adds if an L.A.
    expansion bid is approved, Save-the-Rams would want Disney's
    Michael Eisner to head up the team (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER,
    3/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, ESPN, Franchises, News Corp./Fox, NFL, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Walt Disney
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